Category Archives: Car Care

How to Get the Most out of Your BMW’s Engine

BMW has always been known for powerful, high-quality engines, but no engine will keep running forever without a bit of maintenance and some TLC. What do you need to do to get the most of out of your new or new-to-you BMW engine?

Change Your Oil

Changing your oil is one of the most important things you can do to keep your engine running smoothly for as long as possible. You don’t need to change it every three months or 3,000 miles, though — that’s a sales gimmick to make you spend more money than necessary.

You might hear a rumor that you can go 15,000 miles between oil changes for a BMW, but this isn’t true either. While newer models can go up to 10,000 miles between changes, the manufacturer recommends an intermediate oil change somewhere in the middle to make sure everything is running smoothly. Plan on changing your oil every 7,500 miles or so.

Invest in Good Engine Treatments

A good engine treatment can give your oil an edge and help you get the most out of your engine.  Depending on the formula to the individual treatment, it can improve the lubrication of your engine oil, protect your moving parts from dirt and engine debris and even improve gas mileage.

It is important to note that not all engine treatments are created equal and there are tons of them on the market right now. Most auto parts stores have an entire wall dedicated just to engine treatments, so do your research to find out which treatment will work the best for your individual engine needs.

Don’t Buy Cheap Filters

When it comes to filters, you definitely get what you pay for.  Cheap filters clog quickly and have to be replaced more often, which can bog down your engine and, if left in place too long, potentially cause damage.

We’re not saying you have to drop a ton of money on a high-end reusable K&N filter or anything — just don’t buy the cheapest filters on the shelf, because you’ll end up regretting it. Think of car filters as you would shoes: you can spend $100 on a pair of sneakers that will last you a year or you can spend twenty bucks five times on cheap sneakers that hurt your feet and wear out after a month or two.

The same thing applies to filters.

Pick a Specialist, Not Your Neighborhood Mechanic

One of the best things you can do for your BMW is to drive right past your neighborhood mechanic and instead head to a local BMW specialist. Not only will they have a better idea of the kind of treatment your BMW needs, but they’ll also have easier access to the replacement parts and equipment you need to ensure your car keeps running for years to come.

A BMW is a good car to invest in if you want something that will see you through many years of daily driving — but no car can survive if you don’t take care of it. Keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your BMW engine.

Tools You Need for Working on Your BMW

Making the commitment to work on your BMW rather than sending it to a shop is commendable, but even with the money you save in labor, you’ll need to make an initial investment in tools. We’re not talking about spending thousands of dollars for BMW-specific VANOS adjustment toolkits from Germany, just the basics.

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway into a job and discovering you haven’t got the tool you need to fix your car. With a little bad luck, this could mean undoing all your work so you can drive back to the auto parts store. Rather than have that happen, get these essentials in your garage before you get started.

A Socket Set

Many BMWs come with a small toolkit that folds down from the top of the trunk. In it, you’ll find around 10 basic tools you can use to do basic jobs on your car, including box wrenches. You only need to try removing a battery with a box wrench once to learn the value of a good ratchet and socket set.

A Torque Wrench

The service manual says those head studs should be tightened down to 100 ft. lbs., but, hey, if you guesstimate, what could go wrong? The answer is, quite a bit. Instead of being unsure and putting expensive BMW parts at risk, get yourself a torque wrench so you know when you’ve tightened things to the proper spec.

An Air Compressor

An air compressor is a particularly handy tool for cars that do weekend warrior duty at the track. It’s easy to let air out of your tires, but how do you air up without visiting a gas station? Install a compressor in your garage and you’ll be able to stiffen up those sidewalls before your track session. Just make sure you allow them to cool before letting air out — you could damage tires if you don’t wait.

A Multimeter

Why isn’t that new head unit you installed working? Should you be worried about the life left in your alternator? Is that broken window switch just not getting power, or is something else wrong? These questions and many more can all be answered by the handy electrical multimeter, a tool all car do-it-yourselfers should own.

A Work Light

Is a light a tool? We say yes. When the sun goes down and you’re still knee-deep in a project, a work light lets you get the job done. Besides, if you fail, all the people at cars and coffee are going to give you crap about BMW reliability. Actually, they’ll probably do that anyway — but the point remains, don’t be that Bimmer owner.

An Impact Gun

When you’re working on suspension components, wheels have to come off. When you’re working on other components, sometimes you need to get to suspension components. Impact guns make this easy, and they can remove or install a whole lot more than just wheels. Plus, they make the coolest sound of any car tool, so who wouldn’t want one?

This list will get you off to a good start, and there are many more wise additions to your toolset you can make from here. Equipped with a solid set of tools, your BMW repairs will be cheaper, your bond with your car will be stronger — and, most importantly, your bank account will be fatter.

Take Your BMW Wrenching to the Next Level

Working on your own car is one of the joys of ownership, and many BMW owners have some working knowledge of how to repair their cars, but just how comfortable are you turning wrenches when the stakes are high?

Mechanics spend years learning the ins and outs of specific BMW models, so when you begin life as a Bimmer enthusiast, don’t feel bad if a few trips to the shop are required. Over time, you can work on enhancing your skills. Stay with it, and a few years down the road you could be bolting whole cars together in your garage!

Entry-Level Jobs

No matter what kind of car you drive, saving money on maintenance and repair bills is an attractive idea. This is why many car enthusiasts choose to perform small jobs like oil changes and spark plug swaps on their own.

You will need a basic set of tools to pull off even these tasks — your car is not a snap-together model. For a few hundred dollars, you can pick up a basic set and a crawler to allow access below the vehicle. Don’t forget a quality set of jack stands — without them, you can’t raise the car off the ground safely.

Stepping Your Game Up

Once you’ve learned the basic layout of your BMW and how to find everything when the car’s in the air, you can begin to tackle tougher jobs. Maybe you’d like to install some upgraded suspension components or change out an old and failing radiator.

The more advanced jobs you’ll take on will require better access to the car. To give yourself better access and visibility when performing these jobs, a lift makes a great investment. If you know you will use it, you will recoup the money on jobs that would have required a mechanic’s facilities down the road. In some cases, you can even use a lift to add some parking space.

Advanced Procedures

When you’re comfortable making changes to individual components and performing routine maintenance, you can begin to consider doing more advanced jobs. There are classes available both for BMW-specific applications, and general engine work, you should attend if you’re going to do these jobs.

More advanced work might include complicated engine repair such as changing a camshaft or bottom-end component, or it might be making considerable modifications. Many enthusiasts talk about wanting to do an engine swap on their BMW, and while it’s certainly possible, you’ve got to know what you’re doing.

You Should Also Buy Some Orange Clean

Or GoJo — whatever pumice-derived cleaner you like best — because when you achieve this level of mechanical knowledge, all your friends are going to come around wanting your help. Hey, you live this stuff anyway, right? And if times get tough, you can always find work at a shop.

There are many reasons to begin doing your own work on your BMW. Start today and become a part of the movement keeping these timeless cars alive and well on the world’s roads.