Category Archives: Car Care

Make 2019 the Year You Work on Your BMW Yourself

Did you make a new year’s resolution for 2019 yet? If not, here’s one for you — make this the year you start doing repairs and maintenance on your BMW yourself.

Why Work on Your BMW Yourself?

So, why should you start doing your own repairs and maintenance? If you have a BMW, you probably love it — there’s a reason bimmers have attracted so many loyal fans around the world. Working on your own BMW, even if it’s just basic maintenance, will help you:

  • Appreciate Your Vehicle: You’ll learn more about how it works and get to see some of its inner workings firsthand.
  • Relax With Friends: Working on a car is also a great way to relax and spend time with family and friends. If you’re new to DIY car repairs, you may be able to get a more experienced friend to help you. If you’ve already spent some time working on cars, you can probably find another BMW fan to work with or enlist an enthusiastic newbie who wants to learn more about them.
  • Save Money: Another major draw of DIY BMW maintenance is the potential cost savings. Your Mechanic, Inc. ranked BMW as the most expensive car make to maintain and estimated a cost of $17,800 over 10 years. This is mainly because BMWs are more expensive, higher-quality cars to begin with and, therefore, the parts are more expensive too. The labor can also be more expensive, especially if you a more advanced model such as one in the M series. Doing this labor yourself, however, can result in significant savings since labor costs account for a substantial portion of the price of a visit to the mechanic.

Tips for BMW Maintenance, Repairs and Modifications

Say you’ve decided to start working on your car yourself this year. How should you approach this new task? Here are three tips to help you get started.

1. Start Simple

If you’re not experienced in working with cars, start with some of the simpler maintenance tasks. Some great tasks for beginners include:

  • Changing your oil and oil filter
  • Changing your windshield wipers
  • Changing your air filter
  • Replacing spark plugs
  • Replacing your drive belts

As you get more comfortable with your car, you can move into more involved jobs include a range of maintenance and repair tasks and even some custom mods. That being said, you should probably leave the most advanced jobs, such as transmission repairs, windshield replacement and bodywork, to the professionals.

2. Make Safety Your Top Priority

Safety should always be your top priority when working on your car. Before you get started, make sure you’re in a safe environment. Clear the area of any potential hazards, and if you’re working in a garage, ensure the garage door is working correctly and won’t come down on your workspace. If you’re running your car, leave your garage door open and face the tailpipes toward the outside to prevent hazardous fumes from building up.

While working on your car, wear safety goggles, avoid loose clothing and tie up long hair. If you’re working on the underside of your vehicle, make sure you use high-quality floor jacks that can support your car’s weight and blocks for the wheels. Ensure that you’re working on a level surface and never use makeshift materials as car jacks. You should also have a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit nearby and easily accessible.

Also, make sure that all children and pets stay clear of the area unless they’re under direct supervision. If you’re letting your kids help or watch as you work on your car, give them a basic safety lesson first.

3. Invest in Quality Tools

In addition to your floor jacks, you’ll also need to invest in some other basic tools. Make sure they’re of decent quality — you don’t want your tools breaking mid-maintenance, as this would be quite inconvenient and could cause safety issues. Your BMW deserves high-quality tools. Many BMWs come with a small set of tools, so check what you have in that kit.

Some of the basic tools you’ll need include:

  • Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A torque wrench
  • A socket and ratchet set

If you’re a BMW owner, make 2019 the year you start working on your bimmer yourself. You’ll save money, learn more about your car and have a good time doing it.

Four Car Issues Every BMW Owner Should Know

BMWs might be known for being some of the most reliable luxury cars on the market, but like everything designed by human minds and built by human hands, problems can crop up. Some of these issues are minor, while others can leave you stranded on the side of the road if you don’t address them quickly.

Addressing these problems can help you optimize your Bimmer for the most ideal drive no matter where you take it. Let’s look at four of the most common BMW problems and how to prevent them — or repair them when they do occur.

1. Power Window Failure

One of the best parts of owning a modern car is the convenience of power windows — at least, until they fail and end up stuck open or closed. Any BMW equipped with the E46 window motor and regulator might experience problems.

The regulator clips can break, which means your windows will move slowly — or not at all. These problems are easy to fix, but they do require taking apart the entire affected door to access the window regulator.

2. Oil Leaks

Oil only works if it’s able to stay in the engine compartment. BMW’s have a habit of developing oil leaks once you pass the 55,000-mile mark. Some are easy to repair — the valve cover gasket and the oil filter housing gasket being two of the most accessible oil leak related repairs — while others, like the rear main seal, may require the assistance of a professional.

You can repair some small leaks without disassembling the engine by using products that act as stop-leaks. However, while being a temporary mechanic might be convenient, it won’t work for larger or more complicated leaks.

3. Cracked Rims

Many BMW models come equipped with 19-inch run-flat alloy rims. While these rims look amazing, they are prone to cracking — and a poorly placed crack can puncture your tire, leaving you stranded.

It is important to note that this is only a problem for Class Series vehicles sold between 2009 and 2012 — BMW settled a class action suit in 2015. Although there’s not much you can do to prevent this other than driving safely, it is something to be on the lookout for if you’ve got a Bimmer from those years with the original rims.

4. Coolant Leaks

This BMW problem is specific to the BMW 3 series, but that is a great variety of cars to choose from. Regardless of the year, coolant leaks always manage to crop up. These can have many different causes, from a cracked radiator cap to a blown head gasket to a hole in the radiator itself.

No matter what the reason is, it is something you need to repair quickly. A lack of coolant could cause the engine to overheat — plus, the coolant is toxic to animals and the environment.

BMWs are, by far, one of the most reliable brands on their market — but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their share of problems. Being aware of these four common problems can help keep your car running and prevent you from ending up stranded on the side of the road.

What You Should Know About Window Mods and Tinting

Thinking about tinting your windows? Doing so has numerous benefits, but there are somethings you should be aware of before you commit.

Tints Have Benefits Beyond Looks and Privacy

Alot of people want tints because of their aesthetics and the privacy they provide, but they also have many other practical benefits. Window films can block solar energy, keeping you and your car cooler. This effect is especially noticeable when you leave your car parked in the sun on a hot day. Blocking the sun’s UV rays also protects your skin and your car’s interior.

Not All Tints Are the Same

You have several different options when it comes to window tinting. There are numerous types of films, including the following.

  • Dyed window films consist of three layers of materials: an adhesive, dye and protective layer. They are affordable, though not as durable as other types. They protect against UV rays, but not heat.
  • Metalized films protect against heat and UV rays. They are more durable and expensive than dyed window films. Because they contain metal, however, they can interfere with your cell phone, radio and GPS signal and your car’s electronics.
  • Hybrid films are a combination of dyed window and metalized films. They have less metal, so they’re less likely to cause electronics interference.
  • Ceramic films block UV rays and heat, but won’t interfere with your electronics. They are one of the most expensive options.
  • Carbon films also block UV rays and heat and won’t cause interference. It is moderately expensive and in the middle of the road regarding performance.

You can also choose between different percentages of tint. The higher the visible light transmittance, the more light the film lets through. Seventy percent tint lets in 30 percent of the light. Fifty percent allows in 50 percent.

Laws Vary by State

Each state has different laws about what percentage and types of tinting they allow. Different rules also apply to different parts of the car. Make sure you check your local laws before modding your windows.

If you travel to a different state with stricter tinting laws, you probably won’t have a problem, but you still could get a citation from state law enforcement. If you frequently travel to a neighboring state, you may want to check its rules in addition to your home state’s laws.

Dark Tints Can Impede Your Vision

You should be aware excessively dark tints can impair your vision, especially when you drive at night or in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sun during the day. When choosing how dark to make your windows, consider when and where you typically drive. If you often drive at night or the weather in your area is often overcast, you may want to avoid tints or choose a lighter shade.

Window Films Have Pros and Cons During Emergency Situations

In car crashes and other emergencies, tinted windows differ from regular windows in several ways. If a tinted window breaks, it won’t shatter like a regular window would. Instead, the adhesive properties of the tint hold the window together in one piece, which can prevent you from being cut by glass shards.

Tinted windows, however, can also be a hindrance to emergency personnel. Rescue workers at a crash scene will look into the windows of the cars involved to assess the situation and determine how best to proceed. If they can’t see inside your vehicle because of a window film, they have less information to work with.

Tinting your windows has both pros and cons. Depending on your goals, it may or may not be the right choice for you. Consider the conditions you normally drive in, the laws in your state and these other factors when deciding whether — and to what degree — to mod your windows.