Category Archives: Car Care

Driving Your BMW in the Winter

Bavaria in January can see below-freezing temperatures, and in other parts of Germany, it’s even colder. Right now, a large chunk of the United States is seeing sub zero temps, with highs barely getting above zero. If you’re concerned about driving your Bimmer in the cold, you can feel confident it’s built to perform in any condition.

However, just because you have a high-performing car, you shouldn’t drive as if nothing has changed. To ensure your BMW has a long and rewarding life, you should take steps to be safe during the winter months and protect your car from the harsh effects of salted roads. These tips are easy to follow, but they make a world of difference.

Protecting Your Finish

If you’re like many BMW owners and want to keep the paint on your car looking as shiny and new as possible, winter weather is no fun. Snow and rain can strip wax from your car’s finish, but that’s only the beginning of your problems. Particularly for older models, you’ll want to ensure oxidization and rust do not set in.

The first step you should take to protect your car from the elements is to keep it inside. A clean, organized garage is the best place to do this. Make sure the garage seals well, has proper insulation and that the door is in good working order. A running car you can’t back out doesn’t do you much good.

Storing your BMW indoors will go a long way toward improving your winter driving experience. Allowing the battery and engine fluids to stay warm will reduce the effort needed to start the car, prolonging battery and accessory life.

The warmer indoor environment will also keep ice from clinging to underbody components. This step is critical in preventing rust, as expanding water can cause small cracks in metal components where rust can begin to eat away at your prized vehicle.

Driving in Snow and Ice

Some BMWs come equipped with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, but if you own a rear-wheel-drive model, you can still enjoy it when there’s snow on the roads if you take the right precautions. To maximize traction, you should install a set of snow tires. Consider having a second set of wheels, so you can keep the snow tires mounted and install them when the weather turns bad.

No tire can stop you from making bad decisions on the road, so use caution. If you’re not sure how much traction you have, drive slowly and remain in control. Avoid making sudden or jerky movements.

Lastly, be prepared for anything. You could end up stuck in the snow and the cold, so it’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car. BMWs often come with toolsets — however, you should also put together a kit containing, at minimum, a few snacks, water, a flashlight, a space blanket and flares. You should also carry a set of jumper cables.

It might sound like a lot, but these small things will allow you to drive your BMW all through the winter. That’s an easy choice compared to winding up stuck in a snowbank.

How to Keep Your BMW From Getting Scratched

Purchasing a BMW is an investment, whether you’re buying one new off the lot or getting one secondhand. The last thing you want on your new, or new-to-you, BMW are scratches on that beautiful paint job. How can you keep your BMW from getting scratched, even if you drive it every day?

Don’t Skimp on the Car Wash Supplies

It might be tempting to wash your new BMW with whatever you have on hand — even if that’s just dish soap and an old washcloth.

Stop right there — especially if your car is a darker color.

For one thing, dish soap is designed to be a degreaser. It’s good for getting baked-on food off your favorite pans, but not so good for your car’s finish. It will strip away anything that’s protecting your paint job.

Invest in some good car wash soap, and use high-quality microfiber cloths to wash your car. If you’ve got two buckets handy, set one up for your dirty rinse water and one for your clean soapy water. That keeps any dirt or debris you wash off the car from sticking to your washcloth or sponge and scratching the paint.

Dark cars are the worst for this sort of thing — it doesn’t take much to get myriad cobweb-like scratches on your car’s surface. Be careful, and don’t be cheap with your supplies.

Be Sure to Apply Wax

A good car wax is a must to keep your paint protected. Think of it as sunscreen for your car. You wouldn’t go to the beach without protecting your skin, so you shouldn’t take your car out without protecting it as well.

Pick a good-quality wax you like and make sure you reapply it a few times a year. If you’ve got a black or darker-colored car, look for a wax that’s designed for darker paint. Not only does it protect better, but it’s also formulated to make your car look downright stunning.

Be Smart When You Park

Be prepared to walk — your parking skills might be great, but you can’t vouch for anyone else in any given parking lot. Instead of putting your paint job at risk by parking close to the store, park further away, where there are fewer cars. Sure, you’ll have to walk a bit more, but it’s worth it to keep some random person from knocking into your bumper or dinging your car door when they open theirs too hard.

This is especially important when it comes to long-term parking, such as at the airport. If you’re going to park for a while, make sure you pick a reputable parking lot, and put a good layer of wax on your car before you take it in. It might not be able to stop a determined vandal, but a good layer of wax can shrug off an accidental door ding or other minor contact damage.

Empty Your Car

This should be something you do no matter where you park. If your car is somewhere that is frequented by people, make sure you take all your valuables and belongings out of it before you park. Thieves aren’t trying to protect your paint job when they’re breaking into your car to steal your phone, tablet or laptop because you left it in plain sight.

Take everything with you — even chargers. If you absolutely must leave your valuables in your car, place them in your trunk or somewhere else completely out of sight. You can also opt for a car safe that you can use to lock up your belongings while you’re away.

Sometimes, taking care of your paint with a good wash and wax is all you need to do to keep your BMW from picking up a few stray scratches. It won’t prevent humans from intentionally damaging your car, but it does wonders to protect against accidental damage and regular wear and tear so you can drive your favorite BMW anywhere and everywhere.

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.