Category Archives: Car Care

7 Ways to Winterproof Your BMW

Cold, winter weather doesn’t have to stop you from driving your BMW, but you should take certain steps to get it ready for winter. With a few preparations, such as the following, your BMW will be ready to face the cold.

Checks and Maintenance

Winter can be tough on certain aspects of your vehicle, so before the winter weather arrives, do some basic maintenance and check that everything is in optimal condition. Check the following things:

  • Check your brakes: Checking your brakes should be a top concern. In wet weather, bad brakes are more likely to slide and squeak. Many dealerships offer brake checks for free.
  • Check your battery: Cold weather reduces battery capacity. Have your battery life, cables and fluid checked.
  • Check your tires: Have your tires checked and rotated. Replace them if they’re too worn down because worn tires offer little traction. If you live somewhere snowy, you should get snow tires.
  • Check your wiper blades: If your wiper blades are dull, replace them before the first snow arrives.

Protect Your Interior

You may also want to protect your interior from any mud or snow that could get tracked inside. Putting in some rubber floor mats can help. While it might not look especially slick, you’ll be happy when you take them out at winter’s end, and your floor is pristine. You may also want to get a bag for your trunk to put ice scrapers and other winter tools to prevent them from getting the inside of your trunk wet and muddy.

Top Off or Change Fluids

You should also take the time to check your car fluids and top them off or change them for a winter fluid if necessary. Check your oil, brake fluid, window washer fluid and coolant.

Make sure you use the right mixture of antifreeze and water for your coolant so that fluid does not freeze in your radiator. You should also use a wiper fluid formulated for winter use so that it does not freeze. Right before winter is also an ideal time to change your oil. You might also opt for a lighter oil, which works better for winter.

Cover It Up

The best way to prevent damage from snow, ice and road salt is to stow your car away during and after storms. The ideal way to do this is to park it in your garage. You may want to make some upgrades to your garage, such as improving insulation to help protect your car from cold temperatures as well as snow. Garage door improvements are also cost-effective and have an average of an 85 percent return on investment.

If you don’t have a garage you can use, consider getting a winter car cover made for your car’s make and model so that it fits snugly and protects the car fully.

Protect Your Paint

To protect your paint, consider doing some detailing right before winter so that you have a fresh coat of sealant. You can use a wax or polymer to help protect your car’s finish. If you might have to drive on snow or salted roads, consider investing in mud flaps for your front and rear tires to prevent salts from eroding your paint.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Create an emergency kit and keep in your trunk in case you get stuck during a winter storm. In your emergency kit, place some road salt, a first aid kit, snacks, a change of clothes, a blanket, an extra coat, a flashlight and anything else you might need. You should also have jumper cables, car jacks and other tools as well as an ice scraper and a shovel.

Protect your car and help ensure that you can get around safely by preparing your BMW for winter. When you follow the above tips, you’ll be able to drive your BMW during the winter months worry-free!

The Proper Way to Store Your BMW

There may come a time when you need to store your BMW for an extended period. Perhaps you’re planning to drive a different vehicle during the winter months. Maybe you’ll be away for a while whether it’s for a work assignment, military deployment, a long vacation or another reason.

Whatever the reason for storing your car, you don’t want the storage period to be tough on your car, and you want to make sure your car’s still in prime condition when it’s time to drive it again. Following tips such as these will help you to ensure your car is stored properly.

Find a Safe Location

Where you store your car is crucial to keeping it in good condition. The ideal place is in a garage where it will be protected from the element. If you have a garage on your property, this will be the most convenient option. You could also rent a storage space and leave your car there. If storing your car over the winter, the garage you choose should be well-insulated to protect it from cold temperatures.

If you do have to store your car outside, invest in a cover that fully covers your vehicle. It’s best to get one designed for your make and model to ensure that it fits right. Even if you store your car inside, you should cover it to provide further protection.

Last-Minute Maintenance

Don’t just put your car into storage as is. You need to take steps to prepare it, including topping off its fluids. Change the oil and filter since old oil can cause damage, top off the engine coolant with the proper antifreeze to water ratio, fill the gas tank and add some fuel stabilizer to prevent it from separating. Then drive the car for a few miles to circulate the new fluids before putting it away.

If storing your car for a long period, remove the battery, store it in a relatively warm place and connect it to a battery tender or trickle charger. These devices provide just enough power to your battery to prevent it from losing charge. A battery tender will cost you about $50.

Also, be sure you fill your tires to the recommended pressure. It might seem counterintuitive, but you should wash your car thoroughly and consider applying a coat of wax before you put it away. Dirt, debris and stains left on a car for long periods can damage the paint. You can apply a rubberized undercoating to any unpainted metal to prevent it from rusting.

How to Park the Car

Once all your cleaning and maintenance is done, you can park your car. The way you do will make a difference in how well it stores. Don’t, for instance, use the parking brake. If left engaged for too long, the brake pads and rotors could fuse. Instead, use a tire chock to keep your car from moving.

Leaving a car parked for an extended period can cause flat spots to develop on the tires. Less severe spots will go away after you drive on them, but spots that have been there for a long time may become permanent. If you’re going to store your BMW for more than 30 days, take the wheels off and put it on jack stands to prevent damage to your tires.

If openings such as the exhaust pipe are exposed, plug them with steel wool, a rag or another object to prevent rodents from getting inside them.
When storing your BMW for long periods, taking the proper steps to prepare it will help protect it during its storage period. If you follow these storage tips, your bimmer will be ready to go when it’s time to hit the road again!

How to Improve Your Bimmer’s Gas Mileage

We all love our BMWs — they’re fantastic and powerful cars, but they don’t always have the best gas mileage due to their large engines and heavy frames.

If you’ve got a favorite Bimmer in your garage but aren’t driving it because of the rising price of gas, what can you do to improve your car’s gas mileage? Here are four tips.

  1. Drive Smart

Believe it or not, a lot of your car’s gas mileage depends on how you drive it. Having a lead foot on your gas pedal can both reduce your car’s overall fuel efficiency. Keeping it to the speed limit might annoy the other speed junkies on the road, but it can help improve your car’s gas mileage.

Leaving your windows down can also reduce your car’s gas mileage. Your Bimmer is designed to be aerodynamic, and that includes closed windows — messing with your car’s aerodynamics can cost you. If your air conditioner is broken, that’s a different story — no one expects you to lock yourself in a sweltering car — but if it works and you’re trying to improve your gas mileage, keep the windows up.

  1. Air Up Your Tires

Keeping your tires at the proper pressure is vital for more than one reason, but it can also help you improve your car’s fuel efficiency. If your tires are a little flat, it makes your engine work harder to push the car forward. A harder working engine burns more fuel.

Also, adequately inflated tires wear out quicker and might have trouble gripping the road. If your Bimmer’s tires are nine psi below the manufacturer recommended specs, it can cost you nearly $250 a year in fuel, depending on fuel costs at the time.

  1. Schedule a Tune Up

You should be keeping up with the maintenance on your car anyway, but if you haven’t scheduled a tune-up in a while, it could be costing you extra dollars at the pump.

A set of old spark plugs can cost you more than $500 a year in wasted fuel. Replacing a dirty air filter can save you upwards of $350. Changing your fluids regularly and making sure that they’re topped off before you drive can also help save you some money by allowing your engine to run more efficiently.

If you’re a little overdue on your tune-up, it’s time to schedule one or get to work. Not only will it make your car run better, but it can also help you save a bit of money at the pump.

  1. Go Extreme

Hypermiling, or extreme driving techniques, can help you save quite a bit. According to the MythBusters, you can increase your cars gas mileage by a whopping 70 percent by employing some or all of these techniques — though they’re not always practical.

Hypermiling includes:

  • Never driving faster than 45 miles per hour
  • Removing your side view mirrors to improve car aerodynamics
  • Shutting off your A/C but keeping the windows rolled up
  • Turning your engine off at red lights
  • Drafting, or driving as close to the back of a tractor-trailer as safely possible

While you might not be able to do all of these safely — no one wants to try to drive 45 miles an hour on the interstate, after all — a few extreme measures could save you quite a bit of money on your next trip to the gas station.

Even if you’re not drafting behind a big rig, there are plenty of ways to help you save a little bit of money while you’re filling your tank. Just remember, no savings are worth your life. Be safe no matter what you choose to do to increase your Bimmer’s fuel efficiency.