Category Archives: DIY

Easy Repairs You Can Do on Your Own BMW

Having a BMW is awesome, but it can be costly to maintain if you take it to the shop or the dealership. Luckily, there are plenty of easy repairs you can do on your own. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few things you can do in your own garage or driveway to keep your BMW running smoothly.

First, Have Somewhere to Work

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have somewhere to safely work on your car. If you have an attached garage, that will be ideal, but if you’re like most of us, your garage is probably a catch-all for everything you don’t have space for in the rest of your home. Before you get started working on your car, take some time to sort through your junk and organize your garage. Not only does this give you somewhere to keep your car while you’re working, but it also makes your work area safer and less cluttered, too.

Change Your Oil

Changing your oil is one of the most straightforward repairs you can do — and it can save you a lot of money in the long run. You need:

  • Fresh oil – Check your owner’s manual for the correct oil.
  • A new oil filter.
  • Tools – A wrench or socket to remove the drain plug and an oil filter wrench.
  • An oil catch pan for your old oil.

Jack the car up and place it on jack stands. Never work under a car that’s only up on a jack. Locate the oil pan and position your catch basin under it. Remove the drain plug and let the old oil drain out. Set the old oil aside and replace the drain plug.

Use the oil filter wrench and loosen the old oil filter. Remove and discard it. Put a little bit of fresh oil on the gasket on your new oil filter and screw it into place — not too tight, though. You don’t want to use the filter wrench to tighten it. Then, refill your oil to manufacturer’s specs, check for leaks and you’re done.

Replace Your Drive Belt

A broken drive belt can leave you stranded. For cars that use serpentine belts, it runs your alternator, your power steering, your air conditioner and your water pump. Replacing them is simple, though. You’ll need:

  • A replacement belt.
  • Tools – A socket wrench with a long handle or breaker bar.
  • Belt map – Usually located on a sticker under your hood or in your owner’s manual

Remove the broken drive belt. Study your belt map and locate all of your pullies. Thread the belt through the pullies as detailed on the belt map until you reach the belt tensioner. Use your socket wrench and breaker bar to pull the belt tensioner back until you can place the belt over the tensioner, then slowly release it to place tension on the belt. Done!

Replace Your Battery

This can be a little trickier, depending on where your battery is located. Some BMWs have their batteries in the trunk or under the back seat. The only difference between these and batteries under the hood, though, is that these have a vent that needs to be placed correctly.

You will need:

  • A replacement battery.
  • Tools – Open-ended wrenches or sockets.
  • A car memory keeper

First, plug in your memory keeper. This helps to keep a charge in your car’s systems to prevent problems with the engine’s computer — as a bonus, it also keeps you from losing your pre-set radio stations! It isn’t required for all cars, but it is recommended.

Once you’ve located your battery, remove your terminals — negative first, then positive. Then loosen and remove your battery hold-down. Finally, remove the battery itself, replace it with the new battery and reattach your terminals in reverse order. Unplug the memory keeper, and you’re good to go.

Taking care of your BMW is easy if you have the right tools and plenty of space to work. Take some time to organize your garage and pick up a few tools, and you’ll be turning wrenches in no time.

How to Stay Safe Working on Your BMW

Working on your car is a great hobby — and a great way to save money on car repairs — but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful.  Here are three tips and tricks to help you stay safe while you’re working on your BMW.

  1. Invest in Jack Stands

Your car probably came with a spare tire, a lug wrench and a half-way decent jack to get it off the ground — but that isn’t all you need to stay safe.

If you’re going to be working on your car regularly, invest in a good set of jack stands or blocks, and don’t ever get under your BMW if it is just up on a jack. It doesn’t take much to knock a car off a single jack, and you don’t want 2000+ pounds dropping on your head while you’re trying to change your oil or swap out your starter.

Invest in jack stands — they could save your life.

  1. Make Your Garage Safer

If you’re working on a car, chances are you’re either in your garage or driveway. Working in a garage can present its own hazards, so it’s important to be aware of them.

First, get your garage door inspected and repaired if necessary. Garage doors are involved in more than 30,000 injuries every year, so having it checked by a professional can help to prevent injuries.  It also helps to ensure your door will open and close properly, so you don’t end up with your project car stuck in the garage.

Don’t ever start your car — even for just a few minutes — with the garage door closed. It might be tempting, especially if it’s excessively cold or hot outside, but it puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. If you expect to have to run your car with the door closed, invest in a high-end ventilation system to ensure no car exhaust gets a chance to build up in your garage.

Keep your tools organized and your floor clear. Get rid of any potential trip hazards you might not see if you’re focused on your repair job.

  1. Be Aware

Even if your car is off, under the hood can be a dangerous place.  Be aware of other potential dangers, including:

  • Spinning Fans: Your radiator fans can keep spinning for 15 to 20 minutes after the engine is shut off to facilitate cooling, and a swiftly spinning fan can easily cause lacerations. Be cautious when working with these fans or pull their relay to ensure that they won’t be spinning while you’re working.
  • Radiator Caps: Coolant gets hot when your engine is running — sometimes upwards of 230 degrees F — and the system is under high pressure while the engine is running and for some time after you shut it off. Don’t crack the radiator cap when the engine is hot if you can avoid it.
  • Fuel Lines: Fuel lines are pressurized, so if you need to remove them for whatever reason, make sure you release the pressure before you start disconnecting things. Spilled fuel is a fire hazard, especially if you’re working with electricity or anything else that generates sparks.

Take the time to be aware of the hazards that come with working on your car. Even something as simple as a spinning radiator fan could send you to the hospital for stitches if you’re not careful.

We all love working on our cars, but no one likes having to spend time in the hospital because we’ve injured ourselves while trying to repair a project car. Stay safe and enjoy working on your BMW. A busted knuckle is a badge of honor, but a hospital bill because you couldn’t be bothered to invest in jack stands is not.

How to Start a BMW Collection

We all love our BMWs, but eventually, we reach that point where we want to have more than one car in our garage. Starting a BMW collection might sound like an expensive proposition, but you don’t have to break the bank to start your collection. You might even end up making you some money in the future.

It’s important to note that while we’re talking about specifically starting a BMW collection, you can apply most of these tips to any new or classic car collection.

First, Learn the Market

If you’re just in the car collecting game to collect, then this step isn’t as important. If you’re collecting cars as a possible money sink or thinking about collecting cars that you can sell later, learning the market is the best thing you can do for yourself.

The classic car market has cooled a lot in recent years. As long as you’re smart about it, you can still make some decent money with a car collection.

Pay attention to price trends for the cars that you’re considering adding to your collection. Talk to industry experts, especially those that specialize in BMWs. Gather as much information as you can before making a purchase — especially if you’re planning on selling later or want to flip the car and sell it after.

Keep Storage in Mind

You’re not going to want to park your collectible cars out on the street where they could get damaged from the elements or stolen. You want to make sure that you have enough space for your collection, whether you’re planning on storing two cars or 20.

If you have a garage attached to your home, that might be enough for two cars, as long as you’re not expecting to have a lot of extra room. If you’re going to have more than that, it might be worth it to invest in a free-standing garage or storage area on your property.

If you’re going for free-standing storage, consider investing in commercial style garage doors. Not only are they stronger and more secure than most residential options, but they also come in a variety of styles, and you can customize them to make them match your home’s aesthetic.

Maintain Them Well

There’s no point in purchasing collectible cars if you’re going to let them sit and rot in your garage.  Take the time to maintain them well, even if you don’t drive them all regularly. Try to get BMW-branded replacements if you need to replace any parts, whether they’re inside or outside the car. Aftermarket parts will do the job in a pinch, but keeping everything BMW-branded will increase the value of the car.

Start Your Collection

Once you have storage and market knowledge handled, it’s time to start picking up some cars. Experts recommend starting with three cars — a daily driver, a show car and one for occasional use. This gives you a fairly balanced portfolio to start out with.

Don’t worry about going cheap if you’ve found a car you love. If you have a model that you’ve got your heart set on obtaining, why not find one that needs a little TLC and turn it into a project car? It might take some effort to turn it into something suitable to show at a BMW concourse, but if it’s a car you really love, it will absolutely be worth the effort.

Start Small

You don’t need to break the bank to start a collection — unless you really want to, but we don’t recommend it. Start out small and build your collection one car at a time. Take your time to turn it into a collection that you’ll be proud of for years to come.