Tag Archives: diy

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.

How to Tell If Your BMW Has a Blown Head Gasket

BMW may have the words “motor works” in their name, but no motor is impervious to damage. Many BMW fans prefer to keep older cars in their garage for the nostalgia and tactile driving experience they deliver. However, as cars age, they become more susceptible to breakdowns. One part that could break on older or higher mileage cars is the head gasket.

Head gasket failure is one of the most ominous issues that car owners deal with, but it doesn’t have to result in a totaled car. If you know what signs to look for to identify a leaking or blown gasket in your BMW, you can take steps to fix the problem before your situation becomes dangerous.

Here are a few signs to look for and some steps you can take to solve the problem.

Continue reading How to Tell If Your BMW Has a Blown Head Gasket

How to Wrap Your BMW To Get a New Look

Until recently, changing your BMW’s exterior color meant repainting, but the development of several new techniques has made the prospect of a color change viable for a much larger crowd. The most widely used of these new techniques is the wrap. Wrapping, a process that places a thin layer of colored vinyl over your car’s paint to achieve just about any look you want.

Wraps aren’t permanent, so you can even apply one for a matter of months and then switch to a different look. The possibilities are very nearly endless.

Reasons to Wrap

What if you don’t have plans to change colors anytime soon, is it still a good idea to use a wrap over a paint job? The biggest factor in answering this question is cost. While a quality paint job for your BMW could cost upwards of $5,000, a wrap can be applied for a little more than half that amount.

These are rough figures, but the wrap delivers a better-looking car for a lower up-front cost. The drawback is that the wrap isn’t permanent, but it will provide protection for the car’s body, and, when professionally applied, manufacturers claim wraps can last as long as three years.

Wraps can be applied more quickly than paint. Typically, a skilled shop can apply a simple wrap inside a day or at a maximum over the course of a few days.

Get Your Wrap on

Check out other examples of wrapped BMWs to decide if the look is for you. Decide what colors or designs you want in the wrap, and locate a trustworthy shop that has good reviews to apply it.

DIY Wrapping

If you have some artistic talent and a place to work, you might decide to wrap your car yourself. Begin by measuring the lengths of vinyl you’ll need to cover all the bodywork on the car. For the job to look professional, you’ll need to go beneath many body panels and extend the vinyl to the car’s interior or under-hood.

Wraps are sold in standardized squares, so calculate your costs based on the sizing your manufacturer of choice uses. Order more than you’ll need because, if you need to order more material, it might not color-match well.

Applying Your Wrap

Remove items that can’t be covered by the wrap, such as side markers. Clean your car’s exterior thoroughly with standard car wash and then with alcohol to prepare to apply your wrap.

Remove any backing and carefully lay the wrap down, take care not to allow air beneath the wrap as you go. Make sure not to overstretch the vinyl. If you do, you’ll ruin its appearance and potentially tear the wrap. When you’ve completed the application, use a knife to cut away excess material.

The final step is post-heating the wrap. For this, we recommend using a sun-gun. This step is crucial for long-term adhesion, so don’t skip it.

Enjoy Your New Look!

Wrapping has become popular with exotic collectors who wrap their new cars upon purchase, only to remove the wrap before selling the car. The pristine factory paint, preserved beneath the wrap, makes sure they get top price.

You don’t need a brand-new exotic to enjoy a wrap, just express yourself and be happy about how awesome your bimmer looks!