Tag Archives: easy repair

How to Troubleshoot and Fix Weird Noises in Your Bimmer

Most of us drive our cars so much that they become an extension of ourselves — and when they start making a weird noise, we notice almost immediately. The trick with these weird noises is that they can be difficult to locate, especially if you’re trying to figure out where they’re coming from while you’re behind the wheel.

It can also end up being really expensive to take your Bimmer to the shop to have the mechanics there troubleshoot it. Here are some tips and tricks to help you figure out where those weird noises are coming from and fix them without emptying your wallet in the process.

1. Locate the Sound

Between engine noise, road noise, etc., you’re going to hear a variety of sounds when your car is running. Since some engine noises are fairly unavoidable, you may not have a problem at all. If this becomes a nuisance, using heat-resistant barriers for engines is an option for soundproofing those persistent noises.

However, you can usually tell immediately when a sound is not just routine. When that happens, the first thing you need to do is figure out where the sound is coming from.

One tool that can be helpful for locating strange sounds under the hood is a mechanic’s stethoscope. It looks like a doctor’s tool of the same name, only instead of having a flat plate at the end for hearing heartbeats, it has a long thin piece of metal that can easily be threaded into tight spaces to help you identify sounds.

Once you determine what exactly the noise is, take a look online. You can find resources to help you locate and identify it.

Once you’ve located the sound, now it’s time to troubleshoot!

2. Figure out What the Problem Is

There are so many moving parts in your car that nearly any one of them could start making strange noises when it starts to fail. The trick is figuring out what is causing the sound before the part quits completely. Knowing where the sound is coming from helps you narrow down the possible causes. Let’s take a look at some of the most common sounds and their causes.

  • Clunking or Thumping When you Turn the Wheel – This could be a sign that your CV axle, which transfers the drive train power from the transmission to your wheels, is starting to fail. This is an expensive fix – new CVs are pricey – but is a fairly simple one. Simply jack up the car, pull out the old axle and install a new one.
  • Whining Under the Hood – This is usually a sign that a bearing is going bad. Use that mechanic’s stethoscope to locate the whine and replace the offending bearing.
  • Whirring That Changes with Engine RPM – This could be a number of different things. Start by checking your power steering fluid levels and making sure they’re correct. If you’ve got enough fluid, you may need to replace the power steering pump. It could, depending on where the sound is coming from, be a sign of a bad compressor which you will need to take to a mechanic if you don’t have the right tools.
  • Popping from Under the Hood – This is another sound that could indicate a number of problems. It could be as simple as a dirty air filter, or as complicated as an internal engine problem. Start by changing your air filter, and checking your car’s ignition system – plugs, wires, ignition module or distributor depending on how old your Bimmer is.

There are some noises you might hear under the hood that mean you should stop driving your car until it is repaired. Knocking or pinging sounds mean there are moving parts in your engine hitting each other that shouldn’t be, and continuing to drive the car could damage the inner workings of the engine.

3. Repair the Problem

This step is hard to outline without knowing exactly what sounds your car is making, but we do have one tip to offer. Purchase a Haynes manual for your vehicle. These repair manuals will walk you, step by step, through everything you need to do to complete most repairs on your own. They’re available for most cars, regardless of the age of the car, and they cost about $25.

There may be some things you can’t fix on your own, either because you don’t have the knowledge or the tools necessary to complete the job. For these problems, you should definitely take your car to your favorite mechanic. It might be more expensive, but you’ll be sure the job is done right.

You don’t have to run to the shop every time your Bimmer starts making strange noises, though. A couple of troubleshooting steps might point you to a very easy-to-fix problem you can handle in the comfort of your own garage.

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.