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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.

How to Build the Perfect Garage for Your BMW

Owning a BMW is a fantastic experience, but it might be short-lived if you don’t have a garage to keep it in. If you’re like most of us, your garage is probably an overflow for all the stuff that doesn’t fit in your house — and cleaning it out is a huge hassle, so why not build another garage instead? If you’d like to create the perfect garage to store your BMW in and you’ve got plenty of spare property to build on, here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.

Step One Planning

Before you break ground or start buying supplies, your first step should be to plan your new garage. You’ll need to account for everything from the foundation up, including ventilation, electricity and insulation, among other things. If you’re not handy with architecture programs, consider hiring a pro to design a garage for you. Even if you’re planning on building it yourself, this can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Here is also the step when you’ll want to start researching building permits in your area. Find out what permits, if any, you’ll need to obtain to legally build a garage on your property.

Step Two Gathering

Step two involves collecting everything you’re going to need to build your garage — wood, concrete, electrical components and a garage door should all be on your list.

You don’t want to have to stop in the middle of your project to go pick up more lumber or drywall because you didn’t purchase enough to begin with. Make sure you gather all your supplies before you break ground.

Step Three Construction

Step three is to build your dream garage. Start with your foundation — you’ll want a solid place to park your car. Once the foundation is in place, you can build it from the ground up — literally.

If you’re not confident in your handyman skills, or you’re worried about being able to build your garage up to code, it might be smart to bring in a professional to do the work for you. It might cost you a bit more, but you won’t have to worry about your garage roof falling onto your BMW, or your new garage burning down in the middle of the night because you incorrectly installed the electrical panels.

Once you have the garage built, it’s time for the fun part.

Step Four Features

Now that you’ve got four walls and a roof, it’s time to trick out your garage with shelves, cabinets and other storage for your tools, toys and other car accessories.

Cabinets make an excellent addition to any garage, and you can build them yourself at home as long as you have the proper tools. These can be a great weekend project if you’re handy with a saw — and don’t forget to invest in high-quality saw blades to ensure you get clean cuts and smooth edges to build the perfect cabinet.

Step Five Enjoy!

Once you have your garage built and tricked out, all that’s left is to park your BMW and enjoy all your hard work!

Constructing a garage can be an ambitious project, but if you’ve got a BMW or other luxury car and nowhere to park it, building a new garage is a great option — and it can add value to your property as well!

What to Look for When Buying a Used BMW 3 Series

Owning a BMW is a fantastic experience, but for most of us, buying a new one off the lot isn’t an option because of the cost. Luckily, plenty of used BMWs are on the market just waiting for you to pick them up. If you’re want to purchase a used BMW 3 series, what should you be on the lookout for? Here are four things.

  1. Cooling System Problems

The BMW 3 series is an excellent line of vehicles, but it’s notorious for coolant system failures between 80,000 and 100,000 miles. The 3 series has three main failure points: the expansion tank, the thermostat and the water pump.

If you’re getting a BMW that has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer, find out if the cooling system has ever been serviced, and how long ago the service happened. If it hasn’t been, expect to replace all three of those parts at the same time to prevent cooling system failure.

  1. Frame Damage

Older cars are always at risk for rust or frame damage, and 3 Series BMWs are no exception. If you’ve found a good car you’re interested in purchasing, make sure to have it inspected at a BMW shop or a shop that has a BMW specialist on staff.

It isn’t a deal-breaker — especially if you’ve found your dream BMW — but it is an expensive repair, so make sure you keep that in mind.

  1. Too Many Stickers

The fact that stickers are on the car isn’t going to be a huge deal. However, it could be a clue into how the car was handled in the past. If the car is covered with racing stickers, chances are it was at least autocrossed. Again, this may not be a bad thing if it was done right, but it could also mean the car was driven hard. If the car has a snarky “eat my dust” or middle finger bumper sticker, chances are it wasn’t driven at exactly the speed limit everywhere it went.

Don’t worry, though — with the right tools, removing decals and stickers is simple. All you need is a razor blade and an adhesive remover. Slide the razor blade under the edges of the sticker, then spray beneath it with the adhesive remover. Repeat as necessary until the label comes off, then use the adhesive remover again to get rid of any remaining residue.

  1. Car History

This is a given for any used car — you should always write down the VIN and research the car’s history before you buy it. A site like CarFax or other similar resources will help you discover how many owners the vehicle had, whether the mileage is accurate and how well past owners have maintained it over the course of its life. It will also let you know if the car has ever been damaged or totaled. If anything in the car’s history doesn’t add up, you know this is probably a car you should avoid.

Picking up a used BMW 3 Series is a fantastic way to get your feet wet, so to speak, in the vast pool that is owning a BMW. Just do your research before you sign on the dotted line to make sure you’re getting the most for your money and aren’t buying a piece of junk.