Your BMW was built to perform in all kinds of weather, but that doesn’t mean you can overlook maintenance. If you want your Bimmer to last as long as possible, you’ll have to take care of it. As the weather gets colder, that entails specific steps to keep it safe.
Winter preparation should start before the weather reaches its worst. However, even if you’re starting late, these five tips will help keep your BMW in top condition, no matter what it looks like outside.
Change Your Tires
Slippery roads from snow and ice are some of the biggest hazards you’ll face in winter. Your best bet against slipping in cold weather is switching to winter tires. These deeper-grooved, grippier alternatives can stop from 60 miles per hour in less than half the distance of summer tires on snowy ground.
If you already have winter tires in storage, it’s best to test them before putting them on your BMW. You can do this by placing a penny in the tire’s groove with the picture of President Lincoln facing you. Turn it until it’s upside down. If the tread covers the top of Lincoln’s head, the tires are good to go, and if not, you may need new ones.
Check Your Battery
Another important part of protecting your Bimmer in the winter is ensuring the battery has enough juice. Your battery’s ability to hold a charge will decrease over time, requiring a replacement every three to five years. It’s also less efficient in cold weather, so changing the battery is a good idea if you’re getting close to the end of that timeframe by winter.
Batteries can be expensive, so check yours before buying a new one. Your go-to garage will have the tools necessary to gauge how much life your battery has left in it. You don’t have to worry about a replacement if it still has a year or more left. However, if it has less than that, it’s best to err on the side of caution and replace it.
Insulate Your Garage
How you store your BMW in the winter matters just as much as how you drive it. You probably already know to keep your Bimmer in a garage away from the elements, but you can go further than that. Any garage will help keep your car warm, but these rooms don’t carry the same insulation standards as the rest of your house, so they can still get cold.
You don’t necessarily have to heat your garage, but you should insulate it to keep colder temperatures out. Sealing any cracks around windows with caulk is also a good idea. These steps will keep your BMW’s fluids warm, extend its battery life and prevent ice damage.
Change Your Fluids
You may let your BMW run for a bit before getting in when it’s cold out. The idea is that car parts function better when warm, especially because fluids can thicken in the cold. If you have a newer Bimmer, driving with a cold engine won’t actually do any damage, but you should still pay attention to your fluids.
You may not have to warm your oil up, but you should check its levels and viscosity. If it’s been a while since you’ve had an oil change, it may thicken more than usual in the cold, so it’s best to change it. Similarly, you should ensure you have enough antifreeze and windshield fluid. You may have to change them more regularly in the winter than in warm weather.
Keep Your Car Clean
Another easily overlooked way to protect your BMW in the winter is to keep it clean. Transportation authorities often salt the roads in colder weather to prevent ice buildup, but this can collect on your car’s undercarriage and exterior. If you don’t wash it off, it could corrode the paint and metal, damaging the vehicle.
Go through the car wash or wash your Bimmer yourself at least weekly. If you drive through salted areas regularly, you may want to wash it a few times a week. Be sure to clean the undercarriage, too, as this is easy to miss but one of the areas most susceptible to salt damage. You can also wax your car every few weeks to provide a protective layer between the salt and paint.
Preparation Keeps Your BMW Safe
Winter is full of hazards, but you don’t have to worry about them if you prepare accordingly. Follow these five steps to ensure your Bimmer works as it should in all seasons.
The best way forward is to prepare for winter before the weather turns icy. However, late is better than never when it comes to protecting your BMW.