All posts by Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington writes all over the internet about cars. He was (probably accidentally) interviewed to be the host of the next Top Gear USA.

What to Do If You Crash Your BMW

No one wants to think about car accidents, but no matter how safely you drive, they can happen to anyone. Whether you’re driving to work, to school or just to the grocery store in your BMW, what should you do if you accidentally drive your car into a storefront or other building?

A Look at the Statistics

Accidents between cars and buildings are more common than most people think. On average, there are 60 accidents where a car strikes a building every single day in the United States alone. These accidents result in upwards of 4,000 injuries and 500 fatalities every year.

While the majority of these accidents are the result of operator error and pedal error, many of them could be prevented with the installation of bollards — steel or concrete poles secured to the sidewalk outside the business. These bollards are designed to take the impact of a car instead of letting the car strike the storefront, potentially injuring pedestrians or customers.

What should you do if you crash your BMW into a store?

Assess

As with any car accident, the first thing you need to do is to assess the situation. Are you injured? Are any of the passengers in your car injured? Is the car dangerous — on fire, or billowing smoke? If you aren’t obviously injured, you can get out of your BMW to assess the situation. If you are hurt and the car is safe, the best idea is to stay in the car — moving after an accident can end up making the injury worse.

You’ll also want to call 911 and let them know there has been an accident so emergency workers can respond.

Collect

Step two is to collect information from anyone involved in the accident. If you end up striking a storefront, this will include exchanging information with the store owner or the manager on duty. You will also want to collect contact information from any witnesses. The first responders will also gather this information, but it can be useful to have in case your insurance company requests it.

Report

Once the police have finished their work and you are free to go, get a copy of the police report and contact your insurance company to let them know you’ve been in an accident. They will contact the store’s insurance and will likely request a copy of the police report.

Once you’ve reported the accident to your insurance company, they will handle the majority of the rest of the process. They may contact you again if you were injured or if they need any additional information.

Go

Finally, whether you feel injured or not, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. The soft-tissue injuries caused by car accidents such as whiplash can take days or weeks to manifest symptoms, so it’s important to get checked out.

Getting in to see your doctor soon can also help you out with your insurance company. If you wait more than two weeks to see your doctor, it becomes more difficult to pin the blame for the injury on your accident, so if you are out of work because of injury, you will want that paper trail to pass on to the insurance company.

Accidents happen, no matter who you are, so the only thing you can do is be prepared for them when they do occur. Knowing how to respond in the event of an accident can help the recovery process go a little more smoothly.

How to Protect Your BMW From Theft

There’s nothing quite like adding a new BMW to your collection, but bringing home this marvel of German engineering can make you a target for thieves. These cars are popular targets because even the older models can be worth quite a bit of money, either to collectors or for parts. If your newest addition is a BMW, what can you do to protect yourself and your investment from car thieves?

Lock Your Doors

It might seem like common sense, but many modern car thefts are made possible because people neglect to lock their cars. Most car thieves are looking for easy marks – most are walking around testing car doors. If they find an unlocked door, it just takes them a minute or two to clear out anything valuable in the car.

Start out by just locking your car doors anytime you walk away from your vehicle. It might not seem like much, and it might not discourage serious car thieves, but it will discourage casual thieves and hopefully keep your car and your belongings safer.

Don’t Use Your Car for Storage

It’s tempting to lock your belongings in your car so you don’t have to carry them around or lug them in and out of your house, but leaving belongings – especially high dollar items – will make your car more attractive to potential thieves. Even if you lock your car doors, a thief can easily break your window and steal any visible items.

If you absolutely have to store items in your car, lock them in your trunk before you arrive at your destination. Putting stuff in your trunk once you’re there just lets thieves know where your expensive belongings are.

Have Somewhere to Store Your Car

Parking your car in the driveway might be more convenient, but it also makes it more vulnerable to thieves. Having somewhere to store your car when you’re not driving it can help protect it from criminals by making it a more difficult target.

You might think your car is secure in your garage, but if your door is crooked in its track, it might not be as safe as you think. Whether the door has become crooked because the rollers aren’t running correctly, or because the torsion spring has broken, it prevents it from being able to keep your car safe and secure during storage.

Opt for Newer Cars

While a classic BMW might be a great addition to your collection, it’s important to remember that older cars are more prone to theft because they don’t have the advanced security measures that newer cars have. If you have your heart set on a classic BMW, make sure that you’ve got a secure place to store it when you’re not driving it.

BMW’s are a favorite target for thieves, especially the high-dollar newer models or collectibles. Make sure that you double-check your locks and your garage door to ensure that your car is secure.

How to Improve Your Bimmer’s Gas Mileage

We all love our BMWs — they’re fantastic and powerful cars, but they don’t always have the best gas mileage due to their large engines and heavy frames.

If you’ve got a favorite Bimmer in your garage but aren’t driving it because of the rising price of gas, what can you do to improve your car’s gas mileage? Here are four tips.

  1. Drive Smart

Believe it or not, a lot of your car’s gas mileage depends on how you drive it. Having a lead foot on your gas pedal can both reduce your car’s overall fuel efficiency. Keeping it to the speed limit might annoy the other speed junkies on the road, but it can help improve your car’s gas mileage.

Leaving your windows down can also reduce your car’s gas mileage. Your Bimmer is designed to be aerodynamic, and that includes closed windows — messing with your car’s aerodynamics can cost you. If your air conditioner is broken, that’s a different story — no one expects you to lock yourself in a sweltering car — but if it works and you’re trying to improve your gas mileage, keep the windows up.

  1. Air Up Your Tires

Keeping your tires at the proper pressure is vital for more than one reason, but it can also help you improve your car’s fuel efficiency. If your tires are a little flat, it makes your engine work harder to push the car forward. A harder working engine burns more fuel.

Also, adequately inflated tires wear out quicker and might have trouble gripping the road. If your Bimmer’s tires are nine psi below the manufacturer recommended specs, it can cost you nearly $250 a year in fuel, depending on fuel costs at the time.

  1. Schedule a Tune Up

You should be keeping up with the maintenance on your car anyway, but if you haven’t scheduled a tune-up in a while, it could be costing you extra dollars at the pump.

A set of old spark plugs can cost you more than $500 a year in wasted fuel. Replacing a dirty air filter can save you upwards of $350. Changing your fluids regularly and making sure that they’re topped off before you drive can also help save you some money by allowing your engine to run more efficiently.

If you’re a little overdue on your tune-up, it’s time to schedule one or get to work. Not only will it make your car run better, but it can also help you save a bit of money at the pump.

  1. Go Extreme

Hypermiling, or extreme driving techniques, can help you save quite a bit. According to the MythBusters, you can increase your cars gas mileage by a whopping 70 percent by employing some or all of these techniques — though they’re not always practical.

Hypermiling includes:

  • Never driving faster than 45 miles per hour
  • Removing your side view mirrors to improve car aerodynamics
  • Shutting off your A/C but keeping the windows rolled up
  • Turning your engine off at red lights
  • Drafting, or driving as close to the back of a tractor-trailer as safely possible

While you might not be able to do all of these safely — no one wants to try to drive 45 miles an hour on the interstate, after all — a few extreme measures could save you quite a bit of money on your next trip to the gas station.

Even if you’re not drafting behind a big rig, there are plenty of ways to help you save a little bit of money while you’re filling your tank. Just remember, no savings are worth your life. Be safe no matter what you choose to do to increase your Bimmer’s fuel efficiency.