Tag Archives: car care

How to Keep Your BMW From Getting Scratched

Purchasing a BMW is an investment, whether you’re buying one new off the lot or getting one secondhand. The last thing you want on your new, or new-to-you, BMW are scratches on that beautiful paint job. How can you keep your BMW from getting scratched, even if you drive it every day?

Don’t Skimp on the Car Wash Supplies

It might be tempting to wash your new BMW with whatever you have on hand — even if that’s just dish soap and an old washcloth.

Stop right there — especially if your car is a darker color.

For one thing, dish soap is designed to be a degreaser. It’s good for getting baked-on food off your favorite pans, but not so good for your car’s finish. It will strip away anything that’s protecting your paint job.

Invest in some good car wash soap, and use high-quality microfiber cloths to wash your car. If you’ve got two buckets handy, set one up for your dirty rinse water and one for your clean soapy water. That keeps any dirt or debris you wash off the car from sticking to your washcloth or sponge and scratching the paint.

Dark cars are the worst for this sort of thing — it doesn’t take much to get myriad cobweb-like scratches on your car’s surface. Be careful, and don’t be cheap with your supplies.

Be Sure to Apply Wax

A good car wax is a must to keep your paint protected. Think of it as sunscreen for your car. You wouldn’t go to the beach without protecting your skin, so you shouldn’t take your car out without protecting it as well.

Pick a good-quality wax you like and make sure you reapply it a few times a year. If you’ve got a black or darker-colored car, look for a wax that’s designed for darker paint. Not only does it protect better, but it’s also formulated to make your car look downright stunning.

Be Smart When You Park

Be prepared to walk — your parking skills might be great, but you can’t vouch for anyone else in any given parking lot. Instead of putting your paint job at risk by parking close to the store, park further away, where there are fewer cars. Sure, you’ll have to walk a bit more, but it’s worth it to keep some random person from knocking into your bumper or dinging your car door when they open theirs too hard.

This is especially important when it comes to long-term parking, such as at the airport. If you’re going to park for a while, make sure you pick a reputable parking lot, and put a good layer of wax on your car before you take it in. It might not be able to stop a determined vandal, but a good layer of wax can shrug off an accidental door ding or other minor contact damage.

Empty Your Car

This should be something you do no matter where you park. If your car is somewhere that is frequented by people, make sure you take all your valuables and belongings out of it before you park. Thieves aren’t trying to protect your paint job when they’re breaking into your car to steal your phone, tablet or laptop because you left it in plain sight.

Take everything with you — even chargers. If you absolutely must leave your valuables in your car, place them in your trunk or somewhere else completely out of sight. You can also opt for a car safe that you can use to lock up your belongings while you’re away.

Sometimes, taking care of your paint with a good wash and wax is all you need to do to keep your BMW from picking up a few stray scratches. It won’t prevent humans from intentionally damaging your car, but it does wonders to protect against accidental damage and regular wear and tear so you can drive your favorite BMW anywhere and everywhere.

How to Get the Most out of Your BMW’s Engine

BMW has always been known for powerful, high-quality engines, but no engine will keep running forever without a bit of maintenance and some TLC. What do you need to do to get the most of out of your new or new-to-you BMW engine?

Change Your Oil

Changing your oil is one of the most important things you can do to keep your engine running smoothly for as long as possible. You don’t need to change it every three months or 3,000 miles, though — that’s a sales gimmick to make you spend more money than necessary.

You might hear a rumor that you can go 15,000 miles between oil changes for a BMW, but this isn’t true either. While newer models can go up to 10,000 miles between changes, the manufacturer recommends an intermediate oil change somewhere in the middle to make sure everything is running smoothly. Plan on changing your oil every 7,500 miles or so.

Invest in Good Engine Treatments

A good engine treatment can give your oil an edge and help you get the most out of your engine.  Depending on the formula to the individual treatment, it can improve the lubrication of your engine oil, protect your moving parts from dirt and engine debris and even improve gas mileage.

It is important to note that not all engine treatments are created equal and there are tons of them on the market right now. Most auto parts stores have an entire wall dedicated just to engine treatments, so do your research to find out which treatment will work the best for your individual engine needs.

Don’t Buy Cheap Filters

When it comes to filters, you definitely get what you pay for.  Cheap filters clog quickly and have to be replaced more often, which can bog down your engine and, if left in place too long, potentially cause damage.

We’re not saying you have to drop a ton of money on a high-end reusable K&N filter or anything — just don’t buy the cheapest filters on the shelf, because you’ll end up regretting it. Think of car filters as you would shoes: you can spend $100 on a pair of sneakers that will last you a year or you can spend twenty bucks five times on cheap sneakers that hurt your feet and wear out after a month or two.

The same thing applies to filters.

Pick a Specialist, Not Your Neighborhood Mechanic

One of the best things you can do for your BMW is to drive right past your neighborhood mechanic and instead head to a local BMW specialist. Not only will they have a better idea of the kind of treatment your BMW needs, but they’ll also have easier access to the replacement parts and equipment you need to ensure your car keeps running for years to come.

A BMW is a good car to invest in if you want something that will see you through many years of daily driving — but no car can survive if you don’t take care of it. Keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your BMW engine.

Tools You Need for Working on Your BMW

Making the commitment to work on your BMW rather than sending it to a shop is commendable, but even with the money you save in labor, you’ll need to make an initial investment in tools. We’re not talking about spending thousands of dollars for BMW-specific VANOS adjustment toolkits from Germany, just the basics.

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway into a job and discovering you haven’t got the tool you need to fix your car. With a little bad luck, this could mean undoing all your work so you can drive back to the auto parts store. Rather than have that happen, get these essentials in your garage before you get started.

A Socket Set

Many BMWs come with a small toolkit that folds down from the top of the trunk. In it, you’ll find around 10 basic tools you can use to do basic jobs on your car, including box wrenches. You only need to try removing a battery with a box wrench once to learn the value of a good ratchet and socket set.

A Torque Wrench

The service manual says those head studs should be tightened down to 100 ft. lbs., but, hey, if you guesstimate, what could go wrong? The answer is, quite a bit. Instead of being unsure and putting expensive BMW parts at risk, get yourself a torque wrench so you know when you’ve tightened things to the proper spec.

An Air Compressor

An air compressor is a particularly handy tool for cars that do weekend warrior duty at the track. It’s easy to let air out of your tires, but how do you air up without visiting a gas station? Install a compressor in your garage and you’ll be able to stiffen up those sidewalls before your track session. Just make sure you allow them to cool before letting air out — you could damage tires if you don’t wait.

A Multimeter

Why isn’t that new head unit you installed working? Should you be worried about the life left in your alternator? Is that broken window switch just not getting power, or is something else wrong? These questions and many more can all be answered by the handy electrical multimeter, a tool all car do-it-yourselfers should own.

A Work Light

Is a light a tool? We say yes. When the sun goes down and you’re still knee-deep in a project, a work light lets you get the job done. Besides, if you fail, all the people at cars and coffee are going to give you crap about BMW reliability. Actually, they’ll probably do that anyway — but the point remains, don’t be that Bimmer owner.

An Impact Gun

When you’re working on suspension components, wheels have to come off. When you’re working on other components, sometimes you need to get to suspension components. Impact guns make this easy, and they can remove or install a whole lot more than just wheels. Plus, they make the coolest sound of any car tool, so who wouldn’t want one?

This list will get you off to a good start, and there are many more wise additions to your toolset you can make from here. Equipped with a solid set of tools, your BMW repairs will be cheaper, your bond with your car will be stronger — and, most importantly, your bank account will be fatter.