Tag Archives: diy

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.

How to Stay Safe Working on Your BMW

We all love working on our cars, especially if you’ve got something like a classic BMW in your garage. While it can be a great hobby that saves you a lot of money in the long run, it is important to make sure you’re staying safe while working on your car.

Have Somewhere to Work

The last thing you want is to be laying under your BMW working on something, only to have someone run over your feet because you’re trying to repair your car on the side of the road or in your driveway. Before you loosen your first nut, make sure you have a safe place to work on your car. A garage or carport is ideal, but if that isn’t an option, make sure you block off your driveway to keep people from accidentally running you over or knocking your car off the jack stands.

Invest in Jack Stands

Speaking of jack stands, don’t ever get under your car if it’s just up on a jack. Even putting it up on concrete blocks isn’t enough. If you’re going to work on your car, you need to invest in a good set of jack stands that are rated for your car’s weight. These will keep your vehicle safely off the ground, and off of you, while you’re working. Unless you want your head to look like a watermelon that someone dropped on concrete — which is what will happen if a car falls on it — don’t skimp on your jack stands.

Protect Your Hearing

Engines are loud — especially if you’re under them while they’re running. Whether you’re looking for a leak or are checking your wiring harness, one thing you should definitely protect is your hearing with some earplugs. Inside a passenger car, you don’t hear much of your car’s engine noise because of sound-dampening technology that is worked into the frame, but under the hood, the engine can generate between 70 and 100 decibels of noise. Extended exposure can result in serious hearing damage, so invest in some good earplugs.

Ditch the Butts

Smoking is a nasty habit, but it can be a fatal one if you do it while you’re working on your BMW. It doesn’t take much to ignite gas fumes, turning your car — and possibly your face — into a fireball. If you have to smoke while you’re working on your car, walk away, smoke your cigarette and wait until you’re finished before you head back to work.

Of course, you can try to quit smoking. Even vaping around gasoline fumes isn’t a good idea, because the hot coil that creates your vape cloud could also ignite the fumes.

Wait for Cooldown

For the love of whatever you deem holy, wait until your car cools down before working on it — unless you really want a radiator cap embedded in the ceiling of your garage. Your engine can reach temperatures upwards of 230 degrees, and your cooling system is under pressure until the car cools off. Water only has to be 150 degrees to cause third-degree burns.

In addition to the chance of burns, your car’s radiator fans will keep spinning to help the engine cool down even after you’ve shut it off. If you absolutely have to work on a hot car, take precautions. Kevlar gloves can help protect your skin, and pulling the relay for the radiator fans can keep your fingers attached to your hands.

Don’t let this discourage you from working on your car. Just be safe so you can enjoy this fantastic hobby without ending up in the emergency room.

How to Film Your BMW

If you’ve gotten your hands on a BMW that is in good condition, or one that you’ve restored to a good condition, you don’t want to keep all that beautiful German engineering to yourself. Filming your car is a great way to showcase your BMW, especially if you don’t have the time or the money to travel to car shows across the country. If you want to film your BMW, where should you start? Here are a few ideas, tips and tricks to help get you started.

Choose Your Angle

How do you want to shoot your car — from the inside as the driver or from the outside as a spectator? Depending on what you’re doing, the answer could be both, so you need to take both angles into account.

Are you planning on photoshopping or editing your video after you film it? If so, you need a camera that has digital capabilities so that you can upload the unfinished video to your computer for editing or finishing. This is useful if you’re shooting both inside and outside your car because it allows you to splice the video together into a finished product digitally.

Once you’ve figured out your angle, it’s time to start thinking about equipment.

Choose Your Weapon

Step two is to pick your weapon of choice. For professional — or professional-esque — videos, you’re going to need a camera, a microphone and some mounting equipment to hold your camera steady while you’re driving or filming from the outside.

A good roll bar mount for a GoPro, or other cameras can capture some fantastic images of the road as you drive, or your competitors if you take your BMW to the track. You can use these inside or outside the car, depending on where your roll bars go.

GoPro cameras are often the camera of choice for this sort of filming, but they’re expensive. You can create a decent video with a high-quality camera on a cell phone if you can hold it steady enough. If not, consider investing in a tripod.

Choose Your Location

Finally, choose your shooting location. Choose a place where no one will disturb you — unless you want to include the local color in your video. Think about your lighting — do you want to showcase your car in direct sunlight, indirect sunlight or even on a cloudy day.

Figure out what you want to do with your filming. Are you showcasing your car or showing off what it can do? That will determine the kind of location you choose for your shoot. You can shoot nearly anywhere as long as you have permission. If you’re interested in shooting on private property, ask the property owner. Chances are they’ll say yes, but it’s always better to ask permission first.

Show off Your Baby

Filming your BMW is a great way to show off your automotive baby, as long as you do it right. No one wants to see a grainy, low-resolution video of your car, whether you’re driving a BMW, a Mustang or a beat-up old Honda. Invest in a good camera and learn how to use it and you’ll make fantastic videos as long as you own your car.