Tag Archives: diy

What to Do When Your BMW’s Engine Overheats

Beloved by car enthusiasts but not necessarily mechanics, BMWs raise some real questions about the legend of German reliability.

Running hot is a problem cars from all marques face, and BMW is no different. If you thought that trim panel was expensive, you’ll split a wig when you see the price of new motor components for your beamer. So if your car is running hot, be quick about identifying the issue and implementing a fix. It could make a five-figure difference in your bank account. Here’s what to do.

Know How to Recognize Overheating

Modern BMW engines are water-cooled and do a pretty good job of staying at operating temperature — unless something goes wrong or you’re running the car very hard. Depending on how new your vehicle is, a gauge will indicate the head and oil temperatures of your engine in the central cluster, and you might have a digital readout that displays an error code if it gets too hot. In analog gauge clusters, the needle should never touch go past the halfway mark on the dial.

If you see this happening, don’t continue driving the car because you can do severe damage to the engine. Pull over and call a tow truck. You can repair the issue once a mechanic has had a chance to take a look at things, which may cost a few hundred dollars, but it will save you the price of replacing an engine.

Fixing an Overheating Engine

Now that you know that your engine is overheating, you need to repair it. If the car overheats during regular use, your set of suspects will include your electric fan, water pump and thermostat. You should be able to observe your fan switching on and off. If you can’t, look at the thermostat and if that doesn’t do it, check your fan and fusebox.

If the car overheats at idle, you’re probably dealing with a busted water pump. Make sure you have clean, high-performance oil in the car, as allowing it to degrade or running a cheap motor oil can increase your chances of heat soak.

All these are relatively cheap to replace, and some BMW models are known for having less-than-stellar fan or water pump performance. Your mechanic will know just what to do. If the car has been overheating for some time, you’ll want to check the expansion tank to see if it has become weak.

For drivers who frequently track their cars or engage in spirited driving that causes heat soak, something more serious is needed. Consider upgrading your car’s plastic cooling system to a metal one with a larger fan and radiator. Change your factory oil for something with a higher boiling point, like a full synthetic. This will ensure fewer metal shavings enter your motor and provide better performance in the long run, as well as defend against heat soak during track days. The truly extreme can look for ventilated bodywork, a higher-volume intercooler and turbo plumbing.

Beamers have their fair share of unique issues, but overheating isn’t one of them. These problems have been faced time and time again by the automotive community, and as long as you get to them quickly, they’ll be cheap and easy to fix. Don’t wait until your head gasket breaks. Pay for the fix now, and you’ll be glad your car isn’t down for the count tomorrow.

So You Want to Start an Auto Repair Business: Six Things to Know First

If you’ve spent endless summers or weekends turning wrenches in your garage, it might seem like the next logical step to turn your hobby into a business where you can earn money. While this can be a worthwhile endeavor, here are six things you should be aware of before you sign the lease on your shop and turn on the lights.

1. Licensing and Regulations

Anytime you open a business, you will need to obtain a business license and a tax identification number (TIN). You also have to familiarize yourself with some regulations, from employee safety to the disposable of hazardous materials, before you can open your doors. Not dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s can lead to costly fines that may even shut down your business before you get it off the ground.

2. Certifications

While Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications aren’t a requirement to open a shop or even work in one, customers feel a lot better about leaving their car in your hands if they see that blue gear logo on your wall or the lapel of your shop clothes. You can take a few different tests depending on your shop’s specialization, from general automobile repair to heavy engine repair on trucks or busses.

3. Start-Up Costs

In 2013, the start-up cost for an automotive repair shop was roughly $48,000. This includes things like renting a shop, purchasing equipment and paying for insurance, to name a few. It’s hard to repair cars with no tools and nowhere to do it, after all. Keep those start-up costs in mind, especially if you’re planning to secure a business loan to cover them.

4. Specializations

Are you planning to open your doors to all makes and models, or are you planning on specializing in a single brand of car, such as BMWs? You might lose out on some business opportunities if you choose the latter, but it can be lucrative depending on the types of vehicles people in your area own.

If you do want a specific brand to work on, make sure you look into any specializations you will need to acquire to become a certified specialist.

5. Contractors

They say that no man is an island — and no auto repair shop is either. You will need some help from outside contractors that might include but aren’t limited to:

· Lawyer: To help you dot all those I’s and cross all those T’s that we mentioned earlier

· Accountant: To help you keep track of the books

· Certified Garage Door Repair Technician: Because there’s no point in having a garage if the door won’t open — choose a certified technician to make sure that the job is done right the first time

· Equipment Repair Technician: Since you probably won’t have a hydraulic lift or compressor specialist on staff

The services these individuals provide will cost money, so make sure you include that in your initial calculations, so you’re not caught flat-footed.

6. Marketing

No one likes thinking about marketing, but word-of-mouth will only carry you so far when you’re opening a new business. If you don’t have any marketing skills, invest in the assistance of a professional to help customers can find you. Providing excellent service can encourage word of mouth, but you only get the chance to repair cars if drivers can find you in the first place.

Opening an auto repair shop isn’t as complicated as it sounds, but it does take some preparation to make sure everything is done right. Taking that time to prepare will mean the difference between a shop that is successful and one that closes it’s door before its first year is over.

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!