Tag Archives: diy

How to Tell If Your BMW Has a Blown Head Gasket

BMW may have the words “motor works” in their name, but no motor is impervious to damage. Many BMW fans prefer to keep older cars in their garage for the nostalgia and tactile driving experience they deliver. However, as cars age, they become more susceptible to breakdowns. One part that could break on older or higher mileage cars is the head gasket.

Head gasket failure is one of the most ominous issues that car owners deal with, but it doesn’t have to result in a totaled car. If you know what signs to look for to identify a leaking or blown gasket in your BMW, you can take steps to fix the problem before your situation becomes dangerous.

Here are a few signs to look for and some steps you can take to solve the problem.

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How to Wrap Your BMW

Until recently, changing your BMW’s exterior color meant repainting, but the development of several new techniques has made the prospect of a color change viable for a much larger crowd. The most widely used of these new techniques is wrapping, a process that places a thin layer of colored vinyl over your car’s paint to achieve just about any look you want.

Wraps aren’t permanent, so you can even apply one for a matter of months and then switch to a different look. The possibilities are very nearly endless.

Reasons to Wrap

What if you don’t have plans to change colors anytime soon, is it still a good idea to use a wrap over a paint job? The biggest factor in answering this question is cost. While a quality paint job for your BMW could cost upwards of $5,000, a wrap can be applied for a little more than half that amount.

These are rough figures, but the wrap delivers a better-looking car for a lower up-front cost. The drawback is that the wrap isn’t permanent, but it will provide protection for the car’s body, and, when professionally applied, manufacturers claim wraps can last as long as three years.

Wraps can be applied more quickly than paint. Typically, a skilled shop can apply a simple wrap inside a day or at a maximum over the course of a few days.

Get Your Wrap on

Check out other examples of wrapped BMWs to decide if the look is for you. Decide what colors or designs you want in the wrap, and locate a trustworthy shop that has good reviews to apply it.

DIY Wrapping

If you have some artistic talent and a place to work, you might decide to wrap your car yourself. Begin by measuring the lengths of vinyl you’ll need to cover all the bodywork on the car. For the job to look professional, you’ll need to go beneath many body panels and extend the vinyl to the car’s interior or under-hood.

Wraps are sold in standardized squares, so calculate your costs based on the sizing your manufacturer of choice uses. Order more than you’ll need because, if you need to order more material, it might not color-match well.

Applying Your Wrap

Remove items that can’t be covered by the wrap, such as side markers. Clean your car’s exterior thoroughly with standard car wash and then with alcohol to prepare to apply your wrap.

Remove any backing and carefully lay the wrap down, take care not to allow air beneath the wrap as you go. Make sure not to overstretch the vinyl. If you do, you’ll ruin its appearance and potentially tear the wrap. When you’ve completed the application, use a knife to cut away excess material.

The final step is post-heating the wrap. For this, we recommend using a sun-gun. This step is crucial for long-term adhesion, so don’t skip it.

Enjoy Your New Look!

Wrapping has become popular with exotic collectors who wrap their new cars upon purchase, only to remove the wrap before selling the car. The pristine factory paint, preserved beneath the wrap, makes sure they get top price.

You don’t need a brand-new exotic to enjoy a wrap, just express yourself and be happy about how awesome your bimmer looks!

How to Prevent Rust on Your BMW

In the history of the automobile, more prime specimens have probably fallen victim to rust than any other single cause of death. Oxidization can be difficult to avoid if your car makes its home somewhere near water or where cold weather requires many miles of driving on salted roads, but you can take steps to prevent this car cancer from setting in.

BMWs aren’t known for having particularly thin skin, but they are as susceptible to rust as the average car, and as any bimmer owner will tell you, that’s not a good thing. They’re worth preserving, which is why you should follow these simple tips to ensure your BMW enjoys a long, rust-free life.

Seal Your Car’s Undercarriage

This is a job you can do on your own, provided you’ve got some elementary bodywork experience. You can pick up sealant at your local auto parts store, but getting beneath your ride and performing the application process safely is something that might require a professional. Make sure you’re up to the task, and if you don’t feel certain you can do it, get some help.

Keep It Clean

A clean BMW owner is a happy BMW owner and not just because your car will look better for it. Keeping imperfections and corrosive road grime off your paint will make sure your car doesn’t suffer from oxidization. All the more reason to stay up on those regular wash jobs! And once you get it clean, keep your car covered or, better yet, in a garage where it’s safe from the elements.

Treat Scratches and Chips

Paint is your best defense against oxidization, so rust begins to form where paint has worn down and bare metal is exposed to air, typically from salt corrosion. For this reason, it’s crucial you spot chips and scratches early and fill them or repaint to prevent corrosion. Rust forms quickly from these, and if you don’t know what to look for, you might not see the problem until rust is already there.

Invest in Paint Sealing

There was a time when you might have wanted to spend the extra cash, but these days, you can probably get a BMW from the factory with its paint sealed. The new stuff works, and if your car has clean paint you want to protect, applying a sealant is a great step towards doing that. The process only takes an afternoon but will keep your bimmer from rusting for years to come.

Protect Your Interior

Many BMWs come with factory floor mats that are made of soft carpet, which looks great but doesn’t defend well against the elements. If you didn’t spring for the all-weather upgrade but live in a place where salt and snow are part of your daily life, throw a set of protective rubber mats down. If you don’t, salt that works its way to your floor panels could be a silent killer.

The best way to fix a rust problem is to avoid it altogether. You don’t want to go down the perilous road of using Bondo on your BMW. Leave that for the pick-n-pull crowd to apply to old muscle cars. A few preventative steps now, and you’ll enjoy a shiny coat of paint as long as you have your car!