Tag Archives: diy

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.

Easy Repairs You Can Do on Your Own BMW

Having a BMW is awesome, but it can be costly to maintain if you take it to the shop or the dealership. Luckily, there are plenty of easy repairs you can do on your own. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few things you can do in your own garage or driveway to keep your BMW running smoothly.

First, Have Somewhere to Work

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have somewhere to safely work on your car. If you have an attached garage, that will be ideal, but if you’re like most of us, your garage is probably a catch-all for everything you don’t have space for in the rest of your home. Before you get started working on your car, take some time to sort through your junk and organize your garage. Not only does this give you somewhere to keep your car while you’re working, but it also makes your work area safer and less cluttered, too.

Change Your Oil

Changing your oil is one of the most straightforward repairs you can do — and it can save you a lot of money in the long run. You need:

  • Fresh oil – Check your owner’s manual for the correct oil.
  • A new oil filter.
  • Tools – A wrench or socket to remove the drain plug and an oil filter wrench.
  • An oil catch pan for your old oil.

Jack the car up and place it on jack stands. Never work under a car that’s only up on a jack. Locate the oil pan and position your catch basin under it. Remove the drain plug and let the old oil drain out. Set the old oil aside and replace the drain plug.

Use the oil filter wrench and loosen the old oil filter. Remove and discard it. Put a little bit of fresh oil on the gasket on your new oil filter and screw it into place — not too tight, though. You don’t want to use the filter wrench to tighten it. Then, refill your oil to manufacturer’s specs, check for leaks and you’re done.

Replace Your Drive Belt

A broken drive belt can leave you stranded. For cars that use serpentine belts, it runs your alternator, your power steering, your air conditioner and your water pump. Replacing them is simple, though. You’ll need:

  • A replacement belt.
  • Tools – A socket wrench with a long handle or breaker bar.
  • Belt map – Usually located on a sticker under your hood or in your owner’s manual

Remove the broken drive belt. Study your belt map and locate all of your pullies. Thread the belt through the pullies as detailed on the belt map until you reach the belt tensioner. Use your socket wrench and breaker bar to pull the belt tensioner back until you can place the belt over the tensioner, then slowly release it to place tension on the belt. Done!

Replace Your Battery

This can be a little trickier, depending on where your battery is located. Some BMWs have their batteries in the trunk or under the back seat. The only difference between these and batteries under the hood, though, is that these have a vent that needs to be placed correctly.

You will need:

  • A replacement battery.
  • Tools – Open-ended wrenches or sockets.
  • A car memory keeper

First, plug in your memory keeper. This helps to keep a charge in your car’s systems to prevent problems with the engine’s computer — as a bonus, it also keeps you from losing your pre-set radio stations! It isn’t required for all cars, but it is recommended.

Once you’ve located your battery, remove your terminals — negative first, then positive. Then loosen and remove your battery hold-down. Finally, remove the battery itself, replace it with the new battery and reattach your terminals in reverse order. Unplug the memory keeper, and you’re good to go.

Taking care of your BMW is easy if you have the right tools and plenty of space to work. Take some time to organize your garage and pick up a few tools, and you’ll be turning wrenches in no time.