Tag Archives: diy

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.

How to Stay Safe Working on Your BMW

Working on your car is a great hobby — and a great way to save money on car repairs — but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful.  Here are three tips and tricks to help you stay safe while you’re working on your BMW.

  1. Invest in Jack Stands

Your car probably came with a spare tire, a lug wrench and a half-way decent jack to get it off the ground — but that isn’t all you need to stay safe.

If you’re going to be working on your car regularly, invest in a good set of jack stands or blocks, and don’t ever get under your BMW if it is just up on a jack. It doesn’t take much to knock a car off a single jack, and you don’t want 2000+ pounds dropping on your head while you’re trying to change your oil or swap out your starter.

Invest in jack stands — they could save your life.

  1. Make Your Garage Safer

If you’re working on a car, chances are you’re either in your garage or driveway. Working in a garage can present its own hazards, so it’s important to be aware of them.

First, get your garage door inspected and repaired if necessary. Garage doors are involved in more than 30,000 injuries every year, so having it checked by a professional can help to prevent injuries.  It also helps to ensure your door will open and close properly, so you don’t end up with your project car stuck in the garage.

Don’t ever start your car — even for just a few minutes — with the garage door closed. It might be tempting, especially if it’s excessively cold or hot outside, but it puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. If you expect to have to run your car with the door closed, invest in a high-end ventilation system to ensure no car exhaust gets a chance to build up in your garage.

Keep your tools organized and your floor clear. Get rid of any potential trip hazards you might not see if you’re focused on your repair job.

  1. Be Aware

Even if your car is off, under the hood can be a dangerous place.  Be aware of other potential dangers, including:

  • Spinning Fans: Your radiator fans can keep spinning for 15 to 20 minutes after the engine is shut off to facilitate cooling, and a swiftly spinning fan can easily cause lacerations. Be cautious when working with these fans or pull their relay to ensure that they won’t be spinning while you’re working.
  • Radiator Caps: Coolant gets hot when your engine is running — sometimes upwards of 230 degrees F — and the system is under high pressure while the engine is running and for some time after you shut it off. Don’t crack the radiator cap when the engine is hot if you can avoid it.
  • Fuel Lines: Fuel lines are pressurized, so if you need to remove them for whatever reason, make sure you release the pressure before you start disconnecting things. Spilled fuel is a fire hazard, especially if you’re working with electricity or anything else that generates sparks.

Take the time to be aware of the hazards that come with working on your car. Even something as simple as a spinning radiator fan could send you to the hospital for stitches if you’re not careful.

We all love working on our cars, but no one likes having to spend time in the hospital because we’ve injured ourselves while trying to repair a project car. Stay safe and enjoy working on your BMW. A busted knuckle is a badge of honor, but a hospital bill because you couldn’t be bothered to invest in jack stands is not.

Why You Should Get a BMW for a Project car

Picking your perfect project car is a personal experience. Do you want a car that’s easy to work on or one you can sell for a lot of money later? Are you planning on turning your project car into your daily driver, or are you just tricking it out for showrooms or the track?

For many car fans, a BMW — especially an older one — can be an excellent option for a project car. Why should you pick an older BMW for your new project build? Here are four reasons.

  1. They’re High-Quality and Attractive

Utilitarian cars don’t always look the best — they’re certainly not something you’re going to take to your local car show unless it’s to show off that it’s 0-60. That’s one of the best things that BMW has going for them — they make those blocky, utilitarian cars sexy. Even if you pick up a model that is a couple of decades old, chances are it will still be in pretty good shape and might also run.

  1. They’re Everywhere

Sure, a brand-new Beamer might be out of your price range, but older BMW’s are just about everywhere.  You can pick up a used 3 series for a few thousand dollars — well below Blue Book value — nearly anywhere in the country. Seriously, pull up Craigslist right now, or your newspaper’s classified and search “Used BMW for Sale.”

A quick search for Tampa, Florida with a maximum price of $5000 brings back more than 800 results – and that’s just on Craigslist!

  1. Their Parts Are Easy to Get

You don’t have to worry about sourcing your parts from Germany anymore. You can find replacement parts online, or at your local auto parts store without too much trouble. Ordering parts online can help save you some money, but you’ll need to match up some other at the store before you bring them home to make sure you get the perfect replacement.

If you’re not able to find the perfect replacement part, don’t worry too much. Most of these old BMWs are made mostly of steel, making it easy to get custom parts stamped. Plus, metal stamping you know you’re always getting a part that fits perfectly.

  1. They’re Good for Everything

A BMW is good for just about everything — daily driving, shows, spending time on the track or any combination of the three. It doesn’t take much to swap your tires and spend some time on the road, then swap them back and drive home.

What your BMW can do will be entirely up to the work you do to it. When it comes down to it, these little cars are good for just about everything.

There’s nothing quite like owning a BMW, no matter how old it is. If you’re looking for a new project car, consider adding a BMW to your collection. You won’t be disappointed, and you may even find a new love for mechanics you would have missed out on otherwise.