Tag Archives: maintenance

Four Car Issues Every BMW Owner Should Know

BMWs might be known for being some of the most reliable luxury cars on the market, but like everything designed by human minds and built by human hands, problems can crop up. Some of these issues are minor, while others can leave you stranded on the side of the road if you don’t address them quickly.

Addressing these problems can help you optimize your Bimmer for the most ideal drive no matter where you take it. Let’s look at four of the most common BMW problems and how to prevent them — or repair them when they do occur.

1. Power Window Failure

One of the best parts of owning a modern car is the convenience of power windows — at least, until they fail and end up stuck open or closed. Any BMW equipped with the E46 window motor and regulator might experience problems.

The regulator clips can break, which means your windows will move slowly — or not at all. These problems are easy to fix, but they do require taking apart the entire affected door to access the window regulator.

2. Oil Leaks

Oil only works if it’s able to stay in the engine compartment. BMW’s have a habit of developing oil leaks once you pass the 55,000-mile mark. Some are easy to repair — the valve cover gasket and the oil filter housing gasket being two of the most accessible oil leak related repairs — while others, like the rear main seal, may require the assistance of a professional.

You can repair some small leaks without disassembling the engine by using products that act as stop-leaks. However, while being a temporary mechanic might be convenient, it won’t work for larger or more complicated leaks.

3. Cracked Rims

Many BMW models come equipped with 19-inch run-flat alloy rims. While these rims look amazing, they are prone to cracking — and a poorly placed crack can puncture your tire, leaving you stranded.

It is important to note that this is only a problem for Class Series vehicles sold between 2009 and 2012 — BMW settled a class action suit in 2015. Although there’s not much you can do to prevent this other than driving safely, it is something to be on the lookout for if you’ve got a Bimmer from those years with the original rims.

4. Coolant Leaks

This BMW problem is specific to the BMW 3 series, but that is a great variety of cars to choose from. Regardless of the year, coolant leaks always manage to crop up. These can have many different causes, from a cracked radiator cap to a blown head gasket to a hole in the radiator itself.

No matter what the reason is, it is something you need to repair quickly. A lack of coolant could cause the engine to overheat — plus, the coolant is toxic to animals and the environment.

BMWs are, by far, one of the most reliable brands on their market — but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their share of problems. Being aware of these four common problems can help keep your car running and prevent you from ending up stranded on the side of the road.

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.

6 Things to Know Before Junking Your Car for Cash

No matter how well you take care of your car, there comes a time when it just won’t run anymore, at least not without work that will cost way more than the car is worth. At that point, you have several options, one of which is to sell your car to a scrapyard for cash.

Here are 10 things you need to know before junking your ride.

1. What to Remove From the Car

Don’t bring your car to a scrapyard without first going through it and removing all your belongings. Check the glove compartment, the trunk and under the seats.

You should also be sure to keep any documents you have in the glove compartment, as well as your license plate, before you leave your car at the junkyard. Also, you may want to take out any especially valuable parts, which may include catalytic converters, GPS systems, batteries, radios and bumpers.

2. The Preferences of the Scrapyard

Before bringing your car to the yard, ask about their requirements and preferences for how they like to receive cars. Some buyers are pickier than others.

Some, for example, might only take cars that have been stripped down to the bare metal, which means you’ll have to remove the seats, fluids and all plastic parts. Even if this isn’t required, you may be able to make more money by doing some of this work yourself.

3. What Your Car Is Made Of

Before junking your car, take the time to find out what metals it is made of. That way, you can ensure you’re getting a fair price.

Do your best to determine what alloys your car’s components include, and whether any of them are plated with other metals. Electroless nickel plating, for example, protects parts such as cylinders, pistons and fuel injectors. Some parts may even be gold-plated.

4. The Market Price

2014 BMW All-Electric i3 Press Drive.

Once you know what kinds of metals you have in your car, you should find out what the typical market price for it is. Junkyards may list prices on their website, but do some Internet research and call around to various yards to determine what the average rate is. Remember, prices may vary in different parts of the country.

5. Local Scrap Metal Laws

Legal requirements for scrap yards differ from state to state. Some states require them to have active licenses to operate. Look up the laws in your area and check that the scrapyard you’re thinking of selling to is licensed, if necessary. This can help you ensure you’re working with a reputable business and help you avoid potential legal trouble in the future.

6. The Details of Your Transactions

When the junkyard weighs your scrap metal, ask for its weight in pounds. Some yards will give you this measurement in other standards, which can be confusing if you have no reference for how much they are.

Getting the weight in a measurement you understand will help you ensure you’re getting fair compensation. After the transaction is complete, be sure to ask for a settlement report. This document should list the details of all your transactions.

Thinking of junking your car for cash? It can be a smart option if you have an old car you need to get rid of. Just make sure you’re prepared before you head to the local scrap yard.