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What You Should Know About Window Mods and Tinting

Thinking about tinting your windows? Doing so has numerous benefits, but there are somethings you should be aware of before you commit.

Tints Have Benefits Beyond Looks and Privacy

Alot of people want tints because of their aesthetics and the privacy they provide, but they also have many other practical benefits. Window films can block solar energy, keeping you and your car cooler. This effect is especially noticeable when you leave your car parked in the sun on a hot day. Blocking the sun’s UV rays also protects your skin and your car’s interior.

Not All Tints Are the Same

You have several different options when it comes to window tinting. There are numerous types of films, including the following.

  • Dyed window films consist of three layers of materials: an adhesive, dye and protective layer. They are affordable, though not as durable as other types. They protect against UV rays, but not heat.
  • Metalized films protect against heat and UV rays. They are more durable and expensive than dyed window films. Because they contain metal, however, they can interfere with your cell phone, radio and GPS signal and your car’s electronics.
  • Hybrid films are a combination of dyed window and metalized films. They have less metal, so they’re less likely to cause electronics interference.
  • Ceramic films block UV rays and heat, but won’t interfere with your electronics. They are one of the most expensive options.
  • Carbon films also block UV rays and heat and won’t cause interference. It is moderately expensive and in the middle of the road regarding performance.

You can also choose between different percentages of tint. The higher the visible light transmittance, the more light the film lets through. Seventy percent tint lets in 30 percent of the light. Fifty percent allows in 50 percent.

Laws Vary by State

Each state has different laws about what percentage and types of tinting they allow. Different rules also apply to different parts of the car. Make sure you check your local laws before modding your windows.

If you travel to a different state with stricter tinting laws, you probably won’t have a problem, but you still could get a citation from state law enforcement. If you frequently travel to a neighboring state, you may want to check its rules in addition to your home state’s laws.

Dark Tints Can Impede Your Vision

You should be aware excessively dark tints can impair your vision, especially when you drive at night or in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sun during the day. When choosing how dark to make your windows, consider when and where you typically drive. If you often drive at night or the weather in your area is often overcast, you may want to avoid tints or choose a lighter shade.

Window Films Have Pros and Cons During Emergency Situations

In car crashes and other emergencies, tinted windows differ from regular windows in several ways. If a tinted window breaks, it won’t shatter like a regular window would. Instead, the adhesive properties of the tint hold the window together in one piece, which can prevent you from being cut by glass shards.

Tinted windows, however, can also be a hindrance to emergency personnel. Rescue workers at a crash scene will look into the windows of the cars involved to assess the situation and determine how best to proceed. If they can’t see inside your vehicle because of a window film, they have less information to work with.

Tinting your windows has both pros and cons. Depending on your goals, it may or may not be the right choice for you. Consider the conditions you normally drive in, the laws in your state and these other factors when deciding whether — and to what degree — to mod your windows.

What to Do If You Crash Your BMW

No one wants to think about car accidents, but no matter how safely you drive, they can happen to anyone. Whether you’re driving to work, to school or just to the grocery store in your BMW, what should you do if you accidentally drive your car into a storefront or other building?

A Look at the Statistics

Accidents between cars and buildings are more common than most people think. On average, there are 60 accidents where a car strikes a building every single day in the United States alone. These accidents result in upwards of 4,000 injuries and 500 fatalities every year.

While the majority of these accidents are the result of operator error and pedal error, many of them could be prevented with the installation of bollards — steel or concrete poles secured to the sidewalk outside the business. These bollards are designed to take the impact of a car instead of letting the car strike the storefront, potentially injuring pedestrians or customers.

What should you do if you crash your BMW into a store?

Assess

As with any car accident, the first thing you need to do is to assess the situation. Are you injured? Are any of the passengers in your car injured? Is the car dangerous — on fire, or billowing smoke? If you aren’t obviously injured, you can get out of your BMW to assess the situation. If you are hurt and the car is safe, the best idea is to stay in the car — moving after an accident can end up making the injury worse.

You’ll also want to call 911 and let them know there has been an accident so emergency workers can respond.

Collect

Step two is to collect information from anyone involved in the accident. If you end up striking a storefront, this will include exchanging information with the store owner or the manager on duty. You will also want to collect contact information from any witnesses. The first responders will also gather this information, but it can be useful to have in case your insurance company requests it.

Report

Once the police have finished their work and you are free to go, get a copy of the police report and contact your insurance company to let them know you’ve been in an accident. They will contact the store’s insurance and will likely request a copy of the police report.

Once you’ve reported the accident to your insurance company, they will handle the majority of the rest of the process. They may contact you again if you were injured or if they need any additional information.

Go

Finally, whether you feel injured or not, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. The soft-tissue injuries caused by car accidents such as whiplash can take days or weeks to manifest symptoms, so it’s important to get checked out.

Getting in to see your doctor soon can also help you out with your insurance company. If you wait more than two weeks to see your doctor, it becomes more difficult to pin the blame for the injury on your accident, so if you are out of work because of injury, you will want that paper trail to pass on to the insurance company.

Accidents happen, no matter who you are, so the only thing you can do is be prepared for them when they do occur. Knowing how to respond in the event of an accident can help the recovery process go a little more smoothly.

How to Improve Your Bimmer’s Gas Mileage

We all love our BMWs — they’re fantastic and powerful cars, but they don’t always have the best gas mileage due to their large engines and heavy frames.

If you’ve got a favorite Bimmer in your garage but aren’t driving it because of the rising price of gas, what can you do to improve your car’s gas mileage? Here are four tips.

  1. Drive Smart

Believe it or not, a lot of your car’s gas mileage depends on how you drive it. Having a lead foot on your gas pedal can both reduce your car’s overall fuel efficiency. Keeping it to the speed limit might annoy the other speed junkies on the road, but it can help improve your car’s gas mileage.

Leaving your windows down can also reduce your car’s gas mileage. Your Bimmer is designed to be aerodynamic, and that includes closed windows — messing with your car’s aerodynamics can cost you. If your air conditioner is broken, that’s a different story — no one expects you to lock yourself in a sweltering car — but if it works and you’re trying to improve your gas mileage, keep the windows up.

  1. Air Up Your Tires

Keeping your tires at the proper pressure is vital for more than one reason, but it can also help you improve your car’s fuel efficiency. If your tires are a little flat, it makes your engine work harder to push the car forward. A harder working engine burns more fuel.

Also, adequately inflated tires wear out quicker and might have trouble gripping the road. If your Bimmer’s tires are nine psi below the manufacturer recommended specs, it can cost you nearly $250 a year in fuel, depending on fuel costs at the time.

  1. Schedule a Tune Up

You should be keeping up with the maintenance on your car anyway, but if you haven’t scheduled a tune-up in a while, it could be costing you extra dollars at the pump.

A set of old spark plugs can cost you more than $500 a year in wasted fuel. Replacing a dirty air filter can save you upwards of $350. Changing your fluids regularly and making sure that they’re topped off before you drive can also help save you some money by allowing your engine to run more efficiently.

If you’re a little overdue on your tune-up, it’s time to schedule one or get to work. Not only will it make your car run better, but it can also help you save a bit of money at the pump.

  1. Go Extreme

Hypermiling, or extreme driving techniques, can help you save quite a bit. According to the MythBusters, you can increase your cars gas mileage by a whopping 70 percent by employing some or all of these techniques — though they’re not always practical.

Hypermiling includes:

  • Never driving faster than 45 miles per hour
  • Removing your side view mirrors to improve car aerodynamics
  • Shutting off your A/C but keeping the windows rolled up
  • Turning your engine off at red lights
  • Drafting, or driving as close to the back of a tractor-trailer as safely possible

While you might not be able to do all of these safely — no one wants to try to drive 45 miles an hour on the interstate, after all — a few extreme measures could save you quite a bit of money on your next trip to the gas station.

Even if you’re not drafting behind a big rig, there are plenty of ways to help you save a little bit of money while you’re filling your tank. Just remember, no savings are worth your life. Be safe no matter what you choose to do to increase your Bimmer’s fuel efficiency.