Tag Archives: working on cars

How to Get Your Garage Ready for Warm Weather

It’s finally warming up in most parts of the country, and that means it’s time to start getting your garage ready for nice weather. What do you need to do to make sure that this room — whether you’re using it for storage, crafting or parking your car — is ready for spring?

Organize Your Seasonal Items

You won’t need snow shovels and driveway salt now that the temperatures are starting to climb. Take the time to stow your winter gear — including clothing and jackets, if you store them in the garage — and retrieve your spring and summer equipment.

Don’t just throw everything in the garage as you sort it out. You’ll hate yourself later when you have to go through it all again and clean it up. Instead, organize your spring and summer gear — from beach toys to lawn mowers to trimmers — so you can easily access it without cluttering up your space.

Keep Out the Bugs

As temperatures start to climb, so to do bug populations. If you’re in the garage a lot during the day or keep the door open, you’re inviting six-legged guests into your space. Start by storing food — for pets or humans — in sealed containers.

Make sure you’re sweeping or vacuuming any food spilled on the floor. Spray the inside and outside baseboards of your garage with insecticide to kill any bugs that are already inside and keep any new ones from crossing the threshold.

Just because your garage isn’t a living space doesn’t mean you need to invite bugs to share the area with you. Get ahead of the problem before the weather warms up and you have to call an exterminator.

Clean the Floors

If you park your car in the garage or walk through it after parking in the driveway, chances are high your floor is covered in salt, dirt and other debris you’ve tracked in.

Take the time to give your garage floor a thorough cleaning as the temperature starts to climb. Dirty floors can be a sign of unclean work conditions, and if you’re planning to sell your home, a dirty garage floor could detract from the property’s value.

Clean and Maintain Your Door

Spring cleaning isn’t just limited to the interior of your home. It’s also a great time to clean and maintain your garage door, so it’s ready for the season.

Inspect the hardware both inside and out for any signs of rust or undue wear and tear. Take the time to wash the door — again, both inside and out. If it’s been a while since you painted it, now is the perfect time to add a new coat.

Restock Your Spring Chemicals/Materials

Spring doesn’t just bring showers and bugs — it also brings weeds, and just like the food in your pantry, the chemicals you keep in your garage will eventually expire.

Go through all the chemicals you’ll need for your spring chores and yard work. Make sure they’re stored properly and replace anything that has expired or doesn’t work as effectively.

Enjoy The Warm Weather

Now that the temperature is finally starting to creep up, the last thing you need to do is get outside and enjoy the warm weather.

Once you’ve got your garage ready for spring, you won’t have to worry about it until the thermometer starts dropping and you need your winter coats again.

Why You Should Work on Your Own BMW

Taking the plunge into BMW ownership is intimidating to many enthusiasts. Maybe you’ve always wanted to experience what it’s like to drive a well-appointed car with fine-tuned handling dynamics, but are concerned the maintenance costs will drive you into penury. Horror stories about the cost of parts and all the things that break are usually just that — stories.

Yes, the cost of maintaining a BMW is going to be greater than the cost of maintaining a Toyota Camry, and the driving experience is going to be more rewarding, but this isn’t the kind of life decision that keeps your kids from going to college. One of the best ways to offset these maintenance costs is by working on your BMW yourself.

Where to Begin

We always recommend you have a mechanic inspect a car before you buy it. That one simple step can save you a fortune in repairs. Assuming you don’t end up owning a lemon, you can begin to service your BMW on your own on day 1.

Like any car, your BMW has an oil cap, wheel lugs and spark plugs that all need to come off and on every so often. It has fluids that need to be replaced, and a battery that will also eventually need to tag out.

Every time you pay the dealer to do these things, you’re adding approximately $60 per hour in labor, and probably an extra premium on the parts. Just because there’s a roundel on the hood doesn’t change the basic procedure — if you can change the oil on a Bronco, you can change the oil on a 3-series.

Getting Organized for Projects

One of the best ways to make working on your own car simpler is to have a usable workspace. Usually, that means getting your garage organized and having the right tools.

A good garage for car projects should be well-ventilated. It should ideally have a sealed floor that will keep spilled fluids from staining, and a power door with modern safety measures, such as a manual override and a laser sensor to make sure nothing is blocking the door.

You’ll also want to have a few cleaning supplies like microfiber towels, window cleaner, automotive detergent, and wax. A penny saved on detailing is still a penny saved on owning a Bimmer.

Advanced Repairs

When you’re feeling more comfortable and perhaps have bought a factory service manual, you can attempt more involved jobs. Online resources like forums offer a wealth of knowledge and step-by-step DIY instructions from people who’ve actually done these projects, so be sure to read up.

As you become more involved in the car community, you’ll meet other people with common interests. The car community tends to be very friendly when it comes to trading favors and sharing information, which is another way you can keep the costs of owning a BMW from draining your bank account.

In the end, a little common sense is the best tool you have when working on your own car. We don’t recommend jumping into the hobby on an unloved early-production 8-series. The truly rare and exotic models will be more expensive to maintain — however, many of BMW’s finest works are easy to find, cheap to buy and simple to work on.

Take Your BMW Wrenching to the Next Level

Working on your own car is one of the joys of ownership, and many BMW owners have some working knowledge of how to repair their cars, but just how comfortable are you turning wrenches when the stakes are high?

Mechanics spend years learning the ins and outs of specific BMW models, so when you begin life as a Bimmer enthusiast, don’t feel bad if a few trips to the shop are required. Over time, you can work on enhancing your skills. Stay with it, and a few years down the road you could be bolting whole cars together in your garage!

Entry-Level Jobs

No matter what kind of car you drive, saving money on maintenance and repair bills is an attractive idea. This is why many car enthusiasts choose to perform small jobs like oil changes and spark plug swaps on their own.

You will need a basic set of tools to pull off even these tasks — your car is not a snap-together model. For a few hundred dollars, you can pick up a basic set and a crawler to allow access below the vehicle. Don’t forget a quality set of jack stands — without them, you can’t raise the car off the ground safely.

Stepping Your Game Up

Once you’ve learned the basic layout of your BMW and how to find everything when the car’s in the air, you can begin to tackle tougher jobs. Maybe you’d like to install some upgraded suspension components or change out an old and failing radiator.

The more advanced jobs you’ll take on will require better access to the car. To give yourself better access and visibility when performing these jobs, a lift makes a great investment. If you know you will use it, you will recoup the money on jobs that would have required a mechanic’s facilities down the road. In some cases, you can even use a lift to add some parking space.

Advanced Procedures

When you’re comfortable making changes to individual components and performing routine maintenance, you can begin to consider doing more advanced jobs. There are classes available both for BMW-specific applications, and general engine work, you should attend if you’re going to do these jobs.

More advanced work might include complicated engine repair such as changing a camshaft or bottom-end component, or it might be making considerable modifications. Many enthusiasts talk about wanting to do an engine swap on their BMW, and while it’s certainly possible, you’ve got to know what you’re doing.

You Should Also Buy Some Orange Clean

Or GoJo — whatever pumice-derived cleaner you like best — because when you achieve this level of mechanical knowledge, all your friends are going to come around wanting your help. Hey, you live this stuff anyway, right? And if times get tough, you can always find work at a shop.

There are many reasons to begin doing your own work on your BMW. Start today and become a part of the movement keeping these timeless cars alive and well on the world’s roads.