written by Adam Liu
From the first time I sat behind the wheel of my first BMW 1995 M3 to my current 2016 M3 the feeling you get is immeasurable. If you are like me and the rest of the team at M-Spec Performance, we love our German cars! To keep this short and sweet, we have listed our top 4 tips you can do to take care of your BMW so you can continuously fall in love with your Ultimate Driving Machine.
1. Pre-Purchase Inspection (or Post Purchase Inspection)
A PPI is a term we use for what is essentially a comprehensive vehicle inspection from a qualified shop or technician. This can and should be done whether you have yet to purchase a prospective BMW, after you purchased or if you haven’t had trained professional eyes on your vehicle in a while. In general, a PPI would consist of a comprehensive check of items and areas such as your engine, transmission, suspension, steering, brakes, wheels and tires, drive train, electronics both interior and exterior, sensors, body, and a complete diagnostic scan of the vehicle to determine if there are any trouble codes recorded and if there would be any further testing needed. The vehicle is lifted and checked from top to bottom and should be test driven by an trained automotive technician.
At M-Spec Performance we take this process a step further and perform a digital vehicle inspection which catalogs any problem areas on a digital inspection sheet. Each area is also documented with pictures. This is incredibly valuable to the BMW owner as now they can see physically any recommendations and problem areas they could not normally see from a paper inspection.
Always do your due diligence and select a shop that specializes in BMW vehicles as well as has trained technicians. The best way to do your research is to check out a shop’s reviews as well as give them a call and ask them what their process is on a vehicle inspection. Make sure they are outlining the important elements of a proper vehicle inspection.
2. Oil Service
Not every oil change is the same. BMW has been notoriously poor at giving good parameters to BMW owners about when to perform an oil change. Popular belief is that a quick lube place can handle any type of oil change. The real facts are that not all cars are built the same and that is especially emphasizes with the servicing of German vehicles.
BMW has guidelines in which what type of oil should and shouldn’t be used. In most modern BMW’s, fully synthetic oil is the only type of oil that should be ran through the engine. To take it a step further, BMW has also mandated special certifications to ensure oil companies are adhering to manufacturer oil with the correct chemical composition and additives.
Using the right oil filter is also very important. Many shops that do not specialize in BMWs will not use original equipment manufacturer brand oil filters. This can cause devastating results as these oil filters tend to disintegrate and particles can travel throughout your engine and cause blockages which ultimately can cause catastrophic engine failure!
When we perform oil services (different from an oil change) we only Liqui-Moly oil which is made in germany and carries BMW long life certification. We also always use high quality original equipment manufacturer oil filters. With every oil service we perform a digital vehicle inspection as well as check all the vital fluids and tire pressures with the vehicle. It is more likened to a minor service visit than an oil change. We also recommend to perform your oil change between 3,000-5,000 miles depending on your driving habits as well as having your oil changed at least once per year.
3. Preventative Maintenance
An often overlooked area of car care is preventative maintenance. Generally we bring our vehicles in for service and repair well after the fact of a part or system failure. This costs BMW owners more time, headache and money in the long run. To lower the unexpected costs of repair as well as keeping your BMW on the road running in top shape for many miles and years to come we recommend exploring a preventative maintenance plan with your selected shop.
A preventative maintenance plan for your BMW can include a number of different aspects. The first of which would be the fluids and filters that should be replaced at the correct intervals. This ensures that all the moving parts in your BMW has fresh fluid and filters which will prolong the life of that particular system. I cannot tell you how many times we have seen blown up differentials, transmissions, and worn out internal components of engines due to improper maintenance servicing.
The other area of preventative maintenance is replacing vital components before they actually become a problem. One particular area in BMWs is the cooling system. If there is a weak point in the longevity of BMW it would be in its cooling system. The cooling system consists of the water pump, radiator, thermostat, hoses, expansion tank along with other parts such as valves and sensors. Depending on your particular year and model as well as the current mileage of your BMW you may want to seek advice from your service consultant on what would be the best plan of attack to take care of those items. When there is a cooling system failure it can cause a unexpected breakdown as well as consequential damage which will cost you a lot more money in the long run.
4. Detailing and Cleaning
This might be a odd tip and something that is often neglected. I have found that nothing makes you fall in love with your car more than a good cleaning! Depending on the state of your vehicle’s paint and what kind conditions it has been in you may want the services of a detailer that can perform paint correction or just a general cleaning.
One suggestion that I would make is find a hand car wash rather than an automated car wash. An automatic car wash can cause problems in several different areas. Due in part to the amount of water that is used in an automatic car wash, you may run into issues where water will leak into the vehicle and damage electronic components. This happens due to either body damage or clogged drains within the roof. Another issue that is seen is swirl marks in the paint. Automatic car washes can cause severe swirl marks which can be seen in direct light. These will show up as light circular scratches. Coming from a car enthusiasts these will bug you to no end once you start noticing them!
We do not perform detailing services however if you need any help or advice we can always point you in the direction to one of our partner vendors.