With winter now upon us it is more important than ever to ensure your BMW or Mini is ready to go out and tackle whatever the weather has to throw at it, here are just a few items you should consider.
The battery on your car is primarily used to start the vehicle and then provide a steady supply of electricity to all the electrical consumers on the vehicle, once the engine is running providing there are no faults the alternator will keep the battery charged.
More recent BMW and Mini Models ( generally 2006 onward ) will display a battery discharge warning on the dash board if the battery is low on charge. At this point this battery should be checked, recharged, and if necessary, replaced.
Older BMW and Mini models do not have this warning. The first sign can be the car struggling to start / slow to crank over. If in doubt it is good practice to get the battery tested and if necessary replaced before it lets you down.
Engine oil ensures smooth engine operation by providing lubrication critical engine components. When oil ages if can thicken, caused by absorbing carbon. During cold weather the oil will thicken further.
First thing to do is check the engine oil level, on older BMW and Mini Models this will involve opening the bonnet and taking a reading off the dipstick – The dipstick will have a brightly coloured handle, usually red / orange but also yellow on some Mini models.
More recent models will have an “electronic dipstick” and can be check via the on board computer.
If the oil is low it will require topping up, we stock and sell the approved BMW LL04 engine oils.We recommend changing the engine oil and filter at 10,000 mile or 1 year intervals.
Antifreeze / Coolant
The coolant system on your BMW or your Mini helps cool and the engine and prevents the engine from over-heating. But did you know it also prevents the engine freezing up during the winter?
The correct BMW coolant is easily identified as being a dark blue/green colour. The weaker the mix the less protection it will provide. During the lifetime of a car the coolant can be topped up with water or even replaced with the wrong type, this can leave your engine lacking the protection it needs in the cold weather.
First thing to check is the level of the coolant and ensure it is filled to the correct “max” mark. If in doubt we can test the strength of the coolant and if necessary top up or replace.
Screenwash is added to the screenwash bottle to provide a glass cleaner to the water but also to prevent the water from freezing up during the cold weather. Frozen washers leave you unable to clean the windscreen during driving but can also cause the washer bottle to split leading to costly repairs.
Alot of screenwash we come across when test proves to be not much more than a summer mix and not suitable if temperatures drop much below zero.
We at BM Automotive Solutions stock BMW Screenwash in 1L bottles. When mixed with 2L of water this will still provide protection against freezing down to minus 12 degrees.
In order to keep your view of the road clear you’ll need a good set of wiper blades which are able to clean the screen without smearing and obscuring your view.
Thanks to the weather and also the grit found on our roads, winter is when our wiper blades get used the most so it is important to ensure they are in a good condition.
Wiper Blades can be replaced from as little as £20.
Headlamps / Lights
During the winter the salt / grit / dirt often finds its way onto light lenses and can reduce the effectiveness of our lights making it harder to see and making it harder to be seen. We suggest giving the lights a wiper over to maintain their effectiveness.
With the shorter days and darker nights we rely on our headlamps maybe more than other times of years, having the headlamps correctly aimed can improve their performance.
We have also fitted Osram Night Breaker Bulbs with good results to both BMW and Mini models.
Tyre Pressures – Tread depth
Tyre pressures should be checked all year round, its is especially good practice during cold weather as you’d rather spot any potential punctures / problem before you set off on a long journey. Checking before you leave could save you waiting in the cold for recovery!
The correct tyre pressures for your BMW or Mini should be on a stick on the inside of the drivers door.Incorrect pressures will lead to accelerating tyre wear leading to expensive tyre replacement
When tyres are new they typically come with 7/8mm of tread, the tread has several functions.
- Grip, the tread provides grip, as it grips the tread over time wears down.
- Protects against punctures, a tyre with 8mm of tread will resist punctures more than a tyre with 0mm of tread
- Clears water / snow, again a new tyre is more effective than a worn tyre.
It is important during the winter months to have good effective and safe tyres.
We can check the tread and tyre pressures at BM Automotive Solutions.
Be safe this winter from all at BM Automotive Solutions, the leading BMW and Mini specialists for the West Midlands and Staffordshire