Why DIY Maintenance On Your BMW Is Not The Best Idea

BMW maintenance

BMW has one of the strongest cult followings of any automotive brand. In a world of increased efficiency and cost-cutting front-wheel drive cars, it remains one of the most accessible ways to get your hands on a true rear-wheel drive sports car that’s easy to tune.

Unfortunately, it feels like every generation of BMW is cursed with some kind of fatal flaw, from the E46s cracking subframe mounting points; to the E9x’s problematic engine bearings and excessive carbon build-up; and VANOS failure in almost every other model lineup. Combine this with the “BMW tax” apparent on every repair item, and the urge to tackle some of these issues at home is stronger than ever.

However, you might want to hear why some BMW maintenance and DIY repairs are best left to the professionals

Carbon Clean Up

The internet has countless “home hacks” for cleaning the excess carbon in your BMW’s engine created by the direct port injection system. From spraying the brake clean into the cylinder and scraping the carbon off with a pick, to allowing your engine to ingest water and steam the carbon away, each remedy feels worse than the last.

The inside of your BMW’s engine has a machined surface that actually serves a purpose. The head is machined in such a way as to create smooth airflow passages for air and fuel to enter and exhaust gasses to exit. Etching on the cylinder wall allows oil to sit on the surfaces and keep the engine lubricated.

Using abrasives, such as brake cleaner and picks, can introduce gouges and ruin the finish of these surfaces. This can result in lowering performance and, in really severe conditions, introducing metal shavings into the engine that can cause oil blockages and lead to complete engine failure.

Do we really need to go into why letting your engine suck water into the intake is a bad idea? Your engine was never designed to handle water ingestion, as water does not ignite or compress, which can lead to hydro-locking or bent connecting rods.

bmw maintenance

Bad Guides Online​​​​​​

Sticking with the themes of “home hacks,” we have seen countless well-intended but poorly informed repair guides online. While forums can be great resources for information, they aren’t a substitute for factory repair guides and experience. It’s also important to remember that cars can change dramatically from generation to generation, and even from trim level to level. What may be the right technique for one vehicle may be completely wrong for the next.

Another thing to remember is that online videos are often made by mechanics with experience.They tend to demonstrate one specific use that makes the job seem easy and low risk.But without the same level of experience and access to tools, the repair is most likely going to be far more difficult and risky than portrayed.

Expensive Entry Costs

There has been an increasing trend for automakers to require mechanics to purchase specific tools in order to complete basic service tasks. Almost every manufacturer requires mechanics to have some version of an OBD2 scanner.In some cases, they may even require a proprietary scanner.

German car makers, like BMW, are especially guilty of this.They often require mechanics to buy additional triple square head studs and torx heads for simple tasks. Acquiring all the tools required for repairs often comes with high upfront costs that catch home mechanics off guard, often when it’s too late to turn back.

Before tackling any repair, it’s important to ensure you have all the right tools available: all of which your local BMW specialist will already have.​​​​​​

bmw maintenance

Incomplete Kits

Repair and modification kits online are often incomplete and require additional parts to be ordered or fabricated. That wide-body kit you’ve been eyeing? Chances are it only comes with the widened panels, requiring you to figure out how to mount the panels yourself. That’s before considering the brackets you’ll need to strengthen the panels, extended wheel liners to protect the inner fender, and sealants to prevent water ingressing between the OEM and aftermarket panels.

Without experience and fabrication skills, you might end up with a body kit that will be ruined after a few drives from rocks hitting the underside of the panels or excessive flex. This is also true for performance upgrade kits. An upgraded turbo kit might not come with the required fuel pumps or tune to make the most of it.

Some turbo kits will require stronger internals or adjusted combustion ratios, which can completely grenade an engine if not upgraded. With every upgrade, it’s important to upgrade supporting parts to get the most out of your BMW and maintain its reliability.

Inexperience And Unfamiliarity

The biggest downside of DIY upgrades and repairs is unfamiliarity with the platform. The biggest advantage mechanics have when working on your car is familiarity. The internet might have you believe a component is a smoking gun, which can lead you down a wild goose chase of replacement parts and repairs.

Mechanics will have worked on multiple cars before, and will have experienced every fault possible on your vehicle. They willhave intimate knowledge of how to repair your BMW and what preventative tasks can be done to keep your it running problem-free for years to come.

BMW Maintenance And Repair Center In Pompano Beach

Foreign Affairs Motorwerks has a rich history of maintaining, modifying, and racing German cars. When it comes to looking for the best place to have your BMW serviced or repaired, look no further! Our world-class facilities and team of ASE-certified mechanics will make sure your BMW keeps running like the day it left the factory floor.

So what are you waiting for? Reserve your BMW spot today by calling us at (954) 746-0488.

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