How To Take Care Of Your BMW, Mercedes, Or Porsche This Winter
For the majority of Midwesterners, we enjoy a universal reverence for Autumn. The bright fall colors, crisp temperatures, and freshness brought by cooler weather all makes for an amazing time of year. The Fall is also the perfect time to catch up on the maintenance you’ve been putting off for your BMW, Mercedes, or Porsche. Here are five very important areas to check to ensure a hassle-free winter with your German vehicle.
1. Take care of the battery.
Cold weather isn’t easy on anything under the hood, but the battery is especially sensitive. Making sure the connection is tight and corrosion-free is the first step. Most batteries will have a date stamp somewhere on top to tell you how old the battery is. Many BMW’s and Mercedes have Gel AGM batteries and these can last 5 to 7 years. The only downside to this longevity is that they give very little warning when they are at the end of their life. If it is the beginning of winter and your battery is 4+ years old, I would change it and save the trouble of being stranded.
2. Lube up.
It goes with out saying that the oil is the life blood of your vehicle. In the boiling summer, the oil keeps high friction components cooler by lubricating them. In the winter, the oil performs an even more important function: reducing wear on a cold start. When your car sits overnight or even longer, the oil drips back into the pan and your engine components are left with a thin film of oil to protect the engine from bare metal-to-metal contact. As your oil wears down, its ability to coat the inside of the engine also decreases. Fresh oil, with lots of life, will help save wear and tear on the engine during those cold morning start ups.
3. Change the wipers. And check the wiper fluid!
Did you know you should replace your windshield wipers every six months? Not many of us do, but it’s particularly important to be ready for heavy snowstorms. Installing a fresh pair of wipers is also the perfect time to make sure your wiper fluid is stocked up. It used to be just a matter of a quick trip to the auto part store and slapping on the new wiper refills. Have you tried to replace a set of wipers on any BMW, Audi, or Porsche lately? We even ask ourselves why this simple part has become so complicated to replace. There’s no need to fret, if you’re having an issue with getting a new set, we are happy to help.
4. Check your coolant.
Like every other aspect of BMW and Mercedes lately, the coolant has even become specialized and proprietary. Most folks don’t realize that regular off-the-shelf- coolant is a pre-mixed solution and not typically safe for today’s aluminum radiators and cooling components such as water pumps. Buying a yellow jug of antifreeze could actually be detrimental to the health of your car. Always check the owners manual or give us a call for the exact specifications of coolant for your car. The second issue is under-filling or over-filling the system. Many German cars now use a sealed pressurized cooling system and putting too much coolant into it can cause an issue. In addition, it’s not quite as easy to visually inspect the coolant tank as it once was. On some models they are even obstructed from view.
5. Must-do tip: Check your tires!
Last, but absolutely not least, are your tires. Nothing ensures a safe trip on icy roads like tires with deep tread. It is easy to overlook the conditions of your tires until it’s to late. A visual inspection is not always the most reliable, especially on any BMW, Mercedes, or Audi with a sport package. The reason being: one of a car’s key selling feature of a sport package is the handling. The quickest way to increase a car’s handling and driving characteristic is by adjusting the wheel camber. The camber is the angle at which the wheel sits to the car. Stand back on any BMW M5 or Mercedes AMG and look at the rear wheels. They will look like they are angled slightly inward. You might not have noticed this before, but this setting really helps in how the car corners and drives. However, it also greatly reduces the tread on the inside of the tire causing them to wear quicker. The outside of the tire might look fine, but the inside edge can be as slick as baloney.
Please remember this list is not all inclusive, but includes only five important items to look out for. If your St. Charles BMW, Porsche, or Audi needs an inspection, service, or is feeling a little under the weather, we would be happy to inspect your car to see how we can help you. Our goal is to make owning a German luxury car easy and hassle free.