Well there is one, now please read on. I taught there must be a need for a winter specific BMW maintenance which details essential information specific to BMW automobiles for the coming season.
I will detail some of the information which could prevent expensive mechanical failure and at best an inconvenience at worst the misery of getting stuck in the cold of winter.Let's start at the basics:
But I don't drive like an F1 driver what that's got to do with my BMW? The principals and the law of physics apply at the street level just as well as they are on the race cars.
All season tires are a huge compromise of traction available at a wide range of temperatures. We expect them to stick to the road at +40C to -30C. They truly not good at cold temperatures, they're OK at high temperatures.
Why is that? The simple answer is compound or the material which tires are created from. Winter tires are made from a very soft compound in order to stay pliable at cold temperatures in freezing weather, but they will mush and sort of melt away fast at higher, (above and beyond +10 Celsius) temperatures.
While we are at it lets clear some myth about winter tires, you don't have buy the most expensive winter tire to stay safe on icy snowy slippery roads. There are plenty of decent to excellent tires are available at decent to bargain prices so price should not be an excuse.
Is your life worth more than a set of tires? We certainly think so!
My professional advice in this case; Knowing what works and which tire is decent at affordable prices is truly priceless. Did you know that most races are won in one third by the choice of tires? Some of the top F1 teams spend tens of millions on each race so their tires are crucial to their success. I think I heard this in a paddock, one third is won by the driver, one third is won by the team, and last third is won by the tire.
That's how important tires to your car and to your daily driving, (just food for taught).#2 Vehicle preparation, most modern BMW automobile will need standard maintenance over their lifespan to keep them performing as they should at your command in any weather.
Please don't confuse standard maintenance with the the "free maintenance" which is kept to a minimum with each modern BMW when they are sold in this part of the world. We got to a point when your driving habits (frequent short distance or normal distance driving) becomes ever so important for your BMW.
We all know the frequent stop and go traffic versus highway driving has their special requirement and effects on your BMW for long term use and will effect their lifespan.
Let's go to short distance driving, what kind of effect does have on my engine? Well we drive and live differently than people in Germany (or other countries as well, opposed to Germany we lack in infrastructure. I lived there at one time.
Here in the GTA area, if we need to go somewhere, unless you live in downtown Toronto, you will need to get in your car and drive to the grocery store or pretty much anywhere you need to go in a timely manner at your convenience.
BMW engineered an extensive complicated crankcase ventilation system to keep your motor oil clean in the marketed "extended" oil changes. We think it's a bad idea but marketing people and engineers have two different things in mind when they develop a new BMW. I'm afraid marketing wins .
We found some system failures due to condense water freeze up in the crankcase ventilation system, in particular in the drain back section in most short distance driven cars from 99 'til 05 six or eight cylinder engines.
What's the reason, and why does it happen and why they didn't know about this when they made and designed this cars way back many years ago?
The answer is rather simple, they were never intended for compounded short distance driving. My theory is they designed it for their driving habits which would never be a problem.
What can I do to conquer or prevent this
BMW engineers are smart and they introduced an insulated revised cold climate ready modified insulated crankcase ventilation system.
In severe cases there is a heating pad has to be installed for the V8 engines in particular the X5 SAV vehicles.
How do I know I have this problem with my BMW?
There are tell tale signs which are pre existing conditions like milk shake, sort of cappuccino like frothy substance on your oil filler cap .
The solution is please check if you have the revised insulated ventilation system in place to prevent brake down, and try to increase your daily driven distance to have the motor oil heat up to operating temperature. Where it will reach the temperature needed to vaporize the water stored in your motor oil and gets consumed by your engine in the combustion chamber.
Don't be afraid to rev your engine in the winter, it will build heat faster to clear it's throat to be able to perform better. Please don't use this article to bail you out from the policeman: "My mechanic told me to drive faster officer!" (Thank you).
One more thing for some of you whom is intrigued about the chemical process. How did the water get there question? This is how it happens. Water is a natural byproduct of combustion chemically speaking: Air is 78% nitrogen. Has no real effect on the combustion process, other than forms some other gases (NOX) which has no bearing on the engine.
20.8 % oxygen when gets combined with HC, (fuel which is hydrocarbon). Some of the oxygen combines with O2 and becomes H2O which is water. For the discerning motorist, you can observe this phenomenon in cold mornings the steam you see coming out from your tail pipe.
It is the water vapor, which will be happy to slip by the pistons and piston rings, especially if the pistons are not fully expanded (cold engine) to their operating temperatures, as of yet and gets compounded in your motor oil from short distance driving.#3 Seasonal changes of the fluids and system integrity checks for particular attention given to the cooling system in most BMW the majority of the cooling system is made of composite material which has a certain lifespan.
We also recommend to pay close attention to expansion tanks and their adjoining hoses and tubes for chemical deterioration.
We found aftermarket (mass merchant ) coolant having a detrimental effect on most BMW cooling system performance (they are marketed as universal coolants) shortening the lifespan of essential components due to irreversible chemical reaction between components.
We also recommend to check the brake fluid as well there could be water stored in the brake fluid which will have crystallization effect in the fluid and negative effect on braking performance. Also keep in mind BMW use an ESL brake fluid which is slightly different from the most common DOT4 brake fluids.
Why BMW use their own different fluids within this cars?
The simple answer is they're trying to raise the bar in every aspect of their performance oriented cars and the standard stuff just won't suffice.
Let's touch a word and two on the unique requirement of their fluids. Most people know BMW requires synthetic motor oils for their engines. Unfortunately there are two standards we have to deal with which effects the BMW motor oils due to their different certifications.
The old standard is API (stands for the American Petroleum Institute) and than the standard which BMW requires in their engines is the ACEA (it's a French conglomerate which sets the standards considerably higher by the Association of the European Auto Manufacturers).
Why did they do this?
The answer is they wanted to set the bar a lot higher than the API standard so all the European manufacturers band together and set their own higher standards. I really don't want to get into the details if you're interested you can find it on the internet.
So what grade of ACEA approved motor oil should I use in my BMW?
The grade of oil is being constantly revised (there are some politics involved in here EPA requirements and all) it's safe to say we recommend the ACEA approved 0/30-0/40-5/30-5/40 grades are just fine for most BMW cars except their M cars which require 10/60 motor sport special motor oils.
Just to make things even more confusing BMW set their own special standards, so did everybody else as well. There have been a BMW 98, than came the LL01 and after came the LL04 standard which each oil has to be certified separately to get the right to display it on their product. The latest one is realy meant for (LL04) the high tech diesels to prevent catalyst failure due to their intricate porous nature.
Can I use a 98 approved oil in a
later model car?
The sort answer is yes but you will have to change your oil more often, that oil will not last to 25 thousand kilometers, not even close to it, and also will have negative effect on the fuel consumption as well.
Last but not least windshield wipers, wiper blades and properly working headlights are crucial to winter safety. To see or to be seen is never so important than in winter. Please keep an eye on them and maintain as needed.
We hope you enjoyed my little winter preparation article, and know how to keep your BMW performance to the max from Techmax - BMW repair in Mississauga.
We wish you and your loved ones a
safe and fun driving throughout the seasons.
Techmax Auto Repair Inc.
BMW repair in Mississauga