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BMW Car Maintenance & Servicing FAQ's

BMW Car Maintenance & Servicing FAQ's Answered by AP Autocare Bristol

Whatever age your BMW is you should always carry out your own routine checks, have it serviced regularly at a BMW recognised garage and its MOT renewed every 12 months. This will ensure it is safe to drive, legal to drive and its performance is where it should be. You don’t always have to have your BMW serviced, repaired or MOT’d at a BMW dealership and our BMW Car Maintenance FAQ's will tell you everything you need to know.

BMW Maintenance

Why should you check your BMW regularly yourself?

Checking your car daily is just as important as your monthly checks and annual service. Everyone who has a car relies on it to get them to work and back, take the kids to school, shopping and the list goes on, and it is only when you don’t have your car for these things that you realise how much you need and rely on it.

What checks should you carry out on your BMW daily?

The main things to check when you get in your car daily are and especially when you are going on a long journey are; the tyre pressures and your oil, water and washer levels are all where they should be. These problems are normally highlighted when you start your car and you get a warning light on your dashboard. If you get in your car and a warning light comes on then you should always check your handbook and find out what it is so that you can rectify yourself or book it into your garage for them to find out what the problem is and resolve it for you.

What checks should you carry out on your BMW monthly?

  • Fluid levels including; engine oil, brakes, clutch, power steering and auto transmission fluids
  • Windscreen washer levels
  • Battery health by looking for signs of any corrosion
  • Working headlights, brake lights and indicators
  • Tyre pressure, tread and wear and tear

Warning lights on your dashboard should always tell you if you have a problem with any of these, however, it’s always a good idea to get into a routine of checking these monthly whether you have a warning light on or not.

What should you check when you first buy a BMW?

When you first buy a BMW, you should always check when it was last MOT’d and serviced and look in your cars handbook to check BMW’s advice on servicing. Your handbook will tell you when a service is due and exactly what checks are needed annually and at certain mileage points, but if you have brought your car from a reputable garage then they should advise you of this when you are considering buying it.

What other checks should you make before you buy a new car?

Check that there is a locking wheel nut with your car as not having this if you break down or when your tyres need changing will be costly. Check the manufactures tool kit is included which will have a jack and wheel removing tool if you have a spare tyre or run flat tyre with the car.

What checks should you carry out yourself on your BMW monthly?

Tyres - Every 2-4 weeks check your tyre pressures are where they should be. The level required will be detailed on the inside of one of the front doors or in your handbook. Low or high tyre pressure can cause accidents so it is a must on your regular checklist. Over or under-inflated tyres will have a negative impact on your fuel consumption and tyre wear. Keeping your tyres at the recommended pressure will save you money.

Also check the condition of your tyres and look for any damage, wear and tear and make sure the tread on every tyre is within the legal limits, including the spare if you have one.

Engine oil - Open your car bonnet and use your oil dipstick to check oil levels are at the minimum they should be every 4 weeks, always before a long journey and top up if you need to. Your cars oil shouldn’t need topping up every 4 weeks so if you are doing this then you should book it into your garage to get them to check you don’t have an oil leak.

Water - Every 4 weeks’ week check your coolant level is where it should be which will be highlighted on your water tank (minimum and maximum).

Before we move into the colder months always check your anti-freeze levels and top up if you need to.

Screen Wash - Keep your screenwash regularly topped up to prevent it from freezing and cracking your screenwash container and ensure that you can easily clear your windscreen when you need to. It is a legal requirement to always have your screen wash in working order as, without it, it can impair your vision when driving.

Windscreen - Check there are no cracks or stone chips in your windscreen and get them repaired if you have any as they will worsen and can shatter your windscreen when you are driving. It is much cheaper to get a crack or chip repaired than a whole new windscreen and it will also prevent you from potential accidents if they shatter completely. Often, depending on your insurance cover, it is free to repair a stone chip in a windscreen.

Lights - Check all your lights are in working order, including your indicators, reversing lights, brake lights and fog lights. Also, check them for dirt and grime which will impair other drivers from seeing you when they need to.

Regularly maintaining your car yourself will prevent breakdowns, accidents and will increase your cars performance, fuel efficiency, the life of your car and often prevent unnecessary repairs at your garage.

What are the benefits of regularly checking and maintaining your BMW yourself?

  • Increased Safety
  • Performance
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Prevent unnecessary breakdowns
  • Increase the life and reliability of your car
  • Maintains the market value of your car
  • Reduce the need for garage repairs and bills

BMW Servicing

Why should you have your BMW serviced annually?

Servicing your BMW car regularly ensures that your car is in safe working order, lasts longer with less stress being put on it and that it runs efficiently for you.

What happens if you don't get your BMW serviced?

You can experience lots of things if you don’t get your BMW or any car serviced regularly and the things that are checked and resolved during a service can often result in costly repairs later down the line, as well as your car not holding its value as it should do if you don’t have the specialist service stamps in your handbook.

Is it a legal requirement to service your car annually?

Servicing your car annually is highly recommended to keep your vehicle in good condition, however, it is not a legal requirement like an annual MOT test.

Does a car run better after an oil change?

Changing the oil in your BMW regularly and as recommended will give you lots of benefits including; improving its fuel consumption, performance and condition of the engine. As the fresh oil moves around the engine, the lubrication improves your engine's performance, helping it to run more efficiently without having to work hard which will put strain and stress on the different functioning parts.

Can I just add oil instead of getting an oil change?

You should always check your oil regularly yourself and top up if you are below the required level to prevent costly damage to your car’s engine, but you should always have it changed during its annual service to maintain and improve its performance as well as protect its working parts.

Does changing the engine oil in your BMW improve its performance?

As the oil in your car gets older it becomes sludgy and dirty meaning it’s doesn’t flow through your engines working parts as it should and lubricate as it does when it is fresh. In summary, old oil will reduce your engine's performance, lower its horsepower, reduce its mileage and will, in the long run, shorten its life so changing the oil in your BMW will improve its performance.

Who should service my BMW?

Always use a BMW Specialist who has dealer level diagnostic equipment as this will maintain the market value of your car if it is kept in good condition, reduce the likelihood of unnecessary repairs being done as well as them being able to officially stamp your service book.

If your BMW is still under warranty a BMW specialist garage will ensure that all genuine parts are used when servicing or repairing your vehicle and will ensure that all servicing and repairs carried out to meet your warranty conditions as per the Block Exemption rule.

How often should my BWM be serviced?

Generally, BMW recommends that you should have your car serviced a minimum of once a year, regardless of how few miles you have done. If you drive your vehicle a lot then they recommend that you should have an oil change every 10,000 miles.

If your BMW is still under warranty then you should always check the terms and use a BMW specialist garage to carry out any servicing or repairs to ensure it remains under its warranty conditions.

What should be included in a BMW Annual Service?

In summary, the below should be included in your annual BMW service:

  • Oil Flushing treatment and Replacement of Oil and Filter
  • Replacement of Air Filter, Fuel Filter, Spark plugs (where applicable)
  • Front and Rear brake inspections
  • Suspension and Steering Checks
  • Lights and Levels and Safety checks

What should be included in an interim BMW Service?

In summary, the below should be included in your interim BMW service:

  • Oil Flushing treatment and Replacement of Oil and Filter
  • Front brake inspections
  • Suspension and Steering Checks
  • Lights and Levels and Safety checks

A specialist and recognised BMW Specialist like AP Autocare Annual Service will include:

Pre-Engine Checks including;
  • Vehicle history
  • Timing belt
  • Damage to bodywork, lamps and trims
  • Condition and operation of seat belts
  • Interior and exterior lights
  • Operation of ABS and Air Bag warning lights
  • Air conditioning
  • Windscreen washers and wipers
  • Horn test
  • Suspension dampers
  • Lubrication of door hinges, locks and bonnet catches
  • Treatments to remove internal contamination
  • Fuel cap check
Engine Checks including;
  • Cooling system and fan operation
  • Check and record anti-freeze protection
  • Check and record brake fluid condition
  • Check auxiliary drive belts
  • Check engine breather system
  • Check vacuum pipes
  • Check power steering
  • Check throttle body
  • Check battery level and lubricate terminals
  • Check and top up all under bonnet fluid levels
  • Replace air filter
  • Replace spark plugs
  • Replace fuel filter
  • Replace pollen filter
Vehicle Raised Checks
  • Change oil, filter and fit new sump plug washer
  • Check fuel lines and brake pipes
  • Check condition and security of exhaust
  • Check and top up axle and transfer box oil levels
  • Check and top up gearbox oil level
  • Check all steering and suspension joints, mountings and gaiters
  • Carry out tyre report
  • Check all wheel bearings
  • Check CV gaiters and joints for wear or splits
  • Check clutch cable/cylinder
  • Grease all greasing joints
  • Check operation and condition of brakes including handbrake
Vehicle Lowered Checks
  • Refill engine with specified grade oil
  • Torque wheel nuts/studs
  • Locking wheel nut location
Finishing
  • Road test vehicle and report findings
  • Re-check engine oil level
  • Carry out omission report
  • Reset service interval indicator
  • Ensure all upholstery, gear lever, steering wheel etc. are clean
  • Stamp service book

As you can see the list of items checked and resolved by AP Autocare is lengthy and guarantees that your BMW remains under its warranty conditions.

About AP Autocare Bristol

AP Autocare has been in operation since 1976 and has grown to be one of the most reputable independent city centre MOT and Service centres in Bristol.

We are located within walking distance from Bristol City Centre and Temple Meads Train Station and are ideal if you work within the city or require a train home.

We offer courtesy car facilities if you need them or a lift to work/home or collection and delivery to ensure that being without a car for any period is not an inconvenience for you.

We are honest and our services are friendly and professional at competitive rates without the costs associated with manufacturer main dealers.

We offer services for all vehicles of any age and size from small cars to light commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes (Class 7).

Our Services include:

  • Annual and Interim Services
  • MOT’s
  • Diagnostics
  • Air Conditioning
  • Tyres & Exhausts
  • Brakes
  • Clutches
  • Remapping
  • Bodywork & Paint Repairs

We are a specialist and recognised garage for BMW and many more car manufacturers including; Citroen, Peugeot, Mini, Porsche, Audi, VW, Seat, Skoda and Land Rover specialists with dealer level diagnostic equipment, saving you up to to 30% on main dealer services and prices.

If you are looking for a Service, MOT or Repair for your BMW, please contact us today on 0117 963 8916 and one of our experts will be able to answer any questions you may have or arrange an appointment for you.

Published: Tuesday 24th September 2019