7 Clever Ways to Enhance Your BMW’s Security

BMW enjoys a solid reputation for being secure. Although Bimmers are highly sought-after, the German automaker has done a stellar job at neutralizing theft with its engineering decisions.

However, don’t be complacent. Do your share in keeping your BMW safe from car thieves with these seven tips.

1. Secure Your Phone

The My BMW App can remotely locate your vehicle, lock and unlock your doors, and start your engine. It’s so powerful losing your mobile device is one step closer to getting your Bimmer stolen. Prevent unauthorized access to it with the same vigor as keeping your keys away from malicious hands.

Download the latest My BMW App version once it becomes available to address bugs and fix any cybersecurity vulnerabilities it may have. Activate automatic updates to ensure it’s always recent.

Put a premium on strong password protection. Using a string of 12 characters or more to unlock your phone is better than relying on a four-digit PIN. If you’re not a fan of biometric authentication, an unguessable password is the next best way to keep your data safe if you lose your device.

Consider location tracking, too. It can help you find your phone when it goes missing. Note your smartphone’s unique identification number to easily prove you’re the owner when the authorities or a Good Samaritan recovers it.

2. Avoid Street Parking

Park indoors as much as possible. Most car thieves target valuable models they can access quickly. Leaving it on the street for everyone to see may attract larcenists’ attention and invite disaster.

Keep your Bimmer in your garage and ensure the doors are closed and locked. If you don’t have a garage, consider adding one or building a carport. Although a carport primarily protects against the elements, you can increase its security. A lockable gate, surveillance cameras, floodlights and motion sensors can deter malicious onlookers.

3. Create Physical Obstacles

Use obstructions to make life harder for criminals to drive your Bimmer away if you can’t hide it from the public. Block it with another vehicle if you have one. Steering wheel locks and pedal boxes are also effective visual deterrents. 

4. Park in a Busy, Well-Lit Area

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 1 million vehicles are stolen annually in the United States. This figure would’ve been smaller if only more Americans had decided against parking in deserted, dark areas.

If you must park on the street, choose a location where crooks can be more identifiable when they break into your vehicle. Car theft can still happen in broad daylight, but greater visibility and crowdedness can discourage less determined transgressors. 

5. Don’t Leave Valuables in Plain View

Do you carry precious cargo? How about your wallet, jewelry and other electronic devices? Hide whatever personal belongings you have in your car before leaving. 

The prospect of chopping up desirable German wheels whose components fetch steep price tags on the black market is enough motivation for many criminals. Don’t give them one more reason to target your BMW.

When parking your BMW in your driveway, keep the key away from your home’s exterior walls, doors and windows to render its signal less detectable. If you must park on the street, select a spot far from your house. Parking at a distance can confuse the crooks about which property it belongs to, making the crime harder to pull off.

6. Store Your Key With Strategy

You can fall victim to keyless car theft when criminals pick up, amplify and replicate the signal your key transmits to trick your BMW into thinking they’re you. Once they’re in, your Bimmer can disappear in literally a minute.

Moreover, buy a Faraday pouch. This box shields its contents from radio waves with its metallic lining. Storing your key in a tin container accomplishes the same goal. A microwave makes an excellent keyless car theft stopper, but you can damage it when you heat something without removing your BMW key first.

7. Install a Tracking Device

Fitting your car with a tracker increases the chances of recovering it when it’s stolen. The police can use the signal to locate your Bimmer instead of combing Facebook and Twitter and retrieve it before it winds up in a chop shop or shipping container that can block the signal.

Tracking devices may not occur to garden-variety joyriders and test-drive fraudsters, but discerning larcenists are wary of them. They’re familiar with common hiding spots because they use vehicle trackers to steal their targets later. Fortunately, a professional installer can place your tracker in an obscure location so it can play hide-and-seek longer.

Elevate Your Bimmer’s Security

Your BMW is only as secure as its weakest vulnerability. Its manufacturer can only do so much to keep it from being stolen, so use these tips to take security to new heights and outsmart various breeds of car thieves.

Drive Down BMW Maintenance Costs With These 7 Smart Strategies

BMW has a reputation for being high-maintenance. It’s the price you pay for driving a high-end German machine known for exceptional engineering and stellar craftsmanship.

Despite this, you can influence your Bimmer’s repair needs since many mechanical and aesthetic issues are a product of your decisions. Here are seven smart strategies to avoid spending needlessly more on maintenance.

1. Drive Mindfully

Aggressive driving will prematurely wear out even state-of-the-art German wheels. You can feel your BMW’s power without doing donuts in parking lots and other dangerous maneuvers. In addition, irresponsible driving behaviors — like speeding, recklessly merging into traffic, tailgating and passing on the right — will increase your vehicle’s risk of getting scratched and dented.

Moreover, drive fewer short trips. Automobiles perform best when their engines are warm. If you can, run multiple errands without letting your car cool down to prolong its components’ lives.

2. Pump Quality Gas

BMW requires premium gas, so fueling your sedan or sports activity vehicle with a less stable product will damage its engine and emission control system. Filling your tank with regular or mid grade gas may save you money initially, but the lower octane rating of either fuel may lead to spontaneous combustion. The unburned fuel from the primary combustion auto-ignites, causing the pressure in the cylinder to surge and resulting in knocking.

When you’re at the pump, buy at least 91-octane fuel. You may pay top dollar, but it will save you trips to the mechanic and cash on maintenance over the long term.

3. Be Self-Sufficient

Do-it-yourself care will go a long way. The acts of love you can express to your BMW include:

  • Cleaning: to remove dirt that can compromise its delicate components
  • Waxing: to rustproof it
  • Leather seat protection: to delay leather wear and tear

Generally, basic maintenance tasks are permissible if you abide by your owner’s manual. If your car needs repair, it’s best to take it to the dealer. A word of caution — any issue arising from your actions may void your luxury vehicle’s warranty.

The same applies to any modification to your coupe, convertible or roadster. If your automobile breaks down, a touch-up may render troubleshooting tricky or nullify your warranty when it plays a part in the failure.

4. Control Temperature

The weather can do a number on your BMW. Constant exposure to sunlight will ruin its paintwork. Extreme heat will wreak havoc on its interior. Humidity will negatively impact its engine performance and mess with its sensors. Frigid conditions will take a toll on its battery, causing it to fail too early.

A plain garage can safeguard your German car from the elements, but your space needs adequate insulation to regulate indoor temperature. Investing in garage doors with 2-inch polyurethane insulation will help you maintain your BMW’s ideal climate to stay in good shape mechanically and aesthetically.

5. Follow Service Schedule

Respect your Bimmer’s maintenance calendar. A qualified technician should inspect your car at least once a year or after running a certain number of miles. It’s the only way to discover early signs of damage so you can head off major mechanical problems.

Take your BMW in for a tune-up on schedule — even if everything works fine. This way, the service crew can proactively replace specific components before they malfunction without warning and require an expensive repair.

6. Extend Maintenance Coverage

If your BMW maintenance program is about to end, consider extending your coverage to reduce your future out-of-pocket repair costs — especially when your car is older.

A plan extension can be a significant expense, but it may be worth it if you think you’ll put plenty more miles on your Bimmer moving forward.

7. Use Independent Shops

If you let your BMW maintenance program lapse, you can entrust the upkeep of your vehicle to a third-party repair shop. Independent shops usually charge less than dealers because they tend to have low overhead. Personalized service distinguishes these auto establishments from authorized BMW centers, so expect more special care and attention to your unique needs.

Before you take your precious ride to an independent repair shop, here are three caveats:

  1. They may use aftermarket parts only.
  2. They may have Jacks of all trades instead of factory-trained BMW specialists.
  3. They may deliver less-quality work because of the above reasons.

For best results, look for a licensed local shop in your area that uses original equipment manufacturer components and has a wealth of experience repairing BMWs. You may have to wait as they order your replacement parts, but you can rely on their quality.

Reduce Your BMW Maintenance Costs

Your BMW will need TLC throughout its life, but you can influence its repair needs. If you’re smart and strategic, you can add years to your Bimmer’s life without spending a fortune.

How Does BMW Power Steering Work?

Power steering is one of the key advancements in automotive technology that has given drivers more control over their vehicles. It only became common for the average car in the 1950s and 60s, and before that people had to control the steering wheel all on their own. Fortunately, today’s cars are much easier to handle. 

As a brand that prides itself on precision and control, BMW has been a global leader in developing power steering technology for decades. Look under the hood and check out how BMW’s advanced power steering systems work.

Hydraulic Power Steering

The most common type of power steering system is the hydraulic variety. You can find this system in most BMWs made before 2000, especially the classic models from the 60s through the 80s. If you’re interested in bimmers from this era, you’ll be happy to learn that power steering wasn’t so complicated back then.

Hydraulic power steering (HPS) relies on pressure generated by a power steering pump to assist the driver’s steering motion. The power steering pump is connected to the engine, which sends pressurized hydraulic fluid to steering gear to make the wheel easier to turn.

Here are the other key parts of an HPS:

  • Power Steering Fluid: Power steering fluid is the hydraulic liquid that provides lubrication and pressure to ensure smooth steering operation. It’s located in a reservoir next to the engine, which must store an adequate supply to keep the HPS functional.
  • Steering Gear: The steering gear consists of a rack and pinion assembly, which converts the spinning motion of the steering wheel into a lateral movement in the car’s axle, causing the wheels to turn. 
  • Steering Rack: The steering rack horizontally connects the steering wheel to the steering gear, converting the steering force applied by the driver to the turning wheels through the rack and pinion assembly.
  • Steering Column: The steering column vertically connects the steering wheel to the steering gear, allowing the wheel to transfer its torque to the gear during a turn.
  • Power Steering Hoses and Hydraulic Lines – The Power steering hoses and hydraulic lines move the pressurized power steering fluid from the pump to the steering gear. They are designed to handle extremely high pressure and keep the fluid flowing in any conditions.

If your BMW starts to make wider turns than usual and you notice that the steering wheel is harder to control, there is likely a problem with the power steering. This problem is known as “understeering” because the wheel fails to complete the turn despite the driver making the correct maneuver.

You are technically still capable of driving with dysfunctional power steering. You will notice a clunkier and heavier feel to the steering wheel, but it’s still possible to control the vehicle on your own. However, it is not safe to rely on HPS without power steering fluid. You need to replace this fluid roughly every 80,000 miles or two years depending on how often you drive.

Electric Power Steering

Electric Power Steering (EPS) is the newer type of steering system with most of the same parts, but with one key difference. Instead of relying on pressure from hydraulic fluid, an EPS utilizes an electric motor to assist with the driver’s steering input. This motor is connected to the steering column and can account for the vehicle’s speed and the overall driving conditions.

BMW first started using EPS in the Z4 E85 and E86 coupes from 2002 to 2008 and has adopted the technology for nearly all of its new releases ever since. 

Here are the other unique components of an EPS along with the electric motor:

  • Steering Column Torque Sensor – This sensor detects the amount of torque or rotational force that the driver applies to the steering wheel. This information goes to the power steering controller.
  • Power Steering Controller: The power steering controller is located in the vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU) and is the brains of the operation. It receives input from the sensors in the motor and the steering column torque sensor and estimates the exact force the motor must exert to assist with the turn. 
  • Vehicle Speed Sensor – This sensor tracks the speed of the vehicle and gives the power steering controller constant input, allowing it to change the level of assistance based on the speed and driving conditions.

EPS has several benefits over HPS. Since the electric motor only consumes power when the driver requires assistance, it’s more fuel-efficient than HPS. The torque sensor also allows for greater steering response flexibility based on the driver’s preferences, the vehicle’s design or the road’s conditions.

Lastly, drivers can pair EPS with other electronic vehicle systems, including driver assist and stability control systems. These combinations lead to improved vehicle performance and much safer driving.

Know Your BMW’s Power Steering

If you own a newer BMW model, you need to learn the ins and outs of your car’s electric power steering system. Those who own classic bimmers should focus on learning about hydraulic power steering. In either case, you need to know your BMW’s power steering components to ensure a consistent driving experience.

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