Summer Vacation: Road Trip Safety Tips

Summer Vacation: Road Trip Safety Tips - Motorwerkes - BMW Experts Calgary

While you might think that summer is safer than the harsh weather conditions of winter, looks can be deceiving! Here are some road trip safety considerations that will help keep your trip safe and your summer as fun as possible.

Risky Roads

Contrary to what you might think, accidents can be even more common during summer than winter. This is because drivers tend to drive more defensively in conditions that are more clearly hazardous. During summer, you are more likely to encounter construction zones, cyclists, motorcyclists, and heavy pedestrian traffic. When out on the open road or in rural areas, one of the most common collisions that you can have during summer is with crossing animals. Remaining alert is therefore just as important in the middle of July as it is in the middle of February, no matter where you are.

Staying Prepared

The first thing you should be certain of before leaving on a trip is that your BMW is in great operational condition. Everything from an oil change to a coolant flush should be considered, depending when you last saw a certified BMW technician and what work was done. Are you planning on towing a boat or other heavy load? Check to be sure that you know your BMW’s limits as well as the applicable road laws. As always, a comprehensive first aid kit and emergency supplies should be in your BMW at all times. A flashlight or glow sticks, jumper cables, bottled water, the works! It’s far easier to relax when you know you have your bases covered.

Responsible Driving

Driving out on the open road may also make it tempting to push your vehicle a bit harder than usual. As much as you might enjoy that performance upgrade, don’t forget that keeping yourself and your passengers safe — not to mention sharing the road — is priority one. Since road trips in Canada tend to cover pretty long distances at a time, take routine breaks and maintain alertness no matter how empty the road might be. If you’re taking allergy medication to deal with all that pollen, driving drowsy definitely isn’t a good idea. Eliminating risks means making your summer trip the best it can be!

Getting ready for a trip? Be sure to take your BMW in for a detailed inspection! Our team will help ensure plenty of smooth summer drives for you and your passengers. Give us a call at (403) 768-3161 to make an appointment!

Keeping Your Cooling System in Great Condition

Keeping Your Cooling System in Great Condition - Motorwerkes - BMW Experts Calgary

A cool interior is important for a comfortable summer drive, but don’t forget about your engine! In the coming months, your BMW’s cooling system will be working much harder than during other seasons. Let’s run through a few recommendations on how to keep it working properly.

Understanding the System

In order to maintain longevity and remain efficient, your engine needs to stay cool and stable. For this, it depends heavily on its cooling system. The water pump and drive belt work to send coolant fluid through channels in the engine block and cylinder head, collecting heat and ultimately ending up at the radiator. After incoming airflow cools the hot fluid, it circulates again through the cooling channels in a continuous cycle. The system involves a number of moving parts, fluids, and tubes, and keeping these elements in good working order is one of the key ingredients to a robust and long-lasting engine.

Knowing the Signs

Be sure to follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual or a BMW technician if you want to know optimal fluid levels, coolant-to-water ratios, and intervals for refills and flushes. These often depend on the vehicle as well as the season. Keep an eye on your temperature gauge and be aware of any unusual smells or hissing sounds. Perform a basic visual inspection of the system once every so often. If you spot any leaks in the radiator or damage to belts or hoses, a repair by a local BMW technician is needed. Regardless of what you’re inspecting, always allow plenty of time for your vehicle to cool down before taking a look or refilling!

Taking It In

An out-of-shape cooling system is one of the most common and preventable causes of breakdowns, particularly during summer. Few things can make a dent in a great summer day than being stuck on the side of the road! Knowing when to take your BMW in to have the cooling system checked will ensure that you can enjoy even the warmest of days without smoky, overheated mishaps. It will also avoid accumulative engine wear that can lead to costly repairs later on. Always be attentive and trust in the right team of technicians!

How is the condition of your cooling system? If you’ve noticed any of the warning signs above or are experiencing anything else out of the ordinary, give Motorwerkes at call at (403) 768-3161 today. Calgary’s best team of BMW experts is here for you!

What Makes Summer Tires Unique?

What Makes Summer Tires Unique? - Motorwerkes - BMW Services Calgary

It’s always important to change your tire type based on the season. Now that the roads are getting warmer, let’s take a look at what goes into designing a summer tire and why they’re a smart choice for this time of year.

The Material

Because their conditions demand different performance and behaviour, summer tires (sometimes called “performance” tires) differ from winter tires in rigidity and elasticity. The tread compound of a summer tire is comprised of less pure rubber than winter tires, giving them just the right balance of softness and hardness to handle well in a variety of conditions, just so long as it’s not ice or snow! The compound is also made to hold up in higher temperatures where the softer winter tire would be more likely to fail. Summer tires are made to operate best at temperatures above 7 degrees celsius, and once they go below that, they harden and lose traction.

The Design

Treads, siping, and other structural characteristics also play a critical role. Since they’re not meant for winter and don’t need to push through muck or slush, summer tires possess a more shallow tread depth. Their sidewalls are also generally stronger than those on winter tires and the tread pattern is carefully designed with large grooves and fuller blocks. Unlike winter tires, which are designed with finer and more intricate siping patterns, summer tires prioritize a dynamic shaping strategy without worrying about digging around in the snow. As a result, using a summer tire during winter is likely to fill up those larger grooves with too much icy material!

The Performance

While you might assume that summer tires don’t perform so well in wet conditions, the opposite is actually true. Thanks to the combination of the tread compound and tread pattern, summer tires are able to keep a good grip on the road and optimize turns and stopping distance in both dry and wet conditions. With high performance summer tires, you’ll get directional treads that do a particularly good job with hydroplaning resistance. The design of winter tires, on the other hand, puts first priority on dealing with ice and snow rather than fluids. Because of these differences, failing to switch tires as the roads heat up is a sure way to compromise both safety and performance!

Have you fitted your BMW with a pair of summer tires for optimized durability and safety? Give the Motorwerkes team a call at (403) 768-3161, we’re here to help you get only the best performance out of your vehicle!

A Few Things You Didn’t Know about the BMW

A Few Things You Didn’t Know about the BMW - Motorwerkes - BMW Service Calgary

In addition to all the technical help, you’re probably aware that we love to dig into BMW history and trivia. Excluding the facts covered in our previous blogs, here’s some fun assorted info that you may not already know!

The Signature Grill

The “kidney” grill that BMW’s vehicles have become known for was first introduced in 1933 on the BMW 303. It has changed slightly in appearance since then, and was one of the company’s many early efforts in pioneering aerodynamic vehicle design.

The Headquarters Building

You may know that the headquarters building located in Munich was modeled after a four-cylinder engine, or even that it was finished in time for the 1972 Olympic games. However, few aficionados are aware that the branding of the building had to be removed during the games to comply with the International Olympic Committee’s rules on product placement.

The April Fool’s Day M3 Pickup

One of BMW’s most impressive April Fool’s Day jokes was the infamous M3 pickup. The fusion between pickup truck and classic M3 structure may have been a prank, but the vehicle is in fact fully operational and boasts a number of impressive specs. Along with horsepower matching its M-series relatives, these include a 450 kg load capacity and even a drag coefficient in league with the M Coupe.

The Development Codes

One particularly unique feature of BMW’s approach to manufacturing is their development code system. For much of the company’s history, every model has been designated a codename consisting of a letter (E, F, or G) followed by consecutive numbers. “E” was the first letter used for these codes and stands for “entwicklung,” the German word for “development.”

The Mercedes Rivalry

BMW was quite close to bankruptcy in the late ‘50s due to a number of factors, including the postwar vehicle market and difficulty adhering to design trends. Mercedes attempted an aggressive takeover of BMW at its most vulnerable moment, before they were saved by collaborative investment from a wide range of sources including its workforce. Things were really back on track by 1959 when a majority share was purchased by German businessman Herbert Quandt.

There will always be more to learn about BMW, whether it’s about the vehicles themselves or the company that creates them! To learn about the needs of your vehicle, give Motorwerkes a call at (403) 768-3163 today!

Safety Tips for Driving Your BMW During Winter

Safety Tips for Driving Your BMW During Winter - Motorwerkes - Calgary BMW Service

Even with the most up-to-date BMW at your fingertips, a lot of care and responsibility is needed to look out for your passengers and other drivers. This is especially true during winter, so consider a few of our recommended safety tips for driving your BMW in cold and icy conditions.

Keeping Your Cool

First and foremost, it’s important to stay in the right state of mind when thinking generally about winter driving and when you’re on the road. Drivers will often fall into one of two mindsets: unreasonable tension or risky overconfidence. Before considering any of the technical stuff, don’t underestimate the importance of staying both relaxed and alert, not to mention avoiding assumptions about how good your driving is!

Vehicle Layout & Traction

With rear-wheel drive, less weight over the drive wheels sometimes means a disadvantage in traction, particularly when starting. This can be offset by keeping something heavy in the trunk such as tools or even sandbags. While your vehicle is likely equipped with traction or stability control, the weight distribution of that RWD layout and the possibility of fishtailing are things you should always take into consideration.

In the case of all-wheel drive, it’s common to see a bit of overconfidence when it comes to ice and snow performance. AWD may improve your acceleration, but you can’t rely on it to optimize the safety of your turns! At the end of the day, investing in a good set of winter tires will go a long way toward improving your traction for the season.

Smart Braking, Smart Acceleration

It’s critical to complement this knowledge with good habits in your operation of the vehicle itself. Never forget that your stopping distance can increase by about four to ten times in ice and snow. Go easy on your brakes and your acceleration, keeping all your input moderat and carefully calculated. Reserve your braking for straight lines and avoid it during turns. When accelerating from a dead stop, start in second gear so that your wheels don’t spin against the ice. Most of all, learn and understand the nuances of your vehicle and how it performs in different conditions!

From safety to maintenance and performance, Motorwerkes is a trusted team in Calgary for repairing BMW motor vehicles. If you want to be prepared for winter, call 403-768-3168 to schedule an inspection of your vehicle with our certified technicians!