Understanding Traction and Stability Control

Understanding Traction and Stability Control - Motorwerkes - BMW Service Calgary

With rainier weather, wet leaves, and eventually ice and snow, the next few months call for a close look at some of BMW’s technologies for safer, more effective driving. Traction control and stability control are two perfect examples.

Dynamic Stability Control

The acronyms may be similar, but DSC and DTC are actually two different but related technologies implemented in your BMW. In fact, one can be considered as contained within the other. Dynamic Stability Control is the “brain” of your chassis that helps to improve safety and greater control in loose, wet, or rough road conditions. It is constantly receiving information from all over your vehicle through sensors, from the speeds of each wheel to lateral acceleration, yaw, gas pedal and steering input, and more. By monitoring all of this information and calculating them against a simulated ideal model, it’s capable of correcting your steering, brake pressure, and even engine power.

Dynamic Traction Control

Meanwhile, in many models, Dynamic Traction Control is a component of DSC that specializes in optimizing traction. It does so by closely monitoring your wheels and becoming active when it detects that loss of traction has occurred, such as on a wet road. While DSC works its magic by reducing engine power and autonomously applying brake force if necessary, DTC mostly gets the job done by allowing for a small but effective amounts of wheel slip and spin while collaborating with your DSC system to keep you in control. The combination of both systems is particularly useful when accelerating from a stop, rocking your vehicle out of a sticky situation, or going uphill in slippery conditions.

In Use

DSC is an integral part of your BMW, allowing for safe and precise driving in a wide range of conditions. As such, it’s activated by default. Turning it off is outlined in your manual, but this is generally not recommended, especially during fall and winter. Meanwhile, DTC usually needs to be switched on via a button on your dash. It’s highly important to maintain a balance between recognizing how well-engineered these systems are while not relying on them too heavily. You should utilize and trust them when they’re needed, but no technology is a substitute for smart and safe driving!

Traction, stability, and skilled driving are important year-round, but they’re particularly relevant this time of year. Keep your BMW in solid, safe condition with a detailed inspection. Call Motorwerkes at (403) 768-3167 to make an appointment!

Why Use Synthetic Motor Oil?

Why Use Synthetic Motor Oil? - Motorwerkes - BMW Maintenance Calgary

The oil you use for your BMW is one of the most significant factors in how well it operates and how long its engine will last. The common recommendation for most BMWs is to use synthetic oil, but what exactly does it mean and why is it an important decision?

Types of Motor Oil

In terms of their chemical makeup, oils generally come in four different types: conventional, synthetic, semi-synthetic (or synthetic blends), and high-mileage oil. The conventional stuff is unprocessed and suitable enough for the most basic engine types and driving requirements. Synthetics and synthetic blends have been chemically tailored to fulfill specific needs, particularly resistance to temperature extremes and rust. Lastly, if a vehicle is a bit older and has racked up more than about 75,000 miles, the seal conditioner and other additives found in high-mileage oil can help to prevent things like leakage and sludge build-up, therefore prolonging the life of the engine.

Synthetics and Your BMW

What many of us love about our BMWs is that they’ve been engineered with high-performance engines. This means that your engine will probably be doing a bit more work than the average one, offering you an above-average drive. In order for this to be possible, BMW has designed many of their engines to operate at their absolute best when using approved synthetic oils. The molecular structure of these oils has been specifically engineered to be as controlled and fine-tuned as possible, reducing overall friction and optimizing viscosity ratings. They also contain additives that reduce engine wear, build-up, oxidation, and other unpleasant engine conditions. This all adds up to better performance and a healthier BMW.

Making the Right Choice

One of the keys to a happy engine is choosing the oil that your particular model was designed and optimized for. Unless you’ve had yours for quite some time and might need to use high mileage oil, approved synthetics are strongly recommended for BMW engines. As usual, it’s very important to follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual or to get a personalized recommendation from a local BMW technician. You’ll be glad you chose the right oil when winter kicks in and your oil can stand up to those harsh temperatures!

How is the condition of your engine? Are you staying on top of scheduled maintenance and oil changes? The Motorwerkes team can help you keep your BMW running smoothly all year long, just give us a call at (403) 768-3167 today!

Protecting Your BMW from Autumn Leaves

Protecting Your BMW from Autumn Leaves - Motorwerkes - BMW Services Calgary

Summer presents its own challenges when you want to avoid maintenance problems and preserve the great look of your BMW’s exterior. When it comes to autumn, however, one form of debris stands out in particular: leaves.

On Your Exterior

Autumn is a beautiful time of year, but as those leaves fall off the trees, they bring plenty of other stuff with them. Sap and quercitannic acid, for example, aren’t particularly friendly to your exterior. Calgary doesn’t usually experience a lot of rain, but the leaves always seem to accumulate water and turn into dirty mush anyways, this can wreak havoc on surfaces by producing leaf stains. Driving away while there are dry leaves on your exterior isn’t the best idea either, as they can sometimes be covered in abrasive grit that is rough on your paint job. Always be quick to remove them from your windshield, and don’t let them block your headlights or tail lights!

Mechanical and Other Issues

Keep an eye on that plenum chamber at the base of your windshield so that rain can drain effectively as you drive, otherwise you could end up with a wet interior. You depend on your wipers for visibility and a safe drive, so be diligent about preventing blockage by clearing them of leaves regularly. Your ventilation system could fall victim to stray leaves as well, leading to odors, unusual sounds, or overall dysfunction of the air system due to clogged vents and filters. Even if the leaves in question aren’t on your car, they’re certainly all over the roads! Watch your speed, turning, and braking when large quantities of wet leaves are present.

What You Can Do

Avoid parking under trees and be sure to use your garage at home if you can. For complete peace of mind when parking for an extended period, consider getting a car cover. If you do find leaves resting on your exterior, your first move shouldn’t be to sweep or wipe them off, otherwise you’re asking for scratches as noted above. As long as there is a manageable amount, pick them off by hand. If you’ve found them building up at the base of your windshield or in other crevices, a vacuum will do the trick. It’s all about prevention and attentive care!

It’s important to be aware of seasonal maintenance issues if you want your BMW to stay in great shape. To make sure it gets the best service, give Motorwerkes a call at (403) 768-3169 to schedule a detailing or inspection!

More Ways to Extend the Life of Your Brakes

More Ways to Extend the Life of Your Brakes - Motorwerkes - BMW Services Calgary

Last week’s blog gave you an idea of how good braking habits contribute to reduced stress on your BMW’s braking system, but there are many more ways you can make them last. If you want to prevent costly damage, here’s what you can do.

Treat Them Well

If your brake pads and/or rotors are newly installed, it’s often recommended to “break them in”. This typically involves making a few medium stops at a moderate speed and following with several hard stops at a higher speed, gradually bringing your vehicle to a resting position so that the pads and rotors are properly bedded. However, depending on the BMW specialist replacing your brake parts, this might be done for you upon replacement. It’s also wise to be cautious about how soon you park your car after an extended period of hard braking. If you’ve been going downhill for a while and repeated brake use was necessary, keep moving for a bit at a lower speed to allow time for cooling and avoid rotor warping

Be Aware of the Signs

Many drivers hear screeching and squealing and allow it to go unrepaired for too long. Whether it’s worn brake pads allowing contact between the rotors and wear indicators, or the rotors themselves have rusted, the system should be examined by a local BMW specialist as soon as possible. Has a significant amount of brake dust accumulated on the surface of your wheels? This symptom is easy enough to notice, so you should take a look if it’s been awhile since you had those pads installed!

Trust an Expert

Are you investing well in the quality of your brakes? It might be tempting to save in the short term when you need replacements or repair, but you should remember that the safety and integrity of your BMW is on the line. Always trust recommended maintenance schedules and replacement parts so that your brakes get the best and most compatible treatment possible. To avoid buildup of moisture, take your BMW in for a brake system flush at an interval that they recommend. With the guidance and skill of a certified technician, you’ll be getting the safest, most cost-effective drive out of your brakes!

Are your BMW’s brakes showing signs of wear? Don’t hesitate to give them the most experienced care in Calgary! Call Motorwerkes at (403) 768-3169 to make it happen.

Tips for Good Braking Technique

Tips for Good Braking Technique - Motorwerkes - BMW Experts Calgary

It’s important to assess your driving technique every once in awhile. Many common concerns, from safety to the longevity of your BMW’s parts, are connected to the manner in which you operate a vehicle. Braking is a perfect example!

Why It’s Important

The basics of driving that you learned when obtaining your license are just enough to keep you adequately safe. Acceleration and braking may seem simple, but a closer look at braking has a lot of potential to improve the safety of your driving and extend the life of your brakes. Whether you’re driving around in wet, slick conditions or you commute often in slow traffic, different circumstances on the road will affect your brakes in different ways. The better you understand how to get things right, the safer and stronger those brakes will be, saving you both money and the consequences of an accident.

Good and Bad Habits

Try to exercise an overall sense of finesse and efficiency in how you use the brake pedal. Braking should usually be progressive, meaning that the onset and release of pressure is as smooth and gradual as possible in proportion to your speed. It’s also about knowing when not to apply pressure. For instance, how much speed can you safely reduce just by coasting? You should also slow down just before a corner rather than just during the turn. Avoid cadence braking (pumping the brakes to maintain steering ability) unless you’re losing traction and don’t have ABS. Don’t forget that braking and acceleration should both be done with your right foot.

Technique vs. Attention

Smart braking also comes from your ability to mind your surroundings, read the behaviour of other drivers, and understand the relationship between your vehicle and its environment. How good is your depth perception, and how accurately can you estimate the distance of a stop or angle of a corner? Are you aware of how much traction you have considering weather and the condition of the road? Does the person in front of you seem to be heavy on their brakes? A more astute sense of these variables will enable you to apply your technique as best as you can, maximizing safety and minimizing wear!

Are your brakes in good condition? All of that summer driving could have taken its toll, so an expert checkup might be just what your BMW needs. Give Motorwerkes a call at (403) 768-3169 to schedule an appointment!