Kimberly BMW Davenport

Category: Tech Articles


Novice Introduction – Lunch and Learn – This event has been postponed – Check back for new date and time

Novice Introduction – Lunch and Learn – This event has been postponed – Check back for new date and time

Have you ever watched road course racing such as “Rolex 24 at Daytona”, “12 Hours of Sebring” or “Road America” and thought, I would like to see how it feels to be on the track?  Well, one choice would be to sign up for a ride at the track with a professional driver at the wheel.  I did this at Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA during the 2016 BMW CCA Oktoberfest.  It was a thrill to go around the track in an M4 at track speed.  It was hard to stop smiling.  But the experience behind the wheel of your own car at a driving school has an appeal of its own.  You develop a greater understanding of how your car reacts at track speeds, which translates to the street.

Our school is a combination of on track driving and classroom time.  The classroom section will talk about car control and safe driving habits.  New attendants are encouraged to ask questions and learn from the instructor and fellow classmates.  You will have the opportunity to ask questions about how your car is handling on the track and how to improve your driving.  If you like to work on your car, you will also have to time to chat with fellow participants about how they have prepared their cars for the track.

As a novice, you will have an experienced instructor in the car with you through the twists and turns of the track.  You progress at your own pace when it comes to speed on the track.   Much of the first day is not about going fast but learning the track, i.e., when to brake, when to accelerate and where to steer.  The track at Raceway Park of the Midlands, where we traditionally hold our events, is full of curves that one needs to take at slower speeds when learning.  Slower speeds translate to 25 to 40 miles an hour.  You are there to learn at your own pace with the assistance of your instructor and the speed is at your discretion.  However, you should know that if you decide you want to go all out in an unsafe manner, your instructor will rein you in or the track safety workers will flag you off the track.  This is not a racing school; rather, it is a controlled performance driving school.  At the end of the first day you would be amazed at how much quicker you can make it around the track.  Your instructor will tell you:  “smooth is fast;” this wisdom has applications in your daily driving when you need to respond to the person texting and drifting into your lane.  On day two, you will apply those new skills you learned on day one.  You will feel more at ease and this translates into faster speeds around the track.

You might have a couple of questions, such as:

I am afraid I will damage my car or get in an accident.

If you can survive rush hour in Des Moines traffic you can participate in a track school.  When you are on the track with people who are actually paying attention to driving, you are safer than when you drive on the street.  Remember, you have an instructor to insure that you are not putting yourself into dangerous situations.  As far as wear and tear on your vehicle, if it passed the safety inspection, then a little wear on the brakes and tires are what you can expect from a weekend on the track.

What type of cars can participate?

Almost any street-legal car that is not a convertible, SUV, pickup, etc.   All makes are welcome.  You will need to have the car inspected for event use beforehand.  We usually make arrangements at several locations throughout Iowa to get a free inspection of your car.  In the Des Moines area, this is usually at BMW of Des Moines.

Who should attend a driving school?

Anyone who drives.   We can all improve our driving skills and the school provides excellent training on car awareness and control.

If you would like to learn more, come out to our tech session “Novice Introduction to Driving School” and we can explain in depth about the school and answer your questions.  The event will be March 30 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm for a “Lunch and Learn at Mama Lacona’s.”

The address is:  Mama Lacona’s Italian Restaurant, 3825 121st St., Urbandale, IA 50323.

Even if you are simply curious, join us for the food and friendship.

BMW New Features and Advanced Driving Aids Tech Session – February 2

BMW New Features and Advanced Driving Aids Tech Session – February 2

Nathan will provide information on what BMW calls Intelligent Safety features on the new models on the show floor, as well as a selection of used vehicles (potentially BMW and non-BMW, depending on what’s in the used inventory at the time).  These systems go by many names, generic and branded: Pedestrian Warning, Frontal Collision Warning, Lane Departure, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Keeping Assistance, automatic braking, and others.

Many of these systems are very useful and/or safety-enhancing in street and highway driving, providing a large step up in vehicle technology.  A number of the systems can be modified to set the sensitivity or action to the driver’s preference, and Nathan will go through the options available.  In contrast to street use, those who want to take their cars out for high performance events will likely want to have some of the features deactivated at the time.  For our track instructors, this tech session will also cover how to see what features a student’s car is equipped with, and talk about how they may affect performance driving.

When we’ve had our fill on the technical side, we will maintain Iowa Chapter tradition of regrouping at a local watering hole afterward for lunch, libations, and camaraderie.    Watch for details on that in your email blasts and on our Facebook page if you’re just joining us for lunch, or come on over to BMW of Des Moines for the whole event.  (And bringing along a microfiber towel might just be worthwhile if the sight of all those new BMWs have triggered the response immortalized by Mr. Pavlov)!

BMW Coding and Diagnostics Tech Session – Dec. 10 at 10:30 AM

BMW Coding and Diagnostics Tech Session – Dec. 10 at 10:30 AM

Did you know that your smart phone provides a significant portion of the equipment you may be able to use to configure features of your late model BMW?  Mike Myers will give a demonstration at his home in Vinton, Iowa on Saturday, December 10th at 10:30 AM.  This will be a perfect opportunity to see if this equipment might work for you on your personal vehicle.

This tech session will take place at 2491 55th Street, Lot 2, Vinton, IA.  Contact Mike at treasurer@bmwia.org if you have any questions in advance of the event.

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President’s Article November 2016 – Winterizing for Storage

President’s Article  November 2016 – Winterizing for Storage

I thought this year would be the year which I would not need to get any cars ready for winter storage. My plan was to sell the 1999 M3, the 1989 325is and the 2001 740iL in order to purchase an E92 M3. Two-thirds of my plan worked well. By the end of last summer, I sold the M3 and the 325is so no storage fees were incurred last winter. The 740iL became my winter car and the plan was to sell it in the spring. After putting much time and money into the 740iL, I was not willing to give it away due to the thousands of dollars spent to keep it reliable for our many trips to Cedar Rapids, Storm Lake and Okoboji. But then, a perfect E92 M3 came calling, and now I am back in the “winterization” business preparing the E92 M3 for storage.

Following are some tips I have used over the years to prepare my cars for winter storage. I now have the benefit of indoor heated storage, but my procedure is as comprehensive as when I stored the 325is in an unheated garage in previous years. The first step is to wash, wax, clean and vacuum the vehicle inside and out. I apply leather, vinyl and rubber protectant to all appropriate surfaces. Then remove all wheels and clean them from the inside out and apply wheel wax. I usually paint all the lug bolts. I inspect all suspension and brake parts and apply rust resistant paint to any part of the undercarriage which may show signs of rust. Add a bottle of Sta-Bil to the tank and fill it with fresh gas. The final step is to fill all the tires to the maximum listed on the tire sidewall to prevent flat spots while sitting for several months in storage. Drive it to the facility and connect the battery to the battery tender. It is very rewarding for the first ride of the spring to be in a clean and shiny car.

President’s Article September 2016

President’s Article  September 2016

I have been working on my own cars from the time I was 14 years old, which is now more than forty years. Like me, many of you have also worked on your favorite automobile because of the enjoyment obtained from this pastime. But many of us also work on our beloved cars to make the hobby more economical and possible to enjoy our cars. For many of us, when we were young, it was a necessity to do our own work because of the lack of funds. But for many of us and as we have grown older, our car hobby is enjoyable and we have continued to do much of the work ourselves.

A commonly held belief is that it is always more economical to do the work ourselves. Although that may be the case most of the time, it is not always true. Recently I purchased an E92 M3, which had been my plan since I sold my E36 M3 and my E30 325is. As always, when purchasing a pre-owned car, I immediately change all of the fluids and any worn parts.

I purchased the required 10-60 BMW oil and filter at our local dealer with my club discount. But due to timing and lack of time, I decided to have the first oil change at the dealer while I was in Des Moines. When it was time to pay for my oil change service, I was surprised to learn it was about $20 cheaper for the dealer to change my oil than it was for me to purchase the products and do it in my driveway! I asked my service advisor how this could be, and he explained to me their oil price in bulk is much more economical than the the price I will pay over the counter.

An old myth was dispelled that day, sometimes the dealer service is more economical that doing it yourself.

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