Kimberly BMW Davenport

Category: Tech Articles


Tech Session at Simpson Motorsports – Iowa City

Tech Session-Simpson Motorsports March 26 at 10:00 am.

Jim and Tim will demonstrate the things that they inspect when looking at a car for our driving school tech inspections. They’ll also show some vehicle suspension areas that are commonly upgraded, and of course field questions from attendees.

Simpson Motorsport is a family-owned business, specializing in BMW service. With over 30 years of experience, Jim Simpson has a long background in car maintenance, upgrades, and racing. The shop can do everything from routine service of street cars to full race preparation and engine rebuilds.

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 down to Simpson Motorsport for the whole gig!

Preparing Your BMW for Waxing

By Rick Prevette

With the weather getting ready to turn colder it’s time to get out and put a nice fresh coat of wax on our ride. However, before we jump right in and treat our ride’s paint and chrome with a new shiny coat, we are going to invest some time in properly cleaning the surfaces before waxing.

Clean the paint? When I wax, doesn’t the wax clean the paint as I am putting it on? In a word — no. Unless you are using a one step cleaner & wax product, waxes and sealants are for protection, not cleaning.

Now, I’d guess some of you may be asking — “Exactly what does this mean, cleaning the paint? Isn’t washing the car good enough?” Well, washing the car is a necessary step, but it is only the first step. By washing, you are removing the obvious dirt and dust that your ride has collected. However, you are not removing the surface contaminants that are still clinging to the paint. These contaminants include rail dust, acid rain residue, brake dust residue, stubborn road grime, etc. In fact, the next time you wash your car, run your hand over the finish and you may feel the grittiness caused by these contaminants.

You may also be asking “Why should the paint be cleaned before waxing?” Basically, the cleaner the surface, the longer the wax or sealant will last and the better it will look. If it has a clean surface to cling to, you will get the maximum performance from your wax or sealant. Cleaning the paint also removes the old wax. These days, many of the waxes are not very compatible with each other. This means that if you apply one kind or brand of wax over a different one, you may not get the gloss and protection that you expected due to a poor interaction between the two products.

The first thing we need to do is remove any rail dust. Rail dust refers to those very fine particles of iron that become embedded in your ride’s paint. They reveal themselves as tiny pin point brown dots and will have a rough or gritty feel. Our concrete streets contain a high amount of iron. As you drive, very small amounts of the road surface is worn away. The iron particles are kicked loose and embed themselves into your ride’s paint. Rail dust is found most prevalent on the front of your ride, behind the wheels and on the rear panels.

If the rail dust is not removed, the tiny particles of iron will continue to rust and eat their way down thru the paint and into the body of your BMW. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to remove. Simply take an automotive clay bar, flatten it into about a 2” by 2” pancake, spray an area to be cleaned on your ride with a clay lubricant and then rub the clay bar over the area. The clay bar will grab and pull the iron particles out of the paint. As you notice the clay bar becoming dirty, fold and knead the clay bar onto itself to continually bury the removed iron particles and expose a fresh surface of the clay bar. Wipe the surface dry as you finish and move onto the next area.

Now that you’ve removed all of the rail dust, let’s perform a final cleaning and polishing of the paint. For this process, you will use a pre-cleaning lotion which will leave the paint literally squeaky clean. This is a very mild cleaner and polish that will remove the remaining surface contaminants as well as very minor surface imperfections and swirls. You will obtain the best polishing results by using a buffer to apply the pre-cleaning lotion. If you do not have a buffer available, your polishing results will not be quite as good, but you can still accomplish good cleaning results. Machine buff or hand apply the pre-cleaning lotion and rub it over the paint finish. Allow it to form a haze and then buff off with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Be sure to use a fresh clean microfiber cloth on each new panel section.

Now you are ready for waxing. Choosing and applying the correct type of wax or sealant is important. I will provide you with some insights into this in our next article of “The Joys of Detailing”.

Enjoy your ride . . .

How Often Should You Wash Your BMW?

By Rick Prevette

It may or may not be a surprise to you, but the one thing that you can do that will have the most impact on keeping your BMW looking good for a very long time is to wash it at least weekly. When you do wash it, do so by hand with a quality soap that is made specifically for washing cars. Also, be sure to use the right type of mitt, brush or sponge to do the washing with.

Now, we are not going to spend our time together this month to discuss how to properly wash your BMW, which will be for another time. What I am going to do, however, is challenge your way of thinking a bit.

Question to ask yourself – why do I wash my BMW? The most obvious answer would be something like “I wash it to keep it clean”. Now ask yourself another question – Do I wash it to keep it clean for my enjoyment or for the longevity of my BMW? Your answer will probably be both and I would agree with that.

Let’s take it just a step further and get to what I really want you to think about. Ready? Here we go. When you think about getting ready to wash your BMW, what is the main thing that comes to mind?

I’ll give you a moment to think about this . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ok, what came to mind? I’m sure that there are many different answers here and the relief is that there is no wrong answer. But for those of you that thought – “Is it going to rain (snow, etc.)?” – Why, did you think this? Probably because you don’t want to expend the effort and time to wash your BMW only to have it quickly get dirty again. After all, what would be the point of washing it?

Well, here is where I want to challenge your thinking. Ready? Here is the challenge – You should go ahead and wash your BMW anyway, no matter what the weather currently is or will be within the next few hours or days. Shocking? Remember my earlier question – Why do I wash my BMW? Certainly we do wash it for our own enjoyment as we all do love a clean BMW; however, the best thing that you can do for yourself and your BMW is to wash it at least once a week, regardless of the weather.

Now, you may be asking yourself if I have lost my mind. Well, I don’t think so. The reasoning is simple. What you are cleaning off of your BMW is dirt, environmental fall out (also known as road film), salt, bird droppings, tree sap, fingerprints, etc., etc. And here is the real kicker – all of this foreign matter on your BMW will hold corrosive elements against the paint and accelerate paint damage. This foreign matter must be removed weekly to best protect your BMW. Even though you may wash it and immediately it gets dirty again due to rain or snow or whatever else may come your way, you are still accomplishing a significant and worthwhile task to protect and take the best care of your BMW over the long term.

Now I’ll admit that I too at times struggle with this whole concept, but I tested it on myself about a week ago. My car was very dirty and rain was predicted for later in the day. Well, I went ahead and washed it anyway. And you know what, I felt great because I had done the right thing for the right reasons. And even better, it didn’t actually rain until a few days later and I wasn’t remorseful in the least when it did rain.

So let’s go ahead and break out of the past habit of only washing our BMW when the weather permits. I think that you will find that you will be happier in the long run, as will your BMW.

As always, enjoy your ride . . .

Cleaning and Protecting Chrome

By Rick Prevette

The shine and beauty of chrome can add considerably to the look of your ride. While it is not as prevalent today, not that long ago it was often found on many parts of our cars. Today we most often
see chrome on the interior as a decorative accent or externally on the wheels, in the engine compartment or exhaust tips as it is very heat resistant.

Chrome (Chromium) is a soft metal that is a very thin layer applied onto plastic or metal, typically within a thickness range of 0.002 to 0.02 mils. The application of chrome is applied through the process of electroplating. Not all chrome is equal in quality or hardness. The amount of Chromium that is electroplated to the area will determine its thickness and the quality is often determined by the process used to clean the part before it was chromed as well as the makeup of the foundation that the chrome was applied to.

While chrome can look great and last for years, if neglected it can quickly become dirty, dull and even show rust pitting. The key to keeping your chrome looking like it should for many years is to not allow the chrome to become damaged by neglect in the first place. Once chrome is damaged and becomes pitted, or worse, begins to peel, there is really not much you can do except replace or re-chrome, neither of which will be an inexpensive option. However, other than for peeling, for chrome that looks dull, dirty and beyond help, it can usually be brought back to life with the proper polish, applicator(s) and technique.

As soon as your chrome looks dull, be sure to wash it with a high quality car soap and a soft mitt or brush. Drying the chrome should also be done with a soft cotton or microfiber towel. During the winter months, be especially mindful of keeping any chrome clean as salt is especially tough on it. If your chrome needs brightening up, the first thing that you should do is find out if a clear coat of paint has been applied over the chrome. This is a very common practice on today’s cars, especially if it is an OEM part. This is often not easy to determine and you may have to contact the manufacturer to inquire if indeed a clear coat has been applied. If the chrome has been clear coated, then you will simply want to approach any clean up and protection of the chrome in the same
manner that you would the other painted surfaces on your ride.

If you determine that there is no clear coating that has been applied to the chrome, then proceed to use a high quality chrome polish with an appropriate applicator. The applicator that you choose will depend upon how dull and/or rust pitted the area has become. Remember, while chrome may appear to be a very hard metal, it is actually quite soft and can be scratched. Always be sure to test polish a small area before you begin to polish a larger area. By testing an inconspicuous area first, you want to be sure that you are not scratching the chrome as you clean and polish it.

For a more aggressive polishing, as in areas that are rust pitted, use a 0000 steel wool with plenty of polish acting as not only a cleaner but also as a lubricant to avoid scratches. Often a better choice for general cleaning and polishing is a polyester scuff pad. These pads are available in a variety of levels of aggressiveness. It is the safest practice to begin polishing with a milder scuff pad and moving up to a more aggressive pad, if needed.

After you have cleaned and polished the chrome, apply a quality wax or sealant to really bring out the shine and to protect it and keep it looking great for a long time. For chrome wheels, apply a
sealant rather than a wax for the best longevity and protection.

Now enjoy your ride and take it out for a spin to gaze at the sparkling beauty of that freshly cleaned chrome . . .

Considerations For Choosing The Best Brush For The Task

By Rick Prevette

When choosing which brush to use for a task, many of us will consider the size and the type of brush head as well as the length and grip of the handle. But, we often forget to consider one of the most important factors and that is what kind of brush fibers should I use.

There are probably more types of brush fibers to choose from that you care to think about. Let’s take a look at just some of the more common ones that you are likely to come across in your choices for the care of your BMW.

  • Polypropylene – A very durable bristle that is most often used for scrubbing. Its durability extends to resisting acids, solvents and most chemicals.
  • Polystyrene – Another very durable material that resists water, oil and chemicals. Often used for aggressive cleaning and has excellent flexibility. The bristle ends can be flagged (finely split) for use in body brushes. Both the Polypropylene and Polystyrene brushes are good choices for cleaning engines, wheel wells, etc.
  • Tampico – Derived from a vegetable fiber that comes from the Agave plant grown in Mexico. This fiber has a soft to medium texture and is naturally resistant to liquids, solvents and heat. Holds liquids very well and works great for cleaning carpeting.
  • Nylon – There are many different grades available varying from stiff to the new softer Nylex bristles that are often used for washing. Well known for its long wearing ability and resistance to rot, mildew, alkalis, most solvents and heat. Brushes for scrubbing tires will often use nylon whereas brushes for wheels will use Nylex which is a much softer form of nylon that won’t scratch.
  • Horsehair – An excellent choice for removal of fine dust and particles from smooth or polished surfaces without scratching. Also is a great brush to clean upholstery and fabrics.
  • Boars Hair – A very durable and soft hair that is naturally thick and will hold a tremendous amount of water. Maintains its shape and will not become limp when wet. Most often used as a wash brush as its properties make it an excellent choice as well as the fact that it will not scratch delicate paint surfaces.
  • China – A soft texture that is naturally tapered to a fine end point. Often selected to be used for window cleaning or for dusting and fine detailing due to its gentle removal of fine particles and its ability to reach into small crevices.
  • Brass Wire – A soft metal bristle that is often used to remove residues from most metal and durable coated parts without running the risk of severely scratching the surface. An excellent choice for aggressive metal cleaning.
  • Stainless Steel Wire – Highly resistant to corrosion and rusting. Used where non-corrosive cleaning of parts with a cleaning compound is needed or for removing rust, metal burrs, paint, etc.
  • Steel Wire – A mild, low carbon steel that is often galvanized to resist corrosion. Usually has a bright diamond finish and a high tensile strength spring temper for lower fatigue. Used in similar situations as the stainless steel wire.

The next time that you are choosing a brush, consider the best fiber to use to help you get the best results. Thanks for reading and as always, enjoy your ride . . .

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