New Purpose Built Audi & VW Workshop

BM Tech have been servicing BMWs for over 26 years. When BMW started manufacturing the new Mini earlier this century, BM Tech began servicing this make as well.

Over the years we have had many clients ask us to service their other cars with the same level of customer service and attention to detail, and occasionally we have. Now, due to your requests, BM Tech has set up a new purpose built workshop with expert mechanics for both the Audi and Volkswagen makes, AVW Tech.

You will find AVW Tech right next door to BM Tech Canterbury.

At AVW Tech you will experience the same great level of service for your Audi or VW that you have become accustomed to at BM Tech.

For the inaugural opening of AVW Tech we have a special offer of 25% off your Audi or VW service until the end of November, 2015.  For bookings or to make an enquiry please call 9836-1000. Thanks.

Blue Audi & Black VW

The BM Tech Lifestyle Fashion Event

On the evening of the 21st May, BM Tech hosted a special evening of fashion and decadence in a boutique secret location in Collingwood hosted by Fashion Stylist, Nadia Bartel.

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BM Tech arranged to have three local and exclusive Fashion Designers who recently showcased their designs at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival at this event. For BM Tech clients that didn’t get the chance to get to the Festival and see Melbourne’s finest Designers, the evening allowed them to get up close to their exquisite creations. We were fortunate to have top Designers, Yeojin Bae, Livia Arena and Aurelio Costarella, displaying their latest creations.

The night began with people arriving on the white carpet and being greeted with a glass of exquisite boutique sparkling wine and decadent desserts by Burch & Purchese. The desserts were simply amazing and deliciously devoured throughout the evening. The background music was the sound of a wonderful harp played by the very talented Harpist, Huhana Rae.

What I loved was seeing the expressions on everyone’s faces as they were asked to pose for photographs in front of our media board; it was like they were treated as celebrities! We even had a glimpse of glamour with the presence of Jessica Peart who is a finalist in the 2015 Miss Universe Australia! Good luck to Jessica who is competing for the title in June.

Fashion Stylist, Editor and Curator, Nadia Bartel, did a magnificent job in hosting the BM Tech event and treated everyone with her personal insight into each of the Designer’s creations and stories.  Her interview with Yeojin Bae was inspiring to say the least. Please watch the videos below of Nadia talking about the designers and their creations, as well as her interview with Yeojin Bae. You can also find out more about Nadia at her online fashion hub at The Chronicles of Nadia.

We were also proud to be supporting the Think Pink Foundation at this event. The Think Pink Foundation is an amazing group of people who help and support women going through breast cancer, especially for women who are from regional areas who have to come to the city for treatment. The Foundation assists these women with all sorts of amazing things including supportive care, education programmes; a range of therapies and accommodation.

We were able to capture some of the evening and have shared this with you in the online gallery. Click through and please be patient for the images to load… enjoy!

BM Tech at the Australian Motoring Festival

The Australian Motoring Festival was held in March at the Melbourne Showgrounds and we were fortunate to have secured a display stand in the retail hub pavilion to showcase BM Tech to the public.

This event was formed with the cooperation of the RACV and the VACC to re-introduce a new-style motor show for Melbourne.

Many of you would remember the fantastic motor shows which Melbourne used to hold every March. This show began in 1935 and for years was such a great event, frequented by well over 100,000 people.

Unfortunately over time, some of the car manufacturers stopped displaying their cars and the show eventually came to a disappointing demise in 2011.

I think an international city like Melbourne definitely needs a motor show.  These shows are a great way to see and check out the latest models and give the public a great chance to compare every make and model in one convenient location.

To the RACV and VACC’s credit, I think they have created a unique and novel way to see and compare cars in a new, interactive way. This new motor show definitely did that in ways which I’d never seen before. Being able to roadtest a new model on a test-track was a big bonus to potential buyers and I’m sure this part of the event will only get bigger and better.

What I loved about this show was that it allowed the motor industry to showcase not only new cars, but also showed the public how cars are designed and made to showcasing the latest accessories; it even showcased a vast range of the new and ever-popular e-Bikes , which were a huge hit.

One accessory which I never knew existed was this amazing new mini jump-start battery, the size of which can fit in your pocket, which can start an engine with a dead flat battery several times, and can also re-charge your mobile phone or even run your laptop for many hours. I had to buy one of course!

A big hit was the amazing classic cars on display. Having these cars on show revealed to the public where cars came from and how they have progressed over the years. It was a real treat seeing these beautifully restored cars all under one roof.

Our display looked terrific and we had a ball meeting many new people over the four days.  We also met quite a few potential new customers including many existing ones who came by to say hello.  Not only were we presenting BMW and Mini owners the benefits of having their cars serviced and repaired with us, but we were also informing everyone about our new products such as the Torque Tuner, which improves low-down performance and the new German-made tow bars which we have recently become agents for.

Judging by the success of the event this year, we are hopeful to once again attend next year.

Even though there only a handful of manufacturers there, I believe this first show was a big success and has laid the foundations for a bigger and better event next year. Rumour has it that BMW and Subaru will display their cars next year! I really hope that all the car manufacturers embrace this new style motor show because the public needs to be informed about the latest models and technology trends, and with electric cars now becoming more and more common, the need to inform and educate the motorist is now more important than ever.

All in all, the Australian Motoring Festival was an important hit for the motoring public and I believe that if every car manufacturer gets on board, it will truly become one of the great international motor shows on the world calendar. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

Joe at the BM Tech stand at the new Motor Show
Joe at the BM Tech stand at the new Motor Show

Going Overseas? Helpful hints for your BMW or Mini

Planning a Long Trip?

Over the past few years, we have noticed a growing trend with many of our customers travelling overseas, especially during our winter months.  However, a problem can arise with a car’s battery if it is not being used for more than a week. Each year, we have many instances with flat batteries after the owners arrive back from holidays!   BM Tech offers many solutions to this dreaded no-startsituation, including:

  • Free Battery Testing while-you-wait, using our electronic carbon-pile battery tester.
  • Servicing of your vehicle whilst you are away. This is where we can pick up your car from your home and then deliver it back once the service (and the battery check) is complete, and
  • an Airport Valet Service* where you can leave your vehicle at BM Tech for service and then we can drop you off at the airport. Once we’ve finished the service, we then deliver the car to Jet Port Parking. On your arrival you will be picked up by the Jet Port Courtesy Bus to take you back to your vehicle.

If you would like more specific information, please call our Canterbury Branch on 9836-1888 or Essendon on 9379-8810 where our service advisers will be able to answer any queries. Thank you.   Kind regards, Joe Brogno * Airport Valet Service available from BM Tech Essendon branch

Finally, a simple way to increase performance.

Torque TunerThe Torque Tuner is a new product which significantly increases the performance of your vehicle without any programming or invasive computer alterations. It simply an electronic device which plugs into your vehicle.

How does it work? Torque Tuner

Most modern cars these days have done away with accelerator cables and instead now use a fly-by-wire accelerator setup which is electronically controlled. Put simply, when you’re depressing the accelerator pedal, you’re actually moving an electronic component which sends a signal to the engine computer, which in turn opens the engine throttle.

What the Torque Tuner simply does is change the signal to make the computer think that you are accelerating more than you actually are, and this opens the throttle sooner and quicker. What this does is bring the power or rather, the torque down to where you use it most – when taking off from standstill or driving up steep winding roads or even when towing boats etc.

Since there are no internal computer changes, this device does not actually increase the overall power and torque of your engine; however it does increase low down torque to a much more useable level. The result is quicker, more responsive acceleration.

No Side Effects!

I’ve done a lot of research and investigation into this product because I needed to be sure that it was safe and reliable and wouldn’t affect any part or system on your vehicle and I can confidently say that there are absolutely no side-effects or drivability issues.

Torque Tuner

PRE-PAID & FREE SERVICING: An Investigation into the Benefits and Downsides

There’s been a lot of hype and publicity recently about pre-paid servicing or free servicing which car manufacturers are offering their customers. Well I won’t hide the fact that this is certainly a threat to our business because a large portion of the cars we work on are less than three years old and still under warranty, so it makes sense that pre-paid servicing is well and truly on our radar.

Of course I’m all for people getting a better deal and saving money where they can, but what I want to make sure is that the public are making an educated decision and not falling for any hype or misconceptions, or worse still, paying more than they should.Pre-paid servicing is simply that; service and repairs, paid upfront for the next three to five years or 60,000 kms to 100,000 kms.  My wife and I recently bought a new BMW X3 and I asked the salesman if there was any free servicing in the deal, he indicated that there was that option but I would have had to pay for it, so it wasn’t free at all!  In fact, we paid about $3000 less for the car because we bought it without the free servicing!

These pre-paid service plans are called Service Inclusive packages.  To be eligible the cars need to be less than 12 months old and not had any services yet.  These plans also begin from the date of the first registration.

I suppose the biggest advantage is that the pre-paid service amount could be packaged in the price of the car and included in the lease payments and that sounds pretty good, but then I thought about it for while and came up with the conclusion that if I included the pre-paid service through the purchase of the car, I’m also going to be paying interest on the service component.  One other disadvantage is that you cannot get your money back if you have to sell the car or if it gets written off before the contract expires, however it is transferrable to the new owner, which could make it a good selling point.

I thought the only way I could benefit is if the cost of the pre-paid service amount would be less than if I was to pay for it normally when the service was performed, so I did a ton of research and discovered a lot about this new concept.  I found that if you were to travel an average amount of kilometres per year and continued to take the car back to the dealer for service, you could actually be better off under one of these plans compared to paying the dealer their normal prices, which is a good thing.  The other advantage to pre-paying would be that the prices are locked into today’s prices and shielded from future price rises.

On the other hand, if you were to take your car to an independent service centre like BM Tech, in most cases and depending on which plan you decide on and the amount of kilometres you travel per year, you would still come out spending less than if you purchased a pre-paid service plan from the dealer!Caption2

BM Tech could therefore be a viable, cost saving option – especially since we service all of our cars by the book using original parts, meaning that there wouldn’t be any difference in quality.

There are two levels of Service Inclusive plans: BASIC and PLUS.  The BASIC plan covers all levels of servicing as indicated on the Condition Based Service (CBS) computer, but excludes brakes, clutch and wiper rubbers. This plan includes, scheduled oil services, vehicle checks, brake fluid changes, spark plugs, microfilters as well as air filters.

The PLUS plan includes everything as in the Basic plan but also includes brake pads and discs, and wiper rubbers (wiper rubbers only with an oil change), and would you believe a worn clutch!  Another little quirk which will definitely go against the pre-paid plans is that the PLUS plans seem to be priced on the assumption that the brake discs will always need to be replaced when the pads are due.  This is not always the case.  If you pay for a PLUS plan but it turns out that discs are not required on your car during the plan period, then you will almost certainly end up paying significantly more with the pre-paid plan than if you serviced it with us; it really is a gamble sometimes!

I have tabled three examples, all based on the BMW 325i E92. The first table is for a car travelling low kilometres, the second is based on average kilometres and the third is based on high yearly kilometres.  These tables are there to highlight how much you would save or, I hate to say, lose if you were to take your car to BM Tech for service versus purchasing a pre-paid plan from a dealer.

My calculations are based on our experience of when the services are normally likely to be due.  This is not an exact science because the BMW Condition Based Service (CBS) computer uses sensors to monitor the condition of the worn parts to ascertain the extent to which servicing is necessary.  However, it’s fair to say, based on our experience and assuming you drive your car sensibly, Oil Services on modern cars are usually required at around 30,000 kms, and brakes are normally replaced at around 40,000 – 50,000 kms, so my calculations are based on these assumptions.  Time based services like Vehicle Checks and Brakefluid flushes are performed every 12 and 24 months respectively.

The first example (Table 1) is based on a typical 325i E92 travelling approximately  12,000 kms per year which has a pre-paid plan limited to 60,000 kms. It’s important to note that prices will vary depending on how many kilometres a car travels per year, but 12,000 kms or less is very common for a suburban vehicle.

Table1

It’s important to note that the BM Tech estimated costs also take into account estimated CPI increases each of 2.5% PA, but actual increases could of course be more or less than this.

 I think the next example is likely to be the most common one. Table 2 is based on the same BMW travelling an average of 15,000 kms per year which has a pre-paid plan limited to 100,000 kms. Among the cars we see, 15,000 kms per year seems to be about what most people who live in the suburbs travel these days.

Table2

As you can see in table 2, if this sort of usage matches how you use your car, BM Tech is likely to be a winner.

The following example (table 3) is based on the same car travelling 20,000 kms per year which has a pre-paid plan limited to 100,000 kms.

Table3

This last table highlights the fact that the more kilometres you travel per year, the more likely you are to get value out of a pre-paid plan.

To summarise, I suppose I have to admit that these plans are kind of okay if you intend to travel lots of kilometres, but then again, if you were to travel the average kilometres per year, then BM Tech would be the obvious choice.  If you intend to have your car only serviced at the dealer, a pre-paid plan is worth considering.

What I find very interesting is that the pre-paid plans don’t seem to be too cost effective for cars which travel at or below the normal average kilometres, which makes me think that the manufacturer has carefully designed and calculated the plans to ensure that they are not unduly disadvantaged!

My thoughts, based on my research and calculations, would be to keep your money in the bank, let it earn interest (or pay down some of your mortgage!) and then pay for your service as you go with an independent specialist like us – you’ll more likely be better off, but then again I am biased!

If you would like more information or would like to see my calculations in detail, then please don’t hesitate to come into one of our branches. We would be more than happy to discuss the advantages and pitfalls of pre-paid plans with you.

SPECIAL EDITION: How to Deal With Carbon & Sludge

THE PROBLEM WITH MODERN ENGINES

The modern engine is an amazing technological marvel. Car manufacturers around the world have been designing engines to be environmentally friendly, very economical and incredibly powerful.

The use of high-tech alloys and computer controlled mechanicals has enabled engine designers to build engines which 20 years ago would have been unheard of.

Today’s engines have amazing new components like variable camshaft control and variable valve openings, just to name a few. All these new systems and devices have quadrupled the amount of internally moving parts inside the engine, particularly the cylinder head. Again, compared to twenty years ago, this is mind boggling!

Strict environmental controls and emissions standards, and consumer demands for better fuel economy and performance have also forced designers to develop direct injection systems for both petrol and diesel engines. These new injection systems now inject fuel directly inside the combustion chamber instead of inside the inlet manifold and port. The advancement in technology has enabled this super-efficient design to now become available.

SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

Now okay, you may think these new high-tech engines are good, and of course they are, but like many things in life, good things always seem to come with a price, or even unintended consequences.

Please excuse me if I now become a bit more technical but I’ll try and keep it to a minimum.

Sometimes technology generates new problems. Take the inlet manifold, for example. Once, there was a carburettor sitting on top of the engine. Air mixed with fuel was delivered above the throttle, which was awash in petrol, one of the world’s great solvents. So carbon could not build up because of the washing action of the swirling, fuel laden air.

Direct injection doesn’t have the fuel mixed with the air, so the natural cleaning action of the petrol can’t occur anymore. So yet again the introduction of new and better systems has by their very design caused an unintended problem.

As a result, it’s common now to find vehicles with very dirty inlet manifolds and throttle bodies caused by carbon build up, bad enough to cause some components to stick and fail. In extreme cases, the blockages can be so bad that the airflow entering the engine becomes restricted. Such an obstruction can result in poor idle, a stalling condition and a drop in performance and fuel economy. Customers complain of a loss of power or poor fuel economy.

Sludge 1

SERIOUS OIL SLUDGE

Another issue modern engines face is one which can be easily preventable. It’s the fact that many, many engines are creating huge amounts of internal sludge.

Our experience has shown that sludge is most likely caused by excessively long oil change intervals. We’ve seen so many “dealer serviced” engines which have enormous amounts of sludge build up.

The intervals that BMW follows under the maintenance program, as well as the intervals indicated by the vehicle’s on-board oil change reminder system, are in our opinion far too long. Additionally, this is compounded by short drive times, as the condensation and acids in the oil do not get hot enough to burn off. Technically, oil sludge is the breakdown product of over-stressed oil in your engine.

SO WHAT’S CAUSING THE SLUDGE?

Oil that is stressed by contaminants and oxidation, or if it has to work longer that it was really designed to, will break down into a gel that sticks to your engine parts. As the gel or sludge sticks, there is less good oil to circulate and do its protective job.

A sludge contaminated engine is being damaged every minute it’s operating. Sludge can also block up oil galleries and pipes, resulting in loss of oil pressure. This lack of oil pressure and flow can cause catastrophic component failures like worn timing chains and bearing failures. These failures are things we see first-hand on many occasions.

ENGINES BEGIN TO BURN AND USE OIL

Sludge build up, as well as carbon build up can also cause engines to use or rather burn oil, resulting in annoying and costly oil top ups as well as blowing smoke from the exhaust. The combination of carbon build up and sludge around the piston rings creates a situation where the oil control rings can’t scrape the oil off the bores during the piston’s downward stroke. Normally, the oil would flow from the rings and then through the small drain holes behind where the rings sit. If the drain holes are blocked then the oil remains on the surface of the bore and consequently gets burnt during the power stroke in the cylinder.

WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?

Now I have good news! As you know, the advent of cutting-edge technology has given rise to the development of amazing new engine designs and injection systems. At the same time, cutting-edge technology has also enabled chemical engineers to design incredible new additives which remove and dissolve carbon deposits and sludge build up.

Now before you start baulking at the word additives, things are different nowadays. Years ago, many shonky companies were exposed for selling additives which did nothing like they claimed. Of course this gave the motor industry a bad name and fortunately, additives became a thing of the past. These days, additives actually work and some are even endorsed by manufacturers to fix minor and in some cases, major issues, especially transmissions which can develop harsh shifting.

Carbon On Valves

ADDITIVES ARE BACK!

The good news is there are now some fantastic products out there to combat excessive carbon and sludge build up. We’ve been using these additives and chemicals for some time now with great success. Many customers have been delighted with the results, especially on the oil burning engines, which the use of additives reduced oil consumption and restored performance.

Below are the types of additives available and their applications:

OIL PRE-FLUSH:
This is added to the engine oil 15 minutes prior to changing the old oil. This removes excessive sludge from piston rings and oil galleries. Reduces oil consumption and restores performance and reliability. Engine smoke is also reduced or eliminated. Costs $33.00

FUEL TREATMENT:
Added to fuel tank. This chemical removes carbon deposits around intake valves and cleans fuel injector nozzles. Ongoing use like every three months is good to maintain a clean system. This additive costs $38.50 per serve.

FUEL TREATMENT INTENSIVE CLEAN:
Commonly called Carbon Clean. There are two versions: one for old engines and one for new engines. A Machine apparatus is required to connect to the fuel system where a chemical is mixed with the petrol or air and then the engine runs on this solution for about one hour. This is similar to the tank additive except that it is extremely powerful. This chemical removes carbon deposits around intake ports and valves. Cleans and unblocks fuel injector nozzles.

This should be performed every 30,000 kms on modern engines and every 40,000 kms on older technology engines. This costs $175 for a Carbon Clean on petrol engines and $275 to $295 on diesel engines.

So there you have it, modern engines are good but they can have their pitfalls. Fortunately we now have exciting and relatively low-cost solutions to keep these amazing, high-tech engines in tip-top running condition.

The New BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

It’s a fact that BMW have always been real trend setters when it comes to vehicle design and innovation, but there’s one trend which I find quite interesting, and that is calling a four door car a coupe! It began with the X6 Coupe which we all know is a four door, and now it’s the 6 series’ turn to wear the “I’m a sedan but call me a coupe” name. From a marketing point of view, it’s got everyone talking, and I suppose that’s what it’s all about. Even Mercedes have jumped on the band-wagon.

BMW_6_Series_Gran_Coupe_1

Anyway, regardless of the name, it would not deter me from owning one (however I think the price tag would). I think it’s one of the best looking sedans ever made by BMW. We all know the two door versions normally look better than their four door counterparts and this one actually looks like a two door version. It’s obvious why they call it a coupe; it looks so damn good!

I haven’t had the pleasure of driving one yet, but who cares? I mean, how bad can it be? It is from BMW; one of the best car manufacturers in the world. It has to drive brilliantly! Just reading the specifications is enough to start the heart pumping.

There are two versions you can buy here:

The 640i Gran Coupe has a 3.0 litre 6 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 235 kW of power and accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds. Would you believe the fuel economy is still an incredibly low 7.9 L/100kms. Amazing!

The 650i Gran Coupe has the beautiful 4.4 litre V8 engine. This engine has a whopping 330 kW of power and you’ll reach 0-100km/h in just 4.6 seconds!

These cars are packed with safety features as well as high efficiency systems to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. One real innovative feature is when the car is braking; the kinetic energy created is converted into electricity. How clever is that? Another is the auto stop-start function, where the engine will switch off once you come to a stop, like a traffic lights. When you take your foot off the brake, the engine will immediately re-start. This feature can definitely save a lot of fuel.

I think the 6 Series Gran Coupe is an incredible car with amazingly good looks but at a price of around $199,000 for the 640i and $256,000 for the 650i, I think it’s a bit overpriced. A similar (good looking) car at around half the price is the new 535i sedan; that’s what I would buy!

Regardless of the price, I’m sure they’ll be selling quite a few of these 6 Series Gran Sedans, oops, I mean Coupes.

Our New BM Tech Business Lounge

For many of you the inconvenience of being without your car is very annoying and at times, quite disruptive to your normal work routine. To make your life a little easier, we have introduced a new Customer Business Lounge for those who would like to carry on their business while we service their BMW or Mini at the Canterbury Branch.

Business Lounge with Grass image C

This lounge is not actually a waiting room; instead it’s been designed to be your second, temporary office, where you will be able to enjoy all the same benefits as you would in your own home or office.

The BM Tech Business Lounge offers, free Wi-Fi, desks, a laser printer and a photocopier/scanner/ fax. You will even have access to a computer if you need one.

The business lounge is available to all our BMW and Mini clients free of charge; however bookings are essential as we can only accommodate a few clients at a time. There are some conditions so please do not hesitate in contacting the Canterbury Branch on 9836-1888 for more information.