der Bayerische March/April 2021 - 30

You Now Have The Time To Save
Some Money
By James Chew

G

rowing up in Southern
California during the 1960s
and 1970s, I was fully
immersed in that unique car culture.
Part of that culture was working on
cars every weekend, performing preventive maintenance, scheduled
maintenance, vehicle customization,
repairs, or giving the car a " bath " .
Because I was determined NOT
to be one of those helpless people on
the side of the road in the event that
the car I was driving broke down, I
took three years of high school auto
shop. In fact, I owe a great deal of my
interest in autos to my high school
Auto Shop teacher, the late Mr. Frank
Draves. For some reason he took an
interest in me, taking the time to
nurture the auto interest in my then
awkward and bespectacled collegeprep self. Every time I'm reviewing a
new auto design, sitting behind the
wheel of a new prototype, or driving
on a race track, I think about him.
To give you an idea of car reliability of that era, when I bought my
first car (a 1980 Dodge Omni 024),
I made a multi-compartment metal

30

box to carry tools, duct tape, a can of
oil, a funnel, a bottle jack, jumper
cables, gloves, work clothes, and
various spare parts that were prone to
premature wear. Because I lived in
the California high desert, a gallon
container of water was always placed
in the car before a long trip.
Mr. Draves taught me that the
weekly car maintenance routine gave
us an opportunity to " get to know " our
car. In addition to the required work,
one would generally inspect the
hoses, drive belts, fluid levels, windshield wipers, and tires. Purchasing
the parts for the required work
involved visiting a car parts store,
which was a storefront with a long
counter and a couple of bar stools,
with duct-taped seat covers. Those
bar stools were generally occupied by
regular " customers " who would pass
the time with the parts counter staff,
consuming endless cups of coffee
and smoking an endless number of
cigarettes, while getting caught up on
the local town gossip as well as telling
(and re-telling) fascinating " car tales. "
When you approached the

counter and asked for parts, the
counter person would always ask
about the task which you were about
to perform. You then received a
wealth of advice from the regulars.
Much to the credit of the scientists, engineers, and designers of
modern cars, one no longer needs to
perform weekly car maintenance nor
carry in your vehicle an emergency
tool kit. I suspect that our local chapter DIY events are popular because
vehicle parts stores with knowledgeable staff are quite rare and finding a
place that takes used vehicle fluids
has become nearly impossible.
To give you an idea about how unusual vehicle DIY service is in today's
driving world, during my refueling
stops people routinely tell me that my
hood is popped open. The look on
their faces when they watch me lift the
hood to give the engine compartment
a visual inspection (and a quick wipe
down) is priceless.
Many first time BMW buyers
were attracted to our beloved brand
by the free scheduled maintenance
program. And we've all noticed that

with each passing model year, there is
a noticeable reduction in the services,
parts, and timeline covered by that
program.
I was surprised to learn that one
service that was never covered by the
free schedule maintenance program
was tire rotation. When I asked one of
the BMW dealer service writers why
this essential service was not covered,
I was informed that because BMWs
have a 50/50 weight distribution, tire
rotation was not needed. But if I
insisted, such a service cost $100.
Long ago I learned that because
they know everything, arguing with a
millennial is an exercise in futility.
I noticed that every BMW dealer is
heavily promoting the fact that they
sell original equipment tires, which
no doubt is the contributing factor for
that same absurd comment coming
from every BMW dealer service writer,
no matter the dealership.
Anyone who owns a BMW with
run-flat tires has discovered that (1)
replacing them is not inexpensive,
and (2) tread life is significantly less
than non-run-flat tires. Because they

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der Bayerische March/April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of der Bayerische March/April 2021

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der Bayerische March/April 2021 - Cover2
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