Apr 272014
Pry tool used to check bushings

Pry tool used to check bushings

This weekend I gave my 1999 M3 a thorough checkup. The car is running great but it also turned 15 years old this month. In performing the inspection I was greatly aided by these excellent videos from Bavarian Autosport.

An important area I wanted to focus on was the suspension bushings. Bushings connect the suspension components to other parts of the car, allowing a range of movement and minimizing vibration. My car has only 61K miles, but bushings are made from rubber and  wear out over time. Most of the bushings on my car are original, so I was anxious to see how they have held up.

Overall the M3 suspension was in great shape — the car is aging like a fine wine. I did discover a potential problem. In the rear, both my control arms have too much movement, so those will need to be replaced. The car needs an alignment since I replaced the front struts late last year, so I’ll have the control arm bushings replaced before the alignment.

Here’s the video segment that shows the components I need to replace:

With the car up in the air and wheels off, it was also easy to inspect the brakes. There is plenty of brake pad remaining (those are not original), and the rotors still look fine as well. No signs of leaks anywhere, and I rotated the tires.

Front right brake looking good

Brakes looking good

Even if you don’t choose to do the work yourself, this kind of DIY inspection provides great piece of mind. You as the owner know first hand what needs to be refreshed on your vehicle. If you have a good relationship with an independent mechanic, you can often purchase the parts needed directly and save a lot of money that way as well.

Take a few minutes and watch these videos. These inspections require no mechanical knowledge, will keep your car running well and could save you big money. Although not titled as such, the videos can also serve as an excellent pre-purchase inspection list if you’re in the market for a used BMW.


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