When it comes to oil services, we recommend every 15 000KM’s for non-turbo engines and 12 000KM’s for turbo-charged engines, or every 12 months – whichever happens first. On CBS vehicles, we advise that you adhere to the car’s instructions as to when service items are due – all except the oil services. The vehicles would tell you to have oil services done every approximate 25 000KM’s. These intervals are too big and this causes sludging in the engine. Sludging can cause numerous other problems, which can be avoided by changing the oil and filter more regularly.
This answer is different for different vehicles. With the older models, like the E46’s, there is a sequence to be followed: oil service, inspection 1, oil service, inspection 2. And then the sequence is repeated again. In terms of parts, both an oil service and inspection 1 requires oil and an oil filter. An inspection 2 service includes oil, oil filter, air filter, micro filter, spark plugs (on petrol engines), and petrol or diesel filters (unless it’s in the fuel tank). With an inspection 1 service, more items on the vehicle is visually checked.
The newer vehicles have Condition-Based Servicing or CBS. This means that all the service items have been split up. Based on your driving style, and conditions, as well as time or mileage elapsed, the car will indicate when a service item is due. Service items are: vehicle check, oil service, spark plug service, micro filter service, brake flush, front brakes and rear brakes. Some diesel powered vehicles also include the diesel particle filter as a service item. The air filter is not regarded as a service item, but should be replaced at regular intervals. If the vehicle has an in-line fuel filter (as opposed to a filter in the fuel tank), it should be replaced at regular intervals.
A vehicle check is a service item. This is when the vehicle is connected to the diagnostic machine to see if there are any electronic faults stored.
A brake flush should be done on average every two to three years. The brake fluid gets dirty, which can affect the efficiency of the braking system. Brake fluid also draws water into the system over time, so it’s necessary to replace the fluid and bleed the system again.
It is best to check all levels first thing in the morning, when the engine is switched off and cold. This way, all the oil has had a chance to return to the sump, which would give an accurate reading on the dipstick. Of course, some of the newer vehicles do not have dipsticks, and you are reliant on the electronic gauge on the instrument cluster. If you need to top up your coolant/water level, we recommend you only do so, using coolant purchased at a BMW or MINI dealership.
Decatting is when the catalytic converters are removed from the exhaust system. As the design differs on various vehicles, so do the costs. Some cars have two exhaust manifolds, where others have one. With some, it is best to remove the entire canister from the exhaust and replace it with a straight pipe. Where on others, it works well to merely cut the canister open and remove the honeycomb-like catalytic converter. The original canister is then welded closed again. On the older vehicles, no software upgrades are required. However, on the newer cars, when decatting the car, you have to do a software upgrade at the same time, telling the vehicle that the cats have been removed.
Usually we only recommend decatting when the car experiences problems, due to the cats being blocked. On some vehicles, the cats come loose and it moves inside the canister, causing a blockage in air flow. And sometimes age causes the cats to crumble. Some clients think that decatting will give them more performance, but this is not always the case. For example, on a normally aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine, decatting will not increase the performance substantially. This is because the engine is already so close to its optimum performance capacity. However, there are some models that give very good power gains when the decatting and software has been done. When it comes to software, we offer two options:
1. Decat software only
2. Decat and performance software package.
The expected power gains on the latter will always be included in your estimated quote, so you can make an informed decision.
There are certain items which we fit after-market parts of a high quality. However, when it comes to some parts (like oil filters and belts, for example) we only fit original BMW and MINI parts. There are also some components of which there are no after-market equivalents available.