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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 11-26-2005, 12:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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E36 Winter Driving Tips!

During the holidays you will be driving alot more. Whether shopping for XBox 360s, Ipod & Plasma screen TVs or wisiting GrandMa's house you MUST maintain your car for winter driving. and BMW are no exceptions especially the E36 3 Series.


1. Make sure air is in the spare tire. Most important thing that 99% of drivers forget to do.

2. Check tire pressure/ shocks & suspensions. Cold weather affects tire pressure more than warm weather.

3. Get snow tires or winter ready tires if needed. Now is the time to get new tires anyway if you need them.

4. Keep personal squeegy in trunk in addition to snow scraper.

5. Get WD40 and armorall if you don't have already & keep in trunk.

6. check radiator and make sure it's not loose or sagging as can be common on the E36 car. (see radiator fix DIY)

7. Remember BMWs 1992- 1998 3 series BMWs are ALL rear wheel drive and cannot handle snow driving well. Even with traction control, correct tire pressure/snow tires or chains. So think twice before driving out into snow storms.

8. E36 Power steering fluid in the reservoir tends to dribble out and leak in colder weather. So refills may be needed more often.

9. Update belts and tension pulleys if needed.

10. Make sure battery is good. Lots of battery failures in cold weather. Also keep jumper cables handy in the trunk this time of year.

This list is additive....so please add your own ideas.
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Old 11-26-2005, 01:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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what do u need armoral and wd40 for?
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Old 11-26-2005, 07:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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lubrication... use your imagination where you'll need lubrication at.
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Old 11-26-2005, 09:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here is a good tip SLOW DOWN
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Old 11-27-2005, 10:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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wd40...
lubing stiff joints and cleaning road salt and gunk out your engine...
armorall...for your dash to prevent the plastic from drying out and fading in the winter weather...
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Old 11-27-2005, 08:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Throwing a bag of sand or salt in the trunk helps. It will help if you get stuck and the weight over the weels will help for traction.
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Old 11-28-2005, 03:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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good comments - couple of extra's ;
1)Screen wash - topped up, with lots of anti freeze, wiper blades OK also ?
2)Fuses - check all spares present and correct - which saved my ass last winter
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Old 11-29-2005, 04:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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two bags of sand/salt work. granted the last bmw i drove in the winter (my fathers '97 740iL) i put 110 pounds (two bags laying lengthwise) in the back and it worked fantastic (couldn't get much worse than southern nh aka nor'easter HELL). give that a try
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Old 11-29-2005, 06:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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WASH YOUR CAR! There can't be anything worse than the ppl who just let the salt work on their paint. Its not that hard to find a good car wash that uses HOT water and soap. I still managed to wash my car almost once a week up here in Canada. The key to the entire process get the underbody too.

Ya it might freeze and bit, just a quick towel down of the door seems and seals and your car can look like you've stored it all winter when spring comes 'round. (not soon enough)

Just my tip....
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Old 11-30-2005, 04:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Throw 100-150 lb's in the trunk and slow down.. thats about it.

Depending on what tires your running you may want to swap them out.. running high performance tires in the winter isnt impossible.. but ussually the tread patterns suck in the snow.
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Old 12-02-2005, 04:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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My tip...

If you've got chrome wheels, replace them with you standard rims until the spring. The salt they spread on the road with eat them up and leave you needing a new set in the next year.

Also make sure your radiator has enough anti-freeze in it. The worst thing that could happen is for your water to freeze and crack your engine. The water should look distinctly blue. If it's only a tint, it needs topping up.


my 2 cents
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Old 12-02-2005, 11:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I disagree with number 7. FWD is just more predictable. AWD only helps when starting from a stop. If you're used to oversteer than you should feel no less confident in a RWD. Steer in the direction of the skid - not the way the car is facing.

That having been said, drive safe, drive smart. Speed is relatively irrelevant when considering inclimate weather. Before you think that is a stupid statement - it's not speed, but the change in speed and direction that kills you. Going from 0-20 in 0.5 seconds is more dangerous than 60-70 in 5.0 seconds. Remember that. No sudden changes in energy. Keep it smooth and constant, and you should be safe at any speed.
That being said, take the longest line, the most forgiving curve, and try not to use the brake. This will keep you alive.

And from personal experience, Pirelli Pzero Nero M&S's throughout the middle of their lifespan are a bad idea on non-salted roads. Just FYI.


These are all very good tips (especially about the radiator bits) - keep 'em coming!
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Old 12-02-2005, 12:30 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Let your car sit and idle for a little bit before you drive it. Even if you drive conservatively let your car warm up if it's below freezing outside, then drive it. Your car is a lot like you in the winter, takes a little longer to wake up.
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Old 12-02-2005, 05:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
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nice tips guys, ill defintely have to use these for my new 325.
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Old 12-23-2005, 10:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Let your car sit and idle for a little bit before you drive it. Even if you drive conservatively let your car warm up if it's below freezing outside, then drive it. Your car is a lot like you in the winter, takes a little longer to wake up.
yeah whenever i give my friends rides in the winter they get pissed that i sit for a minute warming up my car
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