Car maintenance

I inherited my husband’s 92 BMW 325i after his death. He always handled any car issues. Now it is my duty to keep the car in good repair. I know very little about cars and need to know how to keep this car running in good condition as I do not plan to buy another car anytime soon. Can I get a maintenance schedule that is realistic (not someone using scare tactics) eg. tires, brakes, engine upkeep, tuneups, battery, etc? Things I should know so that I will not be taken advantage of.

The owners manual for the vehicle is your first source for maintenance schedules on the different systems. This will reflect what systems need servicing and when. Other items such as brakes, tires, etc… are wearable components and are inspected to determine if these components need servicing.

You might also want to talk to friends, relatives, or co-workers to see if any can recommend a good/honest mechanic for your future vehicle repairs/service.

I’m sorry to hear of your husbands passing.


If the manual got lost, you can get a Haynes repair manual for your car for any auto store or Walmart. It has all the maintenance needs up from in the first chapter. You could even go to your local libray, and copy the 10 or so pages that deal with routine maintenance.

Whatever you do don’t sign on to a BMW dealership program.

My condolences on your husband’s passing.

Do your best to find the owner’s manual or a repair manual for your car. It probably has special needs like premium fuel and synthetic oil. With the tires, you might do well to replace them with the same tires your late husband purchased. One way to tell when you need new tires is to measure the tread with a penny. Use the space between Lincoln’s head and the edge of the penny. As long as the tread is deeper than the distance between Lincoln’s head and the edge of the penny, your tires are okay. Regarding the battery, most auto parts stores will test it for free and install a new one for the cost of the battery (with no additional labor cost). So if you don’t trust someone when they tell you it is time to buy a new battery, get a second opinion for free. Batteries usually last about four years. Some people replace them every four years before they actually die. This might be a good idea for you. The battery ususlly has a sticker on it with a stamp telling you the month and year in which it was installed. Regarding oil changes, once you have determined the proper interval from the owner’s manual or a repair manual, make sure that you get the oil changes done on time. This is one of the most important things you can do to prolong the life of your car. Getting the oil changed on time will also help your mechanic identify other items that need to be maintained like replacing the air filter and checking the transmission fluid. Also make sure that whoever changes your oil uses the proper oil and the proper oil filter. Learn how to check the oil. If you can’t find the oil dip stick, have a friend who knows about cars show you where it is. With the engine off, pull the dip stick out and clean it with a rag. Then put it back in all the way, pull it out, and look at it to determine how much oil you have. You should get in the habit of doing this whenever you fill-up with gas. If you need to add oil, you can usually read the dip stick or the oil cap to find out what kind of oil is required. It can save you a lot of money to catch a low oil condition before your engine gets toasted. Learn how to check the tire pressure and do it at least once a month. Your tires will last longer and the car will be safer.

A lot of these things can be handled by a full-service gas attendant if he does a thorough job. If one isn’t available in your area, it is a good idea to learn some basic skills. My condolances about your husband.

You should be able to get the owner’s manual at BMW or on line at eBay.