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electronic parts catalog

The BMW Group has implemented a software called ETK or electronic parts catalog (EPC). This software is intended for official dealers in order to facilitate a process or parts selection for its end users who are needed to repair their cars.  BMW ETK allows so select right parts by its OEM number or by providing a VIN number (last seven digits are needed). BMW updates ETK on regular basis once a month.

ETK contains photos and diagrams. The main workflow is to choose a model and country of origin in order to  get correct information by service mans. Despite ETK is normally installed on a desktop platform (only Windows OS are supported at the moment), BMW has recently allowed to its customers to use an online version of this catalog. However, customers are obliged to register. The online version is not that bad, but it is not as convenient as offline one.

Many features are not available. Fortunately, fans and enthusiasts of the brand have created community version of the catalog. In my opinion, one of the best examples is It has unique graphic interface and designed to search parts as fast as possible. Moreover, it has a special feature to filter parts by car options, which is not even present in desktop ETK. Most popular case is searching a specific part by VIN number. VIN number contains all needed info: model, year, type, options. can help car owners to decode VIN numbers and show a lot of information about a car.

The information on VIN can be exported to a pdf file or saved as html page. Without any doubts, this online service is quite useful for those both professionals and fans who desire to repair or extend vehicle configuration. 


The Importance of servicing, using an Independent Specialist rather than a generic garage

Nowadays, cars are becoming more and more sophisticated, making our lives easier but at the same time complicated as well. The producers implement a lot of safety and optional comfort features that are very useful and may even save our lives. One of the leaders in car manufacturing and quality is of course BMW.

The problems start when you need someone to service your car when a problem arises and that`s something that happens to everybody. There are 2 choices at hand: you can go to a generic garage that handles all types of cars or go to a Independent BMW Specialist. The choice is clear, even though a generic garage may have a lot of clientele that doesn`t mean it can fix your problem better that an Independent BMW Specialist, in fact it`s quite the opposite.

Many of the generic garages have no clue on how the BMW software and electronics work and do not have specialized equipment to diagnose the car, mainly because they deal with a lot of different brands of cars and do not invest in specific equipment that cost a lot of money. An independent BMW Specialist has in most cases BMW dealer software and equipment and the price for the servicing will be much lower than going to the BMW dealer which is very expensive and use the same tools. One of the best Independent BMW Specialist i`ve come across is BMW Servicing Cardiff. They have the expertise, software and tools that enable them to fix your beloved BMW better than any generic garage could.

Bavarian Motor Werks makes great cars in terms of quality and durability but are not unbreakable and proper diagnosis of the problem or problems is crucial for proper servicing.
Another important thing about servicing your BMW is always make sure to choose quality parts. There are a lot of companies that produce spare parts but not all have the same quality, that`s why a generic spare part will not last as long as the original BMW one.

Servicing is also important when buying a used car because an Independent BMW Specialist can tell you the shape that the car is in and if you may have problems in the future, if the car has been in a crash, if the airbags have been deployed, the real kilometers and many other things that a generic garage will not be able to tell you. The choice is your!


Tips for looking after your car doors

So many of us spend hundreds of pounds every year on maintenance and peace of mind protection programs to look after what’s under the car bonnet every – from car servicing and repairs to breakdown cover. But frequently overlooked is that of the car door.

Now it may seem a little trivial to point out car door maintenance tips in particular, but as the only entry and exit point to your vehicle, what is the point of a well maintained engine and car mechanics if you can’t get inside, or you find them corroding away?

This article offers some tips to keep your car doors, and your wallet, in mint condition.

Frozen or jammed car locks

Car door locks are prone to a range of problems including rust, ice, failure and general deterioration.

The inside of a car door lock consists primarily of metal parts – which are each highly susceptible and vulnerable to moisture…  not something you want to have to deal with at 7am before the work and school run on a Monday morning!

In the case of cold weather, if you’re lock has frozen (with or without your key in it), you have a number of options…

  • Warm water
  • Hair dryer
  • De-icer
  • Heating up the key with a lighter or matches
  • Dipping of key in Vaseline before insertion into the lock (turning it back and forward a few times before removing again)

Grease in the form of WD40 (use a can with a long thin application tube) can work well too. Greasing the lock, and other key parts of your vehicle for that matter, on a weekly basis can preserve the life of your locks (and your sanity!!).

Whatever the reason for lock failure or breakage, never be too forceful – car keys can be more fragile than you think and a broken key stuck in a lock poses more problems than a plain jammed lock.

Lost, broken or stolen car keys

When you find yourself with a lost or stolen car key, and you don’t have dedicated lost car key insurance policy or a backup key in place, you will need to assess your options and gain access to your vehicle as quickly as possible.

Arranging for a replacement key through your dealership – either before or after the loss or theft - is usually an expensive option. Especially if you have an electronic SmartKey, in which case the bill could be £1k+.

The fastest, most affordable and safest option is to enlist the services of an emergency auto locksmith. In most cases, the locksmith can be with you within an hour or two and help you gain access to your car. Most are also able to cut and program spares keys in advance to prevent such an emergency happening.

Frozen windows

If you find your window is frozen to the weather strip outside of your car, do not attempt to open it! Repeated pressing of the window controls or lever can break the internal window gears altogether or leave you with a window that’s stuck open (never a good look when its ten below zero outside!!)

Instead, get out the de-icer or some warm water and be patient while it works its magic. No de-icer or kettle? Use a credit card to break the ice seal between the door and the windowpane.

Paint chips & bodywork dents

We all go the extra mile to look after our motors and prevent chips and dents… however the inevitable will always happen at some point since you can’t keep your car in cotton wool.

For paint chips, act on these as soon as possible. Over time, the steel surface will start to oxidise and dreaded rust will appear. To treat and fix the area, clean and degrease – paying particular attention to those rust spots. Apply touch up paint from your local auto hardware store and then sand or buff down. Finish with a clean and wax.

In the case of dents to the bodywork, it is recommended that you take your vehicle into a specialist for larger areas of damage. For small or medium sized dents though, try using a plunger or the hairdryer/compressed air method (easily found by searching on the internet).

About the Author: Nicholas Moores is a professional technology writer for Autokey Squad – Auto locksmith & lost car keys specialist.


Car parts - is prevention vs cure - which is better (Preventative vs Corrective Maintenance for Cars)

When a car reaches a certain age, owners inevitably come across more and more problems, with many waiting until the dreaded M.O.T until facing up to their mechanical woes. There’s always been a debate around the pros and cons of replacing parts before they have a chance to break, and in this guide we look at the arguments around the prevention vs cure debate.

Investment Vs taking your chances

Preventing issues with your car generally involves replacing parts before they have a chance to break; whilst a mechanic can advise you as to when they think a part may break, they won’t be able to tell you with total surety. This means that you may be replacing parts and having work undertaken too soon.

Corrective maintenance… is it a false economy?

Whilst taking corrective measures can be a much lower initial price than having a part (or parts, as the case may be) replaced, you need to consider how long it will hold up for. You may additionally find that your correction ‘goes’ at the worst time possible, and breaking down may cause even more damage to your engine. However, for many, corrective measures are the only way to, as they may find the price is far lower than preventive measures.

The importance of car maintenance

At we understand that the key to preventing mechanical problems for as long as possible is to ensure that you undertake maintenance that will lengthen the life of your car. Try following these tips to keep your car in tip top order.

  • Regularly change your oil; aim for every three months,
  • Check your wheels on a weekly basis, and use a proper measuring device rather than a coin; as well as this you should ensure that they are properly inflated, use a supermarket’s automated tyre pump to check the pressure before you fill them up,
  • Always check your water levels, particularly in the summer,
  • Try not to scrimp on petrol: buy premium and don’t let your car run low too often,
  • Keep your engine coolant topped up; not ensuring that this is at a correct level can be a disaster for your car; over heating can cause catastrophic engine failure,
  • Regularly clean your windscreen wipers and replace them when needed. The windscreens are an often overlooked item during car maintained; however having a windscreen wiper fly off when you’re going at 60, or not being able to see in torrential conditions can be nothing short of fatal.
  • Keep your car clean – particularly you’re windscreen. This becomes ever more important if you live in a particularly dusty place, or by the sea.

So it’s decided… whilst preventative measures are far more economical in the long run, sometimes corrective maintenance has to used as somewhat of a make do. Be sure to follow our regular car maintenance tips if you want to keep your car in as good a condition as possible, for as log as possible.


The American Love Affair – Automobiles

American’s love their cars. They write songs about them, name them, and treat them like precious treasures. Automobiles are classified as everything from rugged work vehicles to status symbols. Cars have been a part of the American lifestyle since their invention.

Originally, cars were only available for the very wealthy. It was a sign of status long before they were produced as work vehicles. You had to have considerable funds to afford a vehicle. This was applicable for businesses as well. You had to be a successful business in order to afford vehicles. Even as vehicles were mass-produced in the beginning, it was far more common for businesses to own them than individuals.

It did not take long however, for the automobile to be manufactured so that not just the upper class and businesses could afford to purchase them. It became a sign of upper middle class, then middle class, to have a vehicle. It soon became the norm, that the type of vehicle you drove was used as a status symbol. Eventually, even people who were below the federal poverty guidelines could afford a vehicle. Automobiles became something that everyone had access to, albeit not everyone could afford to have and maintain properly.

However, the majority of people within the United States have the ability to own a vehicle and in many cases, they are necessary in order for people to be able to function. Stores are no longer located on every corner or within a few streets, in many cities public transportation is not effective enough to be able to accommodate the volume of people, or the locations that people need to access.

Recent years however, have seen a drop in the number of cars that people have, as well as the number of miles driven. At one point in time, the increase in driving was a good indication of the level of the economy. The better the economy, the more people were out on the roads, and the more miles they traveled. As the economy suffered a recession, the number of vehicles on the road dropped and the number of miles driven per person declined.

Even with declines in certain areas, America still has the largest % of the population that spends its hard earned dollars on custom modifications or additions for its vehicles. In addition, America restores more vehicles per population than any other country in the world. Even through the recent economic downturn, a vast number of American’s spent their disposable income on car care and improvement, the US has more TV shows dedicated to the automobile than any other country in the world.

Even with used car prices at their highest level ever, America is still obsessed with ensuring that the vehicles that they drive are somehow unique to those that their friends and neighbors drive. This is easily represented by America leading the way with aftermarket cell phone/mobile phone integration into vehicles.

With the economy strengthening month after month, 2014 is shaping up to be a great year for new car sales, with many companies reporting the 4th quarter of 2013 as the strongest in years. This will see a greater number of used vehicles being traded in or sold privately and this is great news for the market in general.

If you are in the Charlotte NC area and you are interested in a late model used vehicle, please give Ride Now Motors a thought. View our inventory at: Used Car Charlotte NC

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