A stitch in time

A stitch in time

1st Jul 2020 6:00 am

Perseus talks about how preventive maintenance can go a long way in keeping classic cars in the best possible condition.


I must admit that I have an OCD about my health and my cars’ health.

I spend hours on the internet surfing YouTube and owners’ forums to learn about common problems on cars I own or even ones I plan on buying. Immediately then, because of my OCD, I get down to ordering parts that are likely to fail.

Often, when I read about common faults and little hacks on how to go about sorting them, I come across websites that sell refurbishing kits for components or parts for only a fraction of the cost of what would otherwise set you back by thousands of rupees. On older German cars, like Porsches, BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes, I’ve seen that you can buy refurbishing kits to fix everything, from engine vacuum leaks (which include replacement hoses and gaskets) to relatively simple DIY kits to fix your sunroof or door locks. These are made by reputed brands, including OEMs.

The usual ‘must do’ job sheet when buying a future classic car includes changing essential parts like the water pump, fuel pump and belts, along with fresh fluids and filters, but there are certain  things we sometimes  tend to overlook.

Recently, I came across an interesting video on YouTube while researching on changing the purge valve on a BMW M54 engine. Though unrelated to changing the purge valve, I learnt that one of the most common reasons for blown head gaskets due to overheating in older BMWs is attributed to the coolant expansion tank cracking when the plastic gets old and brittle.

Of course, I’m going to change the expansion tank on my BMW and, in the future, on all my other cars as well, even if the coolant tank issue may not necessarily be too much of a cause for concern.

Websites like Realoem.com can often give you updated part numbers for your car, as I’ve experienced with older BMWs. For instance, for the BMW M54 engine, the ignition coils’ part number has been updated. Fitting new parts bearing updated part numbers is always better. Lastly, do not worry about sourcing parts. I was pleasantly surprised to see the sheer variety of automatic transmission fluids available on Amazon.in, along with air-con filters, wiper blades and other consumable parts. If not available locally, other parts for German cars can be imported from Pelicanparts.com or Fcpeuro.com (customs duty and freight are applicable).

Preventive maintenance can go a long way in keeping your classics and future classics in the best possible condition, especially if you plan on keeping them for years.  In that sense, having OCD helps. As the old saying goes – a stitch in time saves nine.


Perseus Bandrawalla

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A car nut and motoring enthusiast who loves anything with a motor fitted to it. He is known for his obsession with modern classic automobiles and has extensive experience in all things automotive including running a motorsport team and curating automobile events.

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