This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series. The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.
Fifth in a Series...
Lets talk about bras this month - no guys do get excited this isnt about Victorias Secret.
A lot of people do not like them (women dont either) but they are a necessary evil. Recently a gentleman asked me what to do for rock chips on the nose of his new BMW. My first piece of advice was to get a bra; it will reduce the number of chips you get to a negligible amount.
That started our discussion about using a bra and the pros and cons that go with it. On the Pro side, the skin of the bra will protect the paint from the normal rock chip. If you have been driving any car on our highways and cross country, you know that pieces of gravel coming up to kiss your car are a fact of life. Even the local freeways are notorious for the amount of junk that is lying on them. If you doubt me during a busy time of the day sit by the freeway for about an hour. Next count how many different trucks carry gravel, cement, bricks, blocks, dirt etc. Unless the truck beds are completely and securely covered, particles of "stuff" are going to fly from the bed of the truck onto the freeway. Add to this the muck that gets in our tires from the roadway and you have a rock chip frenzy waiting to happen on the nose of your Porsche. For this reason alone, I faithfully put the bra on my Porsche 911E every road trip. The bra will also minimize the more damaging chips that can occur. All it takes is for a small rock to get kicked up into the air and you traveling at a rate of speed much faster than said rock. Voila, a major chipping has occurred! If you had a bra on the car, chances are the damage may not be totally averted, but certainly minimized.
Bras are sometimes cumbersome and you need to know a few tricks not to damage your paint. First, never never never never, leave the bra on the car when it is wet. The condensation and steam that builds up under the bra will damage your paint. Sometimes the paint turns an opaque color, sometimes the clear coat cracks and rarely do you get away unscathed. Get in the habit of taking the bra off as soon as it gets wet, use common sense but do it as quickly as you can. If the sun were to come out for just a bit, the metal will heat up and steam will occur. I dont think I need to go into the physics, but you get the picture - it isnt pretty.
Next, when using a bra on your BMW, protect the fenders and hood from rubbing marks. Because a car in motion flexes, the metal and bra will move. Depending on the type of seams you have on the bra, this could cause surface scratches on the near the lights, fender and hood. To eliminate this, I use soft felt squares anywhere there is a seam touching metal. I use six squares all together, one each for the headlight opening, one each for the top of the fenders and two side by side on the hood. On the hood?? I have the type of bra that fits snuggly on the hood, which with body flex could create rub marks.
Finally, keep the bra clean. Small particles of dust and dirt can get into the lining of the bra. You will want to make sure you clean it periodically on both sides. If you think some dirt has gotten on the underside of your bra, use a diaper or piece of felt between the paint and the bra until you can clean it.
If you are still in doubt about using a bra, ask around. I swear by them and at them, there is no easy way to protect your Porsche, but better safe than sorry.