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How do I Troubleshoot Problems in a 1996 BMW?

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    • 1). Start your 1996 BMW. Let your engine run for two to three minutes. View your dashboard for error lights that might turn on, signifying problems in specific areas of your car. Look through your BMW owner's manual to find out what the error light is indicating.

    • 2). Add windshield wiper fluid if your wiper light appears on the dash or coolant if the corresponding light illuminates. Consider an oil change if your oil light turns on or if your car has surpassed the mileage threshold for the next change.

    • 3). Purchase the parts and associated tools for do-it-yourself repairs such as changing headlights, turn signals and interior light bulbs or assemblies. Follow the instructions in your BMW owner's manual to resynchronize your keys or audio system, which may need a reset after a repair to the vehicle. Replace tattered upholstery or broken windshield wipers.

    • 4). Drive your car a short distance. Listen for noises such as squeaking brakes, a loud muffler or a flapping sound on the road surface indicating a flat tire. Pay attention to changes in your power steering, braking system or cooling system.

    • 5). Park and turn off your 1996 BMW. Allow the engine to cool. Look underneath your car for oil leaks or loose parts that may be dragging. Open your hood to check cooling system parts.

    • 6). Research in your 1996 BMW owner's manual or on the Internet in BMW forums to try to pinpoint the problem your car is experiencing.

    • 7). Set up an appointment with a BMW mechanic. Describe the inconsistencies and the troubleshooting that you've conducted. Request that the mechanic run a diagnostic test to locate the problem.

    • 8). Decrease your driving time in your 1996 BMW until you know what the problem is and have it fixed, as driving your car can exacerbate the problem and lead to further repairs.

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