DIY Ser­vic­ing: BMW 120d

While you won’t thank BMW for fit­ting an un­der­tray at­tached by 28 screws, ser­vic­ing a 1-Se­ries diesel at home isn’t too tricky. Just give your­self plenty of time, ad­vises

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Contents - Richard Gunn.

Al­though BMW dab­bled in the small car mar­ket in the 1950s and 1960s, its move up­mar­ket in sub­se­quent decades had kept it away from this area. Its small­est of­fer­ing was the 1993 3-Se­ries com­pact hatch­back, but it was only in 2004 that it truly tar­geted the sub-com­pact mar­ket with its 1-Se­ries.

First-gen­er­a­tion cars were avail­able as hatch­backs, coupés and con­vert­ibles, along with an M-branded sporty vari­ant. Sales were healthy – in 2008, the 1-Se­ries ac­counted for ap­prox­i­mately a fifth of all the com­pany’s sales – but the styling by Christo­pher Chap­man un­der the eye of BMW’S chief de­signer, Chris Ban­gle, was con­tro­ver­sial. The sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion 1-Se­ries, known in­ter­nally as the F20/ F21, came along in 2011 and has more restrained styling in-keep­ing with the rest of the BMW fam­ily. In the UK, it is only avail­able in hatch­back form, with threeor five-doors. The coupé and con­vert­ible op­tions of the ear­lier in­car­na­tion have been rein­vented as 2-Se­ries mod­els.

The car here is a five-door 120d with 181bhp, one of the more pow­er­ful of the diesels. De­spite in­creas­ing tech­nol­ogy lim­it­ing cer­tain as­pects of the ser­vic­ing – you’ll need di­ag­nos­tic equip­ment to re­set the ser­vice in­ter­val re­minder on the cen­tral info screen – DIY ser­vic­ing is quite straight­for­ward. How­ever, cer­tain as­pects, such as re­new­ing the fuel fil­ter and chang­ing the pollen fil­ter, are time con­sum­ing, while deal­ing with all the plas­tic cov­ers BMW has scat­tered around the place is just a pain. Nev­er­the­less, with time and pa­tience, one of these cars is per­fectly within the scope of a home me­chanic with a de­cent tool­kit.

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