BMW E36 Blog

Fixing E36 Heated Mirrors . . . DIY!

12th December 2007

Fixing E36 Heated Mirrors . . . DIY!

posted in Do It Yourself, Electrical, Technical Info |

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If you read my previous post about BMW E36 Heated Mirrors, you should know that one of my heated mirrors is not working. Today, I’ve decided to look for a procedure on how to fix heated mirrors in BMW E36 cars. It seems the procedure is easy, but needs some attention to make sure that you will not end with a broken mirror instead of a working one. Anyway, I’m sure that many of you will find this post useful as it will save you around 300$ for replacing the mirrors. Finally, I just wanted to thank Kam for writing this priceless procedure.

Disclaimer: Use this info at your own risk!! I’m not responsible if this didn’t work for you :-).

I live in Ottawa Canada and here we have very cold winter with lots of freezing rain and snow. For a while I was under the impression that I don’t have heated mirrors because they were colder than ice. I called couple of BMW dealers in the city and they told me the same: “$300+ for both and they often burn out in couple of months any way!” I decided to keep the $300 and clean the mirrors manually . Everything was fine until last week which we got hit by heavy freezing rain and lots of snow. My car (parked outside) was turned into an ice cube! I had to use hair dryer to defrost the mirrors for 20 Min. Still I wasn’t pissed until my neighbor with his neon told me his car has heated mirrors and it’s awesome! That was it, I needed the heated mirrors…
Here are the steps…

1-Removing the mirror lens. (refer to Bentley manual and make sure car is in room temperature or above otherwise you are going to break some plastic parts)

2-Tools: These are the tools I used and you may not need all of them:
– 25 Watt Solder gun (Must)
– Rosin Core Solder wire (Must)
– Tweezers (Optional)
– Small flat head screwdriver (Must)
– Multi-meter (Must)
– 9 or 12V, 15W or higher DC power supply (Optional)
-Alligator clips (Optional)

3- Use the Alligator clips and connect the multi-meter to the lens power plugs. I found out the readings are very high (3.37 KOhms) which should be something close to 10-20 Ohms.

4- In order to access to the heating elements (similar to rear window defroster) I used the gaps under the housing clips.

5- Use the flat screw driver and shave off the resin very carefully (I did all 4 of them) you should be able to see the copper lines.

6- Use tweezers or flat screwdriver to short the copper lines. The multi-meter should read 10-20 Ohms if so (Bingo) go to the next step otherwise (F***) move to the next spot.

7- Make sure your Solder gun is very hot and keep it over the clips above the copper contacts. Be careful don’t melt anything. Attach the rosin core solder wire to the tip of the solder gun. The rosin solder wire instantly melts. Continue feeding the solder gun tip with rosin core solder wire. After a few seconds the melted solder will drop exactly over the copper contacts with out melting or damaging any thing. Thanks to gravity

8- Now readings on the multi-meter should be much lower like 11.5 Ohms in my case. Done, enjoy your heated mirror…

Before installing the mirror lens use the screwdriver and shake the solder and make sure it is secured completely. I used the DC power supply and tested the mirror lens and it instantly warmed up. Don’t keep it too long because it may burn your DC adaptor. I didn’t bother to cover the shaved spots with anything yet but you can find a heat resistance glue and cover the shaved spots.


Are you looking for more do it yourself procedures (DIY) ? I recommend the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual for you. I got it and I think it’s a gold mine for us -BMW E36 Owners-. If you didn’t grab your copy yet, get it right now! I’m sure you’ll find this book worth every penny you’ve paid for. Get the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual

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There are currently 11 responses to “Fixing E36 Heated Mirrors . . . DIY!”

Why not let us know what you think by adding your own comment! Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses, so come on... let us know what you think.

  1. 1 On December 18th, 2007, Mike said:

    So did you actually get permission for posting this DIY?
    If not, your plagiarism is getting more and more blatant, this time going as far as to put your own website address on the pics, which really makes it look like you’re claiming it to be your work.

    if you did get permission, i do apologize, but it has been an issue here in the past.

    i also thank you for bringing this DIY to my attention as I could actually use it. a link would have sufficed, however.

  2. 2 On December 18th, 2007, Tony Sticks said:


    Thank you for reporting this. This is not an official article that was written on a website. I found it on a forum written by one of the E36 owners and I’m guessing that is being posted on many other websites/forums. Please do remember that I didn’t claim this post is mine. It’s clear from the text in the beginning of the post:

    “Finally, I just wanted to thank Kam for writing this priceless procedure.” with a link tothe source thread.

    About the images watermarks, I didn’t add “Copyright” to them. Which should not mean that these images are mine.

    I know this was an issue, but a forum post in a thread is not copyrighted, is it?

  3. 3 On December 18th, 2007, Mike said:

    posting it verbatim without permission is still plagiarism. adding your watermark only makes it worse – you’re essentially laying claim to the images as if they were your own. i realize you cited the author (barely), but you still do not have permission. it doesn’t matter if it’s a forum post or elsewhere.

  4. 4 On December 19th, 2007, Mike said:

    was my last response deleted?

    i’ll reiterate that you still need permission to reprint the article unless it’s your own original work. adding your watermark to the pictures definitely makes it appear as if those are indeed your original work at the very least.

    did you even make an effort to ask for permission?

  5. 5 On December 20th, 2007, Tony Sticks said:


    your comment was not deleted. I couldn’t access my computer in the last couple days and that’s why I didn’t make any moderations for the comments in these days.

    I will try to contact this person and see if he’s ok with this or not. thanks Mike.

  6. 6 On January 2nd, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    I’ve just received a reply from Kam saying that he’s ok with publishing his DIY in here 🙂

    Thanks Mike for reporting this.

  7. 7 On January 4th, 2008, Mike said:

    Great news!

    However, I highly recommend you do this PRIOR to actually posting someone else’s content.

  8. 8 On January 4th, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    I hope I will be able to do this in the future.

  9. 9 On January 4th, 2008, Mike said:

    It shouldn’t be that hard. You simply ask for permission first, and wait until you get that permission to post the “article.” If you don’t get permission, you don’t post. No trying or hoping should be involved.

  10. 10 On January 18th, 2008, Willsy said:

    Great post, fixed both my mirrors and saved me a small fortune, Cheers Chap.

  11. 11 On September 25th, 2011, Zsolthy said:

    It works fine, but you have to be really carefull, when you cleaning the heater wires. i use a microscope and neelde and tweezers and scalpel to clean the clear plastic and the black rubber insulation. after the repair i got 8ohm-s, and tested with a power supply and after 10 second it warmed up 🙂