BMW E36 Blog

Fixing E36 Heated Mirrors . . . DIY!

12th December 2007

Fixing E36 Heated Mirrors . . . DIY!


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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posted in Do It Yourself, Electrical, Technical Info | 11 Comments

11th December 2007

BMW E36 Heated Mirrors


Hi, I’ve been reading about the heated mirrors in BMW E36 cars recently. It seems that heated mirrors come with the winter package, which means that if you have heated seats (like me :-p), it means that you should have heated mirrors as well. The only weird thing that I found out is that almost all the BMW E36 car owners with heated mirrors say that these mirrors stay hot all the time while the car is turned on. I heard one of them saying that it’s connected with the OBC, but I believe this is wishful thinking and that’s far from the truth, because the rest are saying that heated mirrors will feel hot all the time regardless of the exterior temperature. This behavior is really weird, because it means that if the heated mirrors are on all the time, then what is the possible use of that in summer? Also, why I can’t control them? I believe the best setup is to control them with the defrost button, but that’s my humble opinion, not the engineers of BMW. Now, the bad news for me is that I have heated mirrors in my car, but I’ve never seen them in action, so this must mean that I either have a fuse or 2 mirrors to be replaced. I hope that finding heated mirrors for my babe is going to be an easy task.

I suggest you go and check your mirrors to see if you have the heated version or not. If someone else can check this, please try to find out if the mirrors will be heating all the time regardless of the exterior temperature or not.


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posted in Exterior, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks | 10 Comments