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DIY Rear Light Clean

impee's DIY Rear Light Clean for BMW 318i e46
How to clean the rear light yourself!

Difficulty Level: Easy

Approximate Time For This Project: 60 mins

Prices: Professional labour costs for Rear Light Clean - N/A

Gorilla Glue or any other strong outdoor use glue   1 £5
Door Trim Panel remove tool Draper #176   1  
Pliers     1  

*prices correct at time of publication

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1) Assemble Your Kit + Notes

Nearly every single e46 I have seen has this problem, i.e. the top part of the rear light on the boot lid develops a gap. This happens over the years as the glue wears out by the sun and rain, and water seeps in the light and a permanent growth of algae develops! Also the bulbs and the holders get rusted and turn the blub faulty warning lights on. Also I found when you open the boot, water drips out of the lights into the boot from the sides...which is very annoying!

Below is the total kit I used. As you can see, there aren't many tools required for this job at all.

I used Gorilla glue as I wanted something strong, but it did leave a little yellowish colour which you could see though the reverse light part of the plastic. If you want a true clear glue, unfrotunately I am not sure which one to recommend.




2) Rear Lights Before and After

As below, you can see the left light, lots of water and green algae everywhere.


BMW before and after


3) Boot Carpet - Removal

Use the Trim tool to remove the 2 button, pull them outwards.


BMW carpet removal


4) Bulb Holder - Removal

Remove the Bulb holder, first detach the cable and then press the middle clip to release it.


BMW Bulb holder


5) Bulb Fitting - Removal

Use a pliers to loosen the nut and then use your hands to remove it...pull the yellow plastic stick off and out comes the light, but be careful, on the outside there are 2 small catches to keep the light in place.


BMW bulb fitting


6) Cleaning the Lights

Once you remove the lights, you fill find there is a gap at the top where the glue has given up. Simply pull both parts apart slowly.

Here is a before and after from the was disgusting!

I used an old tooth brush and some fairy liquid, after that I used window cleaner.


BMW lights


7) Glue the Lights

Once the ligths are dry, glue them together. The next morning it would be a good idea to fill all the sides (all way round) with another bead of glue to keep all and any water out (in the event that the first line of glue didn't fully seal the light).



8) Re-assembly

Re-fit the ligths back in reverse order.

Unfortuantely after this DIY, you will not notice your car go any faster :)

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DIY BMW e46 DIY Rear Light Clean by - impee

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