Smoked Lens Film for Taillights from Bimmian.com

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BMW has improved the look of their taillights a lot over recent years. Not necessarily disliking the lights, but wanting something different (we didnt do anything to the LED Taillights of our E46 M3 Project car…. ) I decided to install the Bimmian smoked lens film onto the cars taillights.

This product is available in 3 different colors, light (hardly visible on taillights), medium (a tint that still shows some red) and dark (blacks out the lights almost completely). In this example I will be using the DARK smoke film as I want this change to be dramatic.

FYI, this product is available for just about every BMW vehicle. Check out availability and more photos at http://www.bimmian.com/SOF

These are generally pretty easy to install. Takes about 1/2 hour in total for most cars.

Lets see how its done… On the e92, there are actually 4 lights on the back of the car. 2 on the trunk and 2 on the rear fenders.

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Here is what it looked like before we got started.

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Here is the 4 piece kit. It was precision cut by machine to ensure a great fit every time.

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Of the four pieces, i needed to find the one that was the same shape as my first light. I recommend starting on the flattest possible light to get a feel for the material, how it stretches and how it works.

First, clean your lens thoroughly making sure there is no residue of dirt, soap or wax.

There are two handles on each piece; these are the two squareish parts coming off the sides of the film. We recommend holding the material only by these tabs for maximum adhesion once installed.

Flat pieces are easy to do, you essentially just stick it on then use a blade to trim the handles off the side, so I skipped the installation for this one, see below.

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Curved surfaces add some complexity to the installation process. Also, lenses which have a hard ridge through them, like this e92, are also more difficult to do. Its very do-able though. This material is really high quality material, and is quite forgiving. It can be applied, removed, applied and removed several times without losing its stickiness. It can also be stretched and shrunk a little bit.

The way I started out with this application was to take my heat gun (you can use a hair dryer as well … just don’t let your girlfriend or wife catch you in the garage with her hairdryer). Use it to warm up the material while still on the backing, It will start to smell a bit, once it does, you can stop heating it. As it warms, you will see the tension in the material relax. Peel the material off the backing, and quickly (within, say, 20 seconds – while its still warm) adhere it to the light. Start in one corner, and look where it lies along the top edge of the light. Make sure you dont have too much overhang or gap. If you took too long, warm the material again. On some lights, you may need to stretch the material a bit. Since the material is warm, you can easily stretch it, just grab it with a firm grip and pull. Doing this will also help to eliminate rippled edges around the outside of the lens, which will make your life easier in the future steps.

Once you feel the edges are lined up properly. run your finger horizontally along the middle of the film to firmly stick the middle of the film to the lens.

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Thats what I’ve done in the two pictures above, it looks pretty nasty and wrinkled. Its not nicely laid, but thats OK.

Use the heat gun to warm the material again, this time, work from the horizontal middle outwards and push your finger upwards, squeezing out the air from under the lens film. Move your head around, look for bubbles that aren’t visible due to reflections or shadows. if you see a little bubbles, and you cannot push them out with your thumbs because the material around them is secured too tightly, we need to make a call. If the diameter of a pencil or less, leave them, they will work themselves out over time, it will take a bit of time depending on the size, but they will go, if its bigger than this, or if there are many in one area, and ESPECIALLY if you see a little piece of dirt or debris under the material, peel the material back from the closest edge until you can push the air out, and secure it down again.

When we come to any hard bends, or close to the edges, you may find there are big, air bubbles that keep forming, or it gets wavy/rippled at the sides. The mode convex the lens is, the more it will happen. This is why its important to stretch it along the horizontal middle part when doing the first application of the film.

To get rid of any of these things, warm the film. You will see the film go limp and the ripples shrink, remove heat and immediately use a credit card or moist rag to push the material down to the lens. Wait a moment while holding it, it needs to cool into this new shape. Do this for each affected area.

Its possible these areas may keep coming back, so check a few hours later. Keep following the step above until its gone. And don’t drive the car until you get these problems worked out. If dirt gets behind the film, it will ruin the film.

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Here is a look of the left side. Its pretty bright in the room so you can still see a bit of red. This material is great because its translucent enough to let light through, but dark enough so that it looks pure black under non-direct lighting situations.

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Now theres a difference!

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All done!

2 Responses to Smoked Lens Film for Taillights from Bimmian.com

  1. larry KOSTIUK says:

    Is it LEGAL in British Columbia???

    I have purchased several pieces from you before for my 2010 M3 Cabriolet and would look to add…Kindly advise.