Every BMW enthusiast knows that vehicle lighting is an essential aspect of vehicle aesthetics. Just as a scratch or dent can deteriorate the appearance, dark or fogged up headlights can impair overall appeal of your BMW. At Bimmian, we stock a huge assortment of lights for BMW vehicles - headlights, bulbs, lenses, and kits to not only restore your car, but to bring it to the next level of personalization. For vehicles not equipped with angel eyes, for example, we offer several simple solutions so you no longer have to settle with stock equipment. Take some time to review all the exciting options we have available. We are certain that you will find something that will radically improve your lighting performance and appearance. If you require assistance we are just a phone call away and can be reached at 646-547-1146 in the USA, 416-613-5882 in Canada, +44 20 3298 1592 in the UK or toll-free at 888-884-4269.
One of the most dramatic modifications that you can make to your BMW is to improve or upgrade your car or SUV’s lighting system. With lighting, however, not only are you improving the appearance of your vehicle, but you are also improving overall safety by choosing a much brighter and clearer lighting system. This concurrent effect offers you the best of both worlds when it comes to maximizing your modification budget. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and most effective lighting upgrades available on the market.
Corner Lenses and Turn Signals
Your BMW was designed by German engineers and the European design influence is apparent – including the lighting systems. Unlike North America, most countries in the E.U. have never required amber-colored turn signal lenses, either on the front or the rear of the car. These were included in the design for all BMWs destined to be shipped across the Atlantic to North America to meet the regulations imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
If you own a 1990s era BMW – specifically, an E30, E34, E36, E39 or even an E46, you might have seen a car just like your own in a tuner magazine that swapped out the unappealing orange turn signals and installed Euro clear lenses. You may also have seen some cars with darker paint schemes that make use of smoked or almost completely blacked-out taillights and turn signals. Undoubtedly, this retrofitted Euro look adds a serious dose of style to a BMW, one that is far more true to the original design of the vehicle. You may have been tempted to have this particular modification applied to your own vehicle, but have held back due to uncertainty on the cost or the difficulty of installation.
If you are a BMW owner who craves Euro corner lenses there is good news – of all lighting upgrades, this modification is both cost-effective and simple to install. In most cases, the process involves little more than removing a few screws and swapping out the old lens for the new clear or smoked lens.
Before proceeding, it is prudent to check on the legality of these turn signal lens modifications in your local area. Most states have no issue with a clear corner lens as long as the bulb inside is amber when it illuminates.
Once you have completed the modification, we can fine tune the look of your new lenses to avoid what is known as "the egg yolk effect." This effect is caused by the orange color of the bulb, behind the lens.
Since amber turn signals are required by law in most parts of the country, you mak be asking yourself how you can circumvent this appearance issue The answer is surprisingly simple: Stealth Bulbs. Manufactured by Bimmian, these legendary turn signal bulbs are a perfect match for any clear or smoked corner lens thanks to an ingenious design that renders them almost completely invisible when not lit. Stealth Bulbs ustilize a silver coating that helps to hide the bulb in the fixture when it is not in use. When your turn signals are activated, the bulb glows bright amber, meeting all applicable laws. Stealth Bulbs are a great solution, allowing you to maintain your Euro styling.
Angel Eyes or Halos
For years, one of BMWs styling cornerstones was the use of four round headlights on almost every one of their vehicles. In the 1990s, BMW switched to round lamps enclosed behind rectangular housings, and over time, more sculpted, body-integrated headlight housings came into favor. Despite this design evolution, the company decided to pay tribute to its heritage by installing glowing round rings – two to a side – around each of the headlights on select editions of its cars.
Popularly known as Angel Eyes or Halos by the after-market community, the effect was stunning especially at twilight: a gentle illumination that accentuated the entire lighting system. In short time, it became apparent that owners of new BMWs who did not have this feature, or owners of older models that predated Angel Eyes began to express strong desire for the ability to install a similar set of lights in their vehicles. In short order, an entire range of replacement Halo lights became available for almost every model built.
The installation of Angel Eyes is more advanced - the process involves the removal of your current set of headlights, replacing them with new headlights equipped with Angel Eyes/Halos. Depending on which BMW you own, this can be a fairly complicated procedure that might entail disassembling some of the front body trim and removing the grille. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of removing that many parts from your car, you can alternatively have these lights installed by a local mechanic or independent BMW shop for a very reasonable price. After all, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the same hot looking BMW lights enjoyed by newer BMW owners at a fraction of the cost.
HID’s – High Intensity Discharge BMW Lights
High Intensity Discharge lights differ from standard headlights in that they use an arc of electricity sealed in an ionized gas, usually xenon, instead of a filament to produce a very bright and natural looking light. Installing HID lights makes sense both aesthetically and from a safety point of view – not only do they look great, but they provide a much greater cone of visibility in the darkness, allowing you to drive with increased peace of mind. Like Angel Eyes or Halos, installing an HID kit is classified as a more advanced installation process and you may want to secure the services of an installation expert.
Beware of “discount” packages - true HID lights are more than just a bulb. Many BMWs already have stock projector lights, which means that they can accept HID kits that include bulbs, relays, a wiring harness and ballasts. Each BMWs headlight wiring is a bit different, so you will need to make sure that you have the correct instructions for installing the kit you purchase in your specific car. Keep in mind that you will need to find a safe place to mount both the relays and the ballasts. The ballasts, which are used to ignite and power xenon HID’s must be installed in close proximity to your headlights in the engine compartment.
Another consideration to be aware of when installing HIDs in a BMW involves errors with the LKM module – the computer that controls and checks the status of your lighting system. Since HID bulbs don’t have a filament, they can often cause the LKM to detect the HIDs as burnt out headlights, which generates false error messages on your check control screen. Depending on your BMW model, there are a number of wiring configurations that can cancel out the false error detection. These solutions include special anti-flicker capacitors which are designed to regulate or govern the current being provided by your stock headlight electrical system. You may also have to install larger light fuses to handle the extra draw of the HID ballasts. As a final note, following any type of headlight work it is always good practice to check the aiming of your headlights.