The rubber window trim around the front and rear windshields of BMWs can cause owners heartburn. Sometimes called molding or gaskets, the rubber can dry up and deteriorate quickly, seemingly faster than on other cars. Here’s a long and passionate thread via Bimmerfest that stretches back to 2006 on the topic.
The window trim doesn’t actually keep moisture out of the vehicle. Adhesive around the windshield glass provides that protection. But the window trim helps by creating another obstacle for the elements, and looks terrible when it deteriorates. Some owners reported pieces actually coming loose while driving down the road!
The rear window trim on my 2002 E39 M5 was starting to go. It hadn’t gotten really bad but was brittle and cracked in the corners, with one nice sized chunk missing.
Many BMW owners have reported being told by dealers that the windshield needs to be removed to replace the trim. This simply isn’t true, and many think dealers say this to ensure an expensive repair bill. (Here’s respected parts supplier Bavarian Autosport with more background and an illustrated DIY).
After a lot of research I tackled this DIY last weekend. You need to use plastic pry tools, nothing metal that could easily break the windshield. I worked slowly, and caught a break when my trim came out very cleanly, with very little residue left in the channel between glass and body. When that happens you need to clean it out completely, or else the new trim won’t seat properly.
I had some scrubbing bubbles on hand in case that happened, but didn’t need it. The new trim only cost me $52, and came in two pieces. I wet it with soapy water to assist the install, starting with the top corners and simply pushed it into place. Then I hit the trim with some rubber conditioner so I won’t have to do this DIY again.
It’s a great feeling when a DIY goes so smoothly. I had put this job off for a while, concerned that it would be difficult and tough to remedy if something went wrong.
BMW needs to change its position on window trim replacement. It’s the age of the enlightened buyer, and their position regarding windshield removal is so easily proven false. This is terrible customer service, and the type of misinformation that will eventually damage the BMW brand.
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