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How to Tell If Your BMW Has a Blown Head Gasket

BMW may have the words “motor works” in their name, but no motor is impervious to damage. Many BMW fans prefer to keep older cars in their garage for the nostalgia and tactile driving experience they deliver. However, as cars age, they become more susceptible to breakdowns. One part that could break on older or higher mileage cars is the head gasket.

Head gasket failure is one of the most ominous issues that car owners deal with, but it doesn’t have to result in a totaled car. If you know what signs to look for to identify a leaking or blown gasket in your BMW, you can take steps to fix the problem before your situation becomes dangerous.

Here are a few signs to look for and some steps you can take to solve the problem.

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How to Fix Your BMW’s Windshield

Bimmers are famous for masking speed, a major factor in the unfair reputation BMW owners get for always pushing the pace in traffic. We’re not here to pass judgment about your driving habits, but if you’re going to explore the upper registers of the speedometer, we recommend making sure you have good visibility. That means keeping your windshield well maintained.

Windshield repair and replacement can be an expensive operation, and even more expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s highly recommended to do this at a shop and let the professionals do it. However, if you have plenty of experience with other repairs, you could give it a shot.

When to Make a Repair

Sometimes windshield damage can appear minor and then propagate. You can probably drive your BMW following minor window damage, but it’s best to act quickly to avoid the risk that the crack will spread. It might take some time to do, but if you don’t make proper repairs it can lead to a very unsafe driving situation.

Removing a Damaged Windshield

As with many premium brands, BMW repairs can have strangely high prices even when the work is the same for your car as the average econobox. Removing a windshield is one of these cases. So again, this can be pretty expensive if you make a mistake, which is why it’s usually better to go to a pro.

Begin by removing plastic trim and molding around the windshield using a pry tool, being careful not to damage your BMW’s finish. With this complete, use a cold knife or razor and separate the window glass and body. Cut the urethane from inside the vehicle to avoid breaking glass. Do as little damage to the pinch weld where glass and body material meet as possible.

Prepping for the Install

With your damaged windshield removed, clean the open pinch weld where the glass seats in the body. Remove any excess urethane. Add tape to any exposed metal that is not sanded, and then apply primer to the bare metal in several thin coats. This will encourage the frit band on your new BMW windshield to seat properly.

Finally, use a caulk gun to apply new urethane around the entire pinch weld. While you can use a manual gun, we recommend using an electric one to get a consistent seal and avoid air bubbles that could result in a leak down the road.

Seat the New Windshield

You’re nearly finished. With help from a friend, carefully align the new windshield with the pinch weld. Some windshield glass will include mounting blocks that will help guide you. Avoid touching the frit band, as oils from your skin will contaminate the bond between your glass and the car’s body.

You may have seen tape around the windshield of cars that have had glass replaced. This is one technique you can use to help support the glass until the urethane dries. The last step is to remove any old windshield clips and push a new gasket into place. Replace the trim around the glass, and you’re good to go.

Nice work! The price of a new BMW windshield install can exceed $1,100 in many cases, so treat yourself to a beer.