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How to Properly (Fastest) Defrost, Defog, Your BMW or MINI windshield

Feb 2 17

We all know the scenario (well, at least those of us in the northern climates); you head outside to the car for your morning commute and the windshield is covered with ice and snow.  Do you know how to properly set your climate control for the fastest windshield clearing?

*  Of course, if you do need to get going right away, you’ll have to manually clear the heaviest ice and/or snow

* Set the climate control to the defrost setting (direct all of the air at the windshield).

* Set the heat to full hot.

* Set the blower fan to high

* Be sure the fresh/recirculate control is set to fresh air

* Here’s the kicker …. if there is moisture on the inside of the windows, turn the air conditioning button on.

Once the windows are clear enough to start driving, if you are having trouble with the insides of the windows fogging (windshield or side windows), make sure the blower is on high speed and the recirculating air control is NOT turned on.  Recirculating the air will keep all of the interior moisture … in the interior, and on the windows.  If the windows are still fogging, turn the air conditioning on (in addition to the heat) and run the blower at high speed.  The air conditioning will help to dry the air.  Removing the excess moisture from the interior will help to keep the windows from fogging up.

If it’s quite cold out and snowing heavily enough (or freezing rain) to be accumulating on the windshield while the vehicle is driving, running the climate control on full defrost (as outlined above) may not keep ice or icy snow from freezing to the windshield, due to the windchill while the vehicle is moving.  In this case, fold the driver and passenger sun visors down to about 90-degrees or a bit more (make sure you can still see under them), while running the blower on high and the heat on full hot, in the defrost function.  The visors will help to keep the heat that is blowing up across the windshield from just blowing past and to the rear of the interior, and will keep the windshield itself warmer.  If you start to overheat, crack open a side window to allow excess heat to escape.

*  You can greatly improve the performance of the vehicle’s windshield and glass in wintery or rainy conditions through the use of Aqupel windshield treatment. This will help rain and snow to “bounce off” the windshield and even the side and rear glass, greatly improving the clarity and vision.

Click HERE for article on Aquapel glass treatment

Click HERE for Otto’s Aquapel DIY video

Don’t want to scrape frozen ice or snow from your windshield?  Keep the ice and snow completely away, while your car is parked, with the BAVauto® Windshield SnowShade!

Click below for Windshield SnowShade (click image, enter your vehicle info and search “snowshade”):



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BMW MINI – P0491 and P0492, Secondary Air Flow Insufficient, Low

Jan 26 17

I have a quick question for Otto.

I have a 2000 540i.  I got the dreaded secondary air pump related codes the other day after my sap [seondary air pump] died, so I switched out the pump, check valve, relay switch and vacuum lines, but still [have the] P0491 and P0492 codes.  My gas mileage is terrible so I am pretty sure the the O2 sensors are bad.  My question is; could faulty o2 sensors be the cause of the sap codes? I have already ordered the [four] O2 sensors and tool from you guys, but I am interested in your opinion. Thank you.


The P0491 & 0492 codes are recording insufficient secondary air flow on bank-1 and bank-2 (Cylinders 1-4 and 5-8).  These codes are generated at the pre-cat O2 sensors, during cold start, when the secondary air pump is operational.  The sensors are indicating a richer mixture than desired (during this period) and the system is assuming that the secondary air flow into the exhaust ports is too low.  With all new parts; pump, check valve, vacuum switch, etc., the likely culprit is clogged ports in the heads.  The air is pumped into the cylinder heads at the front of the heads (where the secondary air cross-over manifold bolts to the front of each head).  The heads have ports machined through them to direct the air into each exhaust port.  It’s not uncommon for these ports to eventually clog with carbon from the exhaust port …. especially if the pump or check valve has been faulty for an extended time.

Note – This can happen with any of the BMW or MINI engine models (4-cyl, 6-cyl, V8, etc.) that have secondary air ports machined within the cylinder head castings (M52, M52TU, M54, S52, S54, S62, M60TU, M62, N62)

Sooo …. If you have tested that the pump is running and that the check valve is opening while the pump is running, the ports are likely the issue.

Click HERE to go to the BAVauto® Secondary Air System Diagnostic Guide

Other possibilities?

You noted that you intend to install fresh pre-cat O2 sensors.  While I would initially say that it’s not likely to cure the fault codes, it is possible that the sensors are just barely indicating a rich enough mixture, during cold start, that the system sees this as low secondary air flow, but once past cold start the sensor readings are within expected parameters and not throwing further codes.  It certainly would not hurt to install the sensors, clear the codes, and see what you get.  You may luck out.

You noted that you have poor fuel mileage.  If the engine s running rich overall, it could be tricking the system to think the secondary air flow is low, during the cold start.  However, if it were overall rich, it would likely be generating other fault codes indicating a rich mixture after the cold start phase.  Using a diagnostic tool to monitor O2 sensor voltages and fuel trim values may help determine if it is running rich (or even lean, for that matter).

So, What can be done if the ports are clogged?

In the end, if you actually do have clogged secondary air ports in the heads, there is no quick fix.  We have had some minor success with filling the ports with Liqui-Moly Jectron (available from carbon cleaner, letting it sit and soak, then applying compressed air into the ports.  The very basic steps would be:

1)Before starting the actual procedure, remove the secondary air check valve and devise a set-up to connect a hose to the secondary air inlet flange (where the check valve was mounted), so that the hose is ultimately connected to the air inlet port.

2) Warm the engine to normal operating temperature.

3) Remove the secondary air check valve.

4) Install the hose set-up (from step-1) to the secondary air inlet flange.

5) Apply compressed air to the hose (how much pressure you can apply will be dependent on your hose set-up) and ultimately, the secondary air ports.  This may initially clear some loose clogging.

6) Fill the ports and hose with Liqui Moly Jectron carbon cleaner.  We recommend adding a funnel to the inlet of the hose, not only for ease of filling, but so you can actually fill the funnel a bit.  This will allow you to see if the fluid is flowing through or not flowing at all.  If the fluid does flow through, only fill once, then let it soak as in step-7.  Do not continue to pour in more fluid.

Click image below for Liqui Moly Ventil Sauber:

7) Let the cleaner soak until the engine is cool.

8)  Apply compressed air, as in step-5.

9) Start the engine and run until hot.  Repeat steps 5-8 until ports are clear, or it is apparent that no progress is being made.

10) Reassemble the secondary air system.

11)  Clear the pre-existing fault codes

12) Drive the vehicle and note if fault codes return or are eliminated.  If they return, you can re-do the steps to continue trying to clear the ports.

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Does My BMW or MINI Have Halogen or HID Xenon Headlights?

Jan 24 17

When looking at replacement or upgrade parts and bulbs for your BMW or MINI headlights, you typically need to know if the vehicle is equipped with Halogen headlight bulbs or HID Xenon bulbs.  BMW and MINI have been offering HID/Xenon headlight options on models since the early 2000s.  While the bulbs are obviously different, the complete headlight assemblies are typically different as well.  This means that ANY part that you purchase for the headlights, such as; low-beam bulbs, high-beam bulbs, angel-eye bulbs, DRL (Daytime Running Lights) bulbs and parts will be dependent on the type of headlights that have been optioned on the vehicle.

You may have never really thought about your headlights (other than noticing that the road lights up when you turn them on) … until you need to repair or upgrade them.  At this point, you may not be readily aware that there are differences in the headlight designs, let alone know which type you have on your BMW or MINI.  Of course we (you and your BAVauto® Advisor) can use the VIN to look at the specific options on your car, but it’s also easy to just take a look at the headlights themselves.  In most cases, BMW and MINI vehicles that are optioned with the HID/Xenon headlights will have a lens design commonly known as Ellipsoid.  When looking at the low-beam headlight lens, it appears to have an outer 4″ to 5″ ring and a smaller 2″ to 3″ dark center lens (sort of like the pupil within the iris of a human eye).

Click HERE to purchase your BMW or MINI headlight bulbs, upgrades and repair parts in the online store

Here are some examples of Halogen and HID/Xenon headlights on BMWs and MINIs:



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