Helpful Tips on Buying a Reflector
For years, reflectors have proven their worth as lifesavers on the road. Even with the headlights and taillights on, nighttime driving, bad weather, and foggy conditions can still cause a lot of accidents. By reflecting even the smallest amount of light from odd angles, car reflectors alert drivers of another vehicle's presence. All automobiles are generally already equipped with regular front, side, and rear reflectors that are made of heavy-duty plastics. But if you damaged your reflectors, want more reflectors for additional protection, or just want to change the look of your reflectors, here are a few things that you might want to consider.
Where will you use it?
If you have a broken reflector, a simple OE replacement can be the quick fix to your dilemma-all you need is the make and model of your vehicle and you're all set. But if you own a large vehicle such as a truck or trailer, the law states that you have to have a certain additional number of reflectors in certain locations to maximize your visibility.
While they are known under one name, reflectors are not all similar. For instance, certain shapes and sizes work better in a particular location. Knowing the location that makes a reflector cover a wider angle can help you pick the right ones.
Where you will put the reflector also determines the installation type that you need. Some stick-on reflectors will work for most areas of your vehicle but they're not very durable. For larger vehicles, it's better to go for performance reflectors that come with heavy-duty mounting hardware so you don't have to worry too much about maintenance.
How do you want it to look?
The purpose of reflectors might mainly be for safety but there's no reason to forego style when looking for a new one. Luckily, modern reflectors now come in lots of designs and finishes to suit your styling needs.
To keep the clean lines of their cars, many choose to replace their regular red or amber reflectors with clear-finish, chrome-finish, smoked, or painted reflectors that match the color of their vehicle. These upgrades are usually pocket-friendly and are very easy DIY jobs. Others also prefer to change the shape of their reflectors but doing so requires a bit more money and effort.
What else should you know?
Before changing the look of your reflectors, make sure that you've checked your local laws. Reflector rules on large commercial vehicles are generally stricter when it comes to number, positioning, and color of reflectors but some states require that reflectors be a particular color for regular cars as well.
Painted Reflectors: How to Install Them on Your BMW
While there is no denying the helpfulness of auto reflectors in ensuring our safety, these red and amber pieces can ruin the overall look of your BMW. Luckily, the aftermarket is flooded with lots of replacement options including painted, clear, chrome, and smoked reflectors. These inexpensive substitutes are very easy to install and best of all, they guarantee your safety without sacrificing your style.
Difficulty level: Easy
Things you'll need:
- Flathead screwdriver
- Cloth or rag
- Replacement reflectors
If you're going for reflectors that match the paint of your car, make sure to check your vehicle's paint code to get the exact color. You can usually find the paint name and code somewhere on your car by searching under the hood, on the hood lid, or along the fender.
Step 1: Examine your new reflectors and take note of the location of the tabs and springs.
Step 2: Wrap the head of your screwdriver with a protective cloth so you won't damage the exterior of your car.
Step 3: Using the new reflectors as a guide, insert the screwdriver between one of the tabs of your old reflector and the bumper and push to compress the springs.
Step 4: Repeat the previous step for each tab until the old reflector is free. Take care not to let the reflector fall behind the bumper.
Step 5: Insert the new reflector from either the top or bottom edge first depending on your BMW model. For instance, the bottom edge should be inserted first for the E46 while the top goes in first for the M3 or E90.
Setting these reflectors up only takes about 10 minutes but to be certain that they will stay on for a long time, make sure that your car will not get cold or wet within 24 hours of installation.