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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

move done some Googling and it seems to be a common problems. I have this white “grime” on my air vents some vents worse than others but no matter what I try I cannot seem to get it cleaned off? Also when I have my fan setting high my vents seem to blow out some for of like white debris, very fine debris at that. I’ve checked both the air and cabin filter but they are both fine. Just wondering if anyone else has had this issue and or knows how to solve them both.
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I painted the vents on my other half’s 116 and 125.

Once removed from the car its possible to completely disassemble the vents and paint them with a stain black.

I believe the damage is caused by the sun, but doesn’t happen on the 3 series etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I painted the vents on my other half’s 116 and 125.

Once removed from the car its possible to completely disassemble the vents and paint them with a stain black.

I believe the damage is caused by the sun, but doesn’t happen on the 3 series etc.
I read just so weird. I’ll give a go at painting them. Do you know about the debris coming out the vent?
 

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The debris coming out the vent is probably the evaporator corroding, seems to be fairly common but it's a dash out job to repair so huge labour costs unless you fancy some fiddly DIY.
 

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I used 'back to black' bumper and trim restorer on my vents, applied it with the vents in situ with a cotton bud, it's holding up well coming on 2.5 years.
 

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My vents are similar to yours however my car has spent 13 years in Madrid so definitely due to the sun. The white flakes are due to oxidation of the aircon evaporator unit behind the dash. This was deemed a fault with Denso parts and reported widely on the e90 forums. I think this resulted in a recall.


 

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I painted the vents on my other half’s 116 and 125.

Once removed from the car its possible to completely disassemble the vents and paint them with a stain black.

I believe the damage is caused by the sun, but doesn’t happen on the 3 series etc.
I have some UPOL satin black paint, will that do or is a matte finish required?

I’m assuming it’s a simple process of sanding + painting? No primer etc needed?
 

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first attempt at respraying trim, came out OK despite impatience, £6 can of Satin black (pro-cote) from toolstation vs £250+ for new replacements which I guess will fade over time anyway. Intuitive enough to dismantle vents. Tried other methods mentioned online: applying heat/flame, scraping with stanley blade then sanding, wire wool, none gave a remotely clean finish, whereas spraying (after a quick go over with wire wool to help it stick) was pretty easy. Notes: side ones are easy, center ones are a bit tougher to take apart, make sure to remove the DTC+Hazards bit before trying to separate the bits. Note that on the center vents the individual blades don't pop out of the plastic piece that links them, unlike the side ones, so you need to spray them all together without them touching each other. I didn't bother doing anything to the one good blade with the controller bit on it, so it looks a bit different to the rest, will see if it is annoying or not. The paint I got waasn't a great match, so would try matt if I were to start again.

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I have some UPOL satin black paint, will that do or is a matte finish required?

I’m assuming it’s a simple process of sanding + painting? No primer etc needed?
I had plastic primer in the garage so dusted the plastic primer. I used satin black and it looks fine….anything is better than the white stained slats.
 
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