installing new brake pad wear sensor

BMW Brake Pad Wear Sensor Replacement Guide

Does the brake light appear on your BMW dashboard, but the brakes are still working fine? Follow the procedures below to learn how to reset the light and replace the brake pad wear sensor.

The BMW brake wear sensor is nothing more than a wire that runs at the sensor’s tip. 12-volt typically feeds the sensor at all times. Once the brake pads wear out, the sensor’s tip where the wire runs is cut, opening the circuit.

The brake or DSC module will see high resistance now that an open circuit at the sensor triggers a fault code such as 5F12, 5F13, 5F14, 5F14, or 5F16.

Symptoms

idrive message worn brake pads

The following message may remain on the instrument cluster even when you replace the brake pads. ” iDrive Message: Brake Pads are worn to the minimum depth. Have the pads replaced by the nearest BMW center”.

brake light warning on bmw dashborad

 

Brake Warning Light On Dashboard

 
dashboard car on lift light bmw

 

Service Vehicle Symbol with a car on the lift.

Fault Codes

  • 5F12 DSC Brake pad wear, front axle, brake pads
  • 5F15 DSC Brake pad wear, rear axle plausibility.

What you will need

new bmw brake pad wear sensor
  • BMW Brake Pad Wear Sensor
  • Flat Head Screwdriver

Procedure

  1. Determine if you are replacing a front or rear brake pad wear sensor.loosening tire lug nuts
  2. Jack up the vehicle and remove the wheel. If replacing the front brake pad sensor, jack up the driver’s side wheel. If replacing the rear brake pad sensor, jack up the passenger side wheel. Remove the wheel from the vehicle.jacking up the vehicle and removing the wheel
  3. Locate the brake pad wear sensor on the brake pad.bmw brake pad wear sensor
  4. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry out the old sensor.prying out the sensor using a flat screwdriver
  5. Unhook the sensor from the brake caliper release valve.removing the sensor from caliper
  6. Unhook the sensor wire from the strut bracket by pulling it out of the bracket.
  7. Open the black box mounted on the wheel well. Inside you will find the connector.opening the box on wheel well
  8. Pull the connector out of the box. Press the release tab on the connector and separate the wires.pulling out the sensor's connector
  9. Install the new sensor in reverse order.installing new brake pad wear sensor

Reset BMW Brake Pad Wear Reminder

There are two methods to reset the BMW brake wear sensor.

Reset BMW Brake Pad Sensor via Instrument Cluster

This video shows how to reset the BMW brake light service reminder using the instrument cluster’s buttons.

Instructions

  1. Turn the ignition on but do not start the car.
  2. Press and hold the reset button on the side of the dashboard.
  3. After a few seconds, you will see the service menu at the dashboard’s center.
  4. Press the reset button several times until you see the front or rear brakes symbol.
  5. With the brake symbol on a small LCD, press and hold the reset button until you see the words RESET.
  6. When RESET displays on the screen, release the button and press it again for about 5 seconds to reset the brake light.

If the reset procedure is carried out successfully, the brake symbol in the small LCD will turn from RED to ORANGE.

Reset BMW Brake Light with an OBD-II Scanner

Another method to reset the BMW brake warning is to use a scan tool.

Many OBD-II scanners allow you to access the Condition Based Serving (CBS) menu and reset the brake mileage limit.

If you have tried method 1 but have been unsuccessful, the next step is to use a scanner.

In addition to resetting the brake light, a good scanner allows you to read fault codes from the DSC module and determine why the brake light won’t reset.

In this case, we use Foxwell Scanner for BMW, but other scanners offer this functionality (YOUCANIC Full System Scanner).

Can I Bypass Brake Pad Wear Sensor?

Bypassing brake wear sensor

Many BMW owners bypass (delete) the brake wear sensor by removing it and installing a clip or cutting the sensor wire, exposing the wires, and connecting them. This short-circuit wire emulates a “good” sensor but is not recommended.

CAUTION

It is not recommended to disable the BMW brake pad wear sensor permanently.

If you bypass the brake pad wear sensor, you will NOT know when your brakes are due for replacement. Your brake pads will wear completely until they reach the metal part, at which point you will have metal-on-metal contact.

Not only will your braking be reduced, but you will also hear a grinding noise, and your rotors will get damaged and require replacement.

How many brake pad sensors does a BMW have?

Typically two. One sensor is located on one front brake pad (left front). The second wear sensor is on the right rear brake pad.

What is BMW brake pad sensor resistance?

New Brake Pads: Zero resistance (or closed circuit).

Worn Pads: Infinity ohms ( open circuit) when the pads (sensor) wear out.

Where is the BMW brake pad sensor located?

Front left brake caliper. Mounted on the brake pad.

Rear right brake caliper. Mounted on the brake pad.

We hope you find the BMW Brake Pad Wear Sensor Replacement Guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your BMW vehicle.

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for all the info

  2. Anonymous says:

    The pad wear sensors on BMW vehicles newer than 2003/2004 are not a simple short circuit wire that can break with pad wear and cause an open circuit. Rather BMW uses a “two-step” wear sensor made by Bosch. The epoxy housing of this two-wire Bosch sensor contains two physical resistors wired in parallel. Let’s call the two separate resistors R1 and R2. R1 is a 0 ohms resistor and R2 is 270 ohms. Each resistor has a small connecting wire that runs physically close to the wear tip of the Bosch sensor. The wear tip rubs against the rotating brake disk as the pads wear down. This rubbing gradually sands away the protective epoxy end of the wear tip and eventually breaks the small wire connected to R1. With even more pad wear and more sanding down of the wear tip, the second wire connected to R2 also eventually breaks. The Bosch sensor is designed so that at about 50% pad wear, the wire to R1 breaks and at about 15% remaining pad, the wire to R2 breaks. This wire breaking is referred to as sensor triggering since Brake Pad Warning Messages are triggered. When R1 triggers, the BMW senses the first stage of pad wear and sends out an polite Pad Wear Notification early warning message that the pads are wearing. But typically the pads still have many thousand miles left on them. When R2 triggers BMW sends a very stern safety warning to change the pads immediately! When the Bosch sensor is new or only lightly worn, the overall two-wire sensor will measure 0 Ohms with an ohmmeter since R1 dominates the reading. When the R1 does trigger, it effectively becomes an open circuit resistance leaving the 270 ohms R2 load across the external wires. After more pad wear, R2 will eventually trigger, and the external sensor wires will measure infinite Ohms (an open circuit). At this point after R1 and R2 have both triggered, Users typically have several hundred more miles left but the pads are pretty thin and User runs the risk of damaging the brake disks.or even the calipers with continued usage. In summary: A new Sensor measures 0 Ohms, after R1 triggers, it measures 270 Ohms, after R1 and R2 are both triggered, it measures infinite ohms (open circuit).