BMW Level Control System Failure Malfunction

BMW level control system failure

The Level Control System Malfunction on a BMW comes on when there is a problem with the air suspension, and the vehicle can not raise or self-level.

This is a common problem on high mileage BMWs equipped with air springs or self-leveling, such as BMW X5, E70, E66, E60, 530d, 525, and other models equipped with air suspension.

The most common problem that causes a level control system malfunction on a BMW is a faulty rear height level sensor and bad air suspension springs. 

  • If the Level Control System Malfunction stays on all the time, the most likely cause is a problem with the level sensors.
  • If the warning disappears after the engine runs for a short time, the problem is likely due to a leak in one of the air springs or air supply lines.

Not all BMWs are equipped with air suspensions. Specific models such as early X5 or station wagons only have auto-leveling air suspension at the rear.

Continuing to drive with Level Control System Malfunction is not recommended because it can cause uneven tire wear and poor handling.


BMW level control system failure

Common symptoms BMW owners may notice when the auto-leveling suspension fails:

  • Yellow car with arrows icon on the dash
  • Hissing sound from air spring
  • The compressor doesn’t engage
  • Rear suspension sagging
  • Air compressor runs for a long time
  • Chassis Stabilization Malfunction!
  • The car ride is very rough
  • The rear is bottomed out
  • Message: Level control system failure
  • Message: Level control – Ground clearance and driving comfort is reduced. Avoid high cornering speeds. Has your BMW center checked the system as soon as possible?
  • Message: Level control system malfunction. Service Due.
  • Intermittent suspension warning while driving over uneven roads

Common Problems

List the most common problems that cause Level Control System Failure Malfunction on a BMW.

Self-leveling sensor/links

BMW Level Sensor

The self-leveling sensors are located on the wheel wells and monitor the ride height. The links can come loose, or the sensor itself can fail. This is a common problem on BMW X5, where the rear level links pop off from the ball joint. You can push the link back on the ball joint if the connection is not broken. Once connected and the vehicle is lowered to the ground, you should hear the air suspension compressor engage and see the rear end raise.

Replace the rear link at your soonest convenience. If you don’t replace the link, it will come off again if ignored.  The level sensor for the rear suspension is located at the rear suspension and can be replaced in about thirty minutes.

Footwell Module – FRM


A faulty footwell module (FRM) can fail to cause the Level Control System Malfunction warning to come on. Call the closest BMW dealer and ask if the FRM module update is covered under a warranty or open recall. You will need to provide your BMW VIN.

Suspension Air Bag

Faulty suspension airbag

A faulty suspension airbag (spring) can cause Level Control System Malfunction. The suspension air spring may crack and no longer hold air, which causes the vehicle to drop to a critically low level.

If you notice your BMW has dropped when parked but raises when you start the engine, you may have a bad air spring or leak in one of the air supply lines. Get your vehicle repaired as soon as possible to avoid burning the air compressor. When there is an air leak, the air compressor has to work overtime to compensate for it. It is recommended (but not required) to replace both rear air springs simultaneously if one of them is bad.

Air Suspension Compressor

Level control system failure on BMW on due to bad bad air suspension compressor

Air sensation compressors can wear out and eventually fail to generate enough pressure. The air compressor is in the back of the car, located under the floor.  Remove the trunk floor cover to get to it from inside the vehicle.

Typically you will notice that the car drops in all four corners or on the back and won’t raise. A faulty air suspension compressor is a symptom, even though a defective fuse or relay can cause similar symptoms.

Blown Fuse

Blown fuse bmw level sensor malfunction

A blown fuse for the air compressor can cause Level Control System Failure Malfunction on a BMW.

Most BMWs have at least two fuse boxes, and you need to inspect the corresponding fuses, typically a 40A fuse. One fuse box is usually inside the vehicle, side of the dashboard. Another fuse box will be in the engine bay or the trunk area, depending on the model.

Damaged Connector

Damaged connector

The wires to the rear level sensors can get corroded or damaged if the suspension is overextended. Remove the rear wheels and inspect both level sensors. Unplug the electrical connector from the level sensor and check the wires. Use a digital multimeter to check the continuity.

Other possible problems

  • SLS Module – Level system control failure. The level module can get water inside and fail. The level control module gets input from various sensors and communicates with other modules via BUS.
  • Active Roll Stabilization (ARS) system
  • Air supply line disconnected at the airbag
  • The owner deleted the air suspension and installed coil overs.


Diagnose BMW level sensor malfunction

Level Control System Failure Malfunction can be caused by several components, including rear level sensors, air supply lines leaking, or a faulty air compressor. The only way to determine why you are getting a Level Control System Failure Malfunction warning is to connect a BMW scanner and read the fault codes from the air suspension (SLS) module.

Additional Resources

  1. BMW X5 Repair by Problem Area –
  2. BMW 7 Series Air Ride Diagnostics –

We hope you find the BMW Level Control System Failure Malfunction guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your BMW.

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  1. John Screws says:

    Can a battery problem, one where the system has cut off all extra battery functions cause the leveling system to fail.

    1. Low battery voltage can trigger level control malfunction.

    2. I started having this problem after I had a battery problem.