BMW Dashboard Warning Lights and Symbols Explained

Vehicle:   BMW
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In this guide, you will find a list of all BMW dashboard warning lights and symbols. You will also find a brief explanation of each light. 

BMW Check Engine or Malfunction Indicator Light

Check Engine Light

This is the check engine symbol. It means the Onboard Diagnostic System has detected a problem, typically with the engine, affecting emissions and fuel economy. 

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bmw service light

Service Due

Vehicle on a lift means that vehicle is due for regular service or a problem has occurred and the vehicle should be taken to an auto repair shop for service. Read the fault codes with a BMW scanner.

BMW Gas Gauge Control Light

Gas Cap Light

This light means that the gas cap is missing or is not on tight. Another possible problem is a worn gas cap O ring. This problem will also trigger the check engine light. 

BMW Engine Temperature Warning Light

Engine Overheating

The temperature symbol means the engine is overheating. Pullover immediately and turn off the engine. Allow the engine to cool down, then check the engine coolant level. Do not drive with this light on or if the temperature light is flashing. 

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BMW Battery Charge Warning Light

Battery Warning

This warning means there is a problem with the charging system. The battery can be weak, or the alternator may be faulty. If the light stays when the engine is running, it means there is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. 

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BMW Fog Lights

Fog Lights

This light indicates that your fog lamp lights are on. 

BMW Rear Fog Lights

Rear Fog Lights

This light indicates that the rear fog light is on. 

BMW Signals

Turn Signals 

The left and right arrows are the turn signal indicators. 

BMW Long Distance Headlights

High Beams

This means that the high beams (brights) are on. Pull the turn signal lever towards you to turn off the high beams. Push forward to turn on the high beams. Only use high beams when there are no incoming vehicles. 

BMW Short Headlights and Stop Lights

Low Beam Bulb

This means the low beams are on. 

BMW parking, brake, rear fog, signal, interior lighting or license plate lamps are problematic

Burned Light Bulb

This means you have one or more burned light bulbs. It could be a problem with the parking, brake, rear fog, signal, interior lighting, or license plate lamps.

BMW Outer Brake Light

Brake Light Bulb Burned

This means that one of the brake lights is burned out. Check the rear brake light bulbs. Replace the burned bulb. 

BMW Headlight Control System Problem

Adaptive Low Beams

This means there is a problem with the adaptive low beam lights. 

BMW Adaptive light system warning light

Adaptive Headlights

There is a malfunction with adaptive headlights. 

BMW Short Headlights

Headlights On

This light means that the low beams are on. 

BMW Exterior Light

Light Bulb Fault

There is a problem with the lights. 

BMW O/D OFF

Overdrive Turned Off

 The overdrive has been turned off. This only applies to automatic transmissions. Overdrive on/off switch is by the shifter. 

BMW Electrical Problem

Service Due Now

The car with a wrench symbol means there is a malfunction, and the vehicle should be taken in for repair. It could be an engine problem, transmission problem, or an electrical issue. 

BMW Press Brake Pedal

Press Brakes

The circle with the shoe symboltellsg the driver to press the brake pedaland  then start the engine. 

BMW Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

DPF Needs Service

The square with dots rectangle is the symbol for the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). It means that the filter is clogged and needs to be cleaned.

BMW Catalytic Convertor Warning Light

Overheating Catalytic Converter

This is a symbol of the catalytic converter overheating. It means there is a problem with the catalytic converter. 

BMW Motor Warning Light

Water in Fuel

The fuel pump symbol with a raindrop means that there is water contamination in the fuel. 

BMW Engine Air Filter

Engine Air Filter

This warning means that it is time to change the engine air filter. 

BMW Indicator Light

Fuel Filter

This light means the fuel may be dirty. 

BMW Fuel Indicator

Low Fuel Level

Low fuel level Stop at the nearest gas station and add fuel.

BMW Oil Pressure Warning Light

Oil Light

If this warning light is shown, then the engine oil pressure has dropped. It is recommended that you stop the car immediately,  check the oil level via the dipstick. Add oil to the level until it reaches the proper level. 

BMW Decrease in Engine Power

Limited Power

This light means that the computer which controls the engine has limited engine power output. 

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BMW Change Engine Oil Warning

Oil Reminder

This means is that the engine oil and filter need to be changed.  

Learn how to change BMW engine oil yourself. 

BMW Diesel Particulate Filter Warning Light

DPF Regen Symbol

This light means Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) regeneration failed. 

BMW Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Add DEF Fluid

This light means the DEF fluid level is getting low. Add DEF Fluid.

BMW Brake Pads

Worn Brake Pads

This warning means the brake pads are worn out. Learn how to change BMW brake pads.   If the brake pads were replaced, but the light stays on, it means you need to reset the brake pad service reminder. Follow this guide on how to reset the BMW brake service. 

BMW Brake Pedal on Automatic Transmission Vehicles The green press brakes light means you should press the brake pedal before you can start or move the shifter. 
BMW Air Suspension Warning Light Air Suspension Light This light indicates the vehicle is rising. If the light stays constantly on, it means there is a problem with the air suspension. 
BMW Suspension System Fails

Suspension Problem The shock absorbed warning light means there is a problem with the suspension. Learn how to troubleshoot this problem by reading BMW fault codes. 

BMW Transmission Fault

Automatic Transmission Failure The gear with the exclamation mark in the center means there is a problem with the automatic transmission. Transmission may get stuck in limp home mode and will no longer shift gears. 

Learn more about BMW transmission problems.

BMW Gearbox

Transmission Overheating This light means that the transmission fluid is overheating. Please turn off the engine and let it cool down. Check the transmission fluid level as soon as possible. 

BMW Weather Icon Low Outside Temperature This light means the temperature outside is below freezing. 
BMW Light and Rain Sensor Light Sensor If this light stays on, it means there is a problem with the light and rain sensor mounted on the windshield. 
BMW Defrost Function Defrost Windshield This means that the windshield defrosts button has been pressed. 
BMW Defogger

Rear Defrost This light means the rear windshield defrost is on. 

BMW Rain Sensor Auto-Sensing Wipers This means that auto-sensing wipers are on, and the rain sensor is adjusting the wiper speed automatically. 
BMW Automatic Glass Wiper Auto Wipers This means the wiper speed is getting adjusted automatically. 
BMW Heating Bulbs

Glow Plug This light turns on when you first turn on the ignition. Please wait for this light to turn off before you crank the engine and start it. If this light stays on constantly, it means there is a problem with one of the glow plugs. In most cases, one of the glow plugs is burned out and needs to be replaced. There is a glow plug for each cylinder. 

BMW Winter Mode Freezeing Temperature This light means it is below freezing outside, and the roads may be extremely slippery. Drive with caution. 
BMW Track Distance Warning Light Track Distance This light is a warning for track distance. 
BMW Speed Limit Exceeded Speed Limit This light warns that the speed limit has been exceeded.
BMW Cruise Control Cruise Control  This means that cruise control is activated. 
BMW Changing Lanes without Signal Lane Warning The road symbol shows up if you change the lanes without triggering the turn signal. Use your turn signals. 
BMW Opened Door Open Door The car symbol with open doors means that one or more doors are not a closed-door open warning. 
BMW Door  the Bonnet and Luggage not Closed Open Door, Hood, Trunk This light means that the hood, turn, or one door is not completely closed. Check and close, or the battery may drain if the vehicle is parked overnight. 
BMW  Seat Belt not Attached Seat Belt Warning Light to remind you to secure the seat belt. 
BMW Low Tire Pressure TPMS This light means there either is low tire pressure or there is a problem with the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). 
BMW Key NOT  in the Car No Key This light means the vehicle is not able to detect a working key in the car. You can not start the engine. The problem could be that you have the wrong key, or the key chip is faulty. 
BMW Parked Car

Park

This light means that the transmission is in Park position. 

BMW Parking Assistant Parking Assistance This light means that the parking assistance system is activated. 
BMW Steering Lock Warning Steering System The steering wheel and key symbol mean there is a problem with the steering system. Generally, if the light is yellow, it means you can drive but have the system serviced as soon as possible. If the light is red, it means you must stop immediately and consult your dealer or an auto mechanic. 
BMW Airbag and Seatbelt System Defective

Airbag Warning SRS  The driver with a large circular ball in front is the warning for the airbag system. If the light stays on, it means that the airbag may not deploy if you get in an accident. 

Learn how to troubleshoot BMW airbag light. 

BMW ECO Indicator ECO Light  ECO light means that the economy mode is active, and the vehicle driving mode maximizes fuel economy over performance. 
BMW Hand Brake Parking Brakes This light may mean that the parking brakes are engaged. It can also indicate that the brake pads are worn or there is a problem with the brake system. 
BMW Airbag System Off

Airbag Off

This light means the airbag is turned off. 

BMW ABS Warning Light

ABS Failure

This light means there is a problem with the Anti-lock brake system (ABS). One common problem is a faulty ABS wheel speed sensor. 

Learn how to troubleshoot BMW ABS light.

BMW Cruise Control On Cruise Control This light shows up if the cruise control is activated. 
BMW Hood is Open

Hood Open This light is warning the driver that the hood is open. If the warning light stays on even when the hood is closed, the hood switches may be faulty. 

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BMW Luggage Compartment is Open Trunk Open This light means that the trunk or the hatch is open.
BMW Start System Fault

Security System

This light means a problem with the security system, and the car can not start. 

BMW Fill the Windscreen Washer Low Windshield Fluid This light means that the windshield washer fluid is low. Add windshield washer fluid. 
BMW Safety Warning

Key Not Recognized This light may come on if the vehicle is not recognizing the key. The key itself can be faulty, the car battery may be low, or the vehicle security system may have a problem. 

BMW Traction Control or ESP

Stability Control This light may flash if the vehicle is slipping. You may be driving in slippery road conditions or are driving aggressively. 

If this light stays on all the time, it means there is a problem with vehicle stability control or traction control. 

You can troubleshoot this problem by reading fault codes from the ABS and DSC modules. 

BMW ESP  Malfunction Traction Control This light means a problem with vehicle traction control, ABS, or electronic stability control.

 

By YOUCANIC Automotive Experts
Nov 2020