In this guide, we focus on how to replace BMW brake pad wear sensor operation, how to reset brake warning light & message, the pros, and cons of bypassing the sensor and more.
This guide focuses only on the brake wear sensor and assumes you have already replaced the brake pads.
All 2000 and newer BMW including 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, Z3, Z4, i8 and M series have at least two brake wear sensors. Most BMWs have one sensor for the front brakes (installed on driver side pads) and one sensor for the rear brakes (installed on passenger side brake pad).
Symptoms of worn brake sensor
The following message may remain on the instrument cluster even when you replace the brake pads.
Brake Warning Light On Dashboard
iDrive Message: Brake Pads are worn to the minimum depth. Have the pads replaced by the nearest BMW center.
Service Vehicle Symbol with car on lift .
The average price to replace BMW wear brake sensor ranges between $6 and $30 when you replace the sensor yourself.
The typical cost to change BMW brake sensor at the dealer or mechanic ranges between $65 and $120.
Replacing BMW brake wear sensor is a very easy procedure and takes less than 30 minutes.
Follow the instructions in the next section to learn how to replace the sensor yourself.
What you will need
- Determine if you are replacing front or rear brake pad wear sensor.
- Jack up the vehicle and remove the wheel. If replacing front brake pad sensor, jack up the driver's side wheel. If replacing rear brake pad sensor, jack up passenger side wheel. Remove the wheel from the vehicle.
- Locate the brake pad wear sensor on the brake pad.
- Use a flat head screwdriver to pry out the old sensor.
- Unhook the sensor from the brake caliper release valve.
- Unhook the sensor wire from the strut bracket by pulling it out of the bracket.
- Open the black box mounted on the wheel well. Inside you will find the connector.
- Pull the connector out of the box. Press the release tab on the connector and separate the wires.
- Install the new sensor in reverse order.
Reset BMW Brake Pad Wear Reminder
There are two methods to reset BMW brake wear sensor.
Method 1: Reset BMW Brake Pad Sensor via Instrument Cluster
This video shows you how to reset BMW brake light service reminder using the buttons on the instrument cluster.
- Turn ignition on but do not start the car.
- Press and hold the reset button on the side of the dashboard.
- After a few seconds, you will see the service menu at the center of the dashboard.
- Press the reset button several times until you see the symbol for the front of rear brakes.
- With the brake symbol on small LCD, press and hold the reset button until you see the words RESET.
- When RESET displays on the screen, release 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.
Method 2: Reset BMW Brake Light with an OBD-II Scanner
Another method to reset 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 DSC module and determine why the brake light won't reset.
In this case, we are using Foxwell Scanner for BMW but other scanners offer this functionality. Learn more about OBD-II scanners that access multiple systems on BMW cars.
How does the brake pad wear sensor work?
BMW brake wear sensor is nothing more than a wire that runs at the tip of the sensor. 12-volt typically feeds the sensor at all times.
Once the brake pads wear out, the tip of the sensor where the wire runs is cut as well which open the circuit.
The brake or DSC module will see that from no resistance now there is an open circuit at the sensor triggering a fault code such as 5F12, 5F13, 5F14, 5F14, 5F16.
- 5F12 DSC Brake pad wear, front axle, brake pads
- 5F15 DSC Brake pad wear, rear axle plausibility.
Many owners wonder what is the sensor resistance for the brake pad sensor.
The brake system simply checks is there brake sensor is an open circuit (worn brake pad) or closed circuit (good brakes).
Brake Pad Sensor Bypass
Many BMW owners choose to bypass (delete) the brake wear sensor by removing the sensor and installing a clip or cutting the sensor wire, exposing the wires and connecting them together.
This is known as short-circuiting the wire and emulates a "good" sensor but is not recommended.
It is not recommended to permanently disable BMW brake pad wear sensor. 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, you will also hear a grinding noise and your rotors will get damaged and require replacement as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many BMW brake pad sensor?
- Typically two. One sensor is located on one front brake pad (left front). The second wear sensor is on the right rear brake pads
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.
💡 Help us improve this article by providing feedback. No registration is required.
💭 Ask car questions in our Car Forum.