July 1, 2022

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Matchless Automotive

Here’s What You Need to Know About BMW Dashboard Symbols — Auto Trends Magazine






BMW dashboard symbols can be life-saving if you know how the indicator lights work. These lights act as warning signs that indicate problems you need to fix.

You can find some of these symbols in modern cars like the 1 series, the 3 series, and the X3 series models. These BMW vehicles are equipped with sensors that help to monitor the performance of the systems of your car.

When any of these systems are malfunctioning or bad, the dashboard lights will point you in the right direction to fix the problem.

BMW Dashboard Symbols

The BMW dashboard indicator lights are similar to those of a traffic light system, with green, yellow, and red lights.

The green light indicates that the system is currently in use or it is working perfectly. Meanwhile, the yellow light shows that the system needs your attention because something is not working properly. Lastly, you should stop your car when you see the red light because it is an indication of a serious problem that should be attended to immediately.

Aside from these colors, you need to understand each dashboard symbol and its meaning. Therefore, in this article, you will get all the information you need as regards BMW dashboard symbols, the lights, the problems, and how to fix them.

Read on!


I. Anti-lock Brake System Warning Light

BMW Dashboard ABS Light

The first on this list is the anti-lock brake system warning light, which is also referred to as the ABS light. This dashboard symbol is an important feature in your car for safety when driving in difficult conditions like icy roads.

This ABS light comes on for a few moments to indicate that the system is in use. However, when the symbol persists, then that is a sign of a fault that needs your attention. Also, the ABS can come on by itself to signal that you should take extra caution by driving safely, though you still have normal unassisted braking.

When you notice that the ABS and brake warning light come up together, then stop your car straight away because the brake system is failing. To better understand how the anti-lock brake system warning light works, you can use the OBD2 scanner for BMW to check it out.

II. Airbag Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Warning Lights Airbag

As the name implies, the airbag warning light indicates a problem with the airbag. When the light turns red, it means one of the following is not functioning properly;

  • The airbag system.
  • The front passenger occupant classification system is responsible for calculating the passenger’s weight and position to safely administer the airbag.
  • The seat belt pre-tensioner system helps to tighten the seat belt during an accident.

So, when you see the light, ensure that you check it out immediately to prevent it from malfunctioning by popping out abruptly. If it is malfunctioning, it might not come on during an accident to prevent the driver’s head from hitting the dashboard.

III. Tire Pressure Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Symbol Tire Pressure

Modern BMW cars now come with tire pressure monitoring systems, which help to detect a drop in your tire pressure due to a puncture or being overused.

When the tire pressure light comes on, avoid driving speed, steering maneuvers, and sudden braking. Ensure that you visit a gas station or garage to check and fill your tire with air as stipulated in the owner’s manual.

Failure to adhere to this warning sign will expose you to unsafe driving conditions. If you are not familiar with this symbol, you can use BlueDriver OBD Scanner to know more about the tire pressure warning light.

 IV. Coolant Levels Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Symbol Coolant Levels

The coolant level turns yellow when the coolant fluid is unable to prevent the engine from overheating. When this happens, you will need to top the coolant because the level has dropped.

As a safety precaution, try not to drive a long mile with a low coolant level because you risk damaging your car severely. Also, before topping the coolant, ensure that your car has cooled down. But if the warning light persists, then get your car checked for leaks.

 V. Engine Coolant Temperature Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Symbols Coolant Temperature

This is similar to the coolant level warning light, but the engine coolant temperature warning light can also imply that there is a problem with the head gasket. When the light turns red, you should stop driving because it can make the engine melt and cause irreparable damage.

After parking your car, allow the engine to cool before checking the gauge under the bonnet beside the coolant tank. At the same time, you can check for any leaks under the bonnet.

Then, you can go ahead to top the coolant tank and check if the light goes off. If it does not, then you are advised to get it fixed by a mechanic.

VI. Engine Oil Level

BMW Dashboard Symbols Engine Oil Level

The engine oil level light turns yellow when the oil level or pressure is low or the oil temperature is high. If the oil is not properly lubricating the engine, it could destroy the engine.

Do not ignore the warning sign when you see this light. Turn off your car to allow the engine to cool off. Then, examine it for oil leaks, check the oil level, and add engine oil if it is low. But if the oil level is okay, then your car oil pump might be faulty. In this case, you can call a technician for help.

VII. Check Engine Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Symbols check engine

This feature on BMW cars can also be referred to as a malfunction indicator lamp or engine management indicator.

The check engine warning light can indicate a lot of problems that include mechanical faults, broken electrical sensors, catalytic converters, or emission control system faults.

When this light comes on, you can only drive to where they can be repaired because continuous driving will damage the car engine.

VIII. Change Engine Oil Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Symbols change engine oil

Your BMW car system will turn the change engine oil warning light to yellow when you need to change the engine oil.

After changing the oil, ensure that you reset the system to monitor the oil progress again. You can check out your owner’s manual for the proper procedure to change your car engine oil.

IX. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Symbols DSC

The dynamic stability control warning light illuminates when there is a traction problem with your car. If the light is flashing, then it means that the DSC system is trying to fix the problem.

If you are driving on a slippery road, the light should be off. However, if it is on, then the DSC is not working.

In the case when you mistakenly deactivate the DSC, it will show the word “OFF.” You can restart your car to activate it. But if it does not reactivate, then get it checked and fixed.

X. Steering Lock Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Symbols steering lock

When the steering lock warning light turns yellow, it means that the system is faulty and needs a check-up. The steering lock helps prevent theft by locking the steering wheel when someone tries to move the wheel while the car is off.

If you notice that the light turns red, you have to stop the car immediately and look for assistance to fix it. It is because it could lock the steering wheel while you are driving and cause a fatal accident.

XI. Brake system warning light

BMW Dashboard Symbols brake system

When the brake system warning light turns yellow, it shows that the hill assist of your car has failed. The function of the brake system is to keep your car stationed when turned on a sloppy road. It works by holding the footbrake after you have released the hand brake.

When you notice this problem, get it fixed immediately or avoid hilly roads until you have fixed the hill assist.

When this light illuminates with the ABS warning light, then the brake system is damaged and needs to be replaced.

XII. Brake Pad Replacement Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Symbols brake pad replacement

When this light is on, it indicates that your brake pads are too thin. Your car detects this fault with the help of sensors.

You should get it changed as soon as possible before it becomes too thin to cause serious damage.

XIII. Battery Charging System Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Symbols battery charging system

If you see that this light is on, it means that your battery is no longer charging. This could be caused by different problems like faulty batteries, poor electrical connection, damaged cable, or a faulty alternator.

Though your car can still function until the battery is dead, you are advised to seek help quickly before it dies.

XIV. Transmission Fault Warning Light

BMW Dashboard Symbols battery charging system

If the transmission fluid temperature is higher than usual, then the transmission fault warning light will come on. This could also serve as a reminder that you need to top your transmission fluid because it is low.

You can visit a professional or you can try to top the transmission fluid yourself. Either way, ensure that you do it immediately because it is expensive to change the automatic transmission when it is damaged.

BMW Dashboard Symbols Conclusion

There are many BMW dashboard symbols and each of them plays a significant role in your safety.

Thanks to this article, you now understand the meaning of some of the most common warning lights on your BMW. We are sure that this knowledge will be very beneficial for your safety while driving.


See Also — Transmission Fluid Color Meaning and How to Check