bmw warning lights, some dashboard symbols with different signs and colors.
Tips & Tricks

What To Do With BMW Warning Lights For A Safe Drive

The simplest way for you to better understand your BMW is through the dashboard. There are signs that your vehicle flashes at you but do you know what they mean? If you are familiar with your BMW warning lights it would keep you off danger. And when your car is in a critical mode, you’ll know.

Standing as a universal rule, there are essentially three illuminations for signs that you’ll find on your BMW dashboard warning symbols. As you’ll immediately guess, these signs pass on different messages based on the color of their illumination.

The Meaning Of BMW Dashboard Warning Light Colors?

Car dashboard warning lights

If and when your dashboard symbol displays a sign in Red, this calls for immediate attention and means that your BMW is in a very critical condition that needs to be checked without any further delay.

If you get a Yellow sign display on your dashboard, it indicates that your vehicle is in a less critical condition and a routine service will do just well.

There are other light indications which you must be familiar with to really understand what your BMW will have you do or not do to safely drive. Blue and Green light is basically for information about light indicators.

Whenever you get any flashing sign on your dashboard, just like every red indicator, it also requires that you pay urgent attention to them.

PS: It is always advisable that you refer to and relate with your vehicle owner’s manual to have a better description of further dashboard details.

Common BMW Dashboard Symbols And What To Do With Them

Let’s start with the common BMW dashboard signs and what you are expected to do when they come up.

1.    Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)

Anti lock breaking system dashboard warning symbols When this comes up on your dashboard it means that the vehicle’s Antilock Brake System plus the Tire Pressure Monitor and the stability control system is down which will bring down your vehicle’s braking ability as well as driving stability.

What To Do:

This is not a critical condition as you can still drive with this sign on your dashboard but you’ll have to be very cautious.

  • Brake much earlier than you usually do
  • You must be careful when driving in poor weather
  • Don’t try to brake with force; you must do so gently
  • Driving on rugged tracks would also help
  • On getting to your destination, you must have your vehicle checked without any further delay.

2.              Safety Belts Sign

Car dashboard seat belt symbol This dashboard sign indicates that you have not fastened your seat belts. Not attending to this sign after a while will result in a light flashing which will only be abated if you fasten your seat belt.

PS: Safety belts dashboard sign is activated when driving speed is gone past 5mph or when you have weighty objects placed right on the front passenger seat while driving.

What To Do:

Ensure you have your safety belts positioned the correct way

3.              Battery Sign

car battery warning light symbol This means that there is something wrong with your car battery.

What To Do: You’ll have to first find a good place to park your vehicle and then have your battery checked. Failure to do this might result in a more severe condition which may cause the BMW to stop functioning.

4.              Brake Fluid Level Sign

break fluid level dashboard sign. The brake fluid level sign could come up on your BMW dashboard in two illuminations.

If the brake fluid level sign comes up in red, what it means is that your brake fluid level is lower than normal.

If the sign you get on your dashboard is illuminated with yellow, It means your vehicle’s hill assist feature is ineffective. This will make your car unstable once you release the brake.

What To Do: With both light conditions, you can still make your journey, only that you must ensure;

  • Not to drive too fast
  • You check the car systems as soon as possible

5.              Airbag Or SRS System

airbag srs dashboard warning lights This indicates that your vehicle’s airbag system or belt tensioners are not working. This bmw warning lights symbol usually comes with beeps.

Notice that sometimes when there is a car crash the crash sensor may be activated.

What To Do:

  • Have your vehicle checked immediately
  • You should fasten the belts away

6.              Door Ajar/Open

Door ajar dashboard signThis means ha one or more of your vehicle door is slightly open or not shut properly. It is common usually when you have some people who entered into the car with. Make it a routine not to allow children shut the car door by themselves.

Sometimes there may be something between the door that may hinder it from closing well.

What To Do: Check all doors and ensure you properly close them before driving

7.              Service Vehicle Sign

Car service dashboard symbol When you get this sign in red, your BMW is way due for service and you need to take it to any nearest BMW center. You could probably get a free car diagnostic check there

If it lights up in yellow it means it is just due for service. Then you need to plan out when to take your ride for servicing.

What To Do: In both situations, you must ensure to get your vehicle for service.

8.             Dynamic Stability Control (TRIANGLE & EXCLAMATION MARK)

Dynamic stability control dashboard sign Typically, this is a traction control system. Usually, it will come on once the system turns on. This activation often seeks to improve the level of traction. It could also highlight failed wheel speed sensors. Well, a faulty pre-charge ABS pump could be yet another source.

To continue to drive with this yellow warning light on is relatively less safe for you. Always consider an inspection by relevant experts.

9.            Steering System (Integral Active Steering)

Steering wheel lock

Steering wheel locks often result from too many sharp turns or using the wrong car key. You may find it hard to turn the steering to the left or right. Take care when driving as this can cause an accident.

What your BMW is telling you is to run a quick test on your car steering.

What To Do: While the car engine is on, steer to the right, and left in a uniform motion until the sign is gone. If the sign does not disappear after steering for more than 6 times, you must have your car checked immediately.

10.              Temperature Sign

Car temperature warning sign When your BMW dings with this indicator on the dashboard, it means that outside temperature just dropped below the 37-degree mark.

What To Do: Drive carefully and be cautious of road obstructions.  It’s ideal for you to pull over and stop the engine. This way, you will let it cool off then you can continue to drive safely.

11.         Tire Pressure Sign

Tire pressure dashboard warning If you get this sign on your dashboard in red, then one or multiple tires have deflated. If this sign comes up in yellow, the recommended bmw tire pressure is down by 10% or even more.

It is advisable that you stop the car and confirm your car tires. If need be, inflate them immediately. This will ensure an enhanced balance on the road.

PS: A drop in temperature could also affect the tire pressure as well as the efficiency of the fuel

What To Do: Just check your car in any nearby BMW center to have your tire fixed.

12.         Brake Pads Wear indicator

brake pad ware warning symbol This sign indicates you have worn brake pads. When your BMW brake pads are worn, your brake system won’t be effective

What To Do: Be very careful when driving and ensure to check your brake pads immediately.

13.         Empty Light Sign

Empty or fuel guage indicator dash light Could also be referred to as the Fuel Indicator. Simply means that you only have a cruising range of 30 miles before you run out of gas.

It is a reminder to you that you are at the verge of not been able to move your vehicle within a very short while.

What To Do: Watch out for the nearest station to refill your tank with gas before it gets too late.

14.         Engine Too Hot Sign

car temperature warning symbol Your BMW engine is overheating or too hot to continue the journey. These aspects show that the engine is curving into high temperatures. This is due to relatively low levels of engine coolant.

Also, it may be because of broken water pumps or coolant hose leak.

What To Do: Stop driving, turn off the engine and wait for it to cool down before you continue driving.

15.         Low Oil Level Sign

This appears on your BMW dashboard when you have a very low oil level in your engine.

What To Do: Add oil to your car engine as soon as possible

16.         Check Engine Sign

Check engine dashboard warning light This can also be called the malfunction indicator light too. When you get this on the dashboard, what it means is that your vehicle engine and related components are misfiring and not functioning optimally.

PS: Engine  misfiring has the potential to damage your BMW’s emission control system

What To Do:

  • Alight your vehicle and have it checked immediately
  • Reduce your driving speed.

Less Popular BMW Warning Lights And What To Do With Them

Having done justice to the common BMW dashboard signs and what you should do with them, let’s take it a step further by looking into other important signs that most BMW owners don’t even take cognizance of.

1.    Turn Signal

This tells you that the turn signal is on

What To Do: If you’re not taking a turn or changing lanes, turn off the turn signal by moving the signal arm to its initial position.

2.              Head Beams

This shows that your BMW’s long-range head beams are on

What To Do: You should turn it off in daylight and after use at night

3.              Lane Departure

This sign appears on your dashboard when you change a lane without turning on any signal

What To Do: Use the turn signal, then change direction towards your initial lane. Turn the signal again to indicate you’ll be changing direction to your preferred lane. This will recalibrate the signal

4.              Front Fog Lamp

Your front fog lamp is on

What To Do: If you didn’t turn it on, turn it off

5.              Parking Brake

You get this light on your dashboard when you have parked your vehicle and brought the gear to the position “P”

What To Do: Take the gear to the position “N” first, then pull your BMW’s handbrake, and finally take the gear to position “P” for transmission loading.

Other BMW Dashboard Signs You Should Familiarize Yourself With

Due to how lengthy the list of BMW dashboard signs is, you may need to refer back to your owner’s manual to get further description of how you can go about these signs when they appear on your dashboard. Notwithstanding, we’ll list some other dashboard signs you should know.

  • Outer brake lamp warning signals that the bulb has developed a fault
  • Start/Stop Problem sign indicates a fault with the technology
  • Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) warning sign indicates there is excess air in the diesel particulate filter
  • Cruise control indicates you have activated this driving control
  • Steering lock warning sign: if this sign is yellow, you should have your car checked immediately. If red, don’t use the feature

Regardless of the sign you get on your BMW dashboard, you should always look out for red or flashing signs first as these signs indicate urgent issues with your vehicle. If you have any yellow or green sign on your dashboard, it is recommended that you schedule your BMW to be serviced.

If at this point you’re still not sure about the meaning of certain BMW dashboard signs, be sure to consult your BMW owner’s manual.

BMW Warning Lights Video – Some 3 Series Dashboard Symbols