Guide to BMW Warning Lights: What Do They Mean?

November 10th, 2019 by

Example of Dashboard Warning Lights

BMW is a German car company with a great reputation for high-quality luxury vehicles, but even your 3 Series or X5 might need an unexpected visit to a service center. If you see a warning light pop up on the dash of your BMW, you may need to bring your vehicle in. Read on to find out what your BMW dashboard warning lights mean.

Maintenance BMW Dash Warning Lights: Explained

While the BMW dash warning lights above warrant an immediate trip to the service center, some indicate simple fixes you should do soon (and might even do yourself), including:

Red BMW Warning Lights

BMW Warning Light Front Safety Belt


Front Safety Belt: When this light is on your dash, it means either the front passenger or the driver needs to secure their safety belt.

BMW Warning Light Braking System


Braking System: When this light is on, it indicates a potentially serious problem with the braking system, and you should visit a BMW service center immediately.


BMW Warning Light Parking Brake


Parking Brake: This indicates that your parking brake is engaged. If you’ve disengaged your parking brake and the light is still lit up, you should visit a service center. This light sometimes is just the word BRAKE.

BMW Warning Light Airbag and Belt Tensioner


Airbag/Seat Belt Tensioner: When this light is on your dash, it indicates a potential problem with either your airbag(s) or seatbelt tensioner(s). These essential safety features should be inspectd by a professional as soon as possible.

BMW Warning Light Rear Safety Belt Off


Rear Safety Belt Off: This light indicates that the rear passenger in the particular seat does not have their safety belt on.

Yellow BMW Warning Lights

BMW Warning Light Antilock Braking System


Antilock Braking System: When this light is on constantly, it indicates that your Brake Assist feature may not be functioning. It may also come on briefly when Brake Assist automatically applies your brakes.

BMW Warning Light Check Engine & Emissions


Engine: When this warning light flashes or stays on, you will want to have your vehicle serviced immediately as it means there is an issue with your engine, its emissions, or its components.

BMW Warning Light Steering System


Steering System: Your BMW’s steering system has something wrong with it; it may not work properly or power steering may be unavailable.

BMW Warning Light Tire Pressure
Tire Pressure Monitor: If this light is triggered it means that one or more of your tires is under-inflated. A yellow light means the tire pressure is down by about 10%, while a red light means the tire has deflated rapidly. This may be the result of tread wear that hasn’t been dealt with.
BMW Warning Light Dynamic Stability Control Deactivated


Dynamic Stability Control Off: This light indicates that Dynamic Stability Control has been deactivated.

BMW Warning Light Dynamic Stability Control
Dynamic Stability Control: If this light is on constantly, you should have your vehicle serviced, as it could indicate a problem with Dynamic Stability Control. It should come on whenever DSC is engaged, as well. You can read more about it in your owner’s manual.

Green BMW Warning Lights

BMW Warning Light Auto Hold


Auto Hold: This light indicates that the BMW Auto Hold system is engaged, automatically setting and releasing the brake in stop and go traffic.

BMW Warning Light High Beam Assistant


High Beam Assistant: This light indicates that you have High Beam Assistant engaged, regulating the headlight beam for optimum illumination.

BMW Warning Light Fog Lights


Fog Lights: This light signifies that you have your front fog lights on.

BMW Warning Light Lane Departure Warning


Lane Departure Warning: When this light is on, it indicates your Lane Departure Warning safety feature is engaged.

BMW Warning Light Low Beams


Low Beams: This light indicates that you have your headlights (low beams) on.

BMW Warning Light Parking Lights


Parking Lights: When this light is lit up on your dash, it means you have your parking lights on (rather than your low beams or high beams).

BMW Warning Light Turn Signals


Turn Signals: These are your BMW’s turn signal indicators. They’ll start flashing faster than usual if your turn signal bulb needs replacing.

BMW Warning Light Rear Safety Belt On


Rear Safety Belt: This light indicates that the rear passenger in the particular seat has their safety belt on.

Blue BMW Warning Lights

BMW Warning Light High Beams


High Beams: When this light is lit up on your dashboard, it is telling you that your high beams are on.

Other BMW Warning Lights

Cruise Control Dashboard Light


Cruise Control: When this light is lit up on your dashboard, it is telling you that your cruise control is on.


BMW Warning Light Check Control
Check Control: Check Control could indicate many different issues with your vehicle. Some Check Control messages will be displayed continuously until resolved while others are displayed for about 20 seconds and will be re-displayed later.
Service Vehicle: If this light is yellow, it means your BMW will be due for service soon. If you BMW becomes overdue for service the light will turn red.


Light Bulb: If this symbol is lit then one or more external lights are out or experiencing an issue. If, after changing your bulbs, the light is still on, we suggest a visit to a service center.


Circle with Dotted Lines: This BMW warning light indicates that your brake pads are worn and need replacing. As with the Service Vehicle light, it’s better if this is done sooner rather than later.


Empty or Low Fuel: When this symbol illuminates you have approximately 30 miles before you completely run out. Stop by you Decatur gas station for a fill-up and driving too long with this light on could damage your fuel system.


Oil Can: This symbol means your vehicle is low on oil. While it will also mean you’re likely due for an oil change, there could be more serious problems. When you choose BMW of Bloomington for your oil change, we’ll ensure your vehicle’s oil and lubrication system is in top shape in addition to replacing the oil and filter.


Thermometer: Your engine is getting too hot and potentially overheating; this can be both dangerous and damaging to your engine. If you aren’t near a BMW service center, we recommend stopping your vehicle to let your engine cool down and then visiting us as soon as possible.


Battery: This little rectangle with a + and – on it identifies trouble with your battery, and whatever that trouble may be, you’ll want it inspected by a professional.


Exclamation Mark in Circle: If this light shows up on your dash, it can indicate either that your brake fluid is low (red) or that your hill assist feature isn’t working (yellow). Either one warrants an inspection to fix. If you see any of these on your BMW X5, remember that dashboard warning symbols are no joke and to have your vehicle promptly looked at.

Complete Your Service Needs at BMW of Bloomington

If you need assistance addressing your BMW warning light, schedule service with the certified technicians at BMW of Bloomington. Remember to always check your owner’s manual if you’re unsure of a warning light — after all, the BMW X5 dashboard warning lights may not be exactly the same as the X7 or the 5 Series. If you have any additional questions about your BMW warning lights, contact us today! If you are shopping for a new model, compare your options like the BMW X1 vs. Lexus NX to learn more! Is there a new driver joining the family? Find out how to program their BMW key fob.

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