BMW 3 Series Dashboard Lights Explained

The BMW 3 Series Check Control system monitors various functions in and around the vehicle and notifies the driver of any faults usually in the form of a dashboard warning light, text messages in the instrument cluster, the head-up display and in some circumstances a audible signal may sound along with a message on the Control Display.

Many dashboard lights illuminate temporarily with ignition as a self-check for proper function and after a few seconds go out. If a light stays on or comes on while driving, take note. Various colours are used for warning lights to indicate how serious a malfunction.

  • Blue and green dashboard lights are used to inform a function is active.
  • Amber / yellow are used to inform that something non-urgent requires attention soon.
  • Red requires immediate attention particularly if the light is flashing.

Detailed are the BMW 3 Series dashboard warning lights symbols with an explanation of their meaning and advisable action to take based on the manufacturers recommendations. Symbols should help with BMW models: E36, E46, E90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F31, F34.

BMW 3 Series airbag dashboard warning light symbol
BMW 3 Series Airbag Dashboard Warning Light

The airbag light should come on as a self-check with ignition and should go out shortly. If the light stays on or comes on when driving, there is a fault with the airbag and belt tensioners system. Airbag system may not be deployed in the event of an accident – have vehicle checked by BMW engineer. For check control / messages, see BMW 3 Series Airbag / Pretensioner Check Control Information Messages.  For further help, see why is the airbag light on?

BMW 3 Series seat belt reminder dashboard warning light symbol
Seat Belt
BMW 3 Series Seat Belt Reminder Warning Light

The safety belt reminder light illuminates or flashes when the driver or front passenger has not buckled the seat belt. Pressure plates are located within the seats and may trigger the warning light if objects are placed on the front passenger seat. If you are experiencing issues will the light failing to go out, see seat belt light stays on.

BMW 3 Series parking brake dashboard warning light symbol
Parking Brake
BMW 3 Series hand brake dashboard warning light symbol
Parking Brake
BMW 3 Series Parking Brake Warning Light

The parking brake / handbrake symbol varies depending on location. Warning light comes on when parking brake is applied. BMW recommends: To prevent corrosion and one-sided brake action, lightly apply the parking brake periodically while coasting, if traffic conditions permit. However, be cautious not to apply the parking brake to excess as this may cause the rear wheels to lock. If you are experiencing issues with the parking brake remaining on, see parking brake stays on while driving.

BMW 3 Series front end collision dashboard warning light symbol
Collision Warning
BMW 3 Series Front-End Collision Warning Light

The front-end collision light illuminates: advance warning of impending danger of a collision – distance to vehicle ahead too small. Increase distance now. Flashing / audible alarm: severe warning and imminent danger of collision due to approaching another vehicle at high speed. Brake now or take evasive action.

BMW 3 Series pedestrian collision dashboard warning light symbol
Pedestrian Warning
BMW 3 Series Pedestrian Collision Warning Light

This symbol lights up in the dashboard instrument cluster along with an audible alarm if a imminent collision with a person is detected.

BMW 3 Series active bruise control dashboard light symbol
Cruise Control
BMW 3 Series Cruise Control Sensor
Cruise Control Sensor
BMW 3 Series Active Cruise Control Light

This symbol show the number of bars detailing the distance from the vehicle in front. To maintain a set and safe distance, the system automatically reduces or increases speed based on the actions of the vehicle in front. The system may not operate correctly if the sensor is dirty.

BMW 3 Series vehicle detection dashboard light symbol
Vehicle Detection
BMW 3 Series Vehicle Detection Warning Light

Light becomes illuminated: vehicle driving ahead detected. Flashing: the conditions are not suitable for operating the system. The system has been deactivated but applies the brakes until you actively resume control by pressing on the brake pedal or accelerator pedal.

BMW 3 Series ABS dashboard light symbol
BMW 3 Series anti-lock brake system dashboard light symbol
BMW 3 Series ABS Warning Light

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) warning light comes on if a fault is detected. Normal brakes will work as usual though the added safety aid of ABS will not be operational. Avoid harsh braking, stopping distances may be increased and brake force boost is possibly defective. Have system check as soon as possible.

BMW 3 Series Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) dashboard light symbol
BMW 3 Series Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) off dashboard light symbol
BMW 3 Series DSC Warning Light

The DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system controls the drive and brake forces. Symbol flashes indicated system is in use – drive according to the road conditions. Symbol lights up (constant) when a failure has been detected in the system. Have the system checked.

BMW 3 Series tyre pressure monitor warning dashboard light symbol
BMW 3 Series TPMS Warning Light

The Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) warning light illuminates warning of pressure loss in a tyre. Slow down cautiously and avoid harsh braking or steering. The TPMS communicates with the vehicle wirelessly. If the TPMS symbol flashes and then continuously illuminates, This is because: 1. Devices with the same radio frequency are interrupting the system. This can be established by leaving the area of interference and the system restores. 2. A TPMS reset has failed. Perform the reset again. 3. A wheel without the TPMS device has been fitted. 4. A system malfunction.

BMW 3 Series lane departure warning dashboard light symbol
Lane Departure
BMW 3 Series Lane Departure Warning Light

Light illuminates when system is switched on and under certain circumstances warns if a detected lane is left without signalling beforehand.

BMW 3 Series steering system warning dashboard light symbol
BMW 3 Series Steering System Warning Light

Steering system / Active steering system / Electronic Power Steering (EPS) has been temporarily deactivated / has a fault. Steering, particularly at low speeds may require greater physical exertion. Normal steering should remain unaffected. See BMW engineer. See active steering system information centre and Check Control messages.

BMW 3 Series car on ramp / lift fault warning dashboard light symbol
BMW Car on Ramp Fault Warning Light

The BMW ‘car on ramp’ or ‘car on lift’ symbol illuminates in yellow or red and may be accompanied by another fault light. There are various faults that can be associated with these symbols. See BMW car on ramp light.

BMW Engine malfunction light
BMW 3 Series engine management malfunction half red warning dashboard light symbol
BMW 3 Series engine management malfunction half yellow warning dashboard light symbol
BMW Engine Malfunction Warning Light

Dashboard warning symbol several names and is often referred to as the engine malfunction light / engine management light, malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) and check engine. Light signals the potential for many faults. For the most common faults, see BMW engine malfunction light reasons.

BMW charge key fob battery warning light
BMW Wrong remote control key warning light
BMW comfort access deactivated key warning light
Comfort Access
BMW Key Fob Fault Warning Light

Faults with the key fob, key fob battery and transmitter interference can result in warning lights, Comfort Access issues and vehicle access problems. See the check control lights, messages and possible remedy: BMW key light warning explained.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *