BMW Low Beam Malfunction: Here Is How To Fix

BMW low Beam Malfunction

Modern BMW vehicles are fantastic. If you have an issue with your vehicle, it is more than happy to tell you the problem.

It isn’t always the most descriptive, but you get more information than other vehicles would provide you with.

Here are a few steps you need to take when you see a ‘BMW low beam malfunction’ warning:

1.     Diagnosing The Problem 

2.     Bulb Issues  

3.     Battery Issues

4.     Blown Fuse

5.     Wiring Issues

6.     Faulty Light Control Unit

What Is a BMW Low Beam Malfunction?

When you see a BMW low beam malfunction, it means that there is a problem with your low beam lights. This can include:

  • The low beam bulbs have died.
  • There isn’t enough power getting to the low-beam lights
  • There is an issue with the electrical system
  • Damaged bulb control unit

Honestly, the BMW low beam isn’t all that technically advanced. Vehicles have been using the same simple lighting systems for decades.

This means that if you do have a BMW low beam malfunction, it should be one of the simpler problems to fix. Although, more on that in a short while. 

How To Fix a BMW Low Beam Malfunction

While having a BMW low beam malfunction is never going to be good, you will be pleased to know that it is one of the easiest problems to fix.

Most of the time, you won’t need to head to a mechanic or BMW dealership. Even if you do not have a huge amount of knowledge about repairing vehicles, the process is incredibly easy.

In this section, we want to go through the main methods for fixing a BMW low beam malfunction. Do bear in mind that every BMW vehicle is different.

This means that we can only give you a general overview of the repair process. Your vehicle’s manual should provide much more specific information.

Diagnosing The Problem 

Thankfully, most BMW low beam malfunction issues should be easy to diagnose. Most of it is visual. However, we still suggest that you get your hands on an OBD-2 scanner.

This nifty tool plugs straight into your vehicle, allowing you to see the exact reasons behind the BMW low beam malfunction error. This makes things a lot easier. Although, the main reason why you should get one is to diagnose any other issues that may appear in your vehicle.

As we go through the ways to fix the BMW low beam malfunction, you should have more of an idea about what to be on the lookout for, just in case you don’t have access to an OBD-2 scanner. 

Bulb Issues  

If only one of the bulbs on your BMW doesn’t seem to be working, then there is a good chance that the bulb has blown. This happens. Bulbs only last for a few years. So, the first thing you can try to do is replace the low-beam bulb.

You will want to buy a pair of bulbs. Any major car part stockist will sell bulbs for your BMW, and they are unlikely to cost that much. The reason why you want to buy a pair is so that you can replace both low-beam bulbs at the same time.

It saves a lot of headaches in the future. So, yes. You are going to be replacing a bulb that still appears to be working.

You do not need any special tools here. Some screwdrivers and some wrenches will help. Here is how to do it. Remember, vehicle models can vary.

Consult your vehicle’s manual to know how to complete step 2.

  1. Disconnect your vehicle’s battery. You only need to remove the negative terminal clip (the black wire).
  2. Remove the plastic housing that protects the lights on the front of your vehicle. You will normally need to open your vehicle’s hood to access the clips, but your manual should give more information.
  3. Unscrew the bulbs
  4. Screw the new bulbs in place.
  5. Replace the plastic housing.
  6. Reconnect your vehicle’s battery
  7. Turn on your vehicle’s low beams.

If the bulb now works, then fantastic! However, if you still have a low beam malfunction, it’s time to try something different.

Remember, you may have to drive for a short amount of time for the error message to clear from the vehicle’s computer. 

Battery Issues

Some BMW low beam malfunction issues are caused by battery problems. Your battery is likely to be the issue if:

  1. The battery is drained.
  2. The battery is more than 5 years old.

If the battery is more than 5 years old, then it needs to be replaced. If the battery has completely drained, then you will need to charge it.

Although, if your battery is constantly losing power, then you may want to get to the bottom of that problem.

If the battery is the issue, then you may also notice battery malfunction warnings appearing on your vehicle’s dashboard, although they don’t always occur. 

You may also notice that you have other issues with the electrical systems in your vehicle. The issue may even be intermittent i.e. it doesn’t always happen.

Blown Fuse

If the battery doesn’t appear to be the issue, then you may have a blown fuse. This is highly likely to be the case if you have both of your bulbs down.

You will need to locate the fuse box in your vehicle. Once again, your vehicle’s manual is going to tell you the exact location. You will also need to read the circuit diagram to know which fuse is tied to your low-beam lights.

Once you have found the location for the fuse, it is simply a case of pulling out the old one and slotting the new fuse into place. Hopefully, by the time you turn the vehicle back on, the problem is fixed.

Do bear in mind that if the fuse blows again, this could indicate a deeper problem with the electrical systems in your vehicle.

This is not really a problem that you can deal with yourself, and you may need to consult with a mechanic or your local BMW dealership. 

Wiring Issues

Wiring issues can impact a single bulb and both low-beam bulbs. If you haven’t fixed the problem by now, then you can start to check the wires that lead to your bulbs.

Your vehicle’s manual will contain a wiring diagram, but things should be fairly self-explanatory if you followed step 1.

First, make sure that your battery is disconnected. All you need to do is remove the clip on the negative battery terminal. You don’t want power flowing through the system when you are tinkering with wires. At least, not at the start.

Next, access the location where the vehicle’s light wires are. Look for any breaks in the wires, clips that may have come loose, etc. If you notice broken wires, then replace them (you can purchase BMW wiring harnesses for your lights).

If there is no sign that the wires are damaged, then reconnect the battery and switch on your vehicle and the low-beam lights.

Using a multimeter, you can check whether there is power flowing through to the lights. If there isn’t, then you may need to talk to a mechanic as there is a problem with your vehicle’s wiring system. 

Faulty Light Control Unit

If your lights are flickering or blinking, then you may have an issue with the light control unit. This is located close to the lights (it is a small box). While you can replace the control unit yourself, it can be an expensive repair job. Therefore, if you have managed to get this far and you still appear to have a BMW low beam malfunction, then it may be worth talking to a dealership or a mechanic. You don’t want to be replacing the light control unit unless you have no other choice.

Remember, you can also use an OBD-2 scanner, just to check whether the light control unit is to blame. 

Read also >> BMW Cruise Control Malfunction (Failure Step by Step Solved)

Read also >> BMW DBC Malfunction: Here Is How To Fix (Step by Step Guide)

Can You Drive With a Low Beam Malfunction?

It depends.

Technically, it is illegal to knowingly drive without working lights. If you have a low beam malfunction, then it means that you know that your lights aren’t working.

That being said if you are driving in the daylight, then you should be fine. This is assuming that the weather is not adverse i.e. there is no heavy fog or mist.

It is completely safe to drive without lights in those conditions.

Of course, we are sure that you don’t want to limit yourself to daytime driving, or driving when the weather is perfect.

This means that you need to get the problem fixed as soon as you possibly can. 

How Do You Turn Off a BMW Low Beam Malfunction?

The only way to turn off a BMW low beam malfunction warning is to fix the problem. Once the problem is fixed, the malfunction warning should disappear shortly after.

It may not disappear right away, though. This is because your vehicle’s computer takes a while to ‘update’. In rare cases, you may need to use an OBD-2 scanner to clear the error, although that is incredibly rare.

If you want a temporary fix, then you can unplug the vehicle’s battery for 10-15 minutes. This will clear the malfunction warning, although do bear in mind that it is not going to fix the problem.

So, not only will your BMW low beam still not be working correctly, but that warning is going to appear again. 

BMW Low Beam Malfunction Fix >> Check out the video below:

Final Thoughts

A BMW low-beam malfunction isn’t the end of the world. While it does mean that your vehicle shouldn’t be driven in the dark, the problem does tend to be very easy to fix.

In most cases, swapping out a blown bulb or fuse is all it takes. In other cases, you may need to double-check the wiring is all in order.

BMW low-beam malfunctions can easily be fixed by any car owner. It is rare that you will ever need to go to a mechanic to have the problem fixed. 


Steve P.

Steve is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Riviera. Steve is based in Boise, Idaho.

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