Once you change the brake pads on your BMW, the brake service light will keep popping on your dashboard until you reset it. Typically, the process isn’t that complicated, but it requires you to follow the right steps to succeed.
How to reset brake light on BMW:
- Turn the ignition on without starting the engine and disengage the parking brake.
- Press the odometer reset button to navigate through various lights until you see the brake warning light (2015 BMWs or Older)
- Press the reset button to bring up the “reset possible” message (2016 BMWs or Newer.)
- Select “reset” to initiate the reset process.
- When the process completes, “reset successful” confirms reset.
Keep in mind the reset might be unsuccessful. All the reasons for this are discussed below.
How To Reset Brake Light On BMW
Did you change your BMW brake pads and brake sensors recently? If you did and the brake service warning light is still coming up on your dash, you need to reset it.
Typically, there are two ways you can do the reset depending on the BMW model year you have. The methods are the same but the dashboard and instructions might differ depending on the model and year of your BMW.
How to Reset Brake Light on 2015 BMW or Older
There are two ways you can reset the brake light on your 2015 BMW or older.
Method 1: Using the Dashboard Reset Button for BMW 2015 or older:
Step 1: Insert the key into the ignition and press the start/stop button once to take it to accessories position 1.
Step 2: Without pressing the pedal, press the push button again to take it to position 2, so that everything powers up and starts.
Step 3: Press and keep holding the trip reset button on the dashboard until it passes the triangle icon. This will set it to the brake fluid setting.
Step 4: Continue pressing and holding the reset button to toggle through the different settings. The first will be brake fluid; the second will be oil level.
Step 5: The third setting will be the rear brakes mileage (e.g., 47,000 km).
Step 6: Pressing and holding the reset button at the rear brake setting will prompt you to reset.
Step 7: Lift your finger from the button, then press it again. This will clear the screen.
Step 8: Let go of the button. The screen will now display that the rear brake’s mileage has been reset to the next interval (e.g., reset to 50,000 km).
Step 9: The brake warning light reset is now complete. The light will not return until the new rear brake mileage interval is reached.
Method 2: Using the BC Button to reset the brake light on BMW 2015 or older:
Step 1: Insert the key into the ignition and turn it to the “on” position without starting the engine. This will light up the dashboard.
Step 2: Press and release the ignition button once. This will illuminate the service/check control panel.
Step 3: Wait for the audible beep from the control panel to stop, indicating it has finished its start-up sequence.
Step 4: Rapidly press the small BC button on the control panel’s left side repeatedly until the clock display and odometer reading appear on the instrument cluster screen.
Step 5: Continuously press and keep holding down the mileage reset button on the left side of the dashboard until the triangle warning symbol is visible on the instrument cluster display.
Step 6: Release the reset button once the triangle symbol appears.
Step 7: Quickly press the BC button one time to change the instrument cluster display to the “reset” message.
Step 8: Firmly press and don’t let go of the odometer trip reset button for between 1-3 continuous seconds.
Step 9: The display will begin counting down, indicating the reset procedure is in progress.
Step 10: Release the reset button once the counting-down animation completes.
Step 11: The instrument cluster will display the message “reset successful” to confirm the brake light reset.
How to Reset Brake Light on 2016 BMW or Newer:
Step 1: Turn the ignition on by inserting the key and pressing the push button once without engaging the starter motor. This will illuminate the dashboard.
Step 2: Release the parking brake. This is important as failure to do so will cause the reset to be unsuccessful.
Step 3: Locate the odometer reset switch on the left side of the dashboard.
Step 4: Firmly press and hold the odometer reset control button. This will clear any text from the instrument cluster display.
Step 5: Continue pressing the odometer reset control button. A message will appear saying, “reset possible”.
Step 6: Release the reset button once the “reset possible” message displays.
Step 7: Again, press and keep holding the reset button for a few seconds to bring up the reset confirmation prompt.
Step 8: Select “reset” by pressing the reset button once more.
Step 9: Release the button. The display will now show “reset in progress.”
Step 10: Allow the reset procedure to complete, as indicated by the counting-down animation.
Step 11: Once finished, the display will change to “reset successful” to confirm the reset. The brake light reset is now complete.
Here is a video demonstrating how to reset brake light on BMW (2016 Onwards)
Why Is My Brake Reset Unsuccessful On BMW?
If the brake light reset attempt on your BMW was shown as “unsuccessful,” it means the process did not complete properly. And the light was not cleared.
If you remember well, the brake light has its meaning so there could be several underlying issues that are preventing a successful reset. Some common reasons why the reset may not work include:
Incorrect Reset Procedure
The multi-step reset process must be followed precisely as outlined in the owner’s manual, or it will terminate unsuccessfully. Things like key position, button presses, and timing are important. Redo the process using the steps discussed above.
Engaged Parking Brake
The parking/emergency brake must be fully disengaged for the reset procedure to work properly. If the brake is still applied even slightly, the sensor will not register enough pad wear for a successful reset. The parking brake mechanism needs to be completely off for an accurate reading.
Incompatible Aftermarket Brake Pads
So, you changed the brake pads and maybe even the brake sensors, but did you use OEM or fully BMW-compatible brake parts?
Aftermarket brake parts may have non-standard sensors that onboard computers cannot properly read for resets. So, if you used mismatching components, they may be the reason for the reset refusal.
Not Enough Brake Pad Wear
The brake pad thickness sensor requires a minimum threshold of wear to be met before allowing a reset. If the pads still have considerable life remaining, even after normal brake use, the system may refuse a reset attempt as premature. Driving aggressively or using engine braking can help create more pad wear if close to the reset limit.
Faulty Brake Pad Sensor
Over time, brake pad sensors can fail or malfunction, preventing reliable communication with the brake warning light system. Corrosion, damage from overheating, or other issues may cause a defective or non-responsive sensor. Replacement of the faulty sensor component is needed before a successful reset.
Moisture in Sensor Connection
Exposure to water or moisture can cause the electrical contacts in the connection points for the brake pad sensor to corrode or fail. This interrupts the signal between the sensor and the vehicle, appearing as a “reset unsuccessful” even with proper procedures followed. Cleaning contacts with an electrical contact cleaner may solve it.
Corroded Electrical Contacts
Similar to moisture issues, simple corrosion buildup over time on electrical contacts can interrupt signals. Regular inspection of plugs and sockets for any greenish residue is recommended as prevention. For diagnosis, unplugging and cleaning contacts may fix a stubborn reset error.
Improperly Seated Sensor
During pad replacement, the brake pad sensor must be securely snapped into place on the brake caliper. A loosely fitted or misaligned sensor will not transmit readings accurately.
Other Tripped Brake System Sensors
BMWs have multiple brake condition sensors throughout the system. If another sensor elsewhere is triggered, such as the parking brake switch or ABS sensor, the reset will fail as a safety precaution. The root cause must be diagnosed and addressed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Still curious? If you’re, here are answers to some top questions people have been asking related to how to reset the brake light on BMW:
No, the ignition has to be in the on position, but the engine should be off for the reset to be successful.
When the brake light comes on again after a successful reset, it could mean the sensor got tripped and needs replacing. There might also be a possibility the brake system has an issue, such as worn brake pads that need to be replaced soon.
Resetting the brake light on a BMW is an easy process that can be completed in a few simple steps. All you need to do is put the key in the ignition, press the odometer trip reset button, and follow the instructions on the display. Ensure you disengage the parking brake before you start, and use only OEM or fully compatible aftermarket brake parts.
However, if your reset is unsuccessful, it may indicate an underlying issue between the brakes, the sensors, and the onboard computer. It is best to consult your owner’s manual or a certified technician for clear diagnosis and repair.