BMW Brake Pad Warning Light [Causes & How to Reset]

Has a brake pad warning light appeared on your BMW and you’re not sure why? You’re in luck.

This article will give you a simple rundown on this warning light, its common causes, and easy steps to fix it. let’s get to it.

What Does the BMW Brake Pad Warning Light Mean?

The BMW Brake Pad Warning Light is a common light you see in a BMW car. This light tells you there might be a problem with your brakes. This could be because your brake pads are too thin or the brake pad sensor isn’t working properly.

Brake pads help stop your car. They do this by pushing against something called the rotor when you step on the brakes, slowing down your BMW.

Each brake pad has a sensor that can tell how much they have been used.

If the sensors feel that your brake pads are too thin, they tell the car’s computer (also known as the PCM or Power Control Module). The computer then turns on the warning light.

What Causes the Brake Pad Light on a BMW?

Now that I have briefly touched on the meaning of this alert. Let’s now look at what causes this light to illuminate.

Some of the most common reasons for this warning light to come on include:

1. Bad Brake Pads:

The most common and obvious cause of a brake pad light on your BMW is worn-down brake pads.

Over time the brakes will wear down, and when they do, the pads will become thinner and thinner every time you drive your vehicle.

When the brakes are worn out enough, the sensors will detect this and send a signal to the computer, which then illuminates the warning light.

Typically BMW brake pads last anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 miles depending on how often you drive and how hard you brake.

Signs the Warning Light is Caused by Worn Pads

  1. Squeaking/Squealing noise when braking
  2. Car pulling to one side when braking
  3. Vibration Sounds
  4. Your BMW takes longer to stop
  5. Brake pad warning light
  6. The Brakes Pads look thinner

2. Faulty Brake Pad Sensor(s):

The second most common reason for the brake pad warning light to come on is due to a malfunctioning one or both sensors.

As I mentioned above, Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH vehicles have two sensors that monitor the wear level of your brake pads.

These sensors work by checking resistance. They have two parts, each with a wire.

When these wires get worn out, they change how much resistance they have.

This change lets the system give you two warnings to tell you that your brake pads are wearing down.

However, if one of these sensors can get damaged or malfunctions, the sensor will give a false reading to the system.

As a result, it will make the I-drive system give you a false warning.

The quickest way to tell if a bad sensor is a culprit is if you recently changed your brakes and you haven’t driven 20 000 miles (32 000KM).

How to Fix the BMW Brake Pad Warning Light?

Now that I have explained the reason why your BMW brake pad warning light comes on let’s talk about how to fix it.

Brake Pad Replacement

If your brake pads haven’t been changed for a long time, they’re likely worn down and require replacement.

The process of changing the brake pads is fairly straightforward for those with mechanical skills. If you’re not confident in this area, consider taking your car to a BMW dealer or a qualified independent mechanic.

It’s important to ensure that only genuine BMW brake pads are used during replacement. These pads guarantee durability, proper fit, and optimal braking performance.

New pads include new sensors, which are tailored precisely to your BMW’s specifications.

Replace the Brake Pad Sensors

If your brake pads are still relatively new, then the issue might be caused by faulty brake sensors.

On your car, there are two brake pad sensors, one for the front brakes and one for the rear brakes.

The sensors are relatively cheap and easy to replace, so it’s worth checking them out first before you spend money on new brake pads.

How to Reset the BMW Brake Bad Light

After you change the pads/sensors, then it’s time for the reset.

Here’s an easy guide on how to reset the brake warning indicator in your BMW, especially when you’re certain there’s no significant issue. Follow these steps:

  1. Place the key (or the key fob) into the ignition. 
  2. Turn the key to the second position, but ensure you don’t ignite the engine.
  3. Open the driver’s door and patiently wait for about 10 seconds.

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