BMW Indicator Lights
BMW Service Indicators
As an employee of BMW for over ten years now, I have noticed time and time again that customer satisfaction would be greatly increased if we were to educate our customers on some of the basic warning symbols in their vehicles. Along with knowledge of your vehicle, the following information will save you time and help you to stay up to date with your BMW's needs.
Key Symbols to Know
I apologize for the format of the picture at right; if you click the magnifying glass at the bottom right of your browser and select 200%, it will make the symbols much clearer.
In general: A RED indicator light means you should contact the dealership right away. A YELLOW light generally is not urgent but means you should investigate the meaning of the symbol.
The temperature indicator light is an exception: DO NOT DRIVE if that light is on, no matter the color.
There are a few symbols below that customers find especially confusing.
1. Tire Pressure or "TPM" symbol. This indicator causes much frustration for many of our customers because it can be turned on by the slightest variation in pressure. If the light is yellow, 99% of the time it can be resolved by adding a pound or two of pressure and resetting the TPM light. If the light is on and one tire seems to be lower than the others, it is wise to do a visual check of the tire to look for physical damage, such as nails or other road hazards. If you conclude that there is no damage, then continue with filling your tire and resetting the light. But if this symbol appears in red, I strongly urge you to head towards your nearest BMW dealer and have it checked professionally!
2. "Service." This wedge-shaped icon of a car, lit up in yellow, is showing you that your car is now due for its yearly maintenance; it is nothing to be concerned about. You should schedule a service appointment, which on average runs about an hour and a half waiting time. If the symbol is illuminated in red, this is cause for concern, because the vehicle is now past due for service, and if an oil service is one of the necessary maintenance items it can cause damage to the engine.
3. Car on lift. A different "service" indicator (not shown at right) is a picture of a car lifted up in the air. If the indicator is yellow, it may indicate some failure in the brake lights, trailer hitch, or fuel supply, and the car should be serviced, though it is still driveable; if red, it may indicate a failure in the starter, ignition, or lighting system that needs immediate service.
4. Oil canister symbol. This can mean two things. The first possibility is the engine being low on oil. This may not be cause for great concern: it is perfectly normal for an engine to burn through a small amount of oil between services. All you need to do is pull into the service drive of a Certified BMW Dealership and let them know you need an oil top-off. If your vehicle is under factory warranty (not extended) this will be covered; if you are out of warranty, this top-off will run about seven dollars. The second meaning of this light is that your vehicle is due for its yearly oil service, which averages out to around every 15,000 miles. Don't be concerned if its been a while since your last oil service. BMW uses Castrol 5W-30 which is a synthetic oil and is designed to last a long time.
Low-Mileage Oil Service
BMW's Low-Mileage Oil Service was put in place to maintain vehicles that their owners do not drive on a regular basis. This means you will be covered by warranty if your vehicle was purchased a full year ago before the present date and you have yet to hit 15,000 miles or your service indicator has not shown up. Keep in mind that BMW oil is 5W-30 Castrol Synthetic, so there is no need to worry if you are at 13,000 and have not yet seen an oil indicator light.