Is Your Parking Lamp Malfunctioning? Here’s What to Do

Parking lamps play an important role in the safety of the driver, the car, and other traffic participants. A parking lamp is a light on the outside of a vehicle that indicates its presence to other drivers and pedestrians.

In addition, although this light is very often overlooked, the Highway Code requires a properly working parking lamp on every vehicle. If yours isn’t working, you could risk getting pulled over or into an accident.

If you drive a BMW, you will get a “Parking Lamp Malfunction warning” message whenever the PCM recognizes a fault with any of the parking lamps. To properly fix it, you must identify which one is not working and start looking into what might cause the malfunction.

This article looks at the meaning of the parking light malfunction, its causes, fix, and how to reset the error.

What Does Parking Lamp Malfunction Mean?

A parking lamp malfunction is simply a problem with your parking lamp. When the parking lamp does not come on, or it’s deemed, your BMW vehicle notifies you with a warning message which says parking lamp malfunction. The error message might come up just before the lamp goes out. 

bmw parking lamp malfunction

When the light stops working, it could mean different things. It could be that your bulbs are burned out, and it is time for a change, or it could just be a problem with the wiring harness. 

Parking lamp malfunction is common with BMW cars. It does not matter the model you drive; you can be in a situation where the warning comes. What matters is knowing what it means and how to deal with it. 

What Causes A Parking Lamp Malfunction?

The parking light warning message can come on due to many factors. Majorly the cause of the message is most likely related to a blown bulb or fuse, but there are also other causes of the problem. 

bmw parking lamps

Some of the causes of a malfunctioned parking light may include the following: 

Bad bulb

When the parking light error message comes up, it is most likely a problem with the bulb. To be sure, you can take out the bulb and inspect it to ensure it is still functioning. Once you take the bulb out, you can easily see if the bulb is blown out.  

If the bulb is blown, it must be replaced immediately; if not, the error message will keep popping up on your dashboard. 

Blown fuse

Another cause of the parking lamp malfunction error message is a blown fuse. There is a fuse assigned for every electrical part of the vehicle. If the fuse related to the parking lamp gets blown or damaged, the parking lights will not function, triggering the error message. 

You can locate the fuse with the help of your vehicle’s manual. Inspect to see if it is blown. If the fuse is responsible for the error message, it will also be accompanied by a check engine light. 

Wiring issue

Another problem that could cause the parking lights not to function is a wiring issue. There is a wire that supplies the parking light with the necessary amount of voltage for it to function perfectly. If the wiring gets damaged, then the lamp will immediately stop working. 

The wiring can be affected by corrosion, chewing rodents, or simply accidental damage. 

Faulty Battery

If you have the error message with the battery light, it could result from a drained or damaged battery. When the battery can not properly power the parking lights, it may not come on or be deemed as if it does come on.  

Related BMW Warning: What Does Low Beam Malfunction Warning Indicate?

How Do I Fix My Bmw Parking Light Malfunction? Can I Do It Myself?

To fix your parking light malfunction, the first thing to do is diagnose where the fault is coming from. Once you can do this, fixing the problem will be much easier. 

To properly do this, you will have to inspect the various parts of the vehicle responsible for proper functioning of the parking lamp, such as the fuse, bulb,  wiring harness, and battery. If the problem is not from any of these parts, it is more likely to be a system issue. 

Below are some of the ways that you can fix a parking light malfunction. 

1. Change the bulb

One of the most common causes of the malfunction error is a blown or damaged bulb. All you need to do is get a new bulb that suits your vehicle model perfectly. Uninstall the lamp, remove the bulb and replace it with the new one. 

2. Replace Blown out fuse

It is very easy to replace the fuse yourself. All you need is your vehicle manual and a new fuse. Before getting a new false, use your vehicle’s manual to locate the fuse responsible for your parking lamp. 

Once you have located the fuse, confirm that the fuse is blown. If it is, the next step is to get a new fuse. You will have to find a fuse that meets the voltage requirement by checking the current rating on the old fuse. Once you have gotten the fuse, go ahead and pull out the old fuse and replace it with the new one. 

3. Replace Wiring Harness

If the problem with the parking lamp is due to a faulty wiring harness, then you need to replace it. It would be easier if you did not get it fixed and have the wiring cut and joined back together. However, it is quite risky to do it that way. 

You can disconnect your parking lamp and trace the wires to the fuse box to get to the wiring harness. Simply remove the wire and replace it with a new one. 

4. Charge or replace the battery 

If the battery is the cause of the malfunction, it is even easier for you to fix it. If the car sat for several weeks and the battery became discharged, you should charge the battery, and the problem should be fixed.

If the battery is weak and can’t hold its charge anymore, then it is time to replace it with a new one.

Issues that have to do with the system will require a much different approach, as you will need to reset the system. You can use a scan tool or consult your vehicle manual to reset the error. If you can not reset it, you need professional help. 

How Much Can I Expect To Pay?

The repair cost for a vehicle’s parking lamp malfunction depends on the cause of the problem. As we know, the cause of the malfunction are many and require different solutions.

If the cause of your parking lamp malfunction is a faulty bulb, it will cost between $10 to $40 to get a new bulb. FI you are getting a professional to have the replacement done for you, you should budget another $50 for the total cost.

When the fault of the problem is a blown fuse, then it may cost you between $10 to $20. again, if a mechanic will replace it for you, you should add another $50 to the total cost.

Battery issues might not cost you anything if you have a drained battery. With the appropriate tools in your home, you can charge the battery in no time. However, if the battery is old and needs replacing, you will need a new one that costs you between $300 and $500. 

How Do I Reset The Warning? Will It Go Away If I Replace The Bulb/Fuse?

To reset any warning lights or messages, you must properly drain them of all electrical current until their memory is completely wiped of error data. 

You will have to turn off your engine and disconnect the battery for some time to reset the warning light. The electronic components are drained completely of electricity by disconnecting the battery, and all stored data will be wiped. 

If you try this and it does not work, you can try another way. Below are steps to reset your warning light. 

  1. Switch your vehicle to start, but do not ignite the engine. If your vehicle uses a start button, press the button but do not press the brake pedal. 
  2. Press and hold down the odometer button until the service message appears.
  3. Continue to press until the message for a reset pops up.
  4. Press and hold the button to reset successfully.
  5. Switch off the car and start it to ensure all the warnings are gone. 

This process is strictly for BMW vehicles and could be different for other car makes.

If the warning was caused by a blown bulb or fuse, you do not need to reset anything. As long as you replace the faulty part with a new one, the error will go away on its own.

Can You Drive With A Parking Lamp Malfunction?

Yes, you can drive with a malfunctioning parking lamp warning on your instrument cluster. The warning does not affect the condition and performance of the vehicle when driving. It also does not damage any part of the vehicle. 

The warning is strictly related to your vehicle’s parking lamp or sidelights. However, the parking light is a useful feature, and not having this feature poses a lot of danger to you, especially when parked in the dark or conditions with low visibility. Oncoming vehicles may collide with you because they might not be able to see you in time.

What Is A Parking Lamp On A Bmw?

The BMW parking lamp, also called sidelights, is equipped with small 6w bulb(s), which can be seen at the top side of the headlights and tail or rear lights. They help to serve as visual markers that allow drivers to properly see the front and rear parts of the car. 

It is used to help illuminate the area around the vehicle when it is parked. In the US, parking lamps are required by law and are also sometimes used as a decorative element on a vehicle. Depending on the country, parking lamps may also be known as marker, position, or side lamps.


Fixing the Parking Lamp Malfunction message on your BMW is not as difficult as some may think. Most of the time, the cause is a faulty bulb, which can be fixed in under an hour, with minimum costs.

I hope this article will help you fix the problem, and in case you need further help, feel free to shoot us a message.