BMW lights stay on when the car is off

BMW Lights Stay On When The Car Is Off: How To Fix

Why do your dashboard lights stay on even after turning off your BMW car? This problem often occurs as your car ages. Luckily, you can diagnose and fix it.

The dashboard lights stay on after turning off your car if there is an electrical connection problem or a fault in the lights control module. A short circuit in the ignition switch or wiring will keep the lights on. Unfortunately, that drains your battery.

Read on as we detail the reasons and how to fix this problem.

BMW lights stay on when the car is off
BMW lights stay on when the car is off

What Do Dashboard Lights Mean On BMW?

Modern BMWs have many sensors that monitor the operation of various systems in the car. If a fault occurs, a corresponding dashboard light informs the driver. Some dashboard lights show the status, whether on or off.

So, your BMW dashboard lights are a wealth of information for you. They let you know if there is any problem with your car and operating systems.

The BMW lights can be green, yellow, or red.

  • The green dashboard symbols are informational, indicating systems in use and working correctly.
  • Yellow ones show less severe problems. You can still drive your car with them, but you should take it to the mechanic as soon as possible.
  • Red dashboard symbols show potentially dangerous problems with the car. Stop your BMW when it is safe and contact your mechanic for further diagnosis.

Each dashboard light on your BMW has its unique meaning. But in general, they give you information about the status of the car systems.

READ MORE: BMW dashboard symbols: What are they telling you?

BMW dashboard lights have different colors representing various warnings and follow-up actions.
BMW dashboard lights have different colors representing various warnings and follow-up actions.

Do BMW Lights Turn Off Automatically?

Yes. Like all other high-end cars, BMW has some automatic functions. It boasts of an automatic headlight that lessens the load of the driver. In the automatic mode, the vehicle turns the headlights on or off depending on the time of the day.

If you set the automatic headlight function, but your BMW is not turning them off, check the control switch off your lights. Sometimes the problem goes beyond just a malfunctioning switch, which requires further troubleshooting to identify the cause and solve it.

Why Do Lights Stay On When My BMW Car Is Off?

Many reasons can cause dashboard lights to stay on even if your BMW car is off. Sometimes the ignition switch sticks in the on mode even if you turn it off. In this case, your car thinks it is still on. That usually happens when the car ages.

The problem can also result from faulty ground wires, blown engine control fuse, or a problem with the light control module (LCM). Newer BMW models use a front electronic control module (FCM) instead of LCM, which reduces the possibility of having this problem.

How Can I Turn Off The Lights?

You can only turn off the dashboard lights that stay on even when the car is off if you find out the problems and fix them. So, let us look at possible causes and how to go about them to turn off the lights.

There are several ways to turn off BMW lights, from DIY solutions to having a mechanic check-up.
There are several ways to turn off BMW lights, from DIY solutions to having a mechanic check-up.

Unplug The Battery

This fix should be your first option if the dashboard lights on your BMW do not turn off. Unplugging the battery cuts off all power supply to the system and resets it.

Wait for about five minutes and plug in the battery again. If the lights go off, you can safely assume that the problem was a minor glitch and nothing serious.

Check Engine Control Fuse

The engine control fuse provides an electrical connection to the engine control module, which controls all electronic functions of the engine. So, you need to go under the hood and test the fuse. If the fuse is blown out, replace it.

Use the opportunity to test all other fuses in the box to confirm that they are all working and inspect all connections. Tighten any loose wires and replace all faulty fuses.

Check Ignition Switch

If your car ignition is not the Push Button Start type, the problem of dashboard lights staying on can result from the switch itself. Since the process can be challenging, contact a competent mechanic to help you.

The ignition switch can either be fixed or replaced. The cost of changing it varies from $80 to $300. Fortunately, the process takes only 1-2 hours. So, you can wait for your car as the mechanic works on it.

Check Ground Wire

The main reason electronic systems and electricals may go haywire is faulty ground. The ground wire or ground strap provides a complete path for the current to return to the battery, forming a closed loop. If there is a problem, the current will try to find a new route back to the battery, causing more problems.

A problem with a ground wire can cause a short circuit, keeping your dashboard lights on. There are two main ground wires, also known as ground straps. One connects the engine block to the chassis, and the other connects the negative battery terminal to the chassis.

You can use a digital multimeter to test the ground straps when the car is off or on. Set the multimeter to the 20V DC range and connect the red probe to the positive battery terminal and the black to the negative battery terminal. The battery voltage should be about 12.6V when the engine is not running and about 14.2-14.7V when running.   

Remove the black probe from the negative battery terminal and put it at the ground strap’s connection point on the chassis. And to check the engine ground connection, put the black probe on the clean metal surface of the engine. The ground strap has a problem if you read lower voltage than what you measured across the battery terminals. In that case, you will have to replace it to solve the dashboard light staying on when the car is off.

Check Sensors And Connections

You are not to diagnose all sensors in your car, but just the ones responsible for the dashboard lights. Malfunctioning sensors can also cause the problem. So, take your vehicle to a competent mechanic or BMW dealer to check and fix the problem. It may require sensor replacement.


BMWs are advanced cars that give you convenience and are easy to drive. But they also have their share of common problems, including dashboard lights not turning off even when you turn off the engine. The problem becomes more frequent as the car ages and can result from different factors. Just follow the troubleshooting procedure outlined in this article or contact your mechanic for help.

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