Driving a BMW is such a pleasure, but just because this automotive masterpiece is top of the line does not mean it does not have its fair share of common problems. One of them being that sometimes its lights won’t turn off. Let’s figure out how to solve this problem.
The most common problems that cause your BMW’s lights not to turn off typically correlate to the light control switch that is not set correctly or due to the LCM or FEM that has malfunctioned in some way and thus the LCM or any other parts such as fuses need to be replaced.
We will discuss in this article the most common issues relating to your BMW’s lights not turning off, and we will give you tutorials and quick fixes for all of them in addition to other options you may need to consider if these do not apply to you.
BMW and lights overview
What’s great about owning a BMW is that you get nifty features that you would not otherwise get if you purchase an ordinary car. This includes automatic headlight functions and more, enabling you not to worry about turning your headlights on and off, forgetting about them, and then returning to a car with a drained battery.
These remarkable features found on luxurious sports cars are not without their problems, though. Today most of these sports cars and especially BMWs, use computers, microchips, sensors, modules, and more to keep the inner workings of your car moving along. The downside is that because there are so many parts and electrical components now more so than ever, there is more chance that these parts are susceptible to wear and tear, rendering your beautiful car out of order to some degree.
Furthermore, it makes finding and solving the problem (in our case, headlights) more difficult because you don’t even know where to begin. With vintage automobiles, typically, there was some sort of malfunction with a wire or fuse, and you could solve that problem pretty quickly. So here are the most common issues related to the headlights of your BMW that won’t turn off
How to turn your BMW lights off using the controls
You may think that this is obvious, but many people overlook the fact that BMW has specific settings for its light controls. This won’t apply to your interior or breaking lights, however. Those are automatic, and if you have a problem with them, you will need to view the following sections of this article.
BMW typically has four settings relating to the functions of its headlights. The four settings are:
Typically, people set their lights to one of the three options: automatic, parking, or on and forget to check the controls. This is significantly more common than you think when people set the function to automatic, which automatically enables the car lights. If you’ve forgotten about this, it may seem as if your BMW headlights won’t turn off. Simply check the control switch of your lights and adjust accordingly.
Unplug the battery of your BMW
If changing your light control settings is not the issue, and you find yourself with the lights on even when you turn off your vehicle, then the next step is to unplug your battery. It would help if you did this before attempting any other scenarios where you would remove controls, switches, modules, fuses, and such.
When you unplug the battery from the car, give it at least 10 minutes before reconnecting the battery because this will allow your BMW to power cycle and reset every module. Depending on your BMW module, you may need to input various codes relating to different things, such as the radio, for it to function. However, if removing the battery does solve your headlights’ problem, any codes that you may have to input can be easily obtained from your dealer.
How to replace the LCM (Light Control Module) in your BMW
If you have tried the above two options and they have fallen short, you may need to consider checking and replacing the LCM. This is only relevant to older BMWs, and newer modules use what is known as a FEM (which we will discuss next). If you are not sure what an LCM is or which models sport this module, check out the list of models here.
This is probably the main cause of your lights staying on when your car is shut off, and it’s pretty easy to replace. For models such as the E39, the LCM is located in the passenger footwell. However, it is located behind the control switch on other various models (the E46). You will have to check your specific model for where it is located.
To remove the control switch on models with the LCM located behind the control switch, all you will need is;
- Pry tool
- Phillips screwdriver
Firstly you will need to use the pry tool to remove the panel surrounding the control switch, and you do this by gently working the panel out from its position by lifting it out from all angles. Then you will use the Phillips screwdriver to loosen the control switch. Next, you will remove the control switch.
Take note that the control switch/module is an all-in-one component, and once removed, the entire module will have to be replaced. It is also important to note that you cannot just replace the module with any other module because they are specific to each BMW model.
You will need to match up the model numbers located on the module with your replacement. Remember that other BMW models have different controls and lights, and if you replace one that is not designed for your BMW, it will not work. If you need a visual aid to help you with this tutorial, check out this video.
How to replace the fuse in the FEM (Front Electronic Module) in your BMW
On newer models, the LCM is replaced with a FEM, which is the Front Electronic module. This device contains fuses and is a little bit less of an ordeal to sort out. Depending on what is wrong with your lights or FEM, you may need to replace the entire module or just a fuse. With regards to replacing the module, that is beyond the scope of this article, but we will detail how to get access to it to replace any fuses that may be blown.
Similar to that of the LCM, the FEM is located in the interior of a BMW, typically in the footwell of the passenger or driver’s side. Review your owner’s manual or check online to see where it is located in your BMW. With the exact same method as with the LCM using a pry tool and screwdriver, you will remove the drivers’ side panel or passengers’ side to gain access to the control module.
It is then just a matter of checking which fuse is needed to control the lights and check if it’s working correctly. If it’s blown, then all you need to do is replace it. Again all you need to do is check online or contact your BMW dealer to find out any additional information you may need; however, the process of replacing a fuse is straightforward.
We discussed the main issues that may be related to your BMW’s headlights not turning off, but there may be additional situations where something else is wrong. We discussed the straightforward and easy enough ones that you are able to fix yourself with just a handful of tools and a replacement part.
However, suppose there is something wrong internally, such as a faulty wire or something else. In that case, it is recommended that you have a certified BMW mechanic or the dealership see to it and have it repaired through them.