Like any other light in your BMW, the parking lamp performs a vital role. It helps ensure the safety of your parked car at night by warning other drivers.
Therefore, it should function well at all times. But sometimes, this lamp can stay on after turning it off.
It can also fail to come on when you turn it on. You will get a “parking lamp malfunction” on the dashboard in both cases.
Many things can cause this problem. But before we dive into the various causes of this issue, let’s first look at what this message implies.
What Does This Message Mean?
It doesn’t matter the BMW model you drive! Any model can experience this problem.
The worst thing is when the parking lamp can’t come on when parking at a very dark spot. So, it is vital to understand how this message arises.
When you get this message on your car’s dashboard, it means that the parking lamp system has failed. One of the components that make it works has gone wrong.
For instance, it could be a blown bulb or a malfunctioned switch. The only way to be sure is by diagnosing the following causes of “parking lamp malfunction” in your BMW.
If your BMW 320i or BMW 3 series shows “parking lamp malfunction” in its dashboard when you turn on the parking lamp, you may have a blown bulb.
Therefore, you should remove the bulb and check if it is still working. You can use a multimeter to do so.
If the bulb is dead, you will have to replace it. However, it is crucial to install the correct bulb to ensure that it doesn’t blow up when you turn on the parking lamp.
One way of knowing the bulb model is by checking the dead one. You can also check its specifications in your car’s manual.
You can also get a “parking lamp malfunction” warning message if any of its fuses malfunction.
The fuse performs a safety function that includes blowing up when there is an electrical surge.
As such, if the message is accompanied by lights that won’t come on, you may have to check the condition of these fuses. Fortunately, identifying a lousy fuse is easy.
You only have to use your car’s manual to know where the parking lamp fuses are located. Once you have access to them, check each one of them.
If you notice a metallic smear in one of the fuses, you have a blown fuse that needs to be replaced.
But like a dead bulb, you should replace the fuse with an exact model to avoid reencountering the problem in your BMW e90 series.
If you get a “parking lamp malfunction” message immediately after turning off the engine, you may have a faulty battery in your BMW e60 series.
A defective battery will drain fast, and since the parking lamp relies on its voltage, it will go off once the voltage it receives goes below a certain level.
So, if your car’s battery is old, you may want to examine its state. It’s important to note that a new battery can also go wrong due to electrical shorts or a mechanical issue.
Hence, you should check its condition irrespective of its age. If the battery is dead, you should get a new one.
But you should check its model in your car manual before ordering it to ensure that you get the correct battery.
Wires Are Corroded
If the wires that supply voltage to the parking lamp are corroded, you will also get a “parking lamp malfunction” in your BMW 328xi model.
It usually happens when you turn on the parking lamp. But what corrodes the wires?
Over time, the fumes from the battery will move along the wires, thus corrupting it.
This corrosion will increase voltage resistance in the wires, and hence the parking lamp will be dim or fail to come on ultimately.
Luckily, by examining these wires, you will deduce if they are corrupted. If they have a green substance on their surface, you have corroded wires you should replace.
The Parking Switch Is Faulty
Your BMW has a parking switch that turns it on and off.
If this switch malfunctions, you will not be able to operate it, and you will get a “parking lamp malfunction” warning in your dashboard.
For instance, if the parking lamp is off and you turn the switch on, the light may not come on because the button is broken inside.
The switch can malfunction due to reckless usage or a manufacturing fault.
Therefore, you can expect to encounter this problem in all the BMW models such as E90, E92, E93, E60, etc.
To fix it, open the switch compartment and check its components.
If one of them is broken, replacing or repairing will sort out the “parking lamp malfunction” issue.
The Footwell Module (FRM) Has Malfunctioned
The FRM is a system that turns on the electrical components in your BMW automatically.
For instance, when you turn off the engine, the sensors will relay this information to the FRM, which turns on the parking lights.
But since this system works like a computer, it can crash. It usually happens when the FRM loses power or after you jump-start the car.
Also, the FRM can die due to mechanical issues. Therefore, it is vital to check the extent of the FRM issue before resolving it.
If it is a simple crash, restarting the FRM will solve the “parking lamp malfunction” problem. However, you will need to replace the FRM if it is dead.
Stuck Turn Signal Relay
Your BMW’s automatic electrical system won’t work without a turn signal. This feature controls the electrical signals by turning the sensors on and off.
As such, if it gets stuck in one position, you will get a “parking lamp malfunction” message every time you turn the engine on and off.
For instance, if the turn signal relay gets stuck in one position, the parking lamp might keep on producing a light even when the car is moving.
Therefore, you should also check this feature when resolving the “parking lamp malfunction” problem.
If you find out that the turn signal is faulty, replacing it will sort out the problem.
However, after replacing it, make sure to confirm that the wiring is okay to avoid electrical issues.
A “parking lamp malfunction” in your BMW series can also be due to a short circuit. A short circuit is when the parking switch completes it when it is not turned on.
It can occur due to many things, such as the presence of moisture in the parking switch.
So, if you get the warning message after driving in the rain, you may have a moisture issue.
In this case, opening the parking switch and wiping the moisture with a cloth will sort the problem.
A loose cable can also cause a short circuit. The wires can get loose due to reckless driving; hence you will have to tighten them to remove the “parking lamp malfunction” text.
Getting a “parking lamp malfunction” in your BMW series model should not be taken lightly. The parking lamp enables you to park your car safely in a dark spot.
When you get such a message, it means that your car’s parking lamp has malfunctioned, something that might put you in a rough area with the traffic officers.
So, you have to check and repair what is causing it.
A dead bulb usually causes this problem, faulty fuse, a defective battery, corroded wires, malfunctioned FRM, stuck turn signal relay, etc.
James has been a car enthusiast since his childhood when he learned the differences between a ford and a chevy from his father. He loves to drive and restore old cars with a special drive for Italian marvels. Currently, he has a 1968 Alfa Romeo. He has studied aeronautics and civil aviation in his college and still gets smitten by Galant SS and Lancer GSR.
He is a New York-based product training director working with a giant automotive retailer. He loves to review and uncover the vehicles and their fascinating stories. He believes in keeping it legitimate with a keen passion for research on the latest technological upgrades in cars. While reading his articles or blogs, you can sense the extensive research and dedication backing the piece of text. He loves fried chicken, music, and spending quality time with his pet dog.