BMW Reverse Lamp Malfunction – Causes & Solutions

BMW Reverse Lamp Malfunction – Causes & Solutions

If you happen to have a BMW, particularly a BMW X3, you’ve experienced a BMW reverse lamp malfunction. Even if you haven’t experienced it, it is bound to happen.

It is good to familiarise yourself with the causes and solutions of a BMW reverse lamp malfunction.

With this, we’ve put together this post on BMW reverse lamp malfunction – causes & solutions.

Causes Of BMW Reverse Lamp Malfunction

Reverse Lamp Malfunction – Causes & Solutions

With some slight knowledge of the subject matter, we can shift our attention to causes and possible solutions to reverse lamp malfunctions.

While going through these causes and solutions of reverse lamp malfunction, remember that there are causes not mentioned below.

The causes mentioned, however, are common. If you have a reverse lamp malfunction, it is caused by one of these.

Blown Reverse Lamps

Blown BMW reverse lamps are a common culprit for addressing BMW reverse lamp malfunction causes. While it is a common problem, it is still best to test it.

Testing a blown BMW reverse lamp is not that complicated. Remove the lamp holder and connect across the battery terminal using a short extension wire.

You are looking for two things, does the lamp light up or not. If the lamp lights up, you are not dealing with a blown BMW reverse lamp.

In other words, the problem is something else.

Equally important, if you are experiencing dim lights with your BMW reverse lamps, you must seek a possible replacement.

Dim reverse lamps are an indication that your reverse lamps will fail very soon.

Think of it as a warning that it will get blown in a matter of days despite it not being blown.

Lamp Holder

Lamp holders are also known to cause BMW reverse lamp malfunction. You want to make sure that it is clean with a lamp holder.

A dirty lamp holder can result in BMW reverse lamps not functioning. Remember to also check for corrosion on the lamp holder.

Corrosion affects the flow of current, leading to lamps not lighting up.

Worn-Out Reverse Lamps

Lamps being worn out are another cause of BMW reverse lamps malfunctioning. Lamps being worn out are nothing new.

Just about any lighting system gets worn out with time, not just car reverse lamps. If your lamps are worn out, they’ll give in to wear and tear.

In other words, worn-out reverse lamps could cause your reverse lamp malfunction.

Worn-out reverse lamps are a common problem with car owners that haven’t changed their lamps since purchasing their car or after a long period.

It is good to change the reverse lamps on your BMW often, even if they have not malfunctioned yet.

By doing so, you will be protecting yourself from dealing with challenges that result from reverse lamp malfunctioning.


Fuses are another cause of reverse lamp malfunctioning. It is always best to check your fuses to ensure they are not the cause.

With BMWs, the fuse that protects the reverse lamps covers additional accessories in the car. You can get a good picture of this by looking at your BMW’s handbook.

If you’ve tested the lamps, checked the lamp holder, and still have the same problem, you might want to check the fuse. By check, we mean to get new fuses.

When changing your fuse, watch out for short circuits. You can tell if there is a short circuit if the fuse blows after putting it in place.

You can use a test lamp to check if other circuit areas are working okay.

Similar to other parts, if you are not familiar with working on your fuses, you should consider seeking help from a car auto-electrician.

BMW Reverse Lamp Malfunction

Poor Wiring

Poor wiring can result in currents not reaching the lamp holder. Test the lamp holder to confirm that you are dealing with poor wiring.

If you can detect current flow on the lamp holder, everything is okay. If there is no current flow, you are dealing with poor wiring.

Checking the entire circuit, in this case, is also recommended. It helps in determining if the problem is more than the wiring.

With wiring, you want to make sure that there are no cuts. Carefully probe the entire length of the wire to eliminate the possibility of any cuts.

Once you’ve determined that you are dealing with poor wiring, work your way to fixing it. Ideally, you should look at re-wiring if the problem was poor wiring.

It involves using new wires. Do it correctly, and you will have solved the poor wiring issue once and for all.

Gear Box Switch

Gearbox switches are known to be the cause of BMW reverse lamp malfunction. It is crucial to keep in mind that there are two types of gear switches.

There is a gearbox switch for manual and a gearbox switch for automatic.

There are usually two switch terminals with a manual car, and on the automatic, there are four.

Worth noting while dealing with the gearbox switch is the different types of gearbox switch. There are currently two types of gearbox switches with the BMW.

These two are automatic and manual.

If you are planning on fixing the problem that is reverse lamp malfunction caused by a gearbox switch, you’ll need to know how to adjust the switches.

It is for both the manual and automatic gearbox switch.

Given the complexity involved with testing the gearbox switch (this involves adjusting both the manual and automatic gearbox switch), it is advised that you seek help from an expert.

They’ll tell you if the BMW reverse lamp malfunction is because of a gearbox switch failure. They’ll also help in administering a permanent solution.

Physical Damage

Yes, your BMW reverse lamp malfunctioning can be because of physical damage.

Maybe someone or something knocked down your reverse lamp without your knowledge. It is arguably one of the most straightforward fixes.

If you deal with a BMW revere lamp malfunction caused by physical damage, a simple exchange of the damaged lamp will do the trick.

Preventing reverse lamp malfunction caused by physical damage is simple. Always see to it that you park your BMW in a safe environment.

You can always ensure that you park your car in your garage at home.


If you have a car, it is advised that you regularly check the reverse lamps. Ideally, you should see that you check them once a month.

In addition, seek some assistance when checking your reverse lamps every so often. It can be from a professional, a family member, or a friend.

Why? It is not easy to do on your own, especially if you are new to all things car mechanics.

Furthermore, you need that extra person for safety reasons.

When replacing or working on your reverse lamps, confirm you are ordering the right set of tools and equipment needed for the job at hand.