BMW Headlight Low/High beam Malfunction Explained

For BMW drivers, the car’s low and high beams are not just a useful feature, they are a legal necessity to make driving in the dark and in severe weather safe. It can, therefore, be very troubling for BMW owners when their headlight low and high beams begin to malfunction. Below we explore common causes for BMW headlight malfunctioning and how to solve the problem.

Broken headlight bulb

Different headlight types and different headlight bulbs have different life spans, so if one of your bulbs is broken it will most likely have blown or burnt out as Xenon HID bulbs also known as Gas Discharge bulbs have certain working hours for every different brand and model.

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The same life span feature applies to halogen bulbs as well.

The most common Xenon bulb used for BMW cars are 35W D1S and D2S type as mostly bimmers are factory fitted only with projector headlamps.

For BMW halogen headlight the most popular light bulb is H7 477 2 PIN type and it is used only  in the halogen / reflector type headlamp units.

Any brand bulbs for example Philips, GE, Osram, Neolux, Narva, Hella etc. could be fitted just make sure you are buying correct fitting (socket) bulbs.

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Faulty xenon light control unit

Another the most common xenon headlamp issue causing the low or high beam malfunction is faulty ballast also known as xenon light control unit.

Usually it is some kind of square or rectangular shape small box attached onto the side or either bottom of the headlight housing.

To identify faulty ballast you need to try new HID bulb or change sides from working side, if lights don’t work after replacing lamp – it means that control unit is to blame.

The most common failure sympthom of this part is that bi-xenon lights keep blinking and flickering, shutting down later turning on after re-turing on / off lights manually or lights stop to work suddenly out of no where, then it is big indication to check this part at the first possible opportunity, because diagnostics trouble codes (DTC) won’t show if gas discharge HID bulb or ballast has failed – it always show just generic error code (fault) that headlights have malfunction.

The most popular xenon ballast brands BMW cars are using: Hella, Valeo, Mitsubishi Electric and Automotive Lighting AL (Bosch).

Damaged power or bulb connector plug

Another thing to consider checking is xenon control unit’s power or either bulb cable. It is also common that some wires get damaged by time, especially if you fixing a car after an accident it should be on your priority list to check all the cables and harness to make sure there is no damage at all.

Blown fuse

If two of your headlights have stopped working at the same time, it is much more likely that a fuse has blown than both the bulbs. If a bulb has been attached to the car with the wrong wattage or too much current is in the headlight circuit, the fuse will blow to protect the wiring from damage.

Poor light quality

If your headlights are still emitting light but not at their usual strength, it may be that your car is experiencing headlight fogging. Headlight fogging is caused when polycarbonate is exposed to ultraviolet light and exhaust emissions, as a chemical reaction occurs which causes the headlights to fog up. With headlight fogging, the light released from the headlight is hard to see even when both the high and low beams are switched on.

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A list of BMW warning messages:

Faults for Europe

  • BMW high beam left failure
  • BMW high beam right failure
  • BMW dipped beam left failure
  • BMW dipped beam right failure

Faults for North America

  • BMW Left low beam Malfunction
  • BMW Right low beam Malfunction
  • BMW Left high beam Malfunction
  • BMW Right high beam Malfunction

BMW diagnostic trouble codes DTC:

  • CC-ID 120 Dipped Beam left failure
  • CC-ID 121 Dipped Beam right failure

A list of xenon ballasts part numbers used for BMW cars:

  • AL +61404532026+61404532026 Al01 Zlc
  • AL +61404532026+61404532026EEG120223 Al01 Zlb
  • AL +61404532026+61404532026EEG111387 Al01 Zld
  • AL +61404532026+61404532026EEG141019
  • AL +61404532026+61404532026EEG141013 Al02 Zle
  • AL +61404532026+61404532026EEG120224 Al01 Zla
  • Mitsubishi Electric W003T20071
  • Mitsubishi Electric W003T23171
  • Mitsubishi Electric W003T19571
  • Hella 5DV +61404532026DV+61404532026
  • Hella 5DV +61404532026DV+61404532026
  • Hella 5DV Xenus +61404532026DV+61404532026
  • Valeo 6G +61404532026 Ballast6G

BMW part numbers for control units:

  • +61404532026
  • +61404532026
  • +61404532026
  • 7250624
  • 63127172536 – 7172536
  • 63117317408 – 7317408
  • 63127255724 – 7255724
  • 7356250
  • 63126907488 – 6907488
  • 63120150614 – 0150614
  • 63117180050
  • 63126938561

BMW and Mini cars with factory fitted xenon headlights:

  • 1 Series: F20 F21 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 1 Series E81 Hatchback Facelift +6140453202610 2011 2012
  • 1 Series E87 Hatchback Facelift +6140453202610 2011 2012
  • 1 Series E82 Coupe +6140453202611 2012
  • 1 Series E88 Cabrio Convertible +6140453202611 2012
  • 3 Series E46 & M3
  • 3 Series: E90 E91 LCI Facelift 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • 3 Series: E92, E93 Facelift LCI 2010, 2011, 2012
  • 3 Series: F30 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • 3 Series: F31 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • 3 Series: F34 GT 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • 3 Series F30 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 3 Series F80 M3 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 3 Series F80 M3 LCI 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • 3 Series E92 LCI E92N Facelift 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • 3 Series E93 LCI E93N Facelift 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • 3 Series: 320d, 330d, 335d, 320i, 328i, 328i, 330i, 335i, M3
  • 4 Series F32 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • 4 Series F82 M4 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • 4 Series F33 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • 4 SeriesF 83 M4 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • 4 Series F36 Gran Coupe 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • 5 Series: F07 GT 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • 5 Series: E60 Saloon Sedan 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
  • 5 Series: E61 Touring Estate 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
  • 5 Series: F10 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • 5 Series: F11 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • 5 Series 520i, 523i, 525i, 528i, 528xi, 530i, 535i, 545i 550i, 520d, 525d, 530d, 535d
  • 6 Series: F06, F12, F13
  • 6 Series F06 Gran Coupe 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 6 Series F13 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 6 Series: F12 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 6 Series: 640d, 640i, 650i, M6
  • 7 Series: F01 LCI 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 7 Series: F02 LCI 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 7 Series: F03 LCI 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 7 Series: E65 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
  • 7 Series E+61404532026
  • 7 Series: 730i, 730d, 735i, 740d, 740i, 745i, 760i
  • 7 Series F01 LCI 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 7 Series F02 LCI 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • 7 Series F03 LCI 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • X3 E83 LCI Facelift 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • X3 F25 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • X Series: E53 X5 SUV Facelift 2004, 2005, 2006
  • X Series: 3.0i, 3.0d, 4.4i, 4.8is
  • X Series: E84 X1 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • X Series E70 X5 LCI Facelift 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • X4 F26 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • X5 F15 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • X5 M F85 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • X6 F16 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • X6 M F86 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Z Series: E85 Z4 Roadster Convertible 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Z Series: E86 Z4 Coupe 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Z Series: Z4 E89 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Mini Cooper R56 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Mini Cooper R56 LCI R56N Facelift 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Mini Clubman R55 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Mini Clubman R55 LCI R55N 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Mini Cabrio Convertible R57 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Mini Cabrio Convertible R57 LCI R57N Facelift 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Mini Coupe R58 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Mini Roadster R59 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Mini Countryman R60 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Mini Paceman R61 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Mini Cooper F55, F56 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • MINI R56 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • MINI R56 LCI Facelift 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Rolls Royce Ghost RR4 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

How can these problems be resolved?

If you take your car into a garage, having any of the above problems fixed can be quite costly as checking or removing headlight unit usually requires front bumber and other covers removal. Thankfully, BMW owners now can purchase replacement xenon headlights, HID bulbs and xenon headlight control units online and fix the car themselves with ease, recommendations how to find faulty part from our guide and ofcourse the most imporant thing for a much lower cost. Rather than purchasing replacement bulbs directly from a BMW dealer shop, buying xenon and LED bulbs from a third party, such as Xenons4u, is a cost-effective alternative that doesn’t compromise on bulb, xenon control unit or igniter (bulb holder) quality.

If your BMW headlights are malfunctioning, don’t wait to get into a serious accident, contact Xenons4u today. We supply a wide selection of bulbs and headlight parts and can offer you expert guidance to ensure you purchase the right product for your car.

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