Have you ever wondered about the purpose of those additional LED bulbs that are located adjacent to your car’s main headlamps and which you know for sure are not indicator lights? In fact people from all over the world for a number of years now, have wondered about their utility and relevance. Many manufacturers such as BMW, Volvo, VW, GM etc. are now integrating most of the front lights into a single headlight assembly making the purpose and utility of parking lights even more complex.
Before they were called parking lights, they were known as "sidelights” and were used to make a parked car more visible, when it was pulled over to the side of the road where other drivers might not expect it. The wiring of the parking lights was also independent of the headlamps of the car and were located towards the side, rather than towards the front of the car. These dim lamps did not consume much battery and it was possible to switch on the sidelights or parking lights on only one side of the car, which should be the side that is exposed to the road traffic. But now, the exact location of the parking light varies from car to car, that may be outer or inner side of the headlights, or sometimes you may find them below the headlamps.
Why parking lights are used?
Having all your vehicle lights in perfect condition is a legal requirement and you can be in serious trouble when any of them is not working. Parking lights is one of those lights that are required to be turned on whenever needed to avoid heavy fines and ensuring safety for yourself as well as others on the road. In most modern cars, parking lights are found in the same headlight assembly and can be switched ON and OFF either manually or with a device. Many newer cars have light sensors which will automatically turn the sidelights on, followed by the dipped beam headlights as the ambient outdoor light progressively dims.
Parking lights can be quite helpful to drivers who require only a minimal amount of light, to help them park in their own private garage or parking space, and do not want to draw attention to themselves by blaring the bright headlamps. Parking lights are not supposed to be turned on for extended time periods as leaving it for too long might drain the battery of your car.
Parking lights helps to identify the rear and front of the vehicle and makes your car more visible to other drivers on the road in areas where there is much darkness and traffic hazard can happen. Some newer car models such as BMW 3 series F30 F31 F34 GT also have daytime running lights (DRLs) which are activated as soon as you switch on the ignition, and remain lit at any time when the sidelights aren’t in use and until you turn the ignition off. Many manufacturers have adopted LED DRLs just as a striking way to make their models stand out from the crowd, as well as improving safety.
When the parking lights are ON and working completely fine, you will have a green symbol on your instrument cluster but as soon as something goes bad within it, your cluster will show a warning message with a red symbol indicating parking lamps malfunction. This issue is common for 3 series BMW f30 f31 f34 gt (gran turismo) models with halogen headlights.
What causes this error?
Normally, this is due to the lighting bulb which has either completed its life or has gone bad due to any other reason. Replacing the bulb with a new one is a simple known fix for this issue. If you want to make this simple fix a cheaper one, then this replacement can be done at home with just a new BAX9S H6W 434 BULB in hand or alternatively you can take it to the garage services for a professional help.
Parking lamps on a BMW 3 2012-2019 series are located at the top inside corner of the high beam in the headlight assembly which houses parking lights, DRLs, low beam, high beam, and turn signal indicator bulb all within a single assembly. Therefore, it is crucial that when you attempt to diagnose and resolve the issue, you reach to the right bulb. Parking lights in a BMW usually contains a small 6w bulb that is accessed from the top of the headlight assembly through a removable cover.
You can buy a replacement bulb from many online stores but xenons4u is a trusted genuine auto parts supplier and you can buy genuine BMW parts and bulbs. Once you have made a correct part purchase, now it’s time to replace the bulb.
Step-by Step Guide for Replacement
Here is a step by step guide for replacing a bulb at home.
- Locate the parking light which is located behind the protective cover on the top of the headlight assembly.
- Turn the cover counterclockwise and remove it.
- The parking light is the
- first bulb underneath the cover. You need to grasp it carefully and pull it free from the headlight assembly.
- Remove the bulb by pushing it in gently and turn until it releases from the plug.
- To install a new bulb, simply reverse the process, and here you go!
One thing that you must take care of is avoid touching the new bulb with your bare hands might transfer the oil from your skin and cause it to overheat. After replacement, check your instrument cluster and the error message should not be found there anymore. If you are confident on your technical skills, give it a try or else you can contact xenons4u online.