Almost all modern cars now have side lights built into the headlights of the vehicle. The term side light can be confusing for many drivers because these sidelights are not actually positioned on the sides of the vehicle but typically on many modern cars such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, GM, etc., they're located in the headlight unit itself. You will find them located at the frontage in the front top corners of the headlight. In many countries sidelights are called with different names adding further to the confusion of drivers such as in Canada and the USA, these lights are referred to as parking lights. Sidelights were given the name of parking lights as they can serve as an alternative to the dipped beam headlights. Drivers typically turn on their sidelights when they park their car in a dark or cloudy area or at someplace where natural lighting is too low but not dark enough to put dipped beams on.

It’s illegal to drive with a faulty sidelight and may attract fines for not abiding by the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations. Sidelights are a very low wattage compared to the usual car bulbs in your headlights and are expected to last longer even if you constantly use your headlights. Sidelights are not supposed to be turned on for extended time periods as leaving it for too long might drain the battery of your car.  Since they use less power than headlights, you save on fuel over the long term; Therefore, there is no point in leaving any issue relating to sidelights unaddressed and keeping your car law-compliant on the road.

Given that many drivers never use their sidelights, you might wonder if they're really necessary.  Though sidelights can be helpful in certain situations, but most of the time, sidelights aren't needed because they will never be bright enough to help you see on a rainy day or during nighttime driving. However, sidelights do help other drivers see you - which is their primary function. These sidelights could be either halogen or LED. Or in modern cars, these could be DRLs (Daytime Running Lights).

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 sidelights malfunction. This issue is common for 3 series BMW f30 f31 f34 gt (gran Turismo) models with halogen headlights.

Normally, this error is caused 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 quite simple and known fix for this issue.  If you can replace the faulty bulb at your home then this is the cheaper way to fix this issue. Also, doing it at your home will save you money for the garage services that you might be paying for fixing this issue.

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.

You might be concerned if you can change the sidelight bulb yourself so if you’re confident in doing so then yes! There will be plenty of videos online showing you how to fit a bulb into the sidelight of your vehicle so have a search online to see what comes up but if you feel this could be tricky for you then consult xenons4u for genuine bulbs and their replacement services.

Here is a step by step guide for replacing a bulb at home.

  1. Locate the parking light which is located behind the protective cover on the top of the headlight assembly.
  2. Turn the cover counterclockwise and remove it.
  3. The parking light is the first bulb underneath the cover. You need to grasp it carefully and pull it free from the headlight assembly.
  4. Remove the bulb by pushing it in gently and turn it until it releases from the plug.
  5. To install a new bulb, simply reverse the process, and here you go!

One thing that you must take care of is to 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.