BMW Reversing light failure warning message explained

One of the most important car components in your BMW is back up reverse lights so don’t neglect them. Reverse lights are usually used to warn other people and vehicles on the road that your vehicle is about to move backwards. These lights also provide illumination when your car is backing up therefore it is extremely important that reversing lights are always in working condition to ensure the safety of your car and others on the road. By law it is required that every vehicle should have at least one or two rear-mounted rear-facing reverse lights therefore reversing lights come as a standard on all vehicle brands including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall, Honda, Toyota, Audi, KIA, Opel, Cadillac and many others. Reverse lights on a vehicle must be white in color. You can always test on your reversing lights to be able to drive your car on public roads without fetching heavy fines. To test your reversing lights, turn the ignition switch to the “ON” position without starting it then put the transmission in reverse with the parking brake on. Once that is set, get out of the vehicle and look at the reverse lights, they should be illuminated.

In case if reverse lights do not come ON when you test it, there is something wrong with the bulb. In such a situation, you will receive a warning message on your instrument cluster indicating a failure of your BMW reversing lights. When it happens, the message says “Reversing light failure”.

All the rear lights including brake and turn signal share the same ground for wirings and bulbs for each side so if the rear ground was lost, the brake light could find it through the parking light circuit but the reverse light would not.

How to fix this issue?

BMW Reversing light failure warning message explained

Having a reverse light out may cause you to receive a ticket so if you are having problems with your reverse light, you might need to have it replaced. Whenever this warning message appears; it means that the bulb of your reverse light has fused or its holder has corroded. Where a bulb may fail due to completion of its normal lifespan, the bulb holder may be corroded due to moisture but mostly it is the bulb which fails unless the car has met an accident and the damage caused the bulb to fail.

Since each different model of BMW uses a different type and model of bulb for reverse lights so you must check yours before ordering a new replacement bulb.  You should always choose the bulb that accurately matches the bulb you have in hand.  You can always contact xenosn4u for the right advice and the replacement bulb. These bulbs are slightly larger than standard bulbs and are available with ready CAN-BUS so they should not cause any error. Popular model of bulbs for BMW revere lights is W16W T15 921 Wedge bulbs. These are the direct replacement bulbs which are ready to install and play. This bulb fits to many BMW car models:

  • BMW 5 Series F10 Saloon Sedan Pre-Facelift 2010 2011 2012 2013
  • BMW 5 Series F11 Estate Touring Pre-Facelift 2010 2011 2012 2013
  • BMW 5 Series F07 GT Gran Turismo Pre-Facelift 2008 - 2015

You can replace this bulb at your home or if you are unsure of your technical skills, you can take your car to the mechanic for an error-free replacement. When you attempt to replace this bulb at your home, make sure that the new bulb fit inside BMW-1 series rear lights. It is best to remove plastic ring by pressing on two locks to release the ring. Once the ring is released, fit the new bulb into the bulb’s place, and it should be working perfectly fine now. Here are step by step instructions for you to follow if you wish to make this replacement at home.

  1. Access the back of the trunk by removing some of the clips that hold the trunk liner in place. you just need to remove as much as you need to have enough access.
  2. Pull out the plastic bulb tray and press the two clips on the side to release.
  3. Remove the fused or problematic bulb with a new replacement bulb
  4. Test to see if the new bulb in your reverse lights works.

Once this replacement is done either at home or the garage, this warning message should ideally disappear. Since this installation is pretty straightforward, it doesn’t matter what kind of car and what model of BMW you have. 

Reverse lights are an important safety feature of your vehicle because they inform cars and people around you that you are going to back up. If someone is behind you or about to drive past you, they will know to use caution. Test your reverse lights regularly to ensure they are in proper working order.