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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 12-03-2004, 12:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Have had my '96 328 for a few weeks now. Since getting it, every time I turn the headlights on the check control gives the message "tail light failure". However, all the lights are working. Why would it be doing this & what should I be looking at first? Local mechanic suggested a sensor could be very sensitive to wrong bulb type or even non-BMW bulb..?
Also, more recently, the check control has at times started giving the message "brake light circuit failure". The brake lights also work, though, despite the message. What's causing these messages and how can they be remedied?? Thanks used
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Old 12-03-2004, 01:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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AH yes! Welcome to BMW ownership. This is a very common problem. First-do you have aftermarket taillights? If so they may be crappy ones and "throwing codes" as you're seeing on your OBC.
I had to change my brake light switch. This resides under the dash area by the brake pedal. There's a do it yourself on pelicanparts website. It's easy, but a real bitch because there's not much room under there. You have to break the old switch out, and then really jam the new one in there. I actually had to shave a little of the plastic off of the new one to get it in there.

Before doing this you should check that the bulb sockets are firmly in place in the taillight, and that the contacts are clean. it's likely not the bulbs.

PM me if you have any questions and good luck.
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Old 12-03-2004, 01:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There was a recall I believe, at least on my 93 there was. The dealer replaced the brake light circuit for free
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