The cheap way to reset BMW E28 service lights

A quick hack to save going to the garage

18th September 2012
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2 mins

Once every few months or so your car will turn on a little light telling you it needs attention. Sometimes it might tell you it really needs attention, like this:

For some reason or another you may need to have these reset other than when the car is serviced. BMW often forgot to reset mine and we had to go back and ask them to do it, or you might take the car to an independent garage who either forget as well or don't have the tool to do it.

You could take it back to BMW or the garage that worked on the car and have them do it. You might be there a little while (I was sat waiting for 30 mins for them once). All they do is stick their little diagnostic computer tool thing into the connector port under the bonnet; they might even do it for free.

You could buy a tool yourself, if you can find one that is; it'd likely come from either America or Germany and probably won't be cheap.

Or, you can do what I did.

Get a paperclip, and bend it in half so it's in a V shape. Take the cap off the connector port and stick each end into ports 1 and 7; the numbers of the ports should be on the back of the cap.Turn the ignition to the second position, i.e. where the dashboard lights would usually come up. Then, wait for 3-4 seconds if you've got Oil Service up or 8-11 seconds if you've got Inspection up, and the lights should go off; you should turn the ignition off again as soon as it's done.

There we are, job done. You should have no orange messages and should have 5 green lights again. If the red service light came on you'll only have 4 greens; that's what always happened to mine even if BMW did it, I guess if it hits the red it forces you to have the next one sooner so only gives you four greens.

Anyway, might save you some time or money if you're in a similar position to me. Just don't blame me if it breaks something.