BMW DSC Light – Meaning, Causes (Is It Safe To Drive With?)
Chances are you have a DSC (Digital Speed Control) system in your BMW. What does this mean? And what do you do when the DSC light comes on in your dash? Below we’ll break down everything you need to know about this great system and what you need to do if it starts acting up.
Furthermore, we’ll let you know if this is a problem you can ignore for a while or if it’s something you need to address right away. We’ll also dive into the most common reasons it starts acting up, including one that might be able to save you a trip to the repair shop!
DSC Light Significance
When there's an issue with the stability control system, the Dynamic Stability Control Light (DSC-Light) illuminates. The DSC Light can blink when there is a problem with the stability control system.
While that’s a lot of potential meanings for the light, if you know how it functions, then it’s pretty easy to understand what it’s telling you when it turns on.
DSC Light Function
There are many reasons your DSC light may be on, but it is important to understand how it works.
The system checks are performed when you turn your car on for the first time. The system check ensures your vehicle inspects every component to make sure it's working correctly. When you look at the dash, you’ll see all the lights come on and then turn off. This is completely normal, and as long as the DSC light turns off, you’re good to go.
If there are any problems with the system, the DSC will switch on. If the DSC light stays on, that’s when you should consider taking your vehicle to a mechanic. But before you do check out the causes section below – we might be able to save you a little bit of money with a quick fix.
Your DSC light will turn on automatically when your system is being used. Unlike when there’s a problem in the system, the light will flash on and off repeatedly when this is happening. Additionally, you’ll feel your vehicle applying the brakes to specific wheels to help you maintain control of your vehicle.
The light will stay on once your vehicle is stable and should not come on again. Everything should be working as it should. Unless the DSC light is coming on when it shouldn’t, this isn’t a problem and you’re good to go.
DSC Light Causes
The most common causes of a BMW DSC light are that you’ve accidentally turned the system off or you have a faulty wheel speed sensor. But while those might be the most common problems, they aren’t the only things that could be causing your problem.
Below we’ve highlighted the four most common causes of a DSC light.
1. DSC System is Off
You can disable your DSC system, regardless of whether you are aware. Simply hold the DSC switch for 3 seconds to turn your BMW DSC off. This will disable the DSC system, which can be helpful if you’re trying to drift.
But once you’ve turned the system off the DSC light will appear in the dash. To check if the DSC button can be turned back on, hold it for three seconds before you bring your car to a mechanic. If you’ve already tried this and it didn’t work, then you have an actual problem you need to address.
2. Failurey Wheel Speed Sensor
Defective wheel speed sensors are the main problem of a DSC failure. These sensors are used by your BMW to detect when one or more wheels are slipping. But when one of the sensors is giving errant readings or is completely offline, then the system can’t work like it’s supposed to, and you get a DSC light on the dashboard, often together with an ABS light.
3. Faulty steering angle sensor
Another critical component in your BMW’s DSC system is the steering angle sensor. This component is critical because as you turn, your vehicle’s outside wheels turn faster than the inside wheels.
This is completely normal, but if the steering angle sensor reports that you’re still heading straight while you’re actually turning, then the DSC system will think that wheels are slipping. If this happens, the DSC system can kick on when it shouldn’t.
4. Troubles with wiring/electrical
It doesn’t matter if all the sensors are working the way they should if they can’t communicate with the ECM or aren’t getting power. That’s why it’s crucial to verify your connections before replacing sensors.
While it’s more common to have a faulty sensor than broken or corroded wires, it’s not unheard of. The most likely place you’ll run into these problems with the wiring is right at the wheel speed sensors where the wiring is exposed to the elements.
Can I Drive with a DSC light?
While it’s never as safe to drive with a DSC light compared to when you’re driving with a functioning system, you can usually drive with a DSC light. However, this all depends on what your underlying condition may be.
Because if there is a possibility that the DSC system could kick on when it shouldn’t while you’re driving. While it’s rare, it can happen. But if you’ve manually turned off the DSC system or you know that’s it’s completely disabled, it’s safe to drive with a DSC light.
Still, you’re losing a safety feature, so it’s best to get it working the way it should as soon as possible.
The DSC system is not always perfect, but it will save you from being in an accident. So, while the little extra cost in sensors now can be frustrating, it’s well worth it in the end.