The introduction of the sixth generation BMW 5 Series saw a change in direction for the company – although not losing its sporting heritage and dynamic characteristics, the Germans took luxury to all new levels. The sixth generation which ran between 2010-2017 was codenamed the F10 (Saloon), F11 (Touring) and F07 (GranTurismo), and featured a simplistic elegant look detailed by its shiny new xenon headlights with automatic daytime running lights.
It seems though, that this headlight unit for the BMW 5 Series was a case of something being released too early without adequate testing, as people took to online communities to raise their concerns. It turned out they weren’t alone, with hundreds experiencing two issues in particular. Drivers of the F10/F11/F07 models whose cars have been affected will see the following two error messages appear on the dash:
“Headlight vertical aim control”
“Side light faulty”
The side light error message also refers to the 5 Series’ daytime running lights, a distinctive feature of this model.
Drivers have taken it upon themselves to investigate the cause of the issue with little joy – a premium German car is built not to be tampered with, and its countless brains are an electric mayhem not for the fainthearted nor untrained!
If you’re one of the thousands of British drivers who bought into the success of the sixth generation 5 Series, here’s a piece of advice that has been proven by already disgruntled owners:
Don’t bother changing the bulbs, online communities have claimed to use genuine and aftermarket bulbs, but this does not seem to be a cure. Unfortunately, the problem isn’t this simple. Do make sure, though, to use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) bulbs for improved visibility (thus safety) and longevity, brands like Bosch, Osram and Phillips are some of the leaders. Stick to the same style of lighting that came with your car, for example LED, xenon or halogen. This can often cause problems because the car’s computers are set up specifically to handle the way it was when it left the factory.
Although BMW has failed to comment on this seemingly widespread malfunction, the root of the problem seems to be in the control module at the end of the headlight assembly unit which appears to get water damaged easier than we would expect in a car of this class. A BMW 7269531 headlight control module replacement part for this is likely to set you back between £150-£200 plus labour, an expensive job when the average Jo may suspect a blown bulb. This cure appears to have been successful for the vast majority according to our research, and for those that didn’t have success, we suspect they may have a different issue altogether, although we cannot say this for certain.
If you’re reading this with your perfectly functioning BMW 5 Series F10/F11/F07 sitting outside your house, we recommend taking further measures to prevent this by implementing more waterproofing protection. Although we cannot comment on the precise location of water ingress, ensuring all gaps are fully sealed is a sure way of consumer preventative action. For the most part, a BMW 7258278 headlight driver module should do the trick.