What Does the Car On Lift Light Mean on BMW or Mini Cooper?

Tim Miller

Is the red or yellow car on lift symbol on your BMW or Mini Cooper causing concern? 

Don’t fret! 

My comprehensive guide will provide everything you need to know about this car on lift light, from its meaning and potential causes to recommended methods to diagnose and reset the light.

Let’s dive into it!

What Does the Red Car On Lift Light Mean?

red car on lift light

Car on lift warning lights are exclusive to BMW and Mini Cooper. When the red light comes on, it means there is a malfunction in the ignition, starter motor, or light system. 

Ignition issues: For some causes like a dead battery, ignition switch failure, ignition coil failure, or bad spark plugs, your car cannot start. That’s why it triggered the car on lift light to alert you.

Check the causes above or contact the repair shop to identify the underlying cause and fix it as soon as possible. In case you need to drive, depress the brake pedal to start the car.

Defective starter motor: Your engine cannot be restarted. Also, you might hear clicking or grinding noises coming from the starter motor. It’s best to contact the repair shop to diagnose and repair the motor.

Failed light system: Headlights, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, interior lights, and dashboard lights might be inoperative. Pull over and inspect the light system. You can continue the journey but take it cautiously.

If the red car on lift warning light comes on with the brake light, ABS light, and ESC light, your electronic system might malfunction. Stop driving immediately and have your car towed to the nearest repair shop.

In case it comes on with the brake light and ABS light, your brake pads might be worn. You should check and replace them as soon as possible.

What Does the Yellow Car On Lift Light Mean?

yellow car on lift light

The yellow car on lift light appears on the dashboard if the system has detected a problem with the brake light, oil level sensor, battery, or fuel pump. However, the problem is less severe than the red light.

Failed brake light: Check the bulbs to see if they’re burned out and replace them if necessary.

Malfunctioning oil level sensor: Have the sensor replaced as soon as possible. Driving with an inaccurate oil level reading can lead to serious engine damage.

Battery failure. It may be impossible to restart the engine. Turn off any unnecessary electric devices and have the battery system checked by a qualified mechanic soon.

Faulty fuel pump: You may experience stalling and a reduction in engine power. While it is still possible to continue driving, remember to moderate your speed and have the fuel pump inspected as soon as possible.

How to Diagnose the Cause Triggering the Car On Lift Light

Method 1: Based on the check control system’s CC-ID code or message 

Most BMW and Mini Cooper have a check control system that monitors your vehicle’s performance. If any problem is detected, the system will alert you with a warning light and store information in a CC-ID code. From the code, you can find out the cause to fix it. 

So how to get the code? Follow the following steps:

  • Turn on the ignition but do not start the engine.
  • Look for the BC button, usually located on the turn signal stalk. 
  • Press and hold the button to access the check control system.

Watch the video to know more details.

Once getting a CC-ID code shown on the display, look up the meaning in the PDF file below.

If your car is equipped with iDrive or Mini Connected, the system will show a message on the central information display. Based on the message, you get information about the problem and what action you should take.

In case you don’t see any message, how to find out?

  • Turn on the ignition (do not start the engine) to activate the vehicle’s electrical systems.
  • Go into the menu.
  • Select “Vehicle Information” → “Vehicle Status” → “Check Control”

You will see a list of messages related to the light. For example, as in the message below, you can find out that worn brake pads are the cause. What you should do is replace the brake pads as soon as possible.

Note: The specific steps may vary depending on the model and year of the vehicle.

Method 2: Using an OBD2 scanner

An easier way to diagnose the problem is to use an OBD2 scan tool to read the code.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Turn off the engine.
  • Connect the scanner to the OBD2 port. Most scanners will have a cable that plugs into the port, while others may be wireless.
  • Turn on the ignition.
  • Follow the scanner instructions.
  • Select the “Read Codes” function on the scanner.

Next, figure out what the codes mean by using the DTC Lookup Library on the scanner or going to the OBD2 Codes Lookup.

After that, inspect and repair the malfunctioning parts. In case you are unsure about how to do it, ask a qualified mechanic for help.

How to Reset the Car On Lift Warning Light

Once the underlying issue is addressed, it’s time to reset the light using a scanner to clear the trouble codes.

  • Select the “Clear codes” function on the scanner.
  • Restart your car and drive for 50-100 miles. The light then automatically goes off.

Some BMW and Mini Cooper models may have specific instructions for resetting warning lights. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more details.

For example, on BMW 3 Series (E90, E91, E92, E93):

  • Press and hold the trip odometer reset button until you see a yellow triangle warning light.
  • Use the toggle switch to select the appropriate service item.
  • Press and hold the BC button to reset it.

The video below shows you in detail.

Another way to reset the light is to use the iDrive controller to navigate to the “Service” menu. Then, select the “Service Requirements” option and follow the instructions to reset the light.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, the car on lift warning light on your BMW or Mini Cooper serves as an important service reminder that should not be ignored. By following the recommendations in my guide, you can avoid potential issues and keep your car running smoothly. 

Remember to prioritize your vehicle’s maintenance and safety for a worry-free driving experience.

Don’t ignore any car light symbols you encounter; they hold secrets about your car’s performance and require your understanding for appropriate action. Stay informed and drive safely!

Learn more:

BMW Warning Lights and Meanings (FULL List, FREE Download)

Mini Cooper Warning Lights and Meaning (FULL list, Free Download)

AT Oil Temperature Subaru: 2 Common Causes and Fixes

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Information sourced from the owner's manual.