DSC Warning lamp and missing characters on the alphanumeric display

Asked by Apr 13, 2010 at 08:57 AM about the 2002 BMW 5 Series 525i

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Just drove away in my first BMW and 10 miles down the road the DSC warning lamp illuminated and does not shut off despite trying to toggle the deactivation button.  Also am noticing many characters "missing" or burned out on the led alphanumeric display beneath the tach and odometer.  I am also not getting a temperature readout on the display.

Wandering what costs I am now looking at.  Of course the dealer is on the  "sold as is" mountain.

3 Answers


My 525 is a '95 and has ASC but i believe the DSC you refer to is your traction control. If it is, then a) if it's a manual, I wouldn't worry about it, you probably don't want the traction control anyway and b) refer to your owners manual, because the warning light that comes on may be used as a indicator for things other than just your traction control. As for letters burnt out on your HUD, in your financial interest, those are one of the few things I would replace on a BMW with something out of a junkyard. It has nothing to do with how good your car runs, it's condition usually has nothing to do with how many miles the car has on it, and you are going to save a boatload of cash. Your temperature gauge not working may be a blown fuse, check your fuse box first before you try to diagnose further. It may just be a $2 problem.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

When the DSC warning light is lid, one of the many things could be malfunctioning: most expensive being the DSC/ABS pump (although this is usually accompanied by the ABS red warning light) - $350 (ebay) to $1,000 (oem), or may be it is the supplementary throttle control, and in the other end of the spectrum, a malfunctioning wheel speed sensor. Have a BMW diagnostic computer obtain the fault code to confirm what has gone wrong before replacing any parts. The DSC is certainly not absolutely essential for operating a vehicle. It does provide a rather conservative safety bracket for those who are not familiar with the dynamic handling of a vehicle. Besides preventing fishtailing, this system also reduce understeer (so the car won't plow right through a turn) when the handling limits of the vehicle are momentarily exceeded (usually due to miscalculated speed and abrupt inputs to the vehicle's controls). The system is especially useful when travelling at highway speed (when average drivers are least familiar with the vehicle's dynamics) or in adverse road conditions (ie. rain, snow, etc.) where the traction limits varied significantly. As a result, some cars and suv sold in North America are required to be equipped with such systems for years now. Regarding your LCD dash display pixel problem, this is a very common problem for our vehicles and there is a economical fix available from a number of ebay sellers. Search "BMW pixel" at ebay and you will find repair kits for $25. These are all very simple DIY jobs. When the outside temperature is not displayed, I will check the integrity of the outside ambient temperature sensor first. Due to the location of this sensor (usually under or behind the front bumper on the passenger side), it is easily damaged or gone completely missing. This will also render your climate control system inoperational when you have an automatic system, wouldn't affect a manually operated system though. Replacing the sensor should fix the problem. The fault code pulled from the diagnostic computer should point you in the right direction and confirms the fact. Good luck and enjoy the best vehicle BMW has ever built!

Recently replaced the DSC Module on my 2002 525i at 105K miles. Bought if as a BMW certified with 30K miles back in 2005 for $33K. Was experiencing intermittent faults with ABS system as well as "missing characters" symptom you mentioned. The thing that took the car out was failure of the module that controls transmission shifting. We could drive it, but in forward was locked in one gear. Had the work done by a reputable shop who specializes in BMW work for < $850 total including dianogstics / coding, $726 for the part and $120 labor with a 12/12 warranty. This module is the "brains" of the car, and some faults and or failures could leave you stranded. From what I understand these DSC module faults even if nuisance in nature and sone reset on car restart don't fix themselves. Personally I'd get someone you trust to look at it to determine weather it's the module or the input signal from source. Diagnosis takes about a hour. This car is a dream to drive, excellent ride and gas milage with a lot of pep. Hope this helps... good luck.

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