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BMW DSC Malfunction: Causes & Solutions (Complete Guide)

bmw dsc malfunction

BMW is a robust performance-oriented luxury car known for its technology and reliability. But, it’s not immortal or perfect, like every other vehicle this also faces some issues from time to time. One of these is the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) malfunction, which can be very frustrating when the first time it pops up on your dashboard.

But tension not, because in this blog we’ll discuss all the common causes of DSC and their potential solutions, so you don’t have to worry, just read along.

Table of Contents

What Is DSC On BMW?

DSC or Dynamic Stability Control is a very important feature in BMW, which optimizes our vehicle stability depending on the different driving conditions. Think of when you drive on a very rough road but don’t feel any bumps, or when take a sharp turn at a speed and never feel like you’ll flip over, that’s the work of DSC, maintaining vehicle stability during challenging driving conditions.

The DSC system uses different sensors, to analyze different driving situations and adjust the vehicle stability to enhance vehicle performance. It monitors the speed of your vehicle and steering angle then optimize the vehicle for any terrible road conditions which can result in loss of traction or control.

This is an essential safety feature because it senses the environmental factors and prevents your vehicle from losing control or traction. The DSC is connected to many different parts of your vehicle, like cornering brake control, suspension, ABS, and stability control. All of these different systems have sensors that collect data and transfer them to the DSC system. The DSC system also works with the ABS (anti-lock braking system), which also affects the braking of your vehicle.

If necessary the DSC can interfere with the engine power and braking on particular wheels of the vehicle.

Why Does My BMW’s DSC Malfunction?

The DSC system largely relies on the data from the sensors which give the data about the in and out of the vehicle, where if any sensor fails it will cause DSC failure.

Getting a DSC malfunction is not a good experience, but it is what it is. If you’ve got this malfunction error then you have to find the exact cause and fix or replace the faulty component. So let’s look at the possible causes for the DSC malfunction on BMW.

Causes Behind DSC Malfunction On BMW

Before fixing the DSC malfunction on BMW you gotta know the exact root cause of the problem. So, there are many different reasons which can cause the DSC malfunction, so, let’s look at the possible causes.

Faulty Wheel Speed Sensor

There are four wheel speed sensors in each four wheels, which is located inside the hub assembly. These sensors help the DSC system get data about the speed and movement of the vehicle. The location of the sensors can easily cause corrosion, and any damage in the wirings can cause the sensor to fail. When this sensor fails it will cause the cruise control, stability control, and traction control to stop functioning.

And, when the sensor fails it interrupts communication and sends the wrong data to the DSC, which results in DSC malfunction and unusual driving behavior.

Corroded ABS Reluctor Ring

Another common cause is a corroded ABS ring, which is a toothed wheel wrapped around the drive shaft, which sends data to the wheel speed sensors. The tooth/series of slotted surfaces determine the wheel spinning speed, and with time these slots can crack or corrode and deform its surfaces. These deformed slots could send incorrect readings which can trigger the DSC malfunction.

ABS Pump Issue

The ABS pump regulates the brake fluid pressure while hard braking, which prevents wheel lock-up. And, if the ABS pump fails then it can cause DSC malfunction.

When the ABS pump is damaged it can cause the DSC system to not work properly, especially disrupting its ability to control wheel spin and stabilize the vehicle in aggressive driving situations.

Steering Angle Sensor Failure

Nowadays most modern BMW models have steering angle sensor which is used by DSC to monitor the vehicle’s turning motion according to how much the driver wants.

Though the sensor doesn’t fail most of the time, however, the wirings within the steering wheel column could damage and cause DSC malfunction. The usual weak point is the clock spring behind the steering wheel.

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) Module Failure

The DSC control module is the main processing unit (brain) of the DSC system, which collects the data from the ABS and all other components sensors and takes different measures to stabilize the car according to the situation.

And, if this component fails then it will result in the failure of the entire DSC system and its functions.

Electrical Problems

Loose connections or damaged wiring could be the reason for DSC failure. Also, a blown fuse or weak/faulty battery connection can disrupt the DSC functions.

A poor/weak battery can cause voltage fluctuations, which will disrupt different electronic control modules including the DSC electronic module. As a result, it causes the DSC to malfunction.

Also Read: Where To Find BMW Paint Code: A Complete Guide

ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) Issue

The ABS is closely related to the DSC system, where both share several components. Likewise when the ABS malfunctions it could result in the DSC malfunction.

Low Brake Fluid

When the vehicle does not have a sufficient level of brake fluid, an amount of air will fill the gap. And, you will experience less effective braking, your brakes will take a longer time to stop the vehicle. And, if this is the case you will see a low brake fluid light flash on and off along with the DSC malfunction on your dashboard. So, get it fixed by a mechanic.

Poor Wheel Grip

Sometimes you could see DSC malfunction due to a lack of grips on your wheels. However, there can be many other reasons like damaged shock absorbers, suspension misalignments, or different size tires, which could break the connection with the wheel surface and cause DSC malfunction.

Before doing anything first check if the DSC is off. Because sometimes the reason can be you mistakenly turned off the DSC system by pressing the DSC light for 3-5 seconds. Which will also result in the DSC light will appear on the dashboard.

bmw dsc malfunction

How To Fix DSC Malfunction On BMW

So, now you know all the possible causes of DSC malfunction, let’s see the solution to this malfunction.

Step 1: Inspect The Battery

If the battery has become weak or faulty it can be a reason for DSC malfunction. So, thoroughly inspect if the battery terminals are clean and connected securely. Ensure that the battery connection is good.

If the battery power is weak you could simply charge the battery or If any damage is found you should get it fixed or replaced as soon as possible.

Step 2: Properly Diagnose Your Vehicle

Earlier we discussed the common causes for the DSC system, but you need to know which of these causes are happening in your vehicle. Because after you know the root cause of the problem, only then you’ll be able to solve that issue. To do that you have to perform a thorough diagnosis of your vehicle.

To perform the diagnosis start with a visual inspection of the components like the battery, wirings, sensors, and other related components. Try to look for any loose wiring/connections, any damage, or corrosion.

If you can’t find the cause after visual inspection, then it’s time to use a BMW OBD-II diagnostic scanner. Which will read the trouble codes stored in the DSC system. The code will give you the root cause for the malfunction, so just follow the steps:-

  • Insert the scanner in your vehicle’s OBD-II port, which is located under the dashboard of the driver’s side.
  • Then start the ignition, but don’t start the engine.
  • Now activate the scanner.
  • And it will give you the diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs).
  • Now interpret the code using a scanning code library or any OBD-II code lookup website online.
  • Now you know the exact root cause of your DSC system malfunction.

Step 3: Repair or Replace

Now you’ve found out the cause of the malfunction in the previous step, so it’s time to fix that issue. Depending on the problem you might need to repair or replace some following components:

  • Replacing any malfunctioned sensors, some can be fixed. Though most of these sensors cannot be fixed, but also depends on the issue.
  • Repairing any damaged or loose wiring or connectors.
  • Reprograming and fixing the DSC control module issue.
  • Fixing the ABS pump issue.
  • Fixing or replacing any component if needed.

The problem in your vehicle can be any of them, but the important thing is to repair the component with manufacturer-recommended measures.

Step 4: Clear The Error Code

Now if you’ve successfully repaired or replaced any of the malfunctioning components, then you gotta clear the error code from the DSC system. To do that simply connect your OBD-II scanner and clear the trouble code from the DSC system.

Once you’ve cleared the error code, now take a short test drive and observe the vehicle behavior, and check the dashboard if the DSC malfunction error has popped up again or not. If the DSC malfunction error has gone from the dashboard and everything seems fine, then enjoy because you just solved your DSC malfunction.

But if you are not a DIY guy, or you’ve successfully diagnosed the problem, but couldn’t repair or replace the faulty component then follow the next step.

Step 5: Seek Professional Help

Now if you have done all the above steps carefully, but still the DSC malfunction error persists or you are not a big DIY guy and need to fix the DSC malfunction. Then the best option for you is to seek professional help from your BMW dealership or any BMW certified reputed auto repair shop.

You could also contact any trusted independent mechanic, who specializes in BMW vehicles.

The dealership or auto shop has advanced tools to diagnose the exact problem and skilled experienced technicians to repair or replace any necessary component.

So if you seek help from a professional you could simply hand over your vehicle and relax and they’ll take care of that issue for you.

Read Also: 2002 BMW E46: The Ultimate Driving Machine Review

How To Reset the DSC System?

Now after repairing the DSC malfunction, you want to reset the DSC system, so to do that simply press and hold the DSC button located in the center console for about 5 seconds. Now you’ll see the button light will start blinking so release the button. And the DSC system is reset and active.

Is It Safe To Drive When the DSC is Malfunctioning?

Driving with a DSC system is always great, but it’s also fine to drive with a DSC malfunction, you just have to put more effort into driving with more bumpier roads and speeding control.

However, there’s no problem driving your BMW with a DSC malfunction light on the dashboard. But, if the DSC malfunctions because of the ABS or braking issue, then it’s not safe to drive. So, I would recommend you to not drive while the DSC system malfunctions, because it will affect your vehicle’s traction and braking. And the DSC system is a very important safety feature in your car.


So, now you know the causes and solutions of the DSC malfunction in your BMW. So, after repairing or replacing your vehicle, always do regular service and scheduled maintenance by a professional auto shop. If you maintain your car well the DSC system should last as long as the car’s life.

Image Credit: Bimmerpost, E46 fenatic Forum

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