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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-07-2012, 08:04 AM
doug773 doug773 is offline
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E36 brake lights system

From time to time I got the message "check brake lights system" for no apparent reason and totally randomic. I've went to the shop, they check everything on the computer and found nothing wrong.
It comes and goes, sometimes on 2, 3 months cicles.
Any clues?
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  #2  
Old 10-07-2012, 08:19 AM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Probably one of the brake light bulbs has an intermittent contact that only shows up when conditions are perfect, like hitting a bump a certain way. It seems to be correcting itself.
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  #3  
Old 10-07-2012, 09:59 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Actually, if you have a bulb contact which is iffy, you'll get a bulb out warning. If the brake like switch at the brake pedal is going bad (very common issue in the E36), you will get the brake light check warning. Of course, check all your bulb contacts, but my guess is that your brake light switch is on the way out. Fortunately they're pretty easy and inexpensive to replace.
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  #4  
Old 10-07-2012, 10:34 AM
Echo46 Echo46 is offline
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As Ze conjectured, it is probably your brake light switch, which is located behind your brake. PIA to get to. When you crawl up there, pull the red sleeve all the way out just behind the bracket. Then take needle nose pliers and pinch the switch just in front of the bracket and it should pop out.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:44 AM
doug773 doug773 is offline
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Thank you, but...

The interesting thing is that ALL brake lights still work normally even when the message is showing!
And this warning is different from the one that comes when is a bulb is burnt.

Basicly, the warning comes and goes by itself. Sometimes I drive 3 months without any warning. Then it comes. Sometimes is enough to simply turn the car off, take the key out and turn on again, a reset that erases it. Go figure.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:59 PM
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EnserioJose EnserioJose is offline
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Try swapping in a new switch. The engineers built redundancy into the brake system so the lights still coming on isn't a telling sign. If they do fail you'll get a "brake light failure" warning.

Before I changed mine I was getting the warning randomly. It seemed to be linked to the humidity??? Or the e36 gods were messing with me.
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