Brake indicator lamp 3 series

My 2010 BMW 335i is at 25,000 miles and the brake pad indicator lamp is on. Is a full brake job necessary? Any estimates?

You need to get the brakes looked at. Full brake job? That depends on if anything but the pads are bad. Most of the time it you can get away with resurfacing the rotors once, but they might be more likely to warp later.


I will give you some valuable advice

Whoever works on the car NEEDS to take it on the freeway and apply the brakes a few times

If he doesn’t do that, he probably won’t feel any warped rotors

Assuming your rotors aren’t warped, you probably just need pads

You can often feel warped rotors when you apply the brakes, but the way to confirm this, and figure out which rotor is warped, and how much, is to measure runout

The brake pad indicator lamp can come on if some foreign object has hit and damaged the wire, but that is very rare. The most likely scenario is that your front pads are worn out. It is highly unlikely that your rears are worn out already…

Whether or not your brake pads are covered under the factory warranty is likely a matter open to debate. 25k miles is pretty short life unless you drive nothing but stoplight to stoplight. My boss got new brakes on his 3-series under warranty, but it took a lot of arguing.

I own four 3-series BMWs, but the two newest ones are 2004s, so the rest of what I say here may be obsolete information for a 2010 model.

Factory BMW brakes and pads work great at all temperatures, are quiet, and have good feel, BUT They make make your wheels dirty, they don’t last long, and the pads destroy the rotors. When the pads need replacing, the rotors need replacing as well unless you are willing to push the rotors well past their minimum thickness specification. These rotors cannot be machined. There is not enough extra thickness to allow any to be machined off.

Look through the wheel at the rotor. If you can easily see a lip at the outer edge, indicating that the pad has worn the face of the rotor except the tiny bit at the very outer edge of the rotor, that rotor is too worn to use through another set of pads. Well, you CAN if you are frugal, but the rotor will not meet BMW specification and no shoo will agree to do that.

I buy only BMW and OEM manufacturer parts - with the exception of brakes. For less than you pay for BMW brake parts, you can buy good safe brakes that last longer and keep the wheels nice and clean. Read reviews and choose carefully. Any brakes work when they are cool and dry. The most important thing is that the brakes are predictable and work well when they are wet and when they are hot. There are new brands of brake parts coming out of China. They may be OK, but I am skeptical.

The problem with changing brands of brakes on a high performance car is that it is a good idea to use the same pads and rotors all the way around so that they always behave in the same way at the same temperature, wet or dry. You may therefore choose to go with BMW parts on the front at this time, and next time use something different when you need to do all four wheels.