BMW E36 Blog

Reset BMW E36 oil service light

24th February 2007

Reset BMW E36 oil service light

posted in Do It Yourself, Electrical, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks |

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Hello my friends,

After changing the oil for your car, the oil service light stays on (on the red) and it becomes very annoying to you sometimes. It makes me upset just to see it like that, so I wanted to find out how this creature is reset. It turned out that the procedure is very simple and it doesn’t need time, money or even special equipment. Well, only a paperclip ;-). The following article will show you how this thing is done within couple minutes. BTW, I didn’t write this article. I found it here in case you want to read it. Ready? ok here we go . . .


Disclaimer: Use this procedure at your own risk!! I’m not responsible for your mistakes man! 😀

First, pop your hood and find the diagnostic data port. It is located on the right side of the engine bay near the right strut tower.




Unscrew the cap. You will see a big Pac-Man shaped hole and twenty little round holes. What is a Pac-Man? Never mind. We are only concerned with pin 7 and pin 19 (note: the words "pin" and "hole" are used interchangeably in this text). Refer to the picture below to find pins 7 and 19.




What we will be doing in this exercise is connecting pins 7 and 19 with a paperclip for four seconds. This will reset the oil service light. Simple, no? But first, here is the list of pins and what they are supposed to do:


Pin Terminal Description
1 TD TD Signal
2 Not occupied
3 Not occupied
4 Not occupied
5 Not occupied
6 Not occupied
7 SI Service Interval Reset
8 Not occupied
9 Not occupied
10 Not occupied
11 Not occupied
12 61 (D+) Generator Charge Indicator
13 Not occupied
14 30 Voltage; Hot At All Times
15 RXD Diagnostic Data Link
16 15S Voltage; Ignition Switch in Run
17 Not occupied
18 PGSP Programming Line
19 31 Ground
20 TXD Diagnostic Data Link


OK, using a paperclip, Bend your paperclip it so it looks like this:



Well it doesn’t have to look exactly like this, but you get the idea. Use pliers if you have to. We want those little loops at the end to maximize the contact with the conductors in the holes of the data port. If you can’t make those little loops at the ends, that’s okay. Just don’t go running around with sharp objects.


OK, now you’re ready to reset the oil service light, so turn the ignition key to position II, but don’t start the car. Get out of the car and go to the data port. Always connect pin 7 first. Once you’ve inserted one end into pin 7, insert the other end into pin 19 and hold it there for 4 seconds. Then remove the paperclip. Check the dash and the oil inspection lights should be reset. The reset occurs upon removal of the clip.


IMPORTANT: DO NOT HOLD IT THERE FOR LONGER THAN 10 SECONDS or you may inadvertently reset your inspection I/II interval.



OK, you’re done. It was pretty easy as I promised! wasn’t it?



Are you looking for more do it yourself procedures (DIY) ? I recommend the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual for you. I got it and I think it’s a gold mine for us -BMW E36 Owners-. If you didn’t grab your copy yet, get it right now! I’m sure you’ll find this book worth every penny you’ve paid for. Get the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual


Wait for more from . . . BMW E36 Blog


Best regards,

Tony Sticks.

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There are currently 293 responses to “Reset BMW E36 oil service light”

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  1. 1 On April 18th, 2011, Leon Olivier said:

    Hi Laurice

    Have you bled your water system after filling your radiator with water? Next to your filling cap you will find a small plastic screw that you need to loosen (Not take out) while filling with water. The vehicle must not be started during this process. Once all the air has escaped and clear water is coming out you can then close this screw. Hope this solves your mystery.

  2. 2 On April 27th, 2011, ct said:

    I have 1998, 318i (e46) model and this work as a treat. The only thing is you have to hold it for quite alot longer than 4 seconds. I hold mine for about 20 seconds and bang… the negative oil service no longer shows up when the car starts.

    Thank you

  3. 3 On April 30th, 2011, Tony Glover said:

    i have a 97 3 series. you are a lifesaver!!! i think this was the cause of some of my road rage lol

  4. 4 On May 2nd, 2011, Yoshi said:

    I have a 1997 Z3. I did an Inspection 1 at 90,000 miles and now at 107,000 miles the Inspection light has come on. Shouldn’t I be getting a lot more miles between inspections? Most of the miles are in-town driving. And, yah, the dealer wants $600 for the inspection…

  5. 5 On June 12th, 2011, Brendon Pillay said:

    Is there anything important I need to know if I am servicing my 1995 BMW 328i for the first time?? Please help as I have never ever serviced any car before, but am sure I can do it 🙂 Thanks gents!!

  6. 6 On June 15th, 2011, Alec said:

    Very easy and simple…I was able to walk my wife through the proccess over the phone which says alot…thanks to all who created this site. 🙂

  7. 7 On June 16th, 2011, Mike said:

    I have a 2003 bmw325xi. The oil light indicator on the center dashboard comes on (yellow) while i’m driving. I just had my oil changed 1,000 ago and nothing is leaking. Does the light need to be reset?

  8. 8 On June 28th, 2011, shane said:

    hi just want to say thanks , i recently picked up an m reg 320i and the inspection light was bugging me , it had recently been serviced , read your post and less than 5 minutes later back in house problem solved , thanks again pal

  9. 9 On July 4th, 2011, Pedro said:

    Works perfectly in a 1997 Z3 1.9!!

  10. 10 On July 16th, 2011, Ewan Geddes said:

    Thank you for your help. Before I came across your page I tried to reset my computer 1998 528i but I must have connected the wrong connectors at first because my radio doesn’t work now. Oil indicators are all green though. The radio goes on for about 3 minutes and then turns off. Even when it is on there are no radio lights. Can you help me “reset” the radio or suggest a fix.

    Thanks for your help


  11. 11 On July 26th, 2011, Sean said:

    I tried this tonight for the millionth time and it finally worked. Never give up. Cheers for that guys

  12. 12 On August 3rd, 2011, Sandra said:


    I own a 2006 BMW 330ci and my inspection light is on and I will have to pay BMW $80.00 to only reset the inspection. I had my car serviced with another service company instead of the BMW dealer adn they did not know how to reset the inspection light, where it would continue to keep up with my service requirement. Should I follow the directions with the paperclip? Excited to hear from you.


  13. 13 On August 4th, 2011, C.G. said:

    Thanks so much for this tip! My former wife informed me this morning that her ‘Oil Service’ light was on (’92 318ic), and what was I going to do about it.


    Not wanting to take an hour of my day to drive it over to our local shop and ask them to reset it, I Google searched for an answer and, lo!, there yours was – clear, concise, easy as pie, and thanks for the visual aids.

    Ciao from Portlandia, OR.

  14. 14 On August 7th, 2011, murray said:

    Great advice, tried and tried again a little longer, bingo all green lights even before service due

  15. 15 On August 8th, 2011, K said:

    It worked like a charm, thanks for the help

  16. 16 On August 17th, 2011, Aaron said:

    Just purchased a 01 Z3 wasn’t sure when previous owner had preformed oil change. And being a guy that the last place I will take a car is the dealer, found this site after reseaching how to reset the oil light. The paper clip trick worked for me! I had to do it several times with the last time being appox. 7 seconds, full
    green bars showing now baby!

    Thanks for taking the time in posting this information for others to use. I know I sure appreciate it.

  17. 17 On August 20th, 2011, Miguel said:

    Hi, thank you very much for that tip to reset the Oil Service light.
    Can somebody help me to fix the problem I have with my “brake light sensor” please. I change already all the brake pads and the 2 brake pad sensors on my BMW 325i 1992 (E36) but the brake pad sensor light still ON, new sensors are original from BMW dealer.
    Thank you for your great help.

  18. 18 On August 21st, 2011, murray said:

    anyone know what front shocks were installed in the first e36 1991 318i, decarbon or monrow

  19. 19 On August 21st, 2011, murray said:

    your brake light sensor wire bay be severed some where or not pushed in properly.

  20. 20 On August 21st, 2011, Miguel said:

    Thank you Murray. Can you please tell me how to reach such “wire BAY” for the brake pad sensor and what else to do. BMW 325i 1992, 4 Doors. E36. I appreciate your time. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  21. 21 On August 21st, 2011, Dutch said:

    Miguel, I’m pretty sure that warning refers to your brake PEDAL sensor. It’s the switch that turns on the brake lights when you press the brake pedal. It’s mounted near the top of the brake pedal arm under the console. It has a button that contacts the brake arm at it’s rest position. The switch is like $9 and installs easily. You should be able to google a tutorial. I’ve had to replace many of these. It’s a 20 min job. Good luck

  22. 22 On August 28th, 2011, Seth said:

    Just tried it on my 1996 z3 took several tries. Def cures my ocd for the night!

  23. 23 On August 28th, 2011, Miguel said:

    Dutch, thank you very much for your reply but I am not talking about the STOP red light, I am talking about the “Brake Light” on the dashboard, which is ussually activated when the brake pads sensors are activated for brake service. Thank you.

  24. 24 On September 16th, 2011, Eli said:

    i tried it and acidently reset the inspection I/II interval what do i do now the lights are not on at all

  25. 25 On September 18th, 2011, Mike D said:

    Just tried this on my E36 328i coupe highline individual. Works a treat 🙂 Just some tips… instead of a paperclip I used some insulated wire (any sort of wire will do, like off an old car stereo). I folded the ends of the wire to be a nice thickness to ensure the pin holes would pick up the connection. The first time I tried it only reset the oil service indicator (the clock symbol) and held it in for approx 5 secs. I turned off the ignition and tried again for about 6 seconds and the service indicators (the green lights) reset also. Thank you for the advice and happy that it only took about 2 mins to complete!

  26. 26 On September 30th, 2011, Fish said:

    just did it on my 98 328i msport coupe… took a couple of attempts but alas i have done it!
    Thanks a lot, you have saved me time and money!

  27. 27 On October 4th, 2011, gene said:

    Hi.did the trick just now…bingo, oil service off, green lights on…it took me less than a minute…thanks a lot.

  28. 28 On October 18th, 2011, andyrobbo78 said:

    hello there did oil plugs filters service myself only to find astill had a nasty yellow and red lightsup on tha dash,ggggggggrrrrrrrr i looked for the pacman diagnostic connection under the bonnet and there was only 10pins.luckily i had drawn a diagram of the pin postitions of 7 and 19 and used ma g.f,s tweezersto reset ma lights now all green also recalibrated my tricks and saved me paying bmwto do are tha man!!! really appreaciate this pal.besta luck to you and youre familys.respect andy

  29. 29 On October 24th, 2011, Martin said:

    I wanted to reset the oil service meter, and I just realised that it gives me the next inspection log… Have I done anything wrong??

  30. 30 On October 25th, 2011, Az said:

    Hi Tony,

    I have just follow your instruction on resetting oil service light and it was great. It work, but left it on to long and reset the inspection light too. Is there any problem?
    Cheers AZ

  31. 31 On November 13th, 2011, Brett Wilko said:

    How to reset your inspection I/II interval ,reset oil service time as specified, know LCD lights not working for taco/kilometres read out Please help.

  32. 32 On November 25th, 2011, Franz said:

    I tried for 10 seconds and worked very good, i have green light all the way.

    Thank you

  33. 33 On February 16th, 2012, Cathy said:

    hey, I’m a girl. And a blond. And the oil service reset trick worked for me. Paper clip and about 8 seconds. Yayyyyyy!!!

  34. 34 On March 12th, 2012, donny said:

    My service lights stay on all of them the oil service small clock and all the green the yellow and red …and when i turn the car off the yellow and sometimes the red stays on..can u help?

  35. 35 On March 12th, 2012, selvan said:

    hi i have changed my auto gearbox to manual buy the gearbox light is on . how to remove the light

  36. 36 On March 25th, 2012, Julian useche said:

    My 1992 E36 blinking signal only makes the ticking sound periodically when activated , however the signal itself always works (right turn Left turn) any comments of how to approach this issue ? i know it must be a relay, but where is it located?

  37. 37 On May 10th, 2012, ledz said:

    reset worked . The oil service digits has gone too… is that normal

  38. 38 On July 3rd, 2012, paul said:

    hi there tony, just read you paperclip trick went out and within 8 seconds job done. 5 green light on and yellow and red gone FANTASTIC your the DADDY. e36 1999 2.5. 03/07/2012 :O)

  39. 39 On August 21st, 2012, Naleen said:

    Hi tony in my BMW I don’t know what are the controller sings for air conditioning , heating, and fresh air? Their is a sing arrow goes round, I wonder what is that mean too? If you can help with this I would really appreciate. Cheers naleen

  40. 40 On August 31st, 2012, kester said: kester from philippines..i have a 1997 bmw 320i i’ve got a problem with the remote… i use to go with the instruction manuals for the activation of the remote but it didn’t work out..and i watch the other from the youtube..but all of it is not working on my car….what should i do with the remote.. to activate the lock and unlocking,keyless entry… im so stressful thinking of it, its been 4 days..pls help..very much tnx..!

  41. 41 On November 3rd, 2012, matt said:

    thanks for the tip! worked a charm 🙂

  42. 42 On May 6th, 2013, Mike said:

    Excellent tip. Worked on the first try for me. Thank you.

  43. 43 On May 10th, 2013, Shaun said:

    Brilliant, worked first time. Thanks.