How to Replace the Parking Sensor on a 2011 X5


The parking distance control option on BMW’s 2011 X5 truck uses ultrasound sensors integrated into the bumpers to aid in maneuvering tight spaces, such as for parking. The PDC sensors detect objects within 7 feet of the X5, and depending on the PDC option, emit an audible proximity warning, as well as visual warning on the control display panel in the middle of the dashboard above the vents. Replace a sensor in the case of a malfunction as indicated on the control display.

Things You'll Need

  • Nut driver set

Front Sensors

  • Park the vehicle level ground. Set the parking brake. Open and raise the hood.

  • Remove the five bumper trim screws from the area just forward of the radiator using a nut driver. Remove the eight bumper trim screws from the bottom edge of the bumper.

  • Remove the two screws from the outer edge at the bottom front of each wheel arch trim using a nut driver. Unsnap the bumper trim catch from the wheel arch trim on both sides.

  • Release the bumper trim catches located on both sides of the bumper trim just below the driving light and at the upper corners of the trim next to the narrow grille strip in the middle

  • Separate the trim from the vehicle slightly and disconnect the electrical connector from the PDC sensor transducers located on the front of the trim just below the inboard passenger trim catch and on each side of the trim. Have a second person help you pull the trim straight forward and off the vehicle.

  • Disconnect the forward transducer holder from the four retaining lugs on the trim. Remove the transducer. Ensure that the rubber ring properly seats on the new transducer. Install the new transducer on the trim and be sure that it seats correctly.

  • Remove the rubber boots from the side transducers. Unclip the transducer retainers and pull the transducer out of the holders. Install the new transducers in the holders. Ensure that the rubber ring properly seats on the transducer and that the transducer properly seats in the holder.

  • Hold the trim in place just forward of its installed position with the aid of a helper. Connect the electrical connectors to the transducer terminals. Install the rubber boots on the transducers. Push the trim piece fully into position and engage the four front clips and the two side clips. Install all of the retaining screws and tighten securely using a nut driver.

Rear Sensors

  • Locate the four transducers in the rear bumper. Two are located right over the exhaust pipes and two are below each corner of the license plate.

  • Lie on the ground and reach up behind the rear bumper. Disconnect the sensor's electrical connector from its transducer terminal.

  • Unsnap the retaining tabs from the transducer and pull it from its holder.

  • Install the new transducer in the holder and engage the retaining tabs. Ensure that the rubber ring properly seats on the transducer and that the transducer properly seats in the holder.

  • Plug the electrical connector into the transducer terminal.

Tips & Warnings

  • The PDC sensors may not function reliably in certain conditions, such as in heavy rain, when covered with ice or snow or when the sensors are dirty. Also, verify the front license plate is securely fastened if there is one. A loose or bent plate may protrude into the sensor’s detection field and indicate a false malfunction. The sensors may not receive reliable readings when inside a rectangular structure with smooth walls such as a parking garage. Verify sensor operation outside these conditions if you suspect a sensor is malfunctioning.
  • Be mindful to reinstall the front bumper trim screws in the same holes they were removed from.
  • Spraying the sensors with a high-pressure spray washer can damage them. Keep the spray nozzle at least 10 feet from the sensors when washing the vehicle.
  • Use caution when removing the front bumper trim panel. Do not damage the bumper and bumper clips during removal. Do not attempt to remove the bumper trim without the aid of a helper.
  • Use caution when removing the transducer holder from the front bumper and do not damage the holder retaining lugs.
  • Do not attempt to remove the outer rear transducers when the exhaust system is hot. A hot exhaust system can cause significant burn injuries. Allow the vehicle to cool fully before attempting to work on the outer rear transducers.

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