How to Fix an LCD Display Pixelf Failure on a BMW E39 Speedometer

BMW E39 speedometer LCD display pixel problem is quite common at cars older than 10 years. The problem lies with the ribbon cable that connects the LCD to the panel. Once you replace it to a real silver "pixel fix cable" it will work perfectly for years.


  1. 1
    Remove the unit from the car:
  2. 2
    Remove the front cover of the unit: The unit has 5 plastic crosses on the back, that hold the front cover on the unit. Rotate all 5 crosses counterclockwise with your pliers about 15 degrees so they will line up with the gaps below them You may have to overturn it a bit, so when released it will stop in the position you need. Make sure you do it on all 5 positions!
  3. 3
    Remove all 8 screws from the unit: use your torx screwdriver
  4. 4
    To get access to your LCD without removing the needles (which would require recalibration), the only way is to make 4 little holes on the front plastic layer. Do not worry, NO VISIBLE DAMAGE WILL REMAIN! You will need to drill through a thin plastic layer, so do not use a powerful drill - an electric screwdriver with a drill bit will do the job quite easily. Locate the positions as show on the pictures below. If you did this job well, you will see the head of the torx screw through the hole. There are 4 holes located slightly above the LCD.
  5. 5
    Unscrew the 4 screws through the holes you just drilled:
  6. 6
    Remove the back. Loosen up the little claws under the black cover in 2 places: where the screwdriver shows, and also where the little white arrow is. If you did the job, it will “click” and will lift a bit. Release the claws at the electrical connectors using a small screwdriver by levering the screwdriver Down the side and tilting up – all connectors have 4 on each corner.
  7. 7
    If all 4 screws were removed that held the LCD, you can smoothly remove the plastic stand. Be gentle,as it might stick to the panel, but with the small screwdriver you can loosen it up. Important: the 6 small connectors are NOT soldered. These are so called "press-fit" connectors, which means they were simply pressed into the panel, no soldering was applied. After removing the plastic stand, the original ribbon cable is still holding it. Now you need to peel it off nice and slowly. Do not worry, you do not need the original ribbon cable anymore!
  8. 8
    Remove the LCD from the plastic stand. This is just 5 clips to be released slowly. There are 3 clips where the ribbon cable is, and there are other 2 on the other side: Be Careful and do not break the LCD glass! From this point on you need to be very careful!
  9. 9
    Now you need to remove smoothly the original ribbon from the LCD glass, and clean it from any residual material. Simple peel it off. When cleaning the LCD, do not use acetone! You may use a credit card's corner, your fingernail, or a box cutter's blade. Panel: The best is to clean it with acetone and q-tips.
  10. 10
    Place paper slices (cut to fit) under all the silicone spacers (lift out the silicone, put the paper in, and the silicone goes back to the top). This is quite important to make sure the pressure will be appropriate after the final assembly. Photo paper has optimal thickness for this purpose. 3 small to the 3 small silicone strips, and a 4th one under the long strip which is under the LCD.
  11. 11
    Place the new ribbon cable onto the panel. The panel's pads are already perfectly cleaned so now we need to place the new ribbon cable on it so that the pads of the cable very accurately meet the pads of the panel. To do so, put the cable on the edge of your desk exactly as the picture below shows, and put scotch tape on it. Put the cable onto the panel - make sure the pads of the panel accurately meet the pads of the cable.
  12. 12
    Now put the stand back, and also the 4 screws that hold it
  13. 13
    Now remove the orange backing paper from the silicone spacer provided, you will find that there is adhesive under it. Place it against the plastic stand. Important: the adhesive side goes to the original silicone spacer, so it will stick to it, not the plastic!
  14. 14
    LCD back on board: Now you need to put the LCD back - make sure the pads of the LCD match the pads of the ribbon.Put the frame back, while you keep pushing the LCD. The 2 clips on the bottom will click in quite easily, but the 3 additional ones on the other side of the frame will have to be pushed down with the flat head screwdriver. Push them down with the flat head screwdriver until they click and make a sound quite easy to hear and feel. Do not push the surface of the frame, only at the little holes located at the 2 arms of the frame.
  15. 15
    Put the cover back, put the unit back into the car, and ENJOY


  • You can save hundreds of Dollars with this DIY job. The most important is not to rush, this job may take up to 3-4 hours. Please take your time, do not try to be fast, otherwise you will not succeed with the repair.

Things You'll Need

  • Image titled DSC_0413.JPG
    replacement silver ribbon cable KIT (it normally contains a silver ribbon cable and a silicone foam spacer). Normally you get a video manual together with the KIT.
  • scotch tape
  • thick paper (photo paper is the best, as it is thick enough)
  • a flat head and a torx (size8) screwdriver
  • long nose pliers
  • drill bit (size 5) with a battery powered screwdriver
  • acetone
  • q-tips
  • a fresh towel
  • very good lighting

Article Info

Categories: Car Maintenance and Repair