What is software update in BMW?

Depending on equipment options, BMW vehicles have from a dozen to several dozen modules . Each of the controllers installed in BMW vehicles has software with which it performs its functions. The controller software is subject to constant observation and modification by BMW AG and, as with computer software, requires updating from time to time. improve the operation of a selected component or the entire vehicle. However, the subject of updates must be approached very carefully.

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Most BMW cars in Europe, even 90%, have an outdated software version in the controllers.

What does it mean? During the production of a car, the manufacturer uploads to it the most up-to-date software for all drivers.

In today’s vehicles, there are from 20 to even 50 controllers that manage the whole car. Modules/controllers are simply microcomputers with their own flash memory, i.e. data that control components of the whole vehicle, such as engine, gearbox, air conditioning, electrical voltage, suspension, traction control (abs, esp, VDM), airbags (passive safety), navigation and entertainment, etc.

When our car has outdated software, its operation is not optimal and significantly accelerates the wear and tear of components of the whole vehicle and directly affects the comfort of travelling.

Very often the update solves problems such as:

  • Lack of flexibility in the work of the bruise while driving
  • High combustion
  • Sticking EGR valve
  • Cogged particulate filter
  • Turbine with low efficiency
  • Gearbox does not run smoothly enough

These problems, apart from user errors and physical failures, are very easy to solve just by updating the drivers in the vehicle.  In order to eliminate to a minimum the frequently occurring faults, it is absolutely necessary to update the drivers. After such a procedure we have a guarantee that the car has no errors generated by its errors in older versions, which in the long run contribute to failures.

After the update, the power of the drive unit increases very often, because the map of the engine controller (ECU) itself is optimized by the manufacturer, and thanks to that the car simply drives better.

Inexperience, the difference between the factory engine software and the updated one is several hp/Nm.

Apart from the purely mechanical issue, there is also the issue of security. BMW cars are very eagerly stolen and the manufacturers in their amendments are still adding new hurdles for potential thieves.

Security updates are strongly recommended. The manufacturer does not without a reason release such amendments, BMW collects data from all users from all over the world, analyzes the statistics and on their basis knows what needs to be improved.

In a nutshell, updating causes:

  • Improving the car’s factory anti-theft protection, in particular with a keyless system
  • New engine maps (usually more power, quieter and softer operation, more engine dynamics) better gearbox operation – no jerks, faster work, more intelligent gear management
  • No notorious errors in the controllers
  • Possibility to activate advanced Bluetooth (6NH required)
  • Possibility to activate Polish language and Polish menu
  • No minor problems with car electronics, e.g. disconnecting phones, etc.
  • Faster work of navigation and multimedia
  • And many, many more…

Controllers/Modules programming

Newly installed modules, do not have the software necessary for their correct operation. They require an assignment to the car’s VIN number and additional codes to secure and enable inter-operation between the car’s controllers. These codes also prevent their simple use in other cars. Such measures are intended to prevent the use of illegally traded parts and to protect our cars from thieves.

However, it is often not possible to replace the component with a new one. In many such cases, we can, through appropriate procedures, programm and code them into the car . However, the situation is more complex. One complication is that the controller cannot be checked outside the vehicle. As the controllers work together, it is necessary to match the software version throughout the vehicle. We always recommend replacing the controllers with new ones and programming the entire vehicle. Any other option is done solely at the responsibility of the vehicle owner and without guarantee of correct functioning.

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