Should I have my cars software updated?
This is a common question from customers, and understandably.
Surely running the latest software release can only improve the overall running of the vehicle?
Maybe you’ll feel a difference or have better fuel economy?
Most of the above is true. Whilst there is some considerable benefit to having a later software version, there are also some reasons that could deem it a waste of money. Here’s why:
Software updates are released by manufacturers for several reasons, e.g when their R & D team study wear characteristics of the cars that could result in improvement from revised software.
As common issues transfer through BMW’s dealer network, the software designers will take on board this information, and attempt to revise a cure or even an improvement to a problem with a software update.
A good example of this could be an automatic transmission that learns your driving style, and starts delaying its gear changes, possibly hanging in gears a little too long.
A software update could resolve this so the basic map characteristics don’t have to much change from learning your driving style.
Another example could be a cars cold start map on the engine ECU. This could potentially be improved from an emissions perspective, perhaps improving fuel economy.
Or an E46 M3 SMG running the original software version, known to be excessively clunky or harsh when changing gear. Again this is improved with the final release software.
Manufacturers release several software updates over the years as they continue to fine tune the software. They can enhance the car in several different ways, some you’ll notice, some you won’t.
The updates we recommend are for engine and transmission. These are the most critical updates, and also the ones you are most likely to feel a reward from.
Other updates are available for modules such as PDC, CAS, FRM, to name just a few, but in reality these updates are more for fixing issues that may not be affecting your car.
Some updates are advised during a systematic diagnostic process to trace a fault on a vehicle, in reality these less important updates will have little or no benefit to your vehicle, and are generally advised against doing them unless essential for a repair plan.
So to summarise.
Updating your engine and transmission is certainly worth doing, there will be benefits without doubt, so for a relatively low cost we recommend doing these for overall improvements in the cars running and most importantly, improvements that you are likely to notice.