Common problems with BMW iDrive

The BMW iDrive is one of the most exceptional features found in BMWs. This feature makes the car to be user-friendly as it puts all the cabin features in one central place. But since the iDrive system uses a lot of electronic parts, a lot of things can go wrong. So, what are the common problems with the BMW iDrive?

Common problems with the BMW iDrive system are iDrive controller failing, iDriver computer failing, iDrive satellite navigation system issues, outdated software, complete screen blackout, and climate control issues. The good news is that most of these problems are easy to fix by a professional mechanic or technician.

What are the common problems with BMW iDrive?

iDrive controller failing

The BMW iDrive controller is the central operating feature of the center console and comes with a touchpad on its surface. These parts become faulty easily due to the debris or liquids dropped by users in the car. A common fault of the iDrive controller is the knob becoming sticky or failing to turn.

At times, the knob may select a function that you have not authorized it to. If that’s the case, you can open the iDriver controller and remove debris. But if the issue is not defined, you may have to take the car to a professional mechanic for repair.

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iDrive computer failing

Another common problem that BMW iDriver users experience is the iDrive computer failing. Signs of a failing iDriver computer are the navigation unit reboots continuously, navigation unit does not work, iDrive buttons & lights stay on, iDrive works on some days and not others.

Other common signs of a bad or failing iDrive computer are the LCD screen making an intermittent sound, the navigation unit resetting a few times, and much more. Unlike the iDrive controller that you can try to fix, a failing or bad iDrive computer should be fixed by a professional technician.

iDrive satellite navigation system issues

BMW users have also reported the iDrive satellite navigation system to have problems. Some of the problems that the satellite navigation system experiences are display problems, not able to navigate, do not accept or eject CDs, and the route not calculating correctly.

Before you take your car to a mechanic, you can try fixing the iDrive satellite navigation system with a few tricks. The first trick is to remove the fuse for at least 15 minutes. Secondly, you can try holding down the power button for 20 seconds and allowing the iDrive to restart.

If these tricks don’t solve the problem, call a professional mechanic to have a look and fix the problem.

Outdated software

This is not a problem as you can still use the old software to operate your car. However, some features may not work well and that’s why you need to upgrade your BMW’s software. Having the latest software will ensure that you correct bugs, better vehicle performance, add new features, and improve the security of your car.

So, always upgrade your software to have a smooth operation and greater experience of the BMW iDrive system.

Complete screen blackout

This is another common problem with the BMW iDrive system. Many BMW users have in the past complained about the screen going blank, losing phone, and sat navigation. Nonetheless, you can try fixing this by allowing the car to sleep for 20 minutes. If you restart the car and the issue persists, visit a mechanic.

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Climate control problems

The BMW iDrive system works as a bridge in your car. Therefore, all devices of your BMW send signals about their work to a single iDrive center. So, if one of the systems fails, such as the climate control system, it may affect how the iDrive system works as well.

To ensure that the iDrive system works well, all systems that send signals to it must function well, including the climate control system. So, you will have to fix the climate control system first.


What is BMW iDrive?

Launched in 2001, the BMW iDrive system is an in-car communications and entertainment system that is used to control most secondary vehicle systems. This gadget features a rotary controller that rotates clockwise and anti-clockwise. It controls climate, audio system, navigation system, and communication system. 

Can I replace my BMW iDrive system?

Yes, you can replace your old BMW iDrive system with the latest system. But first, you will have to ensure to acquire the right iDrive system for your BMW model. Check whether your BMW iDrive system has a 10-pin or 4-pin system. Your new iDrive system should have a pin system that matches your old iDrive system.  

How much does it cost to fix the BMW iDrive system?

Fixing the BMW iDrive system is quite costly. The basic CIC iDrive with maps, voice command, and video in voice command is between $2200 and $2500. This is minus the labor cost of the mechanic or technician that will fix the system. Therefore, if you want a more advanced iDrive system, the cost will be higher. 

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How much does it cost to update BMW software?

It depends on how you want to update the software. If it’s through BMW ConnectDrive, this service is free of charge. On the contrary, BimmerTech’s iDrive software update starts from $250. Updating your BMW software is crucial as it ensures your car is up-to-date.

Having the latest software updates ensures basic functions that might require code review and a bug fix can be done without any issue. Additionally, data and content will always match as the software is current.

What is the latest version of BMW iDrive?

The latest version of the BMW iDrive system is the iDrive 7. This operating system debuted in the summer of 2018 and the first car to have it was the G05 BMW X5 SUV. It features updates that have the latest Remote Software Upgrade (version 21-07), which is an updated BMW news app with podcast-based news and the inclusion of SiriusXM’s Pandora stations.

Bottom line

The BMW iDrive system has made things easier for BMW users as they can control most secondary vehicle features without getting distracted a lot from the road. However, like most car parts, the BMW iDrive system also breaks down and requires proper maintenance to last longer.

The main problem for the BMW iDrive is outdated software. So, if you want to avoid most BMW iDrive issues, ensure to have the latest BMW software. All in all, the iDrive is a vital feature that has improved the user’s experience.

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Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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