BMW Remote Start – Get Ready to Take Off

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Estimated reading time: 8 min

What
is BMW remote engine start?
BMW remote engine start is a vehicle system consisting of two main parts: a
remote starter and a remote transmitter. To put it simply, the remote
starter, when added to your car, makes it possible for you to start your BMW
remotely with the push of a button on the remote transmitter.

Delving into the details, the remote starter is a small piece of equipment
that connects to your ignition switch, ignition wire, power wire, starter
wire, brake wire, ground wire and tachometer wire to start the vehicle
remotely. Whereas the transmitter is usually a BMW key fob with the remote
start function, which lets you start your vehicle by pushing one
button.

Although remote starters are very popular in colder regions, they can also
be extremely convenient for those BMW owners who live in hotter climates.
Whether it’s really cold outside or the temperatures are baking hot, BMW
remote start will let you warm up or cool down your car’s interiors and
defrost the engine if necessary.

Can I heat my BMW remotely?
Many people wonder if they can turn on the BMW remote start from afar and
the answer is yes, it is possible. You can do it even from your home, but
only with the use of the My BMW app (or ConnectedDrive app as it once was).
More about that later in the article.

WHEN DID BMW PUT A REMOTE ENGINE START ON THEIR CARS?
You’re probably wondering why some BMWs produced before 2019 have remote
start kits, while others lack it. The answer lies in the difference between
BMW remote start retrofit kits and the remote engine start option that came
with a specific BMW straight from the assembly line.

Officially, it wasn’t until the 2019+ G models with iDrive system 7.0
entered the market that BMW started offering remote engine start as an extra
factory option in their Premium packages. The G05 BMW X5 was the first car to
be equipped with the remote engine start, and since its launch, each BMW (such
as G30 5 Series, G11 7 Series, G01 X3 and G20 3 Series) has followed in its
footsteps.

However, before BMW introduced the newest iDrive System 7.0, it already
started offering a BMW remote start kit as a retrofit option for selected cars.
These included the F10, F15, and X5 models manufactured in 2018.

Want to check what iDrive version you have? See how to verify it.

WHAT BMW MODELS AND YEAR HAVE REMOTE ENGINE START?
Currently, the complete list of cars featuring factory installed BMW remote
start includes the below models equipped with iDrive system 7.0, an automatic
transmission, 4 or 6 cylinder internal combustion engine, and connection to
an active Connected Drive account:

* G20 BMW 3 Series
* G22 BMW 4 Series
* G30 BMW 5 Series
* G32 BMW 6 Series
* G11 BMW 7 Series
* G15 BMW 8 Series
* G16 BMW M8
* G29 BMW  Z Series
* 01 BMW i3
* 12 BMW i8
* G01 BMW X3
* G02 BMW X4
* G05 BMW X5
* G06 BMW X6
* G07 BMW X7
* G08 BMW X8
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY BMW HAS REMOTE ENGINE START?
To check if your car is equipped with BMW remote start, look up the Remote
engine start’ option in your Premium Package or in the settings of your
iDrive sub-menu. If your BMW features an iDrive 7.0 (or the so called Live
Cockpit) and a digital gauge cluster, it may be there. 

This is what iDrive system 7.0 (Live Cockpit) and the digital gauge cluster
look like .
MGU iDrive
MGU digital cluster
MGU touch controller

WHY DOESN’T BMW HAVE A REMOTE START?
Remote start isn’t new to the car industry. As you may have noticed, many
vehicle brands have already had remote start available in their cars for a
couple of years, and BMW only recently decided to join them. The lack of a
remote start function, however, wasn’t purely an oversight by BMW, but a
halted project due to environmental regulations, or in case of countries like
the UK, the insurance implications.

In which countries is BMW remote start available?
While BMWs for the North American market offered this feature to car
owners, European branches were banned from doing the same. Why is that so?
The laws of some European countries, including Germany, prevent remote start
from being factory installed, to keep car owners from leaving their vehicles
running for long periods of time. That’s why if your BMW was produced over
the pond, it’ll most likely have this feature disabled.

HOW TO ACTIVATE REMOTE START ON BMW?
 To start using an OEM BMW remote
start, first you need to activate the feature in your car’s iDrive system
sub-menu. Here’s how to do it:

Go to Car’.
Then enter Settings’.
Choose Climate Comfort’.
Then select Preconditioning / ventilation’.
And lastly the Remote engine start’ option will pop up for
activation.
Remote engine start

HOW TO USE REMOTE START
There are three ways in which you can auto start your BMW: from the My BMW
app, via a BMW factory key fob and through a BMW Display Key. See how each of
them differs.

How to use BMW remote start with phone
Using the OEM BMW remote start from the My BMW app is probably the most
convenient way of controlling the remote features. All you have to do is
enter the app, select the option Climate now’ and confirm you want to
start/stop your engine or plan preconditioning. What’s more, you can do it
without having your car anywhere near you.

Don’t know much about the BMW Digital Key and the Connected app feature?
Read about it here.

How to use BMW remote start on key
This one might be a hidden key fob feature some of you didn’t know about 😉
You can actually activate or deactivate your car’s engine with your standard
BMW key fob. Just make sure your vehicle is equipped with the remote engine
start’ option: S1CRA, and simply turn on your engine by pressing the lock
button three times within one second. It will take a few seconds for the
engine to start. If you’d like to turn the engine off you can press the lock
button once again three times. Unlike with the app, in order to work this
procedure has to be done in close proximity to the vehicle.

How to use BMW remote start on a Display Key
If you want to use the OEM remote start with the BMW Display Key, go to the
sub-menu Preconditioning setting’, tap the climate control symbol, select
Activate now’ and Engine start’. The flashing of the turn indicator will show
you that remote start is switched on. After approximately 15 minutes, the
engine will automatically shut off, or you can do it directly by pushing the
start/stop button without pressing the brake pedal.

Get to know more about the BMW Display Key.

HOW CAN YOU ADD A REMOTE START ON BMW?
There are a few legit ways to do that. You can either have it in the OEM
version straight from the factory, complete a BMW remote start update in your
newest car or get an equally safe and reliable BMW remote start retrofit for
your older vehicle.

Adding OEM BMW remote start
You can approach it two ways:

* Before you even make a car purchase, specify to your BMW dealer you’d
like to have remote start added to your iDrive (remember to make sure it’s
available in your region). This option will cost you around $500, but it will
be the easiest way to get an OEM remote start option in your BMW. Also, a
relatively cheap one compared to the total vehicle costs. Cars compatible
with this option are listed above.
* If it skipped your attention and you bought a BMW without the remote
start from the factory, you can still download it over-the-air via the latest
Remote Software Upgrade. As of September 2021 BMW remote start update is
available for compatible vehicles as a Function on Demand on the
ConnectedDrive store you can learn more about it on their ConnectedDrive
website.
        So how to set up remote start
in BMW this way?

You’ll have to add the option to your shopping cart in the ConnectedDrive
account, then enter your payment details and lastly confirm purchase.
The new software will be downloaded while you’re driving and you’ll receive
an activation message on the iDrive display once it’s available for an
install.
To activate it simply follow the instructions given on your screen, but
remember to park your car first. The BMW remote start install will take no
longer than 5 minutes.
You’ll get notified about a successful installation before you start your
next drive. 
Adding BMW remote start retrofit
If you’re not compatible with either BMW remote start upgrade option, we
might have a retrofit for you! Autosvs’s BMW remote start retrofit kit is a
spot-on solution for 2012+ BMWs allowing you to enjoy the convenience of
remote climate control in your older car. And the best part about it? It
works almost like the OEM version (with a few enhancements 😉 ) and is just
as safe and reliable.

How does it work?
To engage the BMW remote start just stand near your car within the range of
your key fob (so at a maximum of 230 ft) and press the lock button on your
BMW key fob three times within 2 seconds. Your vehicle will remain locked,
yet the engine will start immediately and activate the last settings of your
climate control. To turn the engine off, press the trunk button on your key
fob three times. If you don’t do that, it’ll shut down automatically after
10, 20, 30 or 40 minutes depending on your setup, which you can toggle by
pressing different button combinations on your key fob.

Contrary to the OEM BMW remote start, our retrofit doesn’t require
activating the remote start feature in the iDrive. It will demand however
having a spare BMW key fob permanently installed under the front passenger’s
footwell panel, to ensure your on-board computer recognizes the presence of a
BMW key fob and allows for engine activation.

Of course, due to safety precautions, it’s not possible to start your
engine with ONLY the key fob inside your car, as it doesn’t contain a
battery. So if you had any worries about that dont 😉 Having the second key
is vital for engine engagement.

Which BMWs can add a remote start retrofit?
Most of the BMWs produced after 2012 and equipped with one of the
electronic modules (FEM, CAS4, BDC1) will be compatible with the BMW remote
start retrofit. The list includes:

* 1 Series BMW F20, F21, F52, F40
* 2 Series BMW F22, F23, F45, F46
* 3 Series BMW F30, F35
* 4 Series BMW F32, F33, F36 3GT, F34
* 5 Series BMW F10, F11, F18
* 6 Series BMW F06
* 7 Series BMW F01, F02, F03, F04
* X1 BMW F48, F49
* X2 BMW F39
* X3 BMW F25, F97
* X4 BMW F26, F98
* X5 BMW F15
* X5M BMW F85
* X6M BMW F86
* 5GT BMW F07
* i8 BMW I12, I15
* M1 BMW
* M2 BMW F87
* M3 BMW F80
* M4 BMW F82, F83
* M5 BMW F90
* M6 BMW F12, F13
How to install BMW remote start retrofit?
As for the installation, adding BMW remote start retrofit kit is a DIY
process that takes up to 4 hours, involves no coding or permanent
modifications, is 100% reversible and lease-friendly. It’ll require
disassembling the front passenger’s footwell areas to get to the electronic
module, hence we recommend not to rush with the install. Take your time, be
gentle, careful and keep track of which screw and clip came from where in
order to reinstall the parts correctly. Here’s an exemplary installation
procedure:
Decode your VIN to learn more about the process for your BMW.

BMW REMOTE VENTILATION
Want to use the BMW remote ventilation feature, but there’s no way to add a
BMW remote start to your vehicle? There is a way out!  Whether you have an E, F or G Series BMW,
you can always use one of your BMW hidden comfort features.

BMW Parked-Car ventilation will run your fan in a turned off vehicle to get
the air moving at a specific time, but won’t set the climate control on to
make your car cold.

Here’s how to activate the comfort ventilation:
Go to your iDrive menu.
Enter Settings’.
Select Climate’.
Activate parked-car ventilation.
Then set up the BMW parked-car ventilation timer. Choose either timer 1 or
timer 2 and set the desired time for the comfort ventilation to start. Next,
either activate timer 1 or timer 2.
Lastly, the Fan’ symbol will activate and start to flash when the system is
switched on.
From now on, the fan will get moving at the set time for 30 minutes, to
make the interior of your car bearable by the time you get in. See for
yourself.

BMW remote start not working

If your BMW remote start function suddenly stops working you should
double-check your vehicle’s state. What you want to remember is BMW remote
start has smart technology built-in. This means it can detect whether it’s
safe to start the engine or not. So, to engage the system several criteria
need to be met:
* the windows and sunroof must be closed
* all doors must be locked
* the parking brake needs to be engaged
* fuel has to be on high or medium level
* there should be no check engine lights on
And lastly, if your OEM BMW remote engine start stops working after a
software update, it’s most likely because of an iDrive settings reset. In
that case, make sure the option allow engine to start’ is checked in your
iDrive system.

SUMMARY
BMW Remote start is one of the features truly boosting the comfort level in
your BMW, but it’s not the only latest high-tech solution BMW has to offer!
Want to explore some recent BMW inventions? 
See how you can interact with your iDrive using 6 simple gestures,
control your BMW using only a phone and access plenty of information about
your BMW remotely. 

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