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BMW’s On-Board Computer Secrets

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Ever looked at your BMW's computer and thought "Wow, I bet I can do more with this"? You actually can thanks to secret menus BMW hides from the consumer. Here's how to find them.

BMW, in everything ranging from the 3-series all the way up to the 7-series, uses an On-Board Computer to provide the driver with up-to-the-moment data. The early OBCs, which were then followed by the iDrive system, were useful if you wanted to know the temperature, time of arrival, fuel consumption, etc.


But BMW worked in some undocumented features and adjustments, hidden from the consumer's eye. Here's a very short peek of the many features you can access:

● Change your friend's M5 language to German, for laughs, and threaten to not change it back until he lets you hoon it.


● The display test is featured on the OBC, which activates all the LCDs and LEDs; a useful feature in finding faulty lights.

● The current speed readout will show your speed in a digital readout on older BMWs. The iDrive in later cars has a hidden navigation menu that can be accessed, and a driver can compare his actual gps-derived vehicle speed with the speedometer. You can check your speedometer's accuracy this way.

● You can check exactly how many liters of fuel are currently in the tank. Useful for when you want to know how many liters of fuel are in your tank.

● The age of the car can be checked in days. One can also check the country of origin for the car as well as the VIN if, for example, it has been scratched off.


● On the iDrive, a driver can reset the service item warnings, instead of having to bring them to a dealer, saving them some money!

● Every OBC/iDrive has a different way to access these functions. You'll have to Google your cars's specific procedure; for example "e36 hidden menu" or "e90 on-board computer secrets". You'll get results like this and this.

Soon enough you'll be on your way to making the most of your BMW's myriad hidden computer features.


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