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Help with dealer's claim about reprogramming breaking iPad interface

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Electronics' started by akiinoue, Jul 19, 2013.

    • Member

    akiinoue

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    Hello,

    This is the first time posting here.

    I'd like to have help in deciding if a dealer's claim is legitimate.

    I have a 2006 330i (E90) with professional audio unit, For the last couple weeks, the car is in the local dealer's service. It started out as the ABS and hood open warning lighting up from time to time. I brought in the car to Stevenscreek BMW in Northern California. They replaced the hood sensor and a part in steering column (they claim the warning lights were caused by them).

    Two weeks later, when I picked up the car, the audio doesn't come up from speakers at all, and BMW assist warning indicator got lit. I brought back the car next day, and they diagnosed the issue as the audio head-unit failure. They charged $900 for the part + labors before BMWCCA discount.

    Today they called me back that they have to replace the iPod interface unit charging $450 for the part.

    They explained that the iPod interface unit was physically broken when they reprogrammed the new head unit. They claim that this happened because my software was too old and updating to the latest software fried the interface unit. They are charging for the part since they think it's not their fault (they are blaming the old software I had).

    Note that I had been bringing my car to the dealer ever since I bought the car their for all scheduled maintenance and they never offered to upgrade the software since I installed the iPad interface 6 years ago.

    As an engineer, their claim of upgrading software can break a circuit board does not make sense, but I'm not a car mechanics.

    I'd like to have opinions if their claim is legitimate and I should pay for the interface unit.

    Thank you.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Have you had your battery replaced and a new one registered by the dealer? E90's aren't what I'm most familiar with, but all kinds of wonky things happen when the recent-era BMW's have power running low, and I don't think it's uncommon for the battery to need replacing at 5-6 yrs. IF the interface is broken, you may have no choice - but, if you have any reason to be skeptical, perhaps seek out a 2nd opinion from another dealer or qualified indy shop.
    • Member

    akiinoue

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    Thanks for your reply, MGarrison.

    I did have the battery replaced a couple years ago (when the car was about 5 years old) at the same dealer. So, probably it's not the battery.

    They did comment that the professional audio unit followed by the interface unit are both broken. I actually went to talk with them face-to-face since posted in this forum.

    They claim it is relatively common to get electrical parts of BMW cars get fried during software update. Also, they said the reason why my interface unit got broken was my software was too old to get updated to the latest one. So, I told them that "the car sounds like too fragile." and they said "yes, BMWs are easy to get troubles from software update, and that's why we don't recommend to do it."

    This is from one of the biggest BMW dealers in the northern California. At this point, I felt I had enough and walked. I've been talking to their sales for an M5 order, but probably I'll go to another dealer.

    My post might be diverging from the tech talk. I'll shut my mouth.

    Thanks.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    All good - maybe Charlson can chime in as to the credibility of the notion that BMW software updates can kill the electronics. For decades, we've heard about folks being told "They all do that!" when some shop or dealer erred. I haven't heard much about this, you'd _think_ BMW would engineer its electronics to be robust enough to tolerate its own procedures and capabilities. A software update causing a physical problem that results in 'fried' circuit boards, modules, or electronics, doesn't sound very plausible on the surface. _Maybe_ such a thing is possible with can-bus technology, but I dunno - kinda skeptical. What sounds more plausible to me is that a software update doesn't work right, and messes up what was already there, or something like that, making something non-functional, because it requires working software that ain't workin' after the attempted update. Data corruption, etc etc - think of the old joke that was going around about how a car would work if it was engineered by Microsoft. If something is physically damaged, there has to be a reason - if it's ham-fisted carelessness on somebody's part and they don't want to accept responsibility, I can see a motive behind you being told some sketchy-sounding story.

    There are aftermarket performance enhancements and updates, but if those are done right and from someplace that knows what they're doing, I'd think they'd address any potential problems from dealer updates of things. Simple mechanical systems are so much easier to deal with... like, a lever and a fulcrum. :)
    charlson89 likes this.
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    Well what I can tell you from my experience with your type of vehicle is yes software can actually cause hardware failure. I don't know why but it seems to only do it in 06 e90 vehicles with the radio failing after the software update. What happens is basically the software is written on to a hardware component like a hard drive and the new software has a different writing process for the new software packages and this kills the hard drive. Does it happen every time you program no but it happens quite often. I have never heard of the software ruining a ipod connection kit. My first check would be did the programming knock the Ipod kit off the VO (vehicle order, basically a written list of options/ features written into the coding of the vehicles electronics.) If so all they would have to do is retrofit this back into the car and it should work. And I'm not sure what version you have for this ipod kit but this should be a hardware device nothing to do with updating software on it. The head unit stores all the function for this device and the ipod kit is hooked into the MOST bus system. But just because I have not seen it doesn't mean it couldn't happen but I would check your VO to make sure the car knows it has it. And the second option is if the software did kill the component they should be able to contact BMW for you and ask for goodwill assistance. Will they cover the whole bill most likely not but they might cover the parts. Just some food for thought sorry about the issues that sucks.
    • Member

    akiinoue

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    Thank you for the inputs. They are really helpful. I'll contact my SA about the VO.
    I was losing confidence on the brand we love with this incident, but knowing that this kind of help is available in this community restored it.

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