BMW Remote Start Not Working: Quick Troubleshooting Guide

Understanding the Issue

When your BMW remote start is not functioning properly, it can be quite frustrating. There could be various reasons behind the issue. In this section, we’ll discuss potential causes and ways to address them.

One possible reason for your remote start to stop working is that the batteries in your remote are dead. Your remote may have an LED light that illuminates when you push a button. If this LED does not light up or appears dim, you may just need to replace the batteries in your remote.

To activate remote start, you can lock your BMW three times with your display or vehicle key or use the My BMW App. If you’re having trouble activating the remote start feature, check the setup and operation to ensure it’s done correctly.

Another potential issue is the vehicle being out of range to receive the remote start command. To get a clearer understanding, refer to your vehicle manual to check the range limitations and ensure you’re within an acceptable distance.

Sometimes, temporary reasons like poor signal reception or software glitches could also cause the remote start to stop working. In such cases, it’s recommended to try locking and unlocking your vehicle remotely or restarting the My BMW App before attempting to use the remote start feature again.

By understanding these potential issues with your BMW remote start, you can address the problem confidently and accurately. Remember, when in doubt, consult your BMW dealer or customer support for assistance.

Possible Causes

Software Updates and Resets

One reason your BMW remote start may not be working could be due to a recent software update or iDrive settings reset. If this is the case, make sure to check the option ‘allow engine to start’ in your iDrive system. This might resolve the issue and allow the remote start to function properly again.

Battery and Electrical Issues

Another possible cause for your BMW remote start not working could be battery and electrical issues. If your remote has an LED that illuminates when you push a button and it fails to light or is dim, you may need to replace the batteries in your remote. Furthermore, ensure that your car’s battery is charged and the internal wiring and electronics are functioning correctly. A weak or dead battery could prevent the ignition from engaging, disabling the remote start feature.

Engine and Transmission Problems

Lastly, problems with the engine and transmission may also result in your BMW remote start not working. If there is an issue with your car’s engine or the transmission, it may not be safe to start the car remotely. Issues like low oil pressure, the check engine light being on, or malfunctions in the transmission can prevent the vehicle from being started remotely. Before attempting to start your BMW remotely, make sure that there are no engine or transmission-related issues that could be causing the remote start feature to malfunction.

Overall, when dealing with a BMW remote start not working, it’s essential to address any software updates and resets, battery and electrical issues, or engine and transmission problems that may be causing the issue. By following these suggestions, you should be able to determine the cause of your remote start problems and take the necessary steps to resolve them.

BMW Models and Remote Start Feature

Example: BMW X3

The BMW X3, particularly in the F15 generation, offers the Remote Start feature as an option for added convenience and comfort. This system allows you to start your engine from a distance using the My BMW App or the key fob. With this feature, you can precondition the interior of your BMW X3 to a comfortable temperature before you even enter the vehicle. Just be aware that the Remote Start feature on the BMW X3 may not work if certain preconditions are not met, such as the parking brake not being engaged or the engine ‘allow to start’ option being unchecked in the iDrive system after a software update source.

Example: BMW Series 4

When it comes to the BMW 4 Series, specifically the G22 generation, the Remote Start feature is also available as an optional feature. Similar to the BMW X3, you can start the engine of your BMW 4 Series from a distance using the My BMW App or the key fob source. This allows you to precondition the interior temperature, ensuring a comfortable environment for your ride. To activate this feature, you can lock your BMW three times with the display or vehicle key or use the app. However, keep in mind that the Remote Start feature may not work if preconditions such as the parking brake being engaged or the engine ‘allow to start’ option being enabled are not met source.

The Remote Start feature is also available across other BMW models, such as the G20 BMW 3 Series, G30 BMW 5 Series, G32 BMW 6 Series, and G11 BMW 7 Series. Remember, though, that the availability and functionality of this feature may depend on factors like the specific model, the year of production, and the optional packages installed in your BMW. Always refer to your owner’s manual or consult your local BMW dealership for the most accurate information on using the Remote Start feature for your specific vehicle.

Operating Your BMW Remote Start

When facing issues with your BMW remote engine start, it’s essential to understand how to operate it correctly. In this section, we will discuss the steps you should take to ensure you’re utilizing the remote engine start feature successfully.

Before using the remote start, verify that your BMW is equipped with an OEM BMW remote engine start function. This feature is available in selected BMW models, and you can check your vehicle’s specifications to confirm its availability.

To start your BMW remotely, use your key fob or the My BMW App. In case of the key fob, follow these steps:

  1. Stand near your BMW, visibly seeing its logo.
  2. Press the BMW logo button on your key fob.
  3. Press the ignition start button three times in quick succession (usually within five seconds).

Your BMW engine should now start if there are no issues. If the engine does not start, try the following:

  • Ensure your key fob has a charged battery.
  • Verify the iDrive settings on your BMW, and ensure the “Allow Engine to Start” option is enabled. This option may require configuration after major software updates, which can disable the remote start feature.
  • Check for any issues or error messages displayed on the iDrive system, such as a low fuel level or an open door, which might prevent the remote start from functioning.

Another alternative to operate your BMW remote engine start is by using the My BMW App:

  1. Open the app on your smartphone.
  2. Select your vehicle and connect to it.
  3. Navigate to the “Remote Services” section.
  4. Tap “Start Engine.”

By following these guidelines, you should be able to use your BMW remote engine start effectively. If the issue persists, it may be necessary to consult with a BMW service center or technician for further troubleshooting, as they can determine if any hardware or software issues need to be addressed.

BMW Comfort Access and Remote Features

BMW Comfort Access is a system that allows you to unlock and start your vehicle without physically using your key. This convenient feature provides keyless entry, making it easier for you to access your vehicle. With the BMW Digital Key, you can even use your smartphone or smartwatch to enable these features.

The BMW Connected App, also known as My BMW App, takes this convenience one step further. Not only does it allow you to remotely lock and unlock your vehicle, but it also enables you to start your vehicle using the Remote Engine Start feature.

The Remote Engine Start function offers more than just convenience. For example, you can pre-set your climate control settings so that the vehicle reaches your desired temperature before you enter. This is especially helpful during extreme weather conditions.

However, sometimes the Comfort Access or Remote Engine Start may not function as expected. There could be several reasons, such as a damaged door handle that contains the sensor for keyless entry or a low battery in the vehicle.

To troubleshoot, first check for any visible damage to the door handles or wiring. If you don’t find any physical damages, the issue might be related to low battery, low outside temperature, or technical restrictions. You might need to complete several drives before the features start working again. If none of these solutions work, consult your local BMW dealer for further assistance.

Remember to always keep your BMW Digital Key and smartphone up-to-date and charged to ensure smooth functioning of your Comfort Access and Remote Engine Start features. By following these tips, you can enjoy the convenience and peace of mind offered by these innovative BMW technologies.

Dealing with a Dead Key Fob

When you encounter a dead key fob for your BMW, don’t worry, as there are steps you can follow to start your vehicle even with a non-functioning fob. Firstly, locate the small release button or lever on the back or side of the key fob to extract the emergency key blade1. Gently press the button or move the lever, and the emergency key should slide out from the fob.

With the emergency key in hand, locate the keyhole in your door handle. Insert the key blade to pop up the covering panel. After the panel has been popped up, you will now see a hidden lock cylinder2. Insert the emergency key into the lock cylinder and unlock the door manually.

Now that you have access to the vehicle, more steps need to be followed to start the engine. Inside the vehicle, there’s a spot where you can insert the dead key fob1. This is commonly located next to the steering column or within the center console. Place the key fob with the BMW logo facing upward in this designated slot, ensuring proper contact between the fob and the vehicle.

Once the key fob is in place, press the brake pedal (for automatic transmission) or clutch pedal (for manual transmission) and press the start/stop button on your vehicle to start the engine1. This process allows the vehicle to recognize the dead key fob and start the car without the need for a functioning unlock button on the fob.

Keep in mind that while this method allows you to start your BMW with a dead key fob, it is important to address the issue by replacing the key fob battery or having the key fob examined and repaired if necessary. This ensures that you can continue to use your key fob’s remote start and locking features without experiencing any inconvenience in the future.

Contacting Your Dealership or Mechanic

When facing issues with your BMW’s remote start not working, it is essential to contact your dealership or mechanic for assistance. They are equipped with the knowledge and expertise needed to diagnose and fix any problems that may arise with BMW’s ConnectedDrive feature or the remote start system in your vehicle.

Before setting up an appointment with your dealership or mechanic, be sure to gather relevant information about your vehicle, such as the make, model, and year. Additionally, try to provide a detailed description of the issue you are experiencing. This will help your dealership or mechanic identify potential causes of the problem and recommend the appropriate courses of action.

If you suspect that the issue may be related to the ConnectedDrive system, consider checking online for updates or troubleshooting steps. However, if you are still unable to resolve the issue on your own, do not hesitate to reach out to your dealership for assistance. They may need to update your BMW’s software or reconfigure its settings to restore the remote start functionality.

It is important to address remote start issues promptly, as this feature contributes to your vehicle’s overall convenience and comfort. Timely maintenance and communication with your dealership or mechanic will help ensure your BMW remains in optimal condition, allowing you to continue enjoying its advanced features and capabilities.

Troubleshooting and Solution

If your BMW remote start is not working, there could be several reasons behind it. Let’s go through some common issues and their solutions to help you resolve the problem.

Low Fuel Level: To start your car remotely, you need to have a certain fuel level in your car’s fuel tank. If the fuel level is too low, you won’t be able to start your car remotely. Make sure to check your fuel level before trying to remotely start your car.

Damaged Door Handle: The door handle sensors can sometimes cause issues with BMW remote start system. With time, wiring in the door handle can get damaged due to movement, causing various electrical problems. In most cases, the damaged wiring can be easily repaired.

Remote Engine Start Activation: Ensure that your “Remote Engine Start” function is activated. You can do this by locking your BMW three times with your display or vehicle key. Alternatively, you can use the My BMW App to activate the function.

Reset Your Remote Starter: If your BMW remote start is still not working, try resetting the remote starter. Look for your car’s specific procedure in the owner’s manual or online. Resetting the remote starter might resolve any issues you might be facing.

Headlights Not Turning On: Sometimes, when the remote start is not working, you might notice that the headlights won’t turn on. This could be due to an electrical issue or a burnt-out fuse. Check your car’s fuse box and replace any damaged fuses.

iPhone Connectivity: If you’re using the My BMW App on your iPhone to start your car remotely, make sure that your phone is running the latest version of the app and ensure that Bluetooth is enabled. Also, check the compatibility of your iPhone with the My BMW App.

By trying out these troubleshooting steps and solutions, you should be able to get your BMW remote start working again. Remember to consult your owner’s manual or contact an authorized BMW dealership for further assistance if needed.


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Georg Meier

BMW technician since 1996. I began my automotive journey in 1993 as an apprentice mechanic at Automag, the world's oldest BMW dealership in Munich. With years of experience and dedication, I garnered a wealth of knowledge about the intricacies of BMW and MINI vehicles. The love/hate relationship with the brand led me to found BIMMERIST where I share expertise and insights with fellow enthusiasts.

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