NOTE: SFBMWcoding is in no way or form affiliated with BMW AG economically or legally, and the views expressed implicitly, or explicitly within this website are not representative of the views held by BMW AG, BMW Group, or its partners. Please read the full Legal Disclaimer.

Upon arriving to their appointment, many customers ask us if coding their BMW 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, X, or BMW Mini is safe. Many are afraid of changing anything on their cars for fear of dealerships revoking warranties or computer configuration glitches. To this we reply, coding is safer than changing spark plugs, or replacing brake pads on your vehicle. Here’s why:

Coding your BMW is completely reversible:

Coding is done using BMW factory software and a laptop which connects to your cars OBD2 service port. Your cars configuration files for the specific module to code are downloaded to the laptop and a backup is made. After storing a backup of your cars configuration files, we alter the configuration file to enable or disable youre desired feature. We then upload the modified configuration file back to the car and the coding is complete after testing for functionality. Because a backup is made for your specific car, if at any point the customer decides to revert back to the stock configuration, all it takes is a simple re-upload and the change is reverted.


Coding your BMW does not alter the software of the Vehicle:

Its important to note that coding your vehicle does not make any alterations to the modules software. We like to use the analogy of a light switch explaining coding to the customer. By changing the settings in the BMW modules configuration file to either aktiv or nicht-aktiv, we essentially flip a switch to either turn the feature on or off. Nothing but the “switch” is modified.

Most fear from coding comes from the belief that we are uploading new software to the modules, and if a glitch happens during that firmware upload, the module would then corrupt and be rendered defective. This would definitely be true if we were uploading or upgrading software, however, because we are only changing the configuration file which the software reads and uses to control itself, there is no danger. This is still true even if the vehicles battery dies, the laptop crashes, or the cable has a connection error. In the event any of those things occur, one just needs to write a blank file back to the module and reset it back to defaults!

Safe and easy.


Coding your BMW does not alter any any hardware physically.

Once again using the analogy of a light switch, coding features on your BMW is like flipping a light switch in your home. All we do is change the switch to either aktiv or nicht-aktiv in the modules configuration files. We do not alter the cars electrical circuits, software, or operating environment. All we do is say whether or not things are enabled or disabled. We do not re-wire, hack, or change anything on your car physically, everything is reversible.


Will coding features on my car void my cars warranty?

Because of the nature of coding mentioned above, coding will not void your cars warranty if under CPO or factory warranty. This is because we do not alter the vehicle to do something it was not originally designed to do. All features enabled/disabled during the coding process are technically already present on your vehicle, coding just flips the switch to enable or disable it. Rest assured, a simple coding would be all it takes to revert the changes back to stock.


What does a typical coding session look like?

Coding your BMW begins with requesting a quote for your specifc vehicle and feature request. This does two things; it gives you a firm price for the features you want, and allows us to verify your vehicles ability to receive the desired coding. If we find the feature request is incompatible with your vehicles year and model, we’ll let you know, saving you time and money. After receiving your quote, a time, date, and location to meet is scheduled whereupon coding services are rendered.

Upon arrival you will be asked to verify which features are desired. The coder will then connect the coding laptop and OBD2 interface cable to the cars service port located in the driver side footwell. It will typically take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to do a code of about 3-5 features on a car. The whole time the coding tech is working, the customer is welcome to ask questions and observe the entire process. After all features have been coded and verified functional, payment in cash is made to the technician.


How long will it take to code my BMW?

A typical 4-5 feature coding takes about 30-40 minutes, and a simple one module code with two features takes about 5 minutes. After the coding process, we verify if the changes were accepted and the requested feature functionality is present.


What happens if I take my car to the dealership for service and they update my BMW software?

If you take your car to the dealership or independent mechanic and for whatever reason they update any module’s software to a newer version, you will lose all your customized codes and will need to code your vehicle again.


What if SFBMWcoding breaks my car?

As outlined above, coding will not and can not break or “brick” your BMW or its modules. It is perfectly safe. We are not flashing new software to your car, only modifying configuration files which tells the cars functional software what is enabled or disabled.


What if I want to undo any coded option?

If for whatever reason you choose to have any changes we code to your car reversed, there will be a re-code fee of $15 per feature.


What if a coded feature I had done does not function?

We make every effort to verify functionality of each feature we code with the customer before the session is complete. Yet there are certain circumstances which make verification difficult such as testing AE as DRL after the sun has set, or coding the SAT function before the satellite radio hardware module has been installed. If for whatever reason the code is not functional, we will re-code the non-verified feature at no cost – provided the issue was faulty coding. If however coding was not the issue, the customer will be charged a fee of $30.


Will you flash the Alpina B3, SMG, DME to Euro, or update x module’s software?

Most likely yes. We will update any vehicle module software except the iDrive module (updating it can require 4+ hours). We currently offer the E46 M3 CSL DME engine + E46 M3 CSL transmission flash for the E46 M3 with SMG II, N54 PPK, and N55 PPK, and Alpina B3 transmission flash, among others.


Do you install AUX cables, retrofit CIC units, or do any other hardware installations?

Unfortunately, due to the time requirements and liability of these procedures, we do not do hardware modifications or installations.


Can you help me diagnose an error code on my BMW?

Yes, we have a flat $30 fee (E-series) for reading and clearing your BMW error/fault codes and can help point you in the right direction as to what to look into before opting to take your car to the dealership for expensive diagnostic and labor charges. However, we are not a mechanics shop with 100+ years of experience working on the mechanical aspect of your BMW, so consider our initial diagnosis the first step in determining what steps need to be taken in fixing your vehicle.


What is the difference between coding my E series BMW’s and the new F series BMW’s?

BMW’s new F series models use a new type of connection and software to code the vehicle. Instead of a typical K-line, or D-Can OBD2 Cable interface, the BMW F-series models use a TCP/IP network based OBD2 interface, called an E-SYS cable. These two cables and associated software applications are not interchangeable between the BMW E and F series.