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BMW E46 tips and tricks to hidden functions

Submitted by trochevs on Sat, 2008-03-15 20:25.

1. When the temperature drops below 37 F degrees, the car beeps to let you know to watch
out for icy roads. Also, the rear defroster comes on.
2. You can read the odometer with the car off; all you have to do is press the needle on the
3. When car is off, hit the volume knob on the radio the radio turns on (it only works with 02
4. There is a "secret" compartment underneath my car's armrest and a Coin box in center
5. There is a trunk release right above the hood release (not on all cars)
6. There is an exterior trunk release above the license plate and under the ledge.
7. There is flashlight in the glove box.
8. There are amber lights that shine on the center console.
9. You can change radio station on the steering wheel by holding up/down button longer to
scan to next station rather than preset ones.
10. Interior lights can be turn off when you open/close door or shut the engine down.
11. The two knobs on the center control panel are to reset the short trip mileage and the other
one is for changing the time on the clock and changing the time from army time (24 hour
time) to normal time. And you could also switch the temperature display both on the dash
and on the climate control between Fahrenheit and Celsius.
12. You may be able to auto-roll down of windows from the remote control. Another way is to
put the key in the door handle and turn to the unlock position and hold it there. This will
also open and close the moon roof or put a convertible top down.
13. If you push the unlock button on the remote once it will unlock the driver door, for ‘02s if
you push the unlock button on the remote twice it will unlock all the doors…then once all
that is done.... push and hold the unlock button on the remote the windows will start to
roll down... then the sunroof will open too.
14. If you hit the 'counter reset button' with the ignition in position 2 (or very quickly when
you start your car), then it will show you when you are due to change your brake fluid!
15. There is also a first aid kit under the passengers seat.
16. There is a compartment by your leg when you are in the drivers seat. The compartment is
on your left if in a LHD, and on your right if in RHD (located next to your knee).
17. The safety strip along each window and sunroof that detects obstructions and retracts
them. (Along with a timer that prevents the motors from burning out if in use too long).
18. The OEM side mirrors are designed with slats and ridges to reduce wind noise.
19. The airbag system is 2 stage deployable depending on if the seat belts are latched. If there
is no passenger, that front airbag wont even go off to save repair costs. (Along with the
explosive seatbelt tensioners).
20. The radio, sunroof, and other "ignition" triggered accessories are available for a period of
time after the car is turned off until a door is opened.
21. The fact that the car goes into "sleep" mode after 16 minutes of inactivity to reduce
battery drain and eliminate dead batteries from "left on" accessories (lights, etc).
22. The suspension is designed to limit body dive under hard braking, instead the entire
chassis dives evenly for stability.
23. The A/C compressor has a variable displacement thrust plate to eliminate the shock load of
compressor cycling and use varies depending on need and load.
24. Flashing the high beams after ignition is turned off will leave the headlamps on for a preset
amount of time for security while parking the vehicle.
25. The Keyless Entry system utilizes antennae in the rear window, change key codes every
time, will deactivate keys if a key is pressed too many times without response from the
car, the key recharges while in the ignition switch, and they store all sorts of presets, from
seat positions to IHKA control settings.
26. The radio remembers the settings separate for each input. (E.g., CD input can have the
bass/treble/balance/fade settings different from the F.M. radio)
27. Left Side Mirror will tilt in reverse (check to make sure your mirror selection switch is in
center or left position to use this feature)
28. Door locks that engage when you go 8 Miles per hour (Dealer need to turn this feature
29. As some of you may know, the BMW On-Board Computer (OBC) holds more functions than
is documented, including a very nice instrument panel test. I managed to get a lot of this
information from the web, but it was far from complete. Subsequently I asked my dealer
for the missing info, but they could not provide the complete list either. Following is a list
for the items I could find, they work in my car (E46 323i). I gather most of them also work
in the E36 models. Who can tell what the missing entries represent (especially functions
9.1, 9.2 and 9.3 which are very mysterious)?

Instructions to access the hidden OBC functions:

1. Hold Trip Reset while turning ignition key to on position

2. OBC should show "Test"
3. Use Trip Reset to select function 19.0 that unlocks all the features
4. Wait for display to show "Off"
5. Depress Trip Reset for 1/4 second and release it
6. With no delay press Trip Reset several times to select one of the
following function s

BMW E46 On-Board Computer (OBC) Hidden Codes

nr example description
1 Car Engine and cluster data
1.0 46nnn Chassis nr/VIN serial number (last 5 digits)
1.1 4nnn K-number
1.2 690236 Cluster Part #
1.3 045210 Coding (04)/diagnosis (52)/bus index (10)
1.4 1200 Week (12)/year of manufacture (2000)
1.5 09_160 Hardware (09) and software # (16.0) of cluster
1.6 Not used
1.7 04__44 CAN-version (04) KI-revision index (44)
2 (test) Cluster System Test - Activates the gauge drivers,
indicators and LEDs to confirm function
3 SI Data
3.0 1098 Used fuel in liters since last SI (Service Inspection)
3.1 0231 Periodic inspection days; elapsed days (since last SI)
4 Momentary Consumption
4.0 0145+ Instant fuel consumption - 0145=14.5 liters/100km
4.1 0018 Instant fuel consumption - 0018=1.8 l/Hour
5 Distance Gone Consumption
5.0 082 Average mileage; 082=8.2 liters/100km
5.1 0536 Calc. km to refuel (momentary distance to go)
6 Fuel Level sensor inputs in liters
6.0 109330+ Fuel level averaged; Left half sensor input=10.9 liters; Right sensor
input=33.0 liters
6.1 0439+ Total tank level averaged; vlgs 6.0: 10.9+33.0=43.9 liters
6.2 0442+ Indicated value (44.2) and tank phase
7 Temperature and Speed
7.0 021+ Coolant/Engine temperature (2.1C)
7.1 130 Ambient/Outside temperature - chg met 5 pts. 125/130/135
7.2 + Engine speed / Current RPMs 1/min
7.3 + Vehicle speed / Current Speed in km/hour
8 Input value in HEX form
8.0 1d0+ System voltage ADC-Value Hex code
8.1 26C33C+ ADC Values HG left/HG right
8.2 0000 ADC Value brake degradation sensor (000=o.k.)
8.3 18C ADC Value outside temperature
9 Battery
9.0 140 Battery Voltage - 140 = UB 14.0v
9.1 242013+?
9.2 074_78+?
9.3 0011+?
10 Not used
11 Not used
12 Not used
13 GonG Gong Test
14 Not used
15 Status cluster I/O-ports (bit codes) 0=low; 1=high
1st-belt contact, seat belt fastened=0; 2) ignition lock contact, key inserted=0; 3)
door contact, door open=0; 4) clock button pressed=0; 5) SI reset=0, for
reset=0; 6) EGS transmission failure=0
Status Digital Outputs (bits) 0=inactive, 1=active
1) Gong output; 2) Brake warning lamp; 3) Low fuel warning lamp; 4) EGA lamp;
5) seat belt lamp; 6) manipulation dot
16 Not used
17 Not used
18 Not used
19 Lock Status; unlocks functions in range 3-18
19.0 L-On/L-Off Unlock: press button when "L-Off"
20 Not used
21 Software Reset; reset OBC settings
00 End of test

30. Put your turn signal either on the left or right position, with no key in the ignition, close
the door and walk away. What you will see is the front blinker, and rear turn signal stay lit.
From what I read, it's supposed to be a feature to for people to see your car when it's
parked at night in those really tight streets in Europe. This way no one accidentally drives
into your car.
31. If you look on your roof, there will be two flaps on each side that are plastic and body
colors. You can remove them and there is a little hole in each one that accepts the BMW
Roof Rack.
32. Hold down the PTY button (this works, to my knowledge, on cars w/nav) and you will turn
on AUTOPTY--it'll display the type of music station if the data is present. I think this works
for RDS too.... that way, you don't have to keep pressing it when you switch to radio or
change stations etc.
33. Change the Speed Sensitive Volume Ratio - E46 Business CD Head Unit:
34. Turn the radio off then on again. Don’t touch any button except the 'm' button - the button
you use to tune the radio frequency manually. Press and hold the 'm' button for TEN
seconds or until the display changes. It will then show the serial number of the unit.
Normally when you press 'm', the display will reflect that by replacing 'ST' (stereo tuning)
with 'm'. When holding the 'm' button for this procedure, the display should not do this -
you will continue to see 'ST' for the ten seconds. Now if the display has changed, you are
in a configure mode on the radio. If you press the '>' or '<' button you change modes. The
mode you want will display as "GAL (1-6)". This mode allows you to adjust the speed-
sensitive volume control. Use the radio preset buttons 1-6 to set the amount of volume
change you want at speed. Setting 1 is the smallest change, 6 is the highest. I use 1 with
the windows closed, and 5 when it's a nice enough day to drive with the windows open,
which makes for a lot of ambient noise at speed. The car is so quiet with the windows
closed that setting 1 is fine. Then turn the radio OFF to save the settings. Turn it back on;
go for a drive to test it. The other semi-useful test mode will tell you the signal strength of
any given station from 0 to 15 (highest). Use the preset buttons to change stations in the
mode. This capability is probably used in the automatic tuning function in the radio.
35. The multiple 'auto heater/AC combinations at start-up' memory options are nifty.
36. If you want to leave your windows down but have the alarm set, but not have to worry
about the motion detector go off, you can arm you alarm by hitting the lock button, and
then wait a second and hit the button again. You'll see the clown nose light up for a
second, which means the motion detector is deactivated
37. If you flicker your high beams when the car is off, your xenons go on for 30 seconds to
give u a lighted path to walk
38. If you have auto wipers, the headlights go on when the wipers activate, if on auto.
39. Where the spare tire is, next to the portable jack there is a wheel chock!!
40. In Euro delivery cars, there is a warning triangle in a blue plastic case that bolts to the left
rear of the trunk and a first aid kit under the passenger seat.
41. Apparently "there's a cheat code in the software running the BMW M3's sequential manual
gearbox (SMG). Press the right buttons in the right order and the car will launch you from
a stop after revving the engine to 5,000 rpm". "But there is a catch. In Europe, where the
feature isn't so hush-hush, doing more than 15 launches voids the car's warranty. Federal
laws prohibit such stipulations here, so BMW has turned down the which. US-spec cars are
programmed to wind to only 2,500 rpm. That's why you have to ask your dealer to install
the European software. Most will happily oblige"
"For lucky drivers of this hot car, here's how: Switch of the stability system and select shift
program six. Switch the engine to sport mode. With the hand shifter in drive, hold it in the
downshift position and press the has pedal. The engine will rev to the preprogrammed rpm
and hold. Now release the shifter. The car will launch forward violently and the engine's
revs will climb quickly, so be prepared to up shift"
42. When you have your wipers on fast and medium (don’t know what you call it) Anyways if
you come to a stop it'll go to intermittent
43. Want to know your odometer reading but no key... no problem. Just press the computer
toggle button at the end of the turn signal lever. The computer read-out lights up with the
odometer reading.
44. Everyone knows that the screwdriver in the tool kit is reversible.
45. When windshield wipers are going, and the A/C is on, regardless of the temp, warm air is
coming out of the windshield defrost vent.
46. Holding down the DSC button to completely turn it off.

ALL TIPS courtesy of and E46fanatics