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      03-30-2016, 01:53 PM   #1
DrPhant0m
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New discussion on coding vs warranty

tl;dr version:
Has anyone here been denied warranty service (or had their warranties voided) because the dealership "found out" that the car had been coded? I was told today that coding will void my warranty, and they'll know immediately when they connect to the car.

Full version:
I just got my car back after having a scheduled maintenance appointment.

I had asked them to update the software to allow for smart closing of my 2014 F34's hatch. (I read elsewhere that this required an iStep update at the dealership) At first, they had no idea what I was talking about. After talking to a Genius, I was told that it was possible via coding, but the dealership couldn't do it. In fact, he said "none of the 360+ dealerships will do it."

I told him that I was familiar with coding, and how some people had succeeded in doing it, and he promptly told me that it would void my warranty. I inquired further, and he said "any coding, even having your mirrors fold in when you lock it... will void your warranty" and he said that they will know automatically when they connect to the car and it phones home to Germany.

How does everyone here feel about that? I've heard in other threads that it most certainly will NOT void your warranty... but I have to go with what the dealership says, however inaccurate and unfair it may be. For obvious reasons.

Now... this conversation happened after I got my car back from the dealership, and no one mentioned anything about my warranty being voided. PS... My mirrors fold in when I lock the car (hold my finger on the door handle)... the car starts up in ECO mode... and it does a few other fun things as well.
Was he blowing smoke in my face?

Further... I asked him if I can program a new key (which was sent from a dealership and has been cut and pre-coded for my car) in my driveway, and he said no, I had to take it to the dealership. The key I've been using every day for the last 5 months was programmed in my driveway.

Has anyone here been confronted about coding after a trip to the dealer? Did they "know???" More importantly... did they CARE enough to void your warranty?

Thanks for reading.
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      03-30-2016, 05:52 PM   #2
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I would really be interested in reading any reply on this. My car is just 1 year old, I did some coding as well, and it would be interested to know if all ECU's must be reset to factory before bringing it to servicing.
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      03-30-2016, 06:20 PM   #3
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Technically tampering with your cars ECU or what have you does void warranty but your SA must be a dick if he would deny you service because your mirrors fold when you lock your car.
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      03-31-2016, 08:54 AM   #4
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Did you have any bolt on mods installed when you took it in?
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      03-31-2016, 11:26 AM   #5
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BMW service departments have neither the time nor the inclination to review your car's configuration files. Just don't bring the issue up with your service department...or you may get a generic..."Oh, no, never do that!" response.

Also, do not code unless you very carfully (pun intended) study the proper procedures...hit the wrong button in E-sys and you can cause big trouble.

You are not altering the car's ECU module software and FDL Coding can not break or “brick” your BMW or its modules. It is perfectly safe. You are not flashing new software to your car, you are only modifying configuration files which tell the car's software what features are enabled or disabled. Given that the car already has the particular function capability (e.g., folding mirrors, numerous blink signals, etc.) all you are doing is telling the software to turn a feature on or off or alter its timing or frequency.

Now, if you programme the module software...that is more risky. Oops, I bricked my ECU and now have to reprogramme the software... This can still be done, but you will be a bit more concerned...

Finally...don't code parameters outside of their valid ranges. For example, what might happen if you coded a seat heating temperature to an unsafe level and your seat caught on fire? Now, your warranty will not cover that problem!

Last edited by Beowulf65; 03-31-2016 at 12:03 PM.
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      03-31-2016, 02:39 PM   #6
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I'm of the opinion that using factory-available options inside the software should not void the warranty. However, it's unfortunately up to the dealership to deny warranty claims. So, in the future, I'm going to try to flash my car back to stock before they get their hands on it. I seem to have gotten away with it this time - there was no mention of it, written or verbal, and my car came back with the codings still intact.

Is there a good write-up on loading in all the factory settings offline, and then just connecting and flashing in one batch? I've only flashed once and I used a cheap netbook that I don't have with me, so I'm rusty on it.

lesnica
I guess they were bordering on being dicks, then. At least threatening dickish behavior.

MunchTIME
No bolt-ons. My first foray into e-sys was light stuff like mirror folding, start in ECO mode, ///M logo on the Nav, and remove disclaimers.

When I got the car back from the service station, all of these coding mods were still on... so they either didn't notice or they didn't care. They certainly didn't code it back to stock.

Beowulf65
I agree with you. Programming the "trip reset interval" to 1 hour instead of 4 (the next thing I want to do) should not prevent me from getting warrantied work done on the transmission if it would fail. However, the dealership holds all the cards on the warranty. That's what I'm worried about, and I was wondering if anyone has primary experience of a warranty being revoked over coding (to any degree).

We all know how retail establishments can screw over the customer if they want to. Most of the time, the customer can huff and puff and threaten to give bad feedback... but then they can't do anything without a significant expenditure of time and research (and legal fees).

I'm not interested in "pushing the limits" on anything... though warmer seat heat is pretty enticing for the cold PA mornings. I'm more focused on convenience mods (smart close of my F34 hatch, or the trip reset interval I mentioned earlier)... and the occasional "dazzle/gingerbread" stuff like changing the "active sound" profile to an M3 so that it sounds like 8cyl inside the car rather than 6. If anything I want to do would turn out to require a really invasive mod... I probably won't do it. Not because I think I'll botch it, but because I wouldn't justify the risk.

My worry is that the dealership would come up with some kind of nonsense like "well, you coded F080 into your chassis code to change the active sound profile, and so your car thought it had a different performance profile and that's why your engine fell out" (ridiculous, I know)

Last edited by DrPhant0m; 03-31-2016 at 03:00 PM.
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      03-31-2016, 10:48 PM   #7
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I have yet to come across anyone who has had warranty claims denied on the basis of coding. Perhaps I'll post a poll and see if anyone comes forward.

It is easy to return your car to factory VO coding. If you have only FDL coded some changes into a few modules, simply VO code those modules and that will return the car to its original settings. Or, simply load your saved ".ncd" files and FDL code any modules with altered settings using the original saved configuration files.

Any denial of a warranty claim would have to demonstrate that the coding was responsible for the failure. Nevertheless, if you have a potential warranty issue, you can consider returning your car to its original VO state. Many have had a software update done and had to redo the coding...I have yet to hear of anyone being informed by the service department that the car had been coded. They simply apply the update...I doubt anyone would waste time comparing FDLs.

Attached is a copy of all the changes I have made on my 2016 435xi GC.
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File Type: pdf BMW 2016 435xi Gran Coupé Coding List.pdf (41.3 KB, 44 views)

Last edited by Beowulf65; 04-01-2016 at 08:30 AM.
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      04-02-2016, 12:36 PM   #8
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I've coded hundreds of cars and not a single one has had a warranty issue.

The car doesn't "phone home" as soon as its plugged in and say: "this car is coded void warranty now pls".
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      04-02-2016, 05:23 PM   #9
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I've been dudded by the title of this post!

This is not a new discussion at all, it's the same as the numerous other posts on exactly the same topic.
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      04-02-2016, 05:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HFW003 View Post
I've been dudded by the title of this post!

This is not a new discussion at all, it's the same as the numerous other posts on exactly the same topic.
Words can be quicksand man!
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      04-03-2016, 05:00 AM   #11
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Have had my car serviced 3 times now by the dealer and not one word about the coding.
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      04-03-2016, 10:14 AM   #12
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You have to consider that all that's being done with FDL coding is turning on/off features that are already in the various ECU modules. It's not like creating completely new and different ones or tampering with the DME settings. Why would it void a warranty if you turn on the door-handle LEDs while backing up or unlocking the doors when you shut the engine off? There's just no logical justification for voiding a warranty based on something already present in the vehicle.
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      04-03-2016, 06:09 PM   #13
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Genius vs. mechanic's take on it

So, I'm a BMW Genius, and at training, or any other part of the dealership, nothing is said about coding. The generic is to say that it will void your warranty (to keep people from messing around). Some mechanics know about it, but they are not trained on it. I had a mechanic yell at me once. He thought the car was screwed up (BIG TIME) because I had the chimes and gong set to Rolls Royce sounds. It was so ridiculous. I do coding myself, and you really have to understand what you're doing and how it all works.

Take the sports automatic transmission for instance. The transmissions in all of the 3 Series are identical, unless you have a manual transmission. There is no difference between the regular Steptronic transmission, and the sport automatic transmission. Besides the design of the shifter, and added paddles.

On the 328d, the sports automatic transmission was generally only offered as an option with the sport line or the M sport, and is standard on the sport wagon. I have the sedan, in the luxury line which was the only line that did not offer the sports automatic transmission. I have since coded the sports automatic transmission to my car, it is a world of difference.

Afterwhile, I had noticed almost like a missing feeling with the transmission at times. So, I decided to take it in for service. They hooked it up, and told me that the car was throwing out errors, yelled at me up-and-down for the certain things that were going on, and said that it could void the warranty and told me to revert it back. I called absolute bullshit on this, because the transmissions are identical between the sports automatic and the standard Steptronic. Which means it should make no difference whatsoever with what they said the problem is coming from, which was "transfer case". The other error that the car was throwing, was that there were no paddle shifters installed, and that's really just cosmetic, which really shouldn't make any sort of difference.

Back to the basic of this thread, Coding should not void your warranty. All you're doing is turning on options that are already available in the car computer itself. You're not making any physical changes to the car that would even promote voiding warranty.

That is my take on it.
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      04-04-2016, 09:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithf32 View Post
I've coded hundreds of cars and not a single one has had a warranty issue.

The car doesn't "phone home" as soon as its plugged in and say: "this car is coded void warranty now pls".

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmcdonald86 View Post
So, I'm a BMW Genius, and at training, or any other part of the dealership, nothing is said about coding. The generic is to say that it will void your warranty (to keep people from messing around).

Back to the basic of this thread, Coding should not void your warranty. All you're doing is turning on options that are already available in the car computer itself. You're not making any physical changes to the car that would even promote voiding warranty.

That is my take on it.
This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you.

So, the car doesn't "phone home to Germany" like I was told? (I thought this was ridiculous)

And, since I have been told directly "Coding will void your warranty" do I have a recourse in citing anything specific to the contrary? Like I've said before... it's the dealership's discretion. Technically, they can deny me service for any reason whether it's fair or not... and it's my burden to prove them otherwise to get service. (When I worked at BestBuy, I saw sales managers do some pretty immoral things with customers, so I've seen it happen) If that would happen, am I better off un-coding the car, and taking it to another dealership?

Thanks again for the input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HFW003 View Post
I've been dudded by the title of this post!

This is not a new discussion at all, it's the same as the numerous other posts on exactly the same topic.
This IS a new discussion... the same way you might say you've got a "new car" or "new girlfriend" when you're fully aware they've both been around the block plenty of times.

It is nice to keep the discussion fresh, since policies and experiences change all the time.... but with that said, I'll do this for you:

Thank you all for the input!

Last edited by DrPhant0m; 04-15-2016 at 10:04 PM.
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