If you own a BMW, you may have experienced a BMW emergency call malfunction on your iDrive screen. When there is a communication problem within the eCall system’s components, the computer will trigger an emergency call malfunction on the screen.
The main reason behind this error can be bug issues with the software, a dead battery, or a bad wiring connection. Faulty SOS modules or amplifiers can also trigger the error on the screen. So, this problem can be fixed by replacing the damaged part of the eCall system.
Fortunately, diagnosing and fixing emergency call malfunctions on BMW vehicles is pretty simple. Today, we’ll discuss the possible symptoms, causes, and fixes for emergency call malfunction. So, let’s learn how to do it.
What is a BMW Emergency Call System?
Modern BMW vehicles are equipped with “emergency call” or “intelligent emergency call” accessories. It is an SOS that allows the driver to communicate with the BMW call center when he needs emergency services.
This eCall system features an accident-proof emergency call unit which will activate the system automatically if the airbag is deployed.
As a result, when a serious accident takes place, the eCall system activates and establishes voice communication between the victim and the call center.
It also helps the rescue team to figure out the exact location of the victim very quickly. The driver also can make an emergency call in case of assistance for any kind of casualty. It will just require a simple press of the SOS button.
The location of the SOS button can be different depending on the model of the vehicle. But in most cases, it is placed over the rearview mirror.
To activate it manually, I need to press and hold the button for a while and it will turn red to green when it is activated. After all, this feature is a very significant involvement as it has helped millions of BMW users.
What are the Symptoms of BMW Emergency Call Malfunction?
The most common symptom of BMW emergency call malfunction is an illuminated SOS call malfunction warning light. Some other possible symptoms of this error are listed below:
- Disabled warning chimes
- iDrive system may fail to respond in some model
- “Malfunction or limited functionality. Consult service center” error message appears on the system.
- Bluetooth refuses to pair with the system.
What Causes an Emergency Call Malfunction on BMW?
In most cases, damaged wiring in the telephone box or a dead battery is the leading cause of an emergency call malfunction. But sometimes it also happens because of some other factors such as:
1. Faulty TCU
The telematics control unit or TCU is used to manage the eCall notifications on your BMW. so, if the TCU becomes faulty. It may cause the BMW emergency call malfunction.
In this case, check the TCU unit and replace it if necessary. To do so, it’s better to go to the nearest BMW service center. On average, a faulty TCU replacement on BMW will cost between $755 and $900.
2. Bad Satellite Radio
If the Bluetooth is malfunctioning or there’s some cracking sound coming from the speakers, the satellite radio may be in trouble. So, locate the satellite radio and see if it is functioning properly.
It is usually located at the side or under the floor cover inside the tank. If you find the satellite radio faulty, a quick replacement will fix the problem easily. Sometimes, it also can be repaired if the problem with the radio is not serious at all.
You can also install a universal fiber optic bypass loop as an alternative to satellite radio. It is also cheaper than the new satellite radio. A new satellite radio will cost around $300, while the labor cost will be between $75 and $150.
3. Wrong Amplifier
The amplifier or the Bluetooth module is a part of the fiber optic loop. So, if something goes wrong with the amplifiers, the whole system may shut down.
So, check the amplifiers and fuses and see if they are burnt or damaged. If the amplifiers are damaged, the only solution is to replace them with good ones.
In this case, a professional BMW auto mechanic will help you the best. The cost for installing a new amplifier will be anywhere between $900 and $1300.
4. Damaged iDrive system
When the communication within the iDrive head units has detached for some reason, the BMW emergency call malfunction warning light will come on. The common iDrive issues are either due to a programming glitch or a fault in the control module or a Bluetooth pairing that the system isn’t comfortable with.
The easiest way to fix iDrive system issues is to re-initialize the system. Once it is re-initialized, remove the Bluetooth phone and re-configure it. After that, check the computer screen and see if the error is corrected.
If it is NOT, a simple reboot of the system can help it to be fixed. Once the process is completed, check the iDrive screen to see if the BMW emergency call malfunction is fixed. If the error is still showing on the screen, the problem must be anywhere else than the iDrive.
The cost for repairing the damaged iDrive system starts from $1500 and can raise up to $2200. Labor cost will be around $300 and other charges will be counted for the parts. It may seem very expensive. But this is for the equipment that the repairing process will include.
5. Faulty Fiber Optic Cable
If all the fixes we’ve discussed earlier fail to solve the BMW emergency call malfunction on your vehicle, the fiber-optic cable must be checked. This cable can be damaged or disconnected in some cases.
So, check the cable if it is disconnected or working well. If you find it defective, splicing the cable will be the quickest and easiest way to fix it. To fix the faulty fiber optic cable, you’ll expect to pay anywhere between $5 and $10 per foot.
Dealing with an error like a BMW emergency call malfunction is not as easy as you may think. So, you may need more information related to this problem, and here are some of them:
How do you remove a BMW emergency call malfunction?
The easiest way to do so will be to check the power of the battery and recharge it or replace it if it is dead or failed. If the battery is perfect, the problem may be with the fiber optic system.
Can I drive my BMW with an emergency call malfunction?
Yes, you can. But it won’t be safe at all as you won’t be able to be connected to the BMW assist center whenever it’s needed. So, if you are willing to drive your vehicle on a busy road or a highway, fix the emergency call error first, and then enjoy your driving.
How to turn off the SOS button on my bmw?
To turn off the SOS button on your BMW, push and hold the button for ten seconds. It will turn off the button and the connection with the counsel center will be detached.
What causes my SOS button to turn on my bmw?
Problems with the SOS control system or bugs in the software can cause the SOS button to turn on your BMW. It may also occur if you have taken your vehicle into reverse.
Getting a BMW emergency call malfunction message on the screen is very common. So, you should not be so stressed as it won’t be so difficult to deal with it. If you expect a quick solution for the problem and you’ve enough money to pay for the labor, it’s a good idea to take your vehicle to a service center.
Otherwise, you can also fix the issue in some very simple ways as we discussed above. If the problem is minor, you can solve it by holding down the buttons and restarting them.
But if you need to replace any part of the system, you must have enough DIY knowledge and experienced assistance or guidance. So, hopefully, you have found this BMW emergency call malfunction guide very useful.