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BMW Service Icons Explained

By Stephen Turvil | June 2, 2016

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Benefits of Service Icons, their meaning to motorists, plus the differences between BMW's old and newer system.

BMW Service Icons Explained
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Benefits of BMW Service Icons

BMW Service Icons appear on the dashboard to suggest the vehicle requires maintenance in the near future. Such symbols are a reminder to book the work that keeps it safe, reliable, and pleasant to drive. Servicing also minimises depreciation - which is how much value it loses per-year - and makes it far easier to sell. 

Service Interval Indicator

BMW Service Icon systems come in two forms. The Service Interval Indicator (SII) is the older and recommendations are based on mileage and time. A symbol might appear when the car has travelled fifteen-thousands miles since its most recent service, for example.

Let us consider an example. An oil service icon accompanied by a six-hundred mile countdown suggests that the engine requires care. What type is revealed via the service book based, in part, on the comprehensiveness of any maintenance it received the previous year.

There are three types of care in this context:

  • oil service (replace engine oil, oil filter and microfilter);
  • inspection one (as oil service but includes further checks);
  • inspection two (as inspection one but also replace the air filter, spark plugs or diesel fuel filter).

Furthermore, a clock icon next to the oil service symbol suggests the vehicle requires brake fluid, or anti-freeze. The Service Interval Indicator system also has icons for front/rear brake pads. 

Condition Based Servicing

Condition Based Servicing (CBS) is the newer system. Its purpose is to monitor various components for wear and tear – rather than assume care is required based on mileage and time. Data is stored within the vehicle's key, which mechanics read via a BMW KeyReader.

CBS is a far superior system. Consider the front brake pads, for example. SII might note that the car travelled “x” miles since replacement, so conclude there is heavy wear. Perhaps there is - but driving style and the type of roads travelled have an impact too.

The Condition Based Servicing system incorporates a wide range of icons, not all of which feature on every model. Highlights include: 

  • oil service (replace engine oil, oil filter and microfilter);
  • front brakes (replace front pads and check disc condition);
  • rear brakes (replace rear pads and check disc condition);
  • brake fluid (replace brake fluid to maintain performance);
  • vehicle check (mechanic should inspect a wide range of parts);
  • spark plugs (replace spark plugs so the engine runs smoothly);
  • diesel particulate filter (the pollution busting filter might require cleaning or replacement);
  • MOT (legally required annual inspection now due).
More On This Car
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