idrive malfunction bmw

BMW iDrive CIC Malfunction

In most BMW cars, there is an iDrive system, which offers numerous features. As well as stereos and media players, there is satellite navigation, Internet connectivity, and smartphone mirroring.BMW is constantly improving this system, with advances in the head unit, hardware, faster processors, and better user interfaces.

The main iDrive iterations are CCC CIC NBT and NBT Evo. CCC is the oldest generation; BMWs were built earlier than 2008. By today’s standards, it has limited functions.

CIC is next in the line of iDrive systems and can be found in BMWs up until 2014, with a few exceptions. CIC stands for Car Information Computer. It has an updated homepage layout, an updated high-resolution screen, and better graphics. Depending on your activation package, it can be configured with enhanced Bluetooth, pairing multiple devices streaming music and hands-free calling.

Although Bluetooth music streaming is an upgrade from the CCC system, you can only choose the previous or next in your song options. CIC is also the first system that allows you to play DVDs straight through the head unit.


This system has several components, so it can suffer from various failures. Some symptoms you may encounter are:

  • Satellite navigation can freeze up from time to time or shut down completely. Similar may also happen with the stereo system, simultaneously as the navigation or separately. There will be no sound and a blank iDrive screen. In addition to freezing, the iDrive system might constantly be rebooting.
  • There is no reaction of the iDrive system to the commands given through the iDrive control knob. You will be under the impression that the knob spins freely.
  • Sometimes, a Smartphone or other paired devices may fail to connect to the iDrive system, or this connection may be lost while driving. Sometimes, there will be an SOS call warning light on the dashboard. These symptoms indicate problems with a Bluetooth receiver or a satellite radio unit. Both of these are located in the trunk (insert link)

Common Problems

  • CIC unit hardware failure. This system is less prone to this than the previous CCC system, which had a high failure rate caused by burnt microprocessors. However, it is still possible for electronic components to fail for various reasons. It is possible to repair the unit. This is much cheaper than replacing it.
  • iDrive control knob can fail due to constant usage over a long period. In most cases, the problem is within the micro contacts. Sometimes, dirt and other contaminants can damage the electrical board inside the controller. Repairing and cleaning are relatively simple and don’t require any specialized equipment.  Sometimes a simple reboot will solve the problem with the iDrive system. Press and hold the volume knob to reboot for 15-20 seconds. The display will go black for a short time.
  • A blown fuse will shut down the whole iDrive system. On most models, this fuse is located in the glove box, behind the panel.
  • Lastly, a software update will solve potential glitches. First, you need to visit the BMW website and download the newest software to the USB drive. After that, you must plug that USB drive into your car and go to the software update option within the iDrive menu.

We hope you find the BMW iDrive CIC Malfunction guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your BMW.


  • Rushit Hila • ASE Certified

    Rushit Hila, an ASE-certified engineer (G1 Automotive Maintenance and Repair), brings over two decades of hands-on experience in the automotive world to his writing. With a strong educational background, including a Master of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, he has honed his skills and expertise through years of practical work. As a respected authority in the field, Mr. Hila is dedicated to offering insightful and valuable content that resonates with both vehicle owners and mechanics.

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