BMW SOS Call System Malfunction

BMW SOS Call System Malfunction

The BMW SOS call system is an advanced safety feature that allows the driver to quickly and easily call for assistance in an emergency. The system uses cellular and GPS technology to send an emergency call and the vehicle’s location to the BMW call center. When the BMW SOS call system malfunctions, it indicates an issue with the system preventing it from working properly.

Is a BMW SOS malfunction message displayed on your iDrive screen? The most common issues are a software glitch, a fault in the SOS control module, or a Bluetooth pairing issue. Learn how to fix the problem by following the procedures below.


When the SOS call system fails, it will warn the driver with a crossed-out  SOS call malfunction warning light on the dashboard. In some models, the iDrive system will not respond to any commands. Warning chimes might be disabled as well.

What Causes BMW SOS Call System Malfunction?


All units, such as amplifiers, SOS modules, or head-unit, are connected with an optic cable in one loop. This improves signal quality and reduces interference. On the downside, if one component fails, all other devices within the loop will be disconnected.

  • Programming Glitch: The SOS call system is a complex system controlled by software. If there is an error in the programming, it can cause the system to malfunction.
  • Control Module Failure: The control module is the electronic component that manages the SOS call system. If the control module fails, it can prevent the system from functioning properly.
  • Bluetooth Pairing Issues: The SOS call system uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with the driver’s phone. If there is an issue with the pairing between the driver’s phone and the SOS call system, it can prevent the system from working.
  • Communication Error: The SOS call system uses cellular and GPS technology to send an emergency call and the vehicle’s location. If there is an issue with the communication of these technologies, it can prevent the system from working.
  • Satellite Radio: A faulty satellite radio is the most common cause by far. Depending on the model, it is located in the trunk, either on the side or under a floor cover. Although the satellite radio can be repaired, replacing it with a working used unit is much easier. Another approach is installing a universal fiber optic bypass loop, which is cheaper if you don’t use the satellite radio.
  • iDrive: Head-unit, CCC, CIC, or NBT, can suffer from various issues. Some failures can shut down the head unit or cause communication problems within the fiber-optic loop. This will trigger an SOS call malfunction warning light. Also, check the fuses at the backside of the unit.
  • Amplifier: Like with the head unit, a faulty amplifier or Bluetooth module will bring down all the systems within this loop. These two units are located under a floor cover. The fiber-optic bypass loop can be used to pinpoint the faulty component. Also, check the fuses at the side of the units.
  • Fiber Optic Cable: On some rare occasions, the fiber-optic cable can suffer from damage. This can happen while some other work is done to the car in the area this cable runs from.

A certified technician must inspect the vehicle to diagnose the problem and fix it promptly, as a malfunctioning SOS call system can prevent the driver from receiving the necessary assistance in an emergency.

BMW SOS Call System Explained


Many modern BMWs are equipped with an SOS call system, sometimes an intelligent emergency call system. The purpose of this feature is to assist a driver everywhere and at any time. It sends the location and relevant information to the BMW Assist response center. A response specialist can then contact police and EMT services, saving critical time.

The SOS button is located above the rear-view mirror and opens the cover. Pressing a red SOS button will activate the system, and a green LED will illuminate. The response specialists will contact the driver and determine what help is needed. The specialist can request dispatch of emergency services to the location, notify emergency contacts on file linked to BMW roadside assistance, and, if appropriate, provide emergency directions to the nearest police station and hospital.

Crash sensors activate an emergency call to the BMW call center in an accident. Car location, possible injuries, and other information needed for planning the deployment of emergency services are sent automatically. The response specialist will assess the situation and take the necessary steps to assist.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to clear a BMW SOS call system failure?

Disconnect the positive terminal of the battery and wait for a few seconds. Then restore the power and start your vehicle.

What happens when you press the SOS button?

When you press the SOS button on a BMW, it sends an emergency call and the vehicle’s location to the BMW call center. The call center will contact the local emergency services and provide them with the vehicle’s location.
The SOS button is usually located on the ceiling or the center console of the vehicle, and it is usually a red button. Pressing the button initiates a two-way voice call to the BMW call center, which is staffed by trained personnel who will speak with the driver and assess the situation. They will then dispatch the appropriate emergency services, such as ambulances or the police, to the vehicle’s location. They will also contact BMW Roadside Assistance to provide further assistance if required.
Once the SOS call is made, a notification is sent to the BMW call center that the vehicle is in an emergency. If the driver cannot speak, the call center can still locate the vehicle and send emergency services to the location.
It’s important to note that the SOS button is not a substitute for calling 911 and should only be used in emergencies where immediate assistance is required.

What to do when you accidentally press the SOS button?

You can end the call by pressing the button and holding it for a few seconds.

We hope you find the BMW SOS Call System 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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  1. CX Carrillo says:

    2007 BMW530i ….SOS malfunction light in dashboard display is on….Bluetooth is not working….SAT radio is “grayed out” in ‘i’ entertainment menu display and not working…AM/FM radio works fine. Green light by SOS button is on and will not turn-off…audible message “a BMW customer representative will be with you soon” keeps playing even when ignition is off and can only be turned off by pulling 5AMP fuse to phone.

  2. where is the sattelite radio on a 2005 bmw 530i? my vehicle the vehicle will come on and the bmw logo will come on, but i will get no sound. i get a sos malfuction fault code indicator on my dash. I don’t have a cd changer in my car. i put the bypass fiber optic in the amplifier and still nothing. I can put a cd in and eject it with no problem. just no sound and my screen is stuck on the BMW LOGO. CAN YOU HELP ME PLEASE.

    1. Based on what you describe you have a bad CIC / CCC. You can use the YOUCANIC scanner to confirm. When you try to connect to the CIC module you will get a no communication error. There are places that repair those. You can also install a used unit, but it need to be programmed afterwards.