BMW iDrive Not Turning On? Here’s What To Do.

iDrive is one of BMW’s most popular relatively recent gadgets. Initially introduced to the 2001 BMW 7 Series, iDrive has become an inseparable component of every modern BMW. When working properly, it’s an excellent tool that serves as an important supplement to the riding experience for the driver and passenger. When iDrive is not working properly, however, it can be a real complex and expensive headache to fix.

If the BMW iDrive is not turning on, updating the iDrive software, replacing a fuse or rebooting the iDrive system may resolve the problem. Sometimes, the problem can be due to a system malfunction and these simple solutions will help to solve that. As a last resort, your iDrive unit may have failed and in that case you will have to consider refurbishing or replacing the unit.

In addition to this article, check out this article if you are having trouble with your iDrive controller and this article if your iDrive keeps restarting!

What To Do If Your iDrive Does Not Turn On?

Nobody wants to empty their wallets at the dealership, especially if you don’t have to. Let’s take a look at some of the potential solutions to an “iDrive not turning on” problem.

Update The iDrive Software

This is such a simple solution that many BMW owners might just skip right over it! Updating the software is such a painless solution that we should give that a shot early on. Especially when considering that old software has been a common problem in the past to the iDrive not starting.

You can now download software updates from BMW directly on to your computer and then transfer via a USB drive. Here is the link to the relevant webpage, just enter in your VIN and BMW will let you know if you have the most updated software.

Check If The BMW Is In Warranty

No reason to continue down the steps of diagnosis and repair if your BMW is still in warranty. The typical BMW nowadays comes with a four year or 50,000 mile warranty unless you purchase an extended warranty or enhanced coverage. If your BMW is still within this time frame then you should consider going straight to the dealer and have them resolve the problem.

Try an iDrive Reboot

If your iDrive is already the most updated, you updated your iDrive and the problem persists and your BMW is out of warranty we need to try another solution. An iDrive reset is the next option on the list and this can sometimes resolve a number of issues that you are having with your iDrive. But before we go through the simple steps of resetting the iDrive, we need to first consider which iDrive model you have.

Your iDrive could be a Car Communication Computer (“CCC”), Car Information Computer (“CiC”) or Next Big Thing (“NBT”) model.

The CCC was the first generation of iDrive, installed on BMW models from 2001 until 2008 (2009 for a few vehicles). The second generation of iDrive is the CiC which was installed on most model BMWs until 2015. The NBT is the latest and greatest iDrive and it has branched out into several variations but we do not need to get down in the weeds for purposes of this article.

CCC Reboot

Resetting the CCC is extremely simple. Simply follow the below steps and the CCC will reboot. Please be aware though that hard resets of the CCC can lead to memory issues in the unit. Nevertheless, we still recommend it since replacement is the alternative.

  1. Push and hold both the CD and DVD eject buttons at the same time.
  2. While holding the eject buttons push the volume/on/off button.
  3. The display should then go blank and reset after a few seconds.

CIC/NBT Reboot

CiC reset is also really simple, just hold down the volume button for 15-20 seconds and the iDrive system will reset!

NBT reboot is the same thing as the CiC reset, except after the first time pressing the volume down you then need to release and press the volume button one more time.

Check the iDrive Fuse

If the reboot did not solve the problem, the next thing to consider is that your iDrive fuse is potentially blown. The location of the fuse will vary depending on the year and model BMW you have so ALWAYS double check your manual. With that being said, below is a video of the typical location of the iDrive fuse.

If you find that the iDrive fuse is blown, swap it out and see if that rectifies the problem. Please be aware though that fuses very seldomly blow on their own. Most typically, when the iDrive fuse has blown, there will either be a short somewhere in the wiring or the iDrive unit itself has a failure.

It’s still worth giving it a shot and there is always the possibility that this resolves your problem. But if you find that the fuse keeps blowing, read on for further solutions.

What To Do In Case Of iDrive Failure


iDrive units are wonderful automotive gadgets but unfortunately they do experience failure overtime like any other electronic component. iDrive units are notoriously expensive to replace, however, if your iDrive unit has failed, there are alternative options to spending a boatload of cash at the dealership. Failure to turn on is a common symptom of iDrive failure, but let’s briefly discuss some of the other most common symptoms that stem from iDrive failure before we dive into solutions.

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms and have already attempted the fixes discussed above, then you likely have a bad iDrive unit:

  1. the iDrive fails to start completely and remains stuck on the BMW logo display
  2. the iDrive display screen remains black when you attempt to turn it on
  3. some days the iDrive boots up, other days it fails to start at all
  4. the iDrive unit freezes sporadically.

Options For Fixing Your iDrive Unit

There are a couple of options that you can take to remedy your iDrive unit failure:

  1. Take it to the dealer, BMW will typically replace the iDrive unit with a refurbished unit but the replacement will still typically cost upwards of $1,500.
  2. Remove the iDrive unit yourself and take it to a company that will refurbish your unit and send it back. There are several online options for ship and fix available. This option will cost a few hundred dollars.
  3. Replace the CCC Unit yourself with a brand new or refurbished unit. A brand new unit will have to be purchased from the dealer and will cost upwards of $1,000, but a refurbished unit can typically be had for around $500.

The good news is that if you want to replace the iDrive unit yourself or have it refurbished, it is incredibly accessible and with just a few tools it can be easily removed.

Check out this video on removal of the unit:

Our recommendation is that if you decide to go with having the dealer replace the unit, you should first check in with an independent shop to see if they will do it for less. You could even provide them with a refurbished unit so you only pay the shop the cost of the labor and not for the markup on the iDrive unit itself. Most independent shops will have the software to program the new/refurbished iDrive unit to your particular vehicle.


We hope that this article has been helpful in resolving your iDrive problem. iDrive is a wonderful technology and when it is working it adds an extra amount of comfort and entertainment to your drives. Unfortunately, these units do have their assortment of problems and failure to turn on is one such common problem. Hopefully, this resolves your problem and you can get back to enjoying your entertainment system!

Stephen Metellus

I am a BMW enthusiast and owner of! I have been repairing, flipping, and parting out BMWs for nearly ten years. I love these vehicles and I hope you will find my articles and YouTube channel helpful for whatever BMW project you have in store!

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