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Mulchman 09-11-2012 04:17 AM

DIY Spare Key enable / disable in DIS
Before I go further, here is the disclaimer. Plugging a PC into your BMW and doing anything has the possibility to disable or brick components of your car. I am in no way responsible for anything you do to your car or any of its control modules. That being said, this DIY uses DIS (Diagnostic Information Station) which is a basic program that is widely used and gives you less opportunity to brick your car than most of the other available software.

When I bought my car it had one Comfort Access (CA) key fob. I talked the (non-BMW) dealer into giving me a second CA key fob, which they ordered from BMW. After they gave it to me I had to go to a BMW dealer to make it work. I think the dealer charged me $100 or so.

Recently I decided to get the spare key replaced as well. The spare key is the black plastic key that can unlock the door manually. It can also start the car once it's inserted into the glove box fob and put in the ignition slot. I purchased my spare key from my local dealer for $50. It came the next day and worked fine in the door, but would not start the car. When I put it in the ignition I got a ghost busters slash over the key. After a ton of reading I decided to make it work myself instead of going back to the dealer for programming.

Almost every thread about key activation describes the process of putting the key in the ignition and pushing buttons to initialize the key or holding the key in the ignition until it locks. It took forever to find a thread about enabling the key in the car's ECU.

First step was to order a cable and software from EBay. I got mine from the UK. The installation of the software took me about 9 hours. I would start a process and come back to start another. The detailed instructions alone were worth the $50 I spent. Finally I had a workstation setup to service a BMW.

Then came the hours of reading at & I finally found a thread that explained key enabling and disabling. Turns out it was very simple and one of the most basic programming functions.

Bottom line is that I needed to use the DIS program and find out what the key's number designation is, and then enable that key number.

Here are the steps:
1. Plug into the car's OBDII and your PC's USB ports. Launch Virtual Machine (VM) / DIS.


2. Select your model.


3. Select yes and let DIS run through its tests. This will take a few minutes.



4. Next go to "function selection" and you'll see this screen.


5. Then hit test schedule to get here.


6. Select "service function", then "locking and security function", then "enable/disable"


7. Finally you will get here.


8. Now you just put each fob into the ignition one at a time to check the number of that key. Then you look at "remote control status". This will tell you what key numbers are currently enabled/disabled. Your car can have up to 10 keys made by BMW and each will have a designation when it comes. Once you have the number of each of your keys, go in and enable any that are not (like the new one you just bought) and disable any that you don't have. This way only the keys you still own can start the car.

Anyone with a key can still unlock the door or trunk, but they cannot start the car.

Hope this helps someone out there. There are other ways/programs to get this done, but this is the one I used and shared. Feel free to add to what I've done.
Bottom line is that I spent $50 for the cable and software that I get to keep for future issues vs. paying the dealer $100 for a 20 minute job.

Yorgi 09-11-2012 02:22 PM

Great job! This should come in handy for many people in the future since non-comfort-access key fobs will eventually die when the battery reaches a certain age (battery is non-replaceable for non-CA keys)

Mulchman 09-24-2012 03:38 AM

Dedicated BMW PC
I went back and built a PC for the garage. It is a dedicated BMW (soon to be Lincoln and Merc Benz as well) workstation and Pandora server. :thumbup: I had everything laying around for the build, including the Vesa mount for the monitor. The only thing I had to buy was the powered USB extention cable.

[IMG]Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App[/IMG]

drbbop 09-24-2012 12:03 PM

Great idea

TRIPLE_O 09-28-2012 06:40 PM

Nice set up and thank you for the write up!

tpaxadpom 10-13-2012 03:16 PM

I ordered the CA key today. It doesn't open the door (I read somewhere it should but I shouldn't be able to start the car). DIS reads it as key number 256, but I cannot enable it. When I type the key number it tells me it cannot be enabled.
My existing key is #3 with personalization #2 assign to it. Any suggestions? Perhaps I am doing something wrong. All 10 keys were enabled. I disabled all except for my existing key #3.
I hope someone can help as I hate to take it back to dealership.

Mulchman 10-13-2012 04:44 PM

When my car was originally sold it had three keys. Two CA fobs and a spare plastic key. I think the first CA keys are numbered 2 & 3. The original spare key I believe comes as number 1, but it seems like I also read that it was number 0....anway

So it sounds like you don't have the #2 key right now. I would disable that and enable 4-6. Check to see if you're key works. If not enable the rest and check again. Then work backwards to disable the keys you don't own.

The actual metal key that comes out of the CA fob should work in your door and trunk mechanical key holes. If it doesn't then the dealership gave you the wrong key and you're wasting your time. So, I'd check that first.

tpaxadpom 10-13-2012 05:03 PM

Thank you for your response Mulchman.
The metal key and key fob were shipped to dealership in 2 different manila envelopes. Dealership sells them separately ($50 for the metal key and $200 for the key fob, though other local BMW dealership wanted to charge more). Metal key works as I tested it in glove compartment. When I follow the step #8 in your guide my existing (working) key reported as #3. The new key is #256. I thought it should be assigned to number 1-10. All 10 keys were enabled. I will try to do what you suggested when my wife comes home from the store.
When you received your CA key fob (not mechanical key) were you able to open the door?

tpaxadpom 10-13-2012 06:42 PM

Well I think I figured it out. One must turnd off ignition and turn it back on to register changes. The key was detected as number 4 when I fired up DIS. Go figure. What is strange is that I cannot assign separate personalization #s to each keyfob. It also requires power cycle (ignition on/off) to register changes.
Now I have key #3 (old key) and key #4. I've tried assigning different key numbers to each key fob, but it changes personalization number on both to the same number.
Another really really strange thing is that it reset everything to metric system. My trip computer, fuel gauge (electronic), mileage are now displayed in km. How is that possible? Is there something in DIS I need to enable to turn it back to industrial? It is going to drive my wife crazy...
Someone posted on bmwcoding reply to my identical post, that it requires the car to be driven. Well that's probably what was needed. Really strange. I would think once you flash the eeprom will require power cycle to register changes....

tpaxadpom 10-13-2012 06:53 PM

strange I turned on the ignition again and it went back to industrial. This is true for both key fobs.

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