Did you know…

The following is a list of things that I have found out about the E39, some of which are useful, some are fun and some you just wonder why? Some of these are not specific to the E39 but may work on other cars, such as the E53. I have included a key to indicate if the item needs to be coded and if it will work on the E53. Some of these items may not be available in all countries and on all models. Some may need specific versions of modules in the car to work.

A lot of what is noted here is documented in the cars manual. There is also a lot of stuff in the manual which is not noted here which is pretty standard on most cars. Go have a read, it is really useful.

** = Can be coded using BMW Scanner (other programming software is available)
++ = Works on the E53

Using the Key / Remote

  • When you lock the car with the remote, keep on holding down the lock button. When you do this the windows and sunroof will close. This is known as comfort close.  ** ++
  • When you unlock the car with the remote, keep on holding down the unlock button. This will cause the windows and sunroof to open. This is useful if it is a hot day and you want to open the car to let some air in. This is known as comfort open. ** ++
  • If you press the lock button whilst the car is locked it will turn on the interior lights. This is to help you find your car in a car park. ++
  • You can lock your car and disable the internal alarm. Great if you leave the kids dog in the car. From the remote, press the lock button. The car will lock and the alarm will be armed. Press the Lock button again straight away. The alarm will be disabled. You can also do this from the key in the lock, turn the key to lock the car then turn it again to disarm. ** ++


  • When you switch off the engine, pull the light lever to show the full beam. Close and lock the car. The full beam will stay on for an amount of time. This is the guide home feature and allows you to light your way to your house. The amount of time that the lights will stay on can be programmed on the car using a laptop and some software. ++
  • Whilst the car is locked, press the Lock button on your key fob. This will activate the interior lights in the car. This can make it easier to see the car in a car park at night. ++
  • The headlights have a little cap on the top of them. If you take out the cap you will see a little lever. Moving the lever sets the headlights for use in the UK or Europe. This means you don’t have to bother with those sticky take things on the front of the headlights when we take UK cars in to Europe. Just remember to switch it back when you get back to the UK.


  • Pressing “Max” or “Rest” on the heater controls shortly after you key out will keep the blowers and the auxiliary pumps going, keeping the cabin warm.
    Ideal if it’s a cold day when you nip into a shop / petrol station. There are some conditions for when this will work.  ++
    1. External temp <16 C
    2. Engine temp >75 C (at least – that’s the temp it starts working in the E60, where I have a digital temp gauge!)
    3. Car off for not more than ~10 mins or key in pos 2. In pos 2 you also get temperature and fan controls working; with car completely off the fan is at mid-speed and the temp is set at whatever it was when you switched off
  • Air controls can be set on a timer using the mid on some models. Link here to video -> BimmerTips (I have not tested this at all)
  • Wing mirrors are heated all the time. Great in the cold weather mornings.


  • If you have the memory seats installed in your car then you will also be able to take advantage of the passenger side mirror that can move down to show you the kerb when you put the car in to reverse. To do this, make sure that the mirror control on the driver side is switched to the drivers position. When you put the car in reverse the mirror will move down. When you move out of reverse it moves back to its previous position. If you don’t want this feature, put the switch to the passenger side mirror and it stops it moving. ++
  • Have you noticed the auto-dimming rear-view mirror?

OBD Hidden Menus

The instrument cluster hides some hidden information that you can get to using the buttons on the cluster. I will write a post about this but for now, here is a link that you may find useful.


NOTE: a few posts you will find go on about test 2, the “reset cluster” option. This does not reset the cluster. All it does is go through a sequence showing the gauges and lights working. It is a test function. It does not reset anything in the cluster.


For those of us with the standard issue stereos…

  • If you have the CD Changer, hit the scan button for a few seconds and it will play randomly the songs from the CD’s


  • On the touring, when you lift the floor, there is a hook to hold the floor up for you so you don’t have to hold it with one hand. This is the same in the E53. ++
  • Take out the luggage cover, you will see that it has two sliders on the long side. If you look in front of the back seats you will see holders for these sliders. You can slide in the cover and then pull up the mesh cover which locks in place where the handles are above the doors.
  • When you open the fuel cap you will see there is a round hole. Just the right size for putting your filler cap in to whilst you fill up. ++
  • If the fuel cap does not open automatically, inside the boot, behind the lining is a green cable. This is the manual release cable. Give it a pull to open the fuel cap. ++
  • Did you know that the arm rest in between the front seats will move forward? Give it a push and see. It can be a bit stiff on some cars. ++
  • Did you know that on the touring you can open just the glass portion of the tailgate. Great for loading just little bits in to the boot. The switch is on the wiper at the bottom.
  • Noticed that you have two screen wash tanks under the hood? That means you have the additional button on the end of the stalk. This is the intensive wash. The large tank you fill with window washer as normal, the smaller one put in neat window washer.
  • Also, every 5 pushes of the window wash will cause the headlights to be cleaned. You may have to have the headlights actually on for this to work.  ++
  • Rear wiper interval. You can change the interval for when the rear wiper moves from side to side. Put on the rear wiper then switch it off, wait the desired length of time and then put the wiper back on. This sets the interval. I believe this works on the E53 as well.
  • Reset Accelerator on fly-by-wire cars. Switch to Position 2. Leave for 10 seconds. Switch the car off. Leave it for 10 seconds and then start the car. This apparently resets the accelerator and may resolve issue where you get a lag when pressing down. If it does not need recalibrating you may see no difference when you do this and think it has not worked. Not tried this myself so can’t comment.
  • Ever wondered what those triangle type things are in the boot by the spare tyre? They are chocks for when you need to jack up the car.