Here at Baileys we cave carried out numerous software (or integration level as they're officially called) updates on BMW and mini vehicles, both in conjunction with repairs and as a standalone service.
Vehicles requiring software updates can be more common than you think. Advanced electronic and computer controlled systems are now common in modern vehicles and just like your computer at home these systems need updating from time to time. They can be for a multitude of reasons. Some fix coding or programming issues that the vehicle may have left the factory with whilst others may be preventative measures to stop certain faults from appearing in the future. Checking for any updates available for your vehicle can save you money on the long term and improve the functionality of your car!
For example we had an E60 5 series come into the workshop with a partially blocked DPF. We found a faulty thermostat not allowing the engine to reach sufficient temperature to activate a regen cycle. Whilst using the ISTA diagnostic system also we found a software update available for the vehicles engine control unit to assist with future DFP regeneration. Amongst other things this new software changed the parameters for the operating conditions required for DPF regeneration to happen, therefore reducing the chance of having issues with the DPF in the future. The vehicle was still on its original software version for when it was made in 2008 and we updated it to the latest version released for that model in 2011.
The screenshot below is an example of the report you receive once an update has been completed. It shows the vehicles details as well as the old and new software integration level. You also get a list of what individual control units have been updated and any other components that have been modified or calibrated.