A Closer Look at BMW’s Mobility Program

Mobility programs enable individuals who need mobility modifications to obtain a vehicle and maintain a sense of independence. These programs vary in complexity and accessibility, depending on the company and the program itself, but they all have one thing in common — they strive to provide individuals with vehicles that suit their particular mobility needs. 

BMW’s mobility program is no exception. What is BMW seeking to achieve with their mobility program and what terms need to be met to participate in this program?

What Defines a Mobility Program?

Mobility programs are a program offered by automotive manufacturers to offer a one-time reimbursement for the costs of installing adaptive equipment into a newly purchased vehicle. 

This isn’t part of the cost of the vehicle, or something that is provided before the adaptive equipment gets installed. Instead, eligible individuals can apply for reimbursement once the installation is complete. 

The benefits offered depend on the manufacturer. Most offer up to $1,000 for the installation of various types of adaptive equipment. 

Some, like Ford, also offer up to $200 for alerting devices. Others, like the General Motors Group which includes Cadillac, GMC, Buick and Chevrolet, offer $1,000 for adaptive equipment but also offer up to two years of their OnStar safety programs as an additional incentive. BMW offers one of the best mobility packages in the industry, providing up to $2,500 for equipment installed in one of their new or certified pre owned vehicles.

What Defines Adaptive Equipment?

How do mobility programs define adaptive equipment? The exact details may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but in general, they must meet three criteria:

  • The equipment must be permanently installed in the vehicle.
  • The equipment is for a driver or passenger with a permanent disability.
  • The equipment is bought from a licensed equipment installer, and installed by the same. 

Beyond that, anything from driving controls and power seats to ramps and lifts can all fall under the umbrella of adaptive equipment. All modifications must also be approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), and an approval letter from the administration is necessary if any modifications require disconnecting the vehicle’s airbags.

This is by no means an all inclusive list. The potential for different types of adaptive equipment is changing every single year, as new options and new tools become available. The most important thing to remember is to work with licensed installers and to ensure that everything is NHTSA approved before applying for mobility programs. 

Mobility Program Terms

The terms of a mobility program will depend on the manufacturer, but in general you need:

  • A vehicle purchased from the dealership or certified reseller within the specified time frame. This could be anywhere from 60 days to one year. 
  • A valid driver’s license or a doctor’s note. The vehicle has to be registered to the individual requiring mobility assistance. 
  • A detailed invoice for the equipment installation. 

The exact details will vary depending on the manufacturer you choose as well as the terms of their mobility programs. It is important to note that before you qualify for reimbursement through a mobility program, the cost of installation will be out of pocket. 

Currently, no health insurance programs, including Medicaid and Medicare, cover the cost of a wheelchair van or other adaptive equipment. These programs may make it easier to obtain other medical equipment including wheelchairs. 

Mobility programs help to fill in the gap between the two, allowing as many people as possible to access the mobility aids that they need to live an independent lifestyle. 

There are other assistance programs available as well. Some states offer mobility assistance or grant programs outside what automotive manufacturers do. Veterans may also qualify for rebates to make it easier to obtain mobility assisting equipment. If all else fails, auto loans are also an option, depending on your credit and income. 

Looking Forward

Nearly every automotive manufacturer offers some form of mobility assistance program for individuals who purchased new vehicles from dealerships or certified pre-owned vehicles from licensed resellers. If mobility programs aren’t available, obtaining an adaptive vehicle isn’t necessarily out of the question — it just takes exploring other avenues. 

If you need to apply for a mobility program, make sure you talk to your dealership or certified reseller before you complete your purchase and determine what the exact terms for your particular manufacturer might be. Don’t rely on insurance to help you out with this purchase either. While it may help you get other mobility equipment such as wheelchairs, currently no health insurance programs cover part or all of the cost of a wheelchair van or other accessible equipment.

How BMW Leverages Remote Diagnostics with the iDrive 7 OS

BMW has always exceeded expectations when it comes to innovation and luxury. If something’s new in the auto industry, chances are high that BMW’s on top of it. 

The manufacturer’s latest update is the BMW Operating System 7.0. That’s quite a mouthful, so it’s more commonly known as the abbreviated iDrive 7.

So, what does the iDrive 7 offer and how is BMW leveraging it for remote diagnostics?

What Does iDrive 7 Offer?

BMW’s iDrive 7 is easily one of the best infotainment systems on the market right now. If you need it while you’re behind the wheel, chances are high that this program does it. It uses a combination of touchscreens as well as rotary controls to create an easy, user friendly experience. 

By default, the 12.3 inch screen shows you things like your map, the status of your phone, and any media that you’re currently playing, but that’s just the default setting. You can also add all sorts of different features, from fuel economy and trip data to remote diagnostics, monitoring the health of your vehicle. Integrate it with Apple CarPlay too! The options are limitless, especially since BMW uses state of the art technology to make their infotainment systems work as fast as the cell phone in your pocket. No more laggy or unresponsive systems. 

Remote Diagnostics in Your BMW

Vehicle diagnostics have gotten more complicated every year. When you buy a new car, it almost feels like you need a degree in electrical engineering just to figure out what your check engine light means. Instead of pulling your hair out when a warning light comes on, BMW’s remote diagnostic technology allows BMW technicians to connect to your car and tell you what’s wrong with just a phone call. 

No lengthy and expensive trip to the dealership. No guesswork with code pulling at your local auto part’s store. Just a direct answer straight from the source. One phone call and you can find out what’s wrong and more importantly, whether or not your vehicle is still safe to drive.

Where Else Can You Find Remote Diagnostics?

BMW’s remote diagnostics tools are just one example of this type of technology existing out in the world. It’s also a valuable tool for fleet owners and trucking companies. Anyone who utilizes a large number of vehicles on a regular basis can benefit from remote diagnostic technology.

These systems are integrated into the vehicle’s computer system, which is constantly monitoring the state of the drivetrain and any other part of the system that is attached to a sensor. These sensors are what turns on your warning lights on the dash — but other than a very vague explanation in your owner’s manual, it doesn’t come with any sort of information. Traditionally, a warning light required a trip to the dealership or at least a mechanic to figure out the actual problem. 

If a truck or fleet vehicle breaks down, the downtime can get costly. It becomes even more problematic when you look at trucking companies that are hauling tons of freight from one end of the country to the other. Missed deadlines can result in hefty fines and even cancelled contracts in extreme scenarios — even if the only problem is a broken down vehicle. 

Remote diagnostics allow company and fleet owners to monitor their fleet in real time. These programs detect issues and send alerts back to their home base. Then, if necessary, they can take the vehicle off rotation and bring it back to base for repairs or maintenance before they break down on the road. 

The Future of BMW and iDrive

Remote diagnostics don’t just make it easier for fleet owners to keep track of their vehicles — at least not anymore. Connected consumer vehicles make it easier for the average driver to stay on top of what their vehicle needs before small problems end up taking the entire vehicle off the road. 

Right now, even some older models are compatible with the newest version of iDrive, so make sure you check for updates if you’re not behind the wheel of the newest make and model.

Upgrading Your Bimmer’s Stereo System: Everything You Need to Know

BMW’s tend to come with a pretty epic sound system already — with modern entries upgrading to a full blown infotainment system — but if you’re driving an older model, you might find yourself stuck with an out of date cassette deck or worse. 

Thankfully, you can upgrade your stereo system with a bit of knowledge and elbow grease. Here is everything you need to know about upgrading your Bimmer’s stereo system.

Assess Your Current System 

First, take a step back and figure out what soundsystem you currently have. For older models, that could mean figuring out whether that’s a dusty old cassette deck or an 8-track player in your dash. For newer models, starting in the mid-to-late 2000s, there are a number of different sound systems and speaker/subwoofer configurations that you might have to work with. 

The Base Stereo System was used in 2010 and 2011 models, especially in the E70 X5, E82 Coupe, E92 Coupe, and E90 sedan. This system did include two under seat speakers in addition to the two door and two rear speakers, but did not include any tweeters or amps.

The HIFi system appeared in a great variety of models from 2006 to 2011 and included four speakers, two under seat speakers, two 25mm tweeters and a 180W six-channel amp. 

The best of the best, at least for the 2000s and 2010s, was the Premium Sound system. It included everything from the HiFi system, as well as a number of 100mm midrange spread out throughout the vehicle. It also used fiber optic cable. 

Decide On Your Replacement

Next, before you start taking things apart, you need to decide on your replacement. Are you planning on replacing just the radio in the center console or are you doing a full rebuild, replacing the speakers, tweeters, amps and subwoofers with something a little more in line with this decade?

The state of your current sound system will also help you determine what gets replaced. The speakers might still work but after 15 or 20 years, they may also be losing significant sound quality. Take the time to test out your system and see what still works — and more importantly, what works well — to help you choose the best replacements. BMW even has you covered, with their playlist of the best songs for testing out automotive sound systems. 

Remove the Current Soundsystem

Next, before you can start installing your new system, you need to remove the stuff that’s already there. That includes the radio, and any speakers or other accessories that you’re planning to replace. 

The exact steps for removing your radio and sound system components will vary depending on the exact year, make and model of your Bimmer. Consider picking up a manual for your specific car or the equipment that you’re planning to install. 

Make sure you keep track of where each wire goes so things don’t get crossed on the install. Keep your smartphone handy and take pictures of each piece before you remove it so you can keep track of where everything is supposed to go.

When to Ask For Help

Stereo and sound system installation are a fun weekend project and installing it yourself gives you an unrivaled sense of independence and the joy of a job well done. Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out for the DIY life, especially when it comes to automotive electronics. This isn’t anything to be ashamed of. You don’t want to end up with your sound system wired to your headlights — this we know from experience — and you want something that will provide you with the best auditory experience possible. 

If you’re not 100% confident in your ability to install a stereo system or disassemble and reassemble door panels to replace speakers and subwoofers, it’s a good idea to let the professionals handle it. There are plenty of little things that can go wrong, from a dead speaker to a short-circuited wire setting your trunk on fire. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. 

Enjoy Your New Sound System

Now, all that’s left to do is jump in, hook up your phone or iPod and crank up your favorite tunes. There’s literally nothing better than being able to rock out to your favorite songs when you’re barreling down the highway. It doesn’t matter whether you’re heading to work, the grocery store, or a big party or concert — a good soundtrack makes everything better. 

Whether you’re updating your stereo yourself or letting a professional do the hard work for you, enjoy your new sound system and rock out while you make your way to your next destination.