Auto Start/Stop on F Code BMWs Can Be Changed By Dealers

We have no gripes the current generation of auto/stop start from BMW. We have run the numbers with the system engaged and disengaged and it works as advertised to save fuel. It can be manually turned off by the driver by a switch if is so desired but enough people can ‘t seem to grasp the idea of the system, even though it doesn ‘t make the driver change their normal driving habits, that BMW is now allowing dealers to set the system to “Last User Mode “.

In “last user mode ” if the Auto Start/Stop is turned to the “off ” position it will remain that way on the next start up of the car and continue to remain that way until the system is turned back to “on ” via the switch.

Editor: This really seems to be about people not coping with change, and not feeling comfortable with the system. Having been driving this everyday for the last year in Germany it is odd when I get into a car that is not equipped with the system (X1 xDrive35i) but I am one for advances in technology and saving every last drop of fuel (it ‘s not cheap here and I am not a fan of “oil ” politics). The impact on the EPA numbers and how this will be calculated in the future is one we are still researching as “by default ” the system must be on as per EPA rules, maybe this is a loophole, we are looking into it.

Service Bulletin listed below

SI B12 15 12


The Automatic Start/Stop (MSA) system is a further BMW Efficient Dynamics measure aimed at meeting BMW ‘s commitment to reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing fuel economy.

BMW, always a leader in innovative technology, will be the first automobile manufacturer to bring MSA technology to all new models.

Automatic Start/Stop systems will become prevalent in the future, as manufacturers strive to meet increasingly stringent emissions and fuel economy requirements.

By automatically switching the engine off when the car is stationary, MSA can improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.

New F-vehicles now incorporate the second generation of MSA (MSA II), which has been further developed to operate in combination with an automatic transmission and the BN2020 electrical system.

A detailed description of the MSA Automatic Start/Stop function can be found in the ICP Technician library under Technical Training course ST1112.


Some drivers have expressed the desire to deactivate this function in certain situations. This can be done manually via the Automatic Start/Stop function button with the LED switched on, indicating that the start/stop function is deactivated.

However, by default, the Automatic Start/Stop function is reactivated each time the engine is started.

At the request of an owner, it is possible to modify this default logic to “Last user mode. “

With this logic, the current MSA ‘s activated or deactivated setting is stored and used on the next trip.

Note: All new BMW M models have the “Last user mode” as the default setting from production.

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  • 03BeastCharmer

    Aftermarket coding companies are also coding the “save last setting” on E -code cars equipped with start/stop.

  • RKCA1

    I had the F30 328i for 2 days while I was getting my diesel serviced. I have to say, the start/stop didn’t bother me at all and it worked great. Even when I tried to fool it, I was able to do it. On top of that the 328i got better mpg than the diesel on the same commute!

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      Glad to hear that you acclimated quickly to the system- as I said it really doesn’t require you do anything different to “work”. It’s just accepting the concept the car doesn’t need to be “on” at all times.

      In city traffic it really saves fuel and the 328i is a fuel miser in the real world, regardless of what the EPA says.

  • Bob Hayhurst

    I just find this so interesting. BMW has developed a system (auto start/stop) that works in the background, requires no driver input for operation, saves fuel and perhaps reduces emissions; and yet, we resist. At least to the point where aftermarket entrepenuers find a market for a product to defeat it. While I intensely dislike “Big Brother” anything, I don’t see auto S/S in that category. I dont think it is completely transparent but enough so that Micheal reports no complaints with it in his real world driving.

    We are strange creatures indeed..

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      It is interesting to say the least. The only complaint one could have is in traffic (with gen 1 of the system) but the new system turns itself off after a few quick occurrences of the system turning the engine on/off.

      With a manual when you depress the clutch to shift into gear (which you would do anyways) it fires the engine and you drive off.

      With an auto you let go of the brake (again something you would do anyways) it fires the engine back up and you drive off.

      This is not rocket science and has been in use in the EU with many brands for about a decade (Valeo/ PSA were first).

      I am not sure what to think of it at this point considering the US is an early adopter of hybrids (Prius), volume electric cars and now plug-in hybrids.

      Diesel sales were up 26% this year at last check and that seems to be something people are now finally catching on to- stop/start hopefully will be a quicker acceptance.

  • Tony

    The biggest issue really is, the transition between off to on, it is not smooth, it shutters slightly. Not too sure if BMW would be able to get it 100% smooth. Now if this system works so great, why isn’t it not standard on ALL BMW’s?

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      @disqus_cbfG5Vwy0t:disqus It is becoming standard on all BMWs. The reasons are simple- it costs money and the EPA does not take it into account on manual equipped cars because of the protocol. Technically it was not possible on a non-hybrid auto box until the 8HP, the reason the X1 35i will not see it is bc it uses the 6HP.

      Can’t make something standard on all models if it is not technically possible. The E90/92 M3 was the first in the US to receive it. Also, BMW rarely ever makes something standard across the entire lineup at the same time, it is a supply chain nightmare and if something was to go wrong it would impact every model at the same time which is not good logistically.

      In Europe it can be had in every manual model and everyone with the 8 speed.

      • Luke

        In Europe it can be had in every manual model and everyone with the 8 speed.

        a very good thought, +100500


  • Joe

    Stall the engine while restarting at the entry in a jammed up round-about, then have it stall repeatedly as you try to merge into traffic and see how you feel about the merit of this insanity.

    • Ben

      Thats not a start/stop issue. It has hill hold for 5 secs so just engage the clutch a bit earlier when you see a gap?

  • Shaira Gomez

    Thank you for this post. Well here is car dealerships in butler for you.