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BMW Original Parts
Oct 20, 2020
Here are the two simplest ways to find out:
1.) Check if your exterior door handles have a few ridges on top of the handle by the lock (2). The BMW Comfort Access system does not feature automatically locking doors, so these raised lines serve as the contact point to touch when you lock the doors.
The BMW Comfort Access door handle also has a second sensor (1) used by the smart opener that unlocks your vehicle. As these sensors are concealed, though, it's easier to check your car door handle for ridges near the lock.
2.) Another way to see if a BMW has Comfort Access is to check VIN number for keyless entry on a free online BMW VIN decoder, and look for the S322A option.
It’s important to remember, however, that this method only tells you if a BMW had Comfort Access installed in the factory. It’s possible that the S322A option is missing, but the car had Comfort Access retrofit by a previous owner.
Don’t have Comfort Access? Don’t worry, BimmerTech has got you covered. Our BMW Comfort Access upgrade for F Series cars makes it easy to lock and unlock your vehicle with a touch of the handle, without the need for any additional smart key or fob. See if your BMW is compatible, and never have to think about unlocking your doors again! BimmerTech's BMW Comfort Access retrofit gives you a choice between fitting Comfort Access only on your two front doors, or on front and rear doors, regardless of what's offered from the factory in your model.
Activating your Comfort Access retrofit is simple, as BimmerTech's kit is designed with easy installation in mind. Depending on how many doors you order replacement Comfort Access handles for, it will only take an hour or two to fit the parts.
After that, there's no programming or coding required to activate your Comfort Access kit.
BMW's Comfort Access made its debut in 2002, in the E65 7 Series, and has been available as an option in almost every model launched since. That means that most BMWs on the new and used markets potentially come with Comfort Access. Older vehicles, however, including the E39 and E46, all miss out.
Your model will also influence whether your car has Comfort Access on all four doors, or only the front two. Four-door is the norm on BMW higher-end models, but 3 Series F30 owners will find that Comfort Access door handles are only found at the front of the car.
Comfort Access and keyless entry have a lot in common, so the two phrases are often mixed up. If you're buying a new car, you want to be sure you're getting exactly what you expect. If you see a used car listed as having Comfort Access or keyless entry, it could be worth clarifying which of the two the seller is referring to.
One similarity between the two is that, despite the name, neither are truly keyless. You'll still need to carry a remote key fob with you to unlock and start your car. They're keyless only inasmuch as they do away with the need to insert a key into a physical lock — though a slide-out key blade in the fob can still give you that option.
Instead a physical key, both allow locking and unlocking your vehicle remotely using your BMW Comfort Access key fob or standard keyless entry fob. A push of a button is all it takes. Key fob range varies depending on model and battery strength, but you can usually expect to be able to unlock from around 30ft away, and may be able to lock from a little further.
Both also include keyless start, letting you use the push-button ignition to start and stop your car.
Where Comfort Access differs is in the extra features it offers over standard keyless entry. Proximity sensors in your BMW's door handle mean that, if your key fob is close to your vehicle (the BMW Comfort Access range is around 5 feet), your door will unlock automatically when you grab the door handle. You can also lock your car doors by tapping the top of the handle near the lock. In both cases, there's no need to reach for your fob to press any buttons — the whole process is quick and easy.
Once inside the vehicle, Comfort Access also makes starting your car easier. Keyless entry systems may still require you to insert your key fob in a key slot by the steering wheel, but with Comfort Access, the fob only needs to be inside the car. Even if it's in your pocket or bag, you can press the ignition button and drive.
The difference in convenience also extends to your car's trunk; Comfort Access with Automatic Tailgate lets you open and close the trunk using the so-called "kick feature", by putting a foot under the rear bumper (though this feature generally isn't available with third-party retrofits). A motor built into the tailgate mechanism automatically lifts and lowers the trunk lid, taking the hassle out of loading up your BMW — particularly after customizing how your BMW's tailgate works. With standard keyless entry, the Power Trunk feature is still available, but must be activated by pressing the trunk release button on the remote key fob.
When replacing your BMW remote key fob, knowing whether your vehicle has Comfort Access can help you understand the steps required to get your new key working. Depending on your BMW's model, you may be required to purchase a special Comfort Access-compatible key or have your vehicle coded to activate your new fob. This all adds to the cost.
When buying a BMW E Series replacement key fob from BimmerTech, owners of vehicles with Comfort Access will need to order a fob that supports their car's system. These vehicles also put a limit on the number of keys that can be paired with the car at any one time, meaning BMW Comfort Access programming is required to delete your previous fob from your vehicle's memory before activating your new one. This coding can be performed by BimmerTech's technician, or at your local BMW dealership.
Replacement key fobs for BMW F and G Series are simpler to activate. When ordering from BimmerTech, we are able to send the correct key type for no additional cost, and there is no need to code your vehicle during activation. Pairing your BMW and new key fob is as simple as in a car without Comfort Access.
What if your BMW has Comfort Access, but you aren't interested in using it? Well, BMW doesn't really give you the option to deactivate Comfort Access — not without having a third party make substantial modifications to your vehicle, at least.
The most common reservation people have about Comfort Access is around security. Smart key systems from all car manufacturers have been blamed for facilitating theft, letting criminals access your car without needing immediate physical access to your key.
To understand how it all works, it's necessary to understand how Comfort Access works. Basically, your BMW remote key fob broadcasts a low-power signal with an identification key, which can be read by your vehicle from up to 5ft away. If your BMW reads a fob broadcasting a valid identification key, the doors can be unlocked. To improve security, the identification key broadcast changes regularly in a way that is unpredictable without understanding the underlying encryption, making it effectively impossible to crack the system.
However, if a criminal can get close enough to your key to be within the 5ft range of the signal — for example, if you keep your fob near your front door — they may be able to use a signal amplification device to broadcast the identification key from your fob much further than the safe 5ft, potentially making it possible to unlock a vehicle parked on your driveway. The security built into Comfort Access is powerless to prevent this kind of abuse.
Some manufacturers, including BMW, have begun designing keys that shut off when left motionless, meaning a fob left on the side overnight won't be a security risk. Third-party companies also offer Faraday cases for fobs that block the signal, which can be left on permanently or only used as storage. With no signal coming from the fob, thieves won't be able to exploit your Comfort Access system, making it as safe and secure as a traditional key.
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