Understanding the Condition Based Servicing (CBS) System

What You Need to Know

Although many BMW owners are used to taking their vehicle into the shop for Inspection 1 or 2, the method is beginning to change. Newer BMW vehicles are now equipped with a CBS system that notifies the driver what exactly is going wrong with their vehicle. This has made vehicle maintenance easier, for both the vehicle owner and the technician.

So, how is this different than a normal maintenance service? Well, unlike a normal service where you're given a specific amount of miles before your next service, the CBS system doesn’t provide that. Instead, the CBS system will notify you when a specific component or system needs servicing. From there, you will be responsible for setting up an appointment and bringing your vehicle in. This allows vehicle owners to bring their vehicle into a shop when it actually needs servicing, instead of visiting the shop despite your vehicle being in good condition.

The CBS system will monitor a variety of components for wear-and-tear and damage. If the components are in good condition, you will see a green “OK” by its symbol. If it’s damaged/worn out, you will see an orange triangle by it. The system monitors five components and systems in your vehicle, which are:

  • Oil Life

  • Brake Pad Wear

  • Brake Fluid Condition

  • Cabin Air Filter

  • Spark Plugs

  • Diesel Particulate Filter*

*If your vehicle is diesel powered

As mentioned before, the CBS system has no set mileage intervals on your vehicle. The system will trigger when something is wrong or if it’s wearing out. You play a big role in when it triggers, as your driving habits and conditions play can affect it. If you are in extreme conditions and you have an aggressive driving style, don’t be surprised if your vehicle will need to go in for a service a lot sooner than you’d expect. If you have a more passive style of driving and you're in calm conditions, then you can expect those components and systems to last longer in between services.

Written by Dave Erb