How Do I Know If My Car Needs A Software Update?

How Do I Know If My Car Needs A Software Update?

Vehicle owners are often not aware a software update is needed unless its in the form of a recall. Traditionally, software updates were performed in person at service centers. Many times vehicle owners were seemingly unaware an update was even available. But with today’s modern connected vehicles, over the air (OTA) updates enable manufacturers to push updates to your vehicle while you sleep. 

New cars have more technology than ever before, with computers controlling virtually every aspect of their operation. And just like your laptop or your smartphone, sometimes your vehicles software needs updating too.

What Does A Software Update Do On A Car?

Vehicle manufacturers for a variety of reasons release software updates to correct bugs, improve vehicle performance, and even add new features. Perhaps the most important of all these updates–critical software patches to protect against vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities may allow hackers to gain access to vehicle software and control vehicle systems.

How To Find Out If Your Vehicle Has The Latest Software?

Give your local car dealership a call and have them check your VIN number. They will be able to tell you if your vehicle is up to date with latest software. You can even quickly check to see if your vehicle has a software recall by using our car recall look-up tool.

Additionally, the newest tech from automakers such as GM, Ford, Tesla, and others provide in-vehicle alerts regarding available updates. Vehicle owners can even select a preferred time for these updates to take effect–such as the middle of the night while their vehicle is parked.

Do You Need Software Updates On Your Car?

Yes, vehicles rely on complex software to maintain and perform critical functions of an automobile. Software is responsible for monitoring everything from the heated seats to blind spot warning monitors.

If you own an electric car, software updates are critical to the performance and health of the EV battery.

Are Vehicle Software Updates Free?

Yes, software updates for your car are typically free. This applies if they correct an issue covered by warranty, fix problems with emissions systems or safety recalls.

If your vehicle lacks OTA update capabilities, you will need to take it to your local dealership. The process of installing software updates on your car is simple and straightforward. It’s included in the warranty, so you shouldn’t have to pay anything extra for it.

But don’t wait until you’ve reached the end of manufacturer’s vehicle coverage to have these updates applied to your vehicle. You might find yourself on the hook for some of these software updates.

Final Thoughts

Remember, software updates are important not just for your car’s entertainment and navigation system but also for the engine, brakes, and other critical systems. Make sure you always have the latest update installed to avoid potential problems down the road. Its a good idea to add it to the your maintenance check list.

Have you ever had a problem with your car that could have been fixed with a software update? Let us know in the comments below.

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Christopher

View posts by Christopher
Loves anything with a motor and wheels. Christopher is an internet technology and automotive expert. When he's not at the local autocross event, he can often be found working on one of his cars. He loves nothing more than taking something apart and putting it back together again–better than before.

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