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Old 31-01-2012   #1
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Free Software Updates Letter

Anyone else received a 'free software updates' letter from the dealer?

Is this really necessary or just a ploy to drum up some business? They will be doing a 'visual health check' too so I'm a bit sceptical to be honest.

We did buy this car (used) from this dealer but it's never been back there for a service/any work so they don't have history on it as such, I maintain all our vehicles myself, the he car is running 100% at the moment.
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Old 01-02-2012   #2
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

Throw the letter in the bin, go to the dealer & ask to be taken off the "updates list".
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Old 01-02-2012   #3
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbug View Post
Throw the letter in the bin, go to the dealer & ask to be taken off the "updates list".
Ha ha, so you reckon it's a load of rubbish too?

OK, I know that more and more computer wizardry is appearing in cars lately, just look at BMW's 'I Drive' for example, are these subjected to regular software updates?
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Old 01-02-2012   #4
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

Quote Originally Posted by earthman View Post
Ha ha, so you reckon it's a load of rubbish too?

OK, I know that more and more computer wizardry is appearing in cars lately, just look at BMW's 'I Drive' for example, are these subjected to regular software updates?

If its an update letter does it say why? is it because there's been a recall on the body computer or something?
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Old 01-02-2012   #5
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

visual health check wont do no harm, you are not obliged to have work done and often a 2nd set of eyes can spot things you have missed
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Old 01-02-2012   #6
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

Quote Originally Posted by alexh365 View Post
If its an update letter does it say why? is it because there's been a recall on the body computer or something?
Below is exactly what's in the letter.


"Free software updates for your Fiat

We're all aware of the importance on maintaining our cars mechanical components to ensure that they run to their full potential. The same applies to the computer systems within your car. Just like your mobile phone or home computer your car requires regular software updates to make sure you get the very best performance.

At Desira Fiat, we want you to enjoy the very best performance from your Fiat. With this in mind we will carry out any software upgrades completely free of charge. All you need to do is call to arrange an appointment at a time to suit you. We will then carry out all the required checks and update any software as necessary.

Whilst your Fiat is with us, we will also carry out a complimentary visual health check to make sure that all of your cars other systems are working perfectly too."
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Old 01-02-2012   #7
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

I've been to the local dealer loads of times and had a service with no "software upgrade" letter or advice. I'll ask them next time I'm there.

If you do go the upgrade check ask them if the ECU chip can be
re-programmed to get more BHP out of it.
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Old 01-02-2012   #8
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbug View Post
I've been to the local dealer loads of times and had a service with no "software upgrade" letter or advice. I'll ask them next time I'm there.
Thanks, it will be interesting to hear their response.
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Old 01-02-2012   #9
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbug View Post

If you do go the upgrade check ask them if the ECU chip can be
re-programmed to get more BHP out of it.
Probably body computer software and not engine they'll be upgrading, so not sure if they'll know.
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Old 02-02-2012   #10
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

I'd be sceptical too TBH. But when I had my Chrysler it was 12 years old. A guy on the forum worked for a dealer & he checked my reg number & said there were recalls outstanding on it & I could just take it in & have them done FOC. didn't matter what age the car was.

I never did, too worried that i'd end up with a big bill for other things!!

It sounds like it makes sense but I've never heard of it, I'll ask my 'mate in the trade'.

How long before all cars have 'WiFi' & update every time the pass a dealer or are parked outside your house??
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Old 02-02-2012   #11
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

I can understand recall's and I have taken in previous Fiat's for their fuel tanks to be replaced for example.

This letter seems to be different though.
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Old 02-02-2012   #12
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

Not unusual for there to be ECU software updates, once a car stops going to a main dealer the chance of those updates getting automatically applied during regular servicing obviously drops dramatically.
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Old 03-02-2012   #13
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

Whilst in my opinion this is purely a marketing exercise, there have indeed been updates in the past. According to my local dealer there was one to improve the way the engine went to tickover for example. Can't say I noticed any difference tho!
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Old 03-02-2012   #14
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

It's a marketing exercise to get punters into the dealership. It's morally questionable as it uses ignorance by the public of automotive technology and the resultant anxiety it creates to drive customers to contact the dealer. If safety updates are needed they will be advised at the next service, or more quickly on here after they are published by VOSA. If minor problems are updated in software (idle speed and so on) they'll be advised at service time.

Cars do not need 'regular software updates' referred to in the letter, and the dealer should not have put that information out. 'Just like your mobile phone or home computer your car requires regular software updates to make sure you get the very best performance.'

No they don't. It's deliberately misleading.

Here's the current list of VOSA recalls. They don't apply to all Pandas, check the date of your car and VIN numbers on the VOSA web site with yours.


20/04/2007 R/2007/012 FIAT IDEA, PUNTO, PANDA, GRANDE PUNTO AND STILO engine power may be lost

2 29/05/2007 R/2007/068 FIAT PANDA DIESEL fuel may leak

3 07/12/2007 R/2007/173 FIAT Panda, Grande Punto, Bravo and Multipla brakes may fail

4 02/09/2009 R/2009/080 FIAT Panda fuel may leak


5 02/09/2009 R/2009/080 FIAT Panda fuel may leak

6 02/09/2009 R/2009/080 FIAT Panda fuel may leak


7 03/09/2009 R/2009/078 FIAT Panda (all types with ABS) possibility of fire


8 10/09/2010 R/2010/101 FIAT Fiat 500 & Panda, Abarth 500 loss of steering control

9 13/12/2010 R/2010/212 FIAT Abarth 500, Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda loss of steering control
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Last edited by pandissimo; 03-02-2012 at 10:52.
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Old 03-02-2012   #15
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Re: Free Software Updates Letter

VOSA recalls only apply to safety things, they wont list other ecu updates, any thing that runs on software has software updates
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