How To: Updating UConnect Firmware Yourself

While most customers will wait to visit their dealer to upgrade the firmware of their UConnect systems, it’s not required for those who have connected USB drives in their recent Chrysler, Jeep, Ram, or Dodge. However, it is complicated and somewhat time consuming. This is a little “how to” for updating UConnect firmware yourself.

First, visit the UConnect upgrade site, whose URL may have changed since we posted this. Put in your VIN number (you do have that in LastPass, 1Password, or such, right? It may be on your insurance or registration cards, it’s definitely on your dealer repair and maintenance docs). Then you will see a list of what’s available, if anything. (Our car does not seem to need the security update, or there was an error in the system which prevented it from showing.)

uconnect security update

Now, you may think that the next step would be to click on the available downloads, find them in your computer, open them to find a ReadMe file, and then follow some instructions. That is not the way Chrysler’s web gurus work. While UConnect’s job is to make life easy, the webmasters’ job seems to be to make it more complex and frustrating. Thus, they have a long tutorial — you are taking notes, right? — though you can click “skip” to get to the end, if you dare. Here are the salient points:

  • usb pluggedWe did not see this in the tutorial: Have your radio anti-theft passcode ready. Your dealer will know it.
  • You will need to download Akamai software to download their updates, though their updates aren’t all that large and other companies use Akamai without making end-users install anything. On the lighter side, you can do this from a Mac.
  • They want you to use a PC-formatted 4-GB USB drive with nothing else on it. Our upgrades were both under 256 MB. I don’t understand the 4 GB requirement but we had one so we used it.
  • The files you download will be zip files, so download them to your hard drive, unzip them, and then copy them to the USB drive. You can only do one at a time. That is, copy one over, upgrade the car, come back, delete it, put on the next file, etc. That assumes you have more than one update, of course.
    • Our navigation system upgrade came in a subfolder. The subfolder had a single item inside it. D'oh!
  • Unplug any SD cards or USB cards from your car, then put in your USB thumb drive. Make sure you have something to do and you're in the shade (summer) or someplace warm (winter) because this will take five to fifteen minutes. Headphones and an iPod, iPhone, or Android/whatever may help.
  • Move the key to Run — not Start, not Accessory. Those of you with button starters, press it twice to get to Run but make sure your foot isn’t on the brake.
  • You now get a screen that asks if you want to upgrade. Look at the firmware numbers carefully to make sure you are not backtracking. If you say yes, it will spend a good deal of time copying files, but when it's done, you're nearly done.
  • When it asks for an anti-theft code, start the engine and wait a few minutes to see if it clears. If you get the anti-theft code (which you probably don't know) wrong three times, you have to have the car in Run for 30 minutes before you can try again.

Congratulations! You've saved yourself from asking your dealer to do something for free. (Not all will do it for free — the security update, yes, but not necessarily ordinary firmware updates.) Sure, FCA US LLC made it a lot harder than it had to be, but it was probably much faster than a dealer visit, and easier too, if a bit more risky.

Here’s the imagery...

update question

update proceeding

success

uconnect anti-theft code

Also see: New technologiesChrysler innovations • Alternative fuels and such • The rocket scientists at Chrysler Electronics

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