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      03-25-2011, 08:10 AM   #1
sross1
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lower gauge display lights temporarily out?

had a random error in my car yesterday… on start up (without key inserted), none of the lights in the lower display between the speedometer/tach came on. It was especially odd because the turn signal indicators, M button etc in the upper area of the display worked fine. Only the lower area which contains the odometer, gear number, speed, temp etc that was out.

I restarted the car a few times with the same result. However, once I put my key in and started the car, all the lights came on correctly.

Everything is fine when I started today but I was wondering if anyone else had experienced this? Wasn't sure if it was some sort of indicator of an error somewhere in the car.

thanks in advance,


(I attached a pic I found online and circled the area that did not come on in red.)
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      03-25-2011, 08:14 AM   #2
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Did you actually START the car (hold down the start button) without the key in or did you just hit it once? Based on the 0 RPM's on the tach I'd say you didn't start the car.

Hitting it once without the key in turns on most of the electronics but won't start the car and you won't get the lower electronics. You have to hold it until it starts. With the key inserted you can start just hitting it once though. If you're used to starting it with the key in then this is normal.

EDIT: Oh, just realized you said the Temp/time didn't pop on either? And that picture isn't from your car. I think that comes on too when you start the electronics. Not sure, I'd have to go out and try it on my car. But, there is a difference between starting it and just turning the electronics on with and without key inserted.
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      03-25-2011, 08:19 AM   #3
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Cold weather can effect those gauges

From manual:

At very low outside temperatures, this display may not be functional. The engaged driving direction is indicated by the LEDs on the selec- tor lever.

Page 27, M3 supplemental Manual.
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      03-25-2011, 08:21 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Templar View Post
Did you actually START the car (hold down the start button) without the key in or did you just hit it once? Based on the 0 RPM's on the tach I'd say you didn't start the car.

Hitting it once without the key in turns on most of the electronics but won't start the car and you won't get the lower electronics. You have to hold it until it starts. With the key inserted you can start just hitting it once though. If you're used to starting it with the key in then this is normal.

EDIT: Oh, just realized you said the Temp/time didn't pop on either? And that picture isn't from your car. I think that comes on too when you start the electronics. Not sure, I'd have to go out and try it on my car. But, there is a difference between starting it and just turning the electronics on with and without key inserted.
hey templar, yes I full started the car and everything was running fine. I even put the car in gear (even though I was blind to which gear I was in) and drove it for a couple seconds to see if the lights would come on, but they did not. So I parked, turned off. waited... turned back on, but same result each time until I inserted the key and started.
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      03-25-2011, 08:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sross1 View Post
hey templar, yes I full started the car and everything was running fine. I even put the car in gear (even though I was blind to which gear I was in) and drove it for a couple seconds to see if the lights would come on, but they did not. So I parked, turned off. waited... turned back on, but same result each time until I inserted the key and started.
Alrighty, then I am stumped

Only thing I can think of is because it was cold this morning in the northeast, maybe the cold weather effected it like was mentioned above.

That's all I can think of.
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      03-25-2011, 08:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksoze View Post
Cold weather can effect those gauges

From manual:

At very low outside temperatures, this display may not be functional. The engaged driving direction is indicated by the LEDs on the selec- tor lever.

Page 27, M3 supplemental Manual.
hey ksoze, thanks for the additional info. It wasn't too cold yesterday in md, maybe in the upper 40's where I was parked. I've heard of this happening in other cars when they sit in below freezing temps for a few days, but I guess its a possibility. thanks again.
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      03-25-2011, 09:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by sross1 View Post
hey templar, yes I full started the car and everything was running fine. I even put the car in gear (even though I was blind to which gear I was in) and drove it for a couple seconds to see if the lights would come on, but they did not. So I parked, turned off. waited... turned back on, but same result each time until I inserted the key and started.
This seems like it would be a dumb solution on BMWs part, but maybe its the way of letting you know you need to charge the key?
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      03-25-2011, 10:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jmflukeiii View Post
This seems like it would be a dumb solution on BMWs part, but maybe its the way of letting you know you need to charge the key?
OP's car has comfort access (CA). CA keys have a battery that does not charge, you simply replace the battery as needed... Non-CA equipped cars use the key that charges while in the ignition.
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      03-25-2011, 10:21 AM   #9
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Why does the temperature say 103 degrees fahrenheit
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      03-25-2011, 10:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bye Bye lexus View Post
Why does the temperature say 103 degrees fahrenheit
OP simply grabbed a picture off the internet, that is not his car...
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      03-25-2011, 10:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by kscarrol View Post
OP's car has comfort access (CA). CA keys have a battery that does not charge, you simply replace the battery as needed... Non-CA equipped cars use the key that charges while in the ignition.
This is not true... the battery on CA car keys (such as mine) is charged when inserted into the key slot. Why else would there be a key slot? At least this is the case for 2011, which is all I can really speak to.
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      03-25-2011, 10:42 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by jmflukeiii View Post
This is not true... the battery on CA car keys (such as mine) is charged when inserted into the key slot. Why else would there be a key slot? At least this is the case for 2011, which is all I can really speak to.
Page 26 and page 35 of my 2011 manual clearly describes how the battery on CA equipped cars will need to be replaced periodically (Pg. 26), giving directions on how to replace the battery (Pg. 35). Non-CA keys charge while in the ignition but CA keys will need to replace the battery as it does not recharge. It was the same in my 2008 550 w/ CA...
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      03-25-2011, 11:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by kscarrol View Post
Page 26 and page 35 of my 2011 manual clearly describes how the battery on CA equipped cars will need to be replaced periodically (Pg. 26), giving directions on how to replace the battery (Pg. 35). Non-CA keys charge while in the ignition but CA keys will need to replace the battery as it does not recharge. It was the same in my 2008 550 w/ CA...
If its in the manual, I guess I have to admit you're correct. I just don't see why it wouldn't charge it; also the dealership was very clear that that the key would need to be inserted periodically "to charge it" (not like 50% of what they tell me is actually true, however).
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      03-25-2011, 11:10 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by jmflukeiii View Post
If its in the manual, I guess I have to admit you're correct. I just don't see why it wouldn't charge it; also the dealership was very clear that that the key would need to be inserted periodically "to charge it" (not like 50% of what they tell me is actually true, however).
Ha, I learned long ago (through owning five BMW's) that most folks at dealers are poorly educated about these cars!

As near as I can tell, the space in the CA key fob is devoted to the radio transmitter etc and so there is not enough space for the rechargable battery.

Not a big deal, in three years of driving my CA equipped 550, not once did I have the battery fail. What I don't know is if the dealer simply replaced the battery periodically for me while the car was in for regular service. As I recall, it is a simple CR32 watch-style battery that can be purchased at any drug store...
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      03-25-2011, 11:13 AM   #15
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Ha, I learned long ago (through owning five BMW's) that most folks at dealers are poorly educated about these cars!

As near as I can tell, the space in the CA key fob is devoted to the radio transmitter etc and so there is not enough space for the rechargable battery.

Not a big deal, in three years of driving my CA equipped 550, not once did I have the battery fail. What I don't know is if the dealer simply replaced the battery periodically for me while the car was in for regular service...
Man, that's too bad. It seems like they could have figured it out to make it rechargeable. Is a rechargeable battery really bigger than the regular battery? It seems like it could fit.

I know its not a huge deal, but still, simple solutions that are overlooked frustrate me. I seem to remember being told that my 330ci battery couldn't be changed and I had to purchase a whole new key..... probably more dealership nonsense.

Do you know why they even bothered putting the key slot still for a CA equipped car? Just using the same interior panel for all models?
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      03-25-2011, 11:24 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by jmflukeiii View Post
This seems like it would be a dumb solution on BMWs part, but maybe its the way of letting you know you need to charge the key?
This was the first thing I thought as well and that maybe it wasn't documented in my manual.

it was very strange, esp if it hasn't happened to others.

maybe it was just a software glitch with the CA program because I did use my hand (not the remote key) to unlock the car. Or I suppose it could be the colder temp outside, but that still seems odd being the car was only outside in the 40's for 7hrs or so during the day.
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      03-25-2011, 11:27 AM   #17
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This was the first thing I thought as well and that maybe it wasn't documented in my manual.

it was very strange, esp if it hasn't happened to others.

maybe it was just a software glitch with the CA program because I did use my hand (not the remote key) to unlock the car. Or I suppose it could be the colder temp outside, but that still seems odd being the car was only outside in the 40's for 7hrs or so during the day.
Well come to think of it, about a week after I got my car, I put the key in the slot for the first time and started the car. I got a message on idrive saying "System sounds do not work" and there was no sound (from anything, like seatbelt warning or music from the radio). I turned the car off, took the key out, and started it again with the key out, with the same problem.

I drove home pretty bummed, turned the car off, took the key out, got out and locked the car. I then thought lets try again; unlocked the car, didn't stick the key in and started the car and everything was back to normal.

I have yet to put my key back in the slot.... and maybe never will seeing as I was mislead in thinking it would charge the key.
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      03-25-2011, 12:35 PM   #18
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Man, that's too bad. It seems like they could have figured it out to make it rechargeable. Is a rechargeable battery really bigger than the regular battery? It seems like it could fit.

I know its not a huge deal, but still, simple solutions that are overlooked frustrate me. I seem to remember being told that my 330ci battery couldn't be changed and I had to purchase a whole new key..... probably more dealership nonsense.

Do you know why they even bothered putting the key slot still for a CA equipped car? Just using the same interior panel for all models?
All valid questions!! Not sure on battery size and frankly the radio transmitter is mostly speculation on my part. Perhaps it is just BMW logic. They figure folks pay for the CA to avoid pulling keys of of pockets or purses and therefore they will rarely put the key in the ignition. At least not enough to maintain the charge. Hence the battery...

As for the 330i, don't know but agree that it is likely dealer nonsense. Was the car CA equipped?

I think you're spot on here, save them from having to design two different parts...
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      03-25-2011, 12:48 PM   #19
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All valid questions!! Not sure on battery size and frankly the radio transmitter is mostly speculation on my part. Perhaps it is just BMW logic. They figure folks pay for the CA to avoid pulling keys of of pockets or purses and therefore they will rarely put the key in the ignition. At least not enough to maintain the charge. Hence the battery...

As for the 330i, don't know but agree that it is likely dealer nonsense. Was the car CA equipped?

I think you're spot on here, save them from having to design two different parts...
No that was a 2001 car, back when laser cut keys were cool.

And that is a good point about the whole point of CA. I thought it was strange as well, but figured its better than having to get a new battery. Yet, it turns out thats what has to happen!
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