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      02-10-2012, 07:16 PM   #1
wolftrouble
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Slow clocks, bad batteries and BS answers

Before you tell me to search, please rest assured I have. In fact, reports are all over the net, and every thread has the same junk about 'driving too little'.

I recently had a problem with my clock running slow in my 08 E90, and got low battery warnings after a few days of it. I brought it in (it was scheduled for oil anyway) and they gave me the same bullshit they have everyone else: "You don't drive it far enough", "You take too many short trips", etc. Practically word for word.

However, conveniently, I live in a place (northern CA) where I don't stop driving my car during the winter, and 'winter weather' consists of maybe 50 degree days. I have a 20-mile commute, each way, EVERY DAY, and this is my only car. I don't know what the fuck they expect me to do, drive to Nevada every other day so their broken batteries might work? They even had the gall to write up on the report, "Charged it for 2 hours, didn't pass, charged it for another 2 hours, didn't pass, charged it overnight, passed. Problem is user behavior." Yes, I'm serious. I'll post a scan if someone wants to see it.

BMW is lying and trying to weasel out of replacing faulty batteries, or is having some other problem that causes premature drain/failure of their batteries. There are too many reports all over the forums for all E9X's (not just M3's), and too many times dealerships giving the *exact same answer*, for this to be some kind of user-habit problem. I've never had a dealership stupid enough to try to tell me that my battery not lasting is the fault of my driving or not letting it charge enough, but great jorb BMW being first to win that race.

Given that the price of a new battery from the dealership runs around $400, I'm not surprised they're trying to get out of paying for it. The question is, what can we do? They're spinning these lies to try and make it seem like it's not a manufacturing problem when it clearly is.

I wanted to start a new thread not just to start a bitch fest, but because every thread goes like this:

My clock is slow!
Your battery is low.
Oh, ok, I'll talk to BMW.
BMW says I don't drive it enough/should use a trickle charger/should take longer trips
...

So rather than just add on to another one of those, I'd like to start a discussion about how can get BMW NA to recognize this problem. I don't like being lied to, and I assume you don't either. And by the way, given the frequency with which this complaint is occurring, I wouldn't suggest staying silent because it's not happenig to you - it will.
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      02-10-2012, 07:29 PM   #2
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Your battery is four years old. Probably want to replace it.
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      02-10-2012, 07:38 PM   #3
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09 same problem had it back twice just got it back yesterday dealer had it for 2 days they think its the keyless think the car is continually looking for the key overnight when not locked, am going to try locking the car while in the garage overnight frustrating......
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      02-10-2012, 08:04 PM   #4
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I had same issue with my dealer. I was able to buy time and make a post. A member suggested to talk to the service manager and another said they can check the last 20 times car was driven to prove it was driven enough. I bought mine low mileage so they averaged the miles per year to say they won't cover it. I was able to get the service manager to overturn the decision and get the battery replaced under warranty by explaining my driving habits and I guess they confirmed it with the key data.
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      02-10-2012, 08:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by username11 View Post
Your car is a 2008. Take it to Sears and get a new battery?

Not
Exactly
Rocket
Science
Folks
Then they say, "Your battery is old, not intended to last longer than X years, a consumable, and thus not covered by warranty." Then they show you the warranty demonstrating this.

The correct answer is not, however to lie about driving habits and try to sleaze their way out of it. If they truly didn't expect the battery to last 4 years (3.5, really), then they'd say that, and the warranty would reflect it.

Also, I've seen various places that any ol' battery won't do, it needs to be registered, which means a trip to the dealership. I haven't verified this.
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      02-10-2012, 09:15 PM   #6
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I have a 2008, 21k miles, car sat for entire winter 2009, I drive the car 2 days a week over 10 miles each day, and less than 3 miles a 3rd day every week. The car also get extended breaks and sometimes doesn't even get touched for 2 straight weeks.

Zero issues on my battery. No slow clock, no dimming light. It's locked at night in the garage, and I have comfort access. Only issue is my comfort access acts up a bit and doesn't unlock all the time, but i can hear the click, but battery is still working.

Last edited by mdosu; 02-10-2012 at 09:21 PM.
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      02-10-2012, 09:26 PM   #7
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I own a 2008 E90 M3 with almost 32,000 miles on the clock (no pun intended) and last week my battery just got replaced under warranty for free. My car's clock was off, fuel range wasn't accurate, headlights wouldn't turn on when unlocked, and had numerous other electrical problems; however, when they tested the battery it read at full charge. They tested it a second time, no problem. They did the test a third time and it read 30% full.

My dealer has told me that the battery drains continuously because of comfort access: the car is continuously (no matter how far away the key is) looking for a key. Also, driving short distances will kill your battery because you are using it more than you are recharging it. Letting your car sit for a few days is not that bad, as long as you take the car on a long, continuous trip. I've also heard that the battery only recharges while braking.

I find their solution (to tell you to buy a trickle charger or replace the battery) to be insufficient. Mercedes-Benz came out with a (better) keyless system in the 90s and I have yet to hear of a Benz battery go flat because the electronics are continuously working, even while the car is off.
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      02-10-2012, 09:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahzari
I own a 2008 E90 M3 with almost 32,000 miles on the clock (no pun intended) and last week my battery just got replaced under warranty for free. My car's clock was off, fuel range wasn't accurate, headlights wouldn't turn on when unlocked, and had numerous other electrical problems; however, when they tested the battery it read at full charge. They tested it a second time, no problem. They did the test a third time and it read 30% full.

My dealer has told me that the battery drains continuously because of comfort access: the car is continuously (no matter how far away the key is) looking for a key. Also, driving short distances will kill your battery because you are using it more than you are recharging it. Letting your car sit for a few days is not that bad, as long as you take the car on a long, continuous trip. I've also heard that the battery only recharges while braking.

I find their solution (to tell you to buy a trickle charger or replace the battery) to be insufficient. Mercedes-Benz came out with a (better) keyless system in the 90s and I have yet to hear of a Benz battery go flat because the electronics are continuously working, even while the car is off.
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      02-10-2012, 09:49 PM   #9
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Ok this is actually 07 and up BMW issue I think. Some 07+ X5s have the same issue and my friend is having this issue now and his car has been at the dealer for 4 weeks now. Its more than the battery on his I think. I noticed it once this year on my X5. Not really a big deal. Now my M3 is sitting and I am driving the X5 due to weather. No issues on either currently.
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      02-10-2012, 10:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddbiii View Post
am going to try locking the car while in the garage overnight
You haven't been locking the car in the garage the whole time?

You've got CA, just tap the handle and it's done. My father in law didn't lock his car in his garage, either... until someone broke in and stole a bunch of stuff out of it.

In general, I think 4 years is average battery life in a warm climates. If you're inside of that and have a good relationship with your service adviser, you can probably get a new one under warranty or goodwill.

I think between the high electrical loads cars have these days, plus the efficient dynamics charging policy (don't charge under acceleration, try to charge only when engine braking) late model BMWs are harder on batteries than before, but they don't want to go to dual batteries or bigger batteries since that would add weight, and the glass mat or other advanced batteries would add cost and make replacement a bigger logistical problem.
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      02-10-2012, 11:02 PM   #11
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"Only charges while braking"- I have heard this before and I'm curious, is that actual braking or just decelerating? I downshift a lot so I don't use the brakes much. Am I not charging?
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      02-10-2012, 11:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stainless 45 View Post
"Only charges while braking"- I have heard this before and I'm curious, is that actual braking or just decelerating? I downshift a lot so I don't use the brakes much. Am I not charging?
Sounds like typical SA mis-information to me! This doesn't jive with the advice to take long, continuous drives to charge the battery...

As I recall there is some recharging that takes place during braking as part of the "efficient dynamics" effort but ultimately the car still has the alternator running and I would find it hard to believe that it only charges the battery while braking/decelerating.
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Last edited by kscarrol; 02-10-2012 at 11:19 PM.
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      02-10-2012, 11:16 PM   #13
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undefined
What?
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      02-10-2012, 11:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
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What?
He was referring to the bad cross parse format.
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      02-11-2012, 12:31 AM   #15
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I had the same problem. The clock, corona rings (when unlocking the car), and fuel gauge issue were solved by replacing my entire instrument cluster. Then every now and then when I started the car my trip computer would reset and the service light (car on lift) would appear. Took it in again and it was the battery.

1. Replaced instrument cluster (under warranty).

2. Replaced battery (under warranty).

Do it now before the warranty expires. The instrument cluster was ~$2250 (not including installation).
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      02-11-2012, 12:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkiboy48 View Post
I had the same problem. The clock, corona rings (when unlocking the car), and fuel gauge issue were solved by replacing my entire instrument cluster. Then every now and then when I started the car my trip computer would reset and the service light (car on lift) would appear. Took it in again and it was the battery.

1. Replaced instrument cluster (under warranty).

2. Replaced battery (under warranty).

Do it now before the warranty expires. The instrument cluster was ~$2250 (not including installation).
Wow. Did they mess anything up replacing the instrument cluster? Seems like a tough job to do without scratching stuff up.
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      02-11-2012, 01:00 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stainless 45 View Post
"Only charges while braking"- I have heard this before and I'm curious, is that actual braking or just decelerating? I downshift a lot so I don't use the brakes much. Am I not charging?
I've often heard it said that brakes are cheaper to replace than clutches... but does DCT use the clutches on all shifts? If it's rev matching properly it shouldn't need to, but that might be kinda rough.

In any case, it _tries_ to charge under _engine_ braking... so anytime you're off the throttle, it's charging, even if you're not touching the brakes. Unless the road you're on is billiard-table flat, even under cruise control you'll have some light throttle and heavier throttle as the grade goes up and down. Presumably it only allows the battery voltage to sag a tiny bit before it charges under part throttle as well, and if there's enough demand for current it would have to draw power from the alternator even under full throttle or the ignition wouldn't fire and the fuel wouldn't flow or inject. I would think that could only happen if the battery were dead. I know I've driven hundreds of miles with a totally dead battery in older cars... I don't think my M3 would be as forgiving.
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      02-11-2012, 01:13 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stainless 45 View Post
"Only charges while braking"- I have heard this before and I'm curious, is that actual braking or just decelerating? I downshift a lot so I don't use the brakes much. Am I not charging?
we don't drive hybrids
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      02-11-2012, 02:38 AM   #19
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Wow. Did they mess anything up replacing the instrument cluster? Seems like a tough job to do without scratching stuff up.
Didn't mess up anything. Everything looks good to me.

On a side note: One thing I did notice is that the resolution of the middle display (clock, temperature, gear, etc) between the tachometer and spedometer is slightly different than before. It's like the pixels are slightly larger, but I can't confirm unless I see them side by side. It must be a different version or something.
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      02-11-2012, 04:35 AM   #20
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OP try a diff dealer.
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      02-11-2012, 04:46 AM   #21
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The whole (in)efficient dynamics system is immature technology. The system charges on closed throttle unless a threshold level of battery discharge is detected at which time the charge rate is supposed to increase. The problem seems to be that the short time very high amp charge cycle degrades the glass mat batteries so that their efficiency deteriorates over an unusually short time. The "intelligent" charging system is supposed to adapt for the decreasing battery efficiency (which is why you need to "register a battery swop to reset this system) but it looks like its not "intelligent" enough.
My car was only two years old when I first started having battery problems...it took more than a year before I finally managed to get it changed under BMW "good will" as the manufacturers warranty had expired.
I fondly recall as a youth borrowing a friends Bedford van with sliding doors that had the battery completely removed. As long as you parked on a flat road you could push start it no problem.
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      02-11-2012, 01:19 PM   #22
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I dont think the whole "a car w/comfort access is searching for a key all the time" is a valid argument. I mean. WTF, BMW designed a car without the thinking that maybe someone would park their car for a few days?
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