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      02-03-2012, 02:45 PM   #1
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Question 3rd Dead Battery in M3

Need some help guys and gals...

My sister drives a 2011 E90 M3. It's her daily driver with about 5,000 miles on the car. She purchased the car brand new from the dealership with less than 10 miles on the vehicle.

She is currently on her 3rd factory BMW battery because her vehicle is sporatically not starting, the battery is just going dead randomly. In less than 14 months, she is on her 3rd BMW battery. She is not leaving lights on, leaving doors open, or anything abnormal that would cause the battery to drain.

What the dealership told her makes me feel as if they do not know what's going on with the vehicle. It makes me feel there is something else at hand that the dealership can not figure out what is causing the battery to drain. They told her that the reason her second battery died was supposively because the replacement battery was defective. Now just this last week, they did the 2nd replacement battery and the dealership is literally (i'm not making this up) accusing her of not driving her vehicle "a minimum of 500 miles per month" as supposively it states on "page 9 of the owner's manual" - that's coming from the mouth of the service manager. I think that is complete hogwash as I drove an E90 M3 for almost a year and a half and never experienced her problems. And it feels something is just not adding up as she's on her 3rd battery in less than 14 months. Is that statement about the owners manual true? My sis tried to find that fact in the manual, but could not find it.

She is going to have to make a claim on this car, but I just wanted to get some advice and/or feedback from anyone else on here first. I'm a little perplexed
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      02-03-2012, 03:01 PM   #2
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Something must be active in the car and not shutting down properly after parking it. It would be something benign, but left on for long periods could kill the battery (i.e., vanity mirror light, glove light, trunk light, etc.)

Another theory could have to do with the proximity of her key to the car at night. The issue usually just kills the key battery, but not the car.

Did you have any aftermarket elements installed? Alarm upgrade? Sound upgrade?

Anything plugged into the USB's wouldn't drain the battery once the car is shut off.
.
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      02-03-2012, 03:14 PM   #3
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Interior components (vanity lights, cigarette lighter, etc) will shut down after ~40 minutes to prevent battery drainage. Only a few modules remain alive.

You could also have a faulty control module within the network, not allowing the car to properly enter sleep mode - causing drain.
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      02-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #4
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Possible problem with the charging system.
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      02-03-2012, 03:31 PM   #5
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How far is her commute? Perhaps it is so short that the battery doesn't get a sufficient charging cycle.
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      02-03-2012, 03:43 PM   #6
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We have had the same issue with our previous 545 and 550, and again recently with our 550Xi, and the E92. Cause stated as cars not being driven enough, or for a long enough distance. Warranty covered all, but dealer did voice mild objection.
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      02-03-2012, 04:04 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone

Her car is 100% stock. She's done absolutely nothing to the vehicle.

What's interesting is my co-worker who owns an older 5 series (non m) has the same issue with her vehicle.

From reading some of the posts, it sounds like what I've believed all along - something else is causing this. And I really do feel the dealership has no idea what it is, they're just telling her wrong information.
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      02-03-2012, 04:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Bimmer View Post
Need some help guys and gals...

My sister drives a 2011 E90 M3. It's her daily driver with about 5,000 miles on the car. ... In less than 14 months, she is on her 3rd BMW battery. She is not leaving lights on, leaving doors open, or anything abnormal that would cause the battery to drain.
I think I found her problem. She should drive more or get a battery tender.
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      02-03-2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///My5UV View Post
I think I found her problem. She should drive more or get a battery tender.

Do you really think it's because she doesn't drive the car enough? In this era, where these vehicles run $70+ and have so much sofistication, is it really because she does not drive the vehicle enough? I just find this so hard to believe.
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      02-03-2012, 04:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Bimmer View Post
Do you really think it's because she doesn't drive the car enough?
Yes. Two things kill batteries: 1) Extreme temperatures (which I'm guessing isn't the case if she's in CA, too) and 2) Deep cycling.
You could put an Ammeter on it to see if there is excessive drain when it's parked, but my guess is it's not getting enough distance in her trips to get the thing charged up, or simply not getting driven often enough.

Even in Texas heat, the battery on my wife's Z3 and my M5 did fine until we stopped driving them daily.

I think the M3's charging policy (it tries to only charge when decelerating and tries not to charge when accelerating to eek out a little more mileage) exacerbates the situation.
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      02-03-2012, 04:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///My5UV View Post
Yes. Two things kill batteries: 1) Extreme temperatures (which I'm guessing isn't the case if she's in CA, too) and 2) Deep cycling.
You could put an Ammeter on it to see if there is excessive drain when it's parked, but my guess is it's not getting enough distance in her trips to get the thing charged up, or simply not getting driven often enough.

Even in Texas heat, the battery on my wife's Z3 and my M5 did fine until we stopped driving them daily.

I think the M3's charging policy (it tries to only charge when decelerating and tries not to charge when accelerating to eek out a little more mileage) exacerbates the situation.

Okay, thank you. Yes, lets rule out the temperature. So either these M's are getting driven on a daily basis or they're sittin in the garage with a battery tender on them. If her car was a garage queen (as I'm sure some folks on here have) apparently without a battery tender her car is not going to start. I would have never thought that was the case, especially the technology from BMW, the fact it comes off of a production line, and being the $70,000+ vehicle it is. And it's not like she has super super low miles, it's just the fact the car is not her garage queen and at the same time she does not drive the car 30+ miles each day. But I guess that's the way it goes? it's just very interesting.
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      02-03-2012, 04:45 PM   #12
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I personally dont think her not driving the car far enough is the issue.
I could be wrong but it seems like theres a bigger issue going on here.
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      02-03-2012, 04:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gkap View Post
I personally dont think her not driving the car far enough is the issue.
I could be wrong but it seems like theres a bigger issue going on here.
Honestly, I still feel that way 90%. I'm just trying to listen to everyone on here. Thank you.
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      02-03-2012, 04:58 PM   #14
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Does she have comfort access? I do and live in San Diego, CA (so we'll factor out weather) and my car is going in for service today because my battery is not working properly which causes some problems (radio will not stay on at all when ignition is off, fuel range not accurate, clock not holding time correctly, etc.). My commute is 10-15 miles round trip a day and the most I let my car sit in the garage is for 2-3 days. I'm taking it in today to discuss what the problem (and hopefully the solution) is. Since I purchased the car seven months ago, I've put about 5,000 miles on it
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      02-03-2012, 05:34 PM   #15
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How long does the car sits? You could drive 1000 niles in one week, but if you let the car sit long enough and the battery will drain. Fact of life, cars with more technology will drain the battery sooner when not in use.
My 76 2002. Can sit for months and it would start right up. But thats because theres no drain. (no radio no computer no clock). Even my 93 diesel sits for months with no problem. But E90 on the other hand is different. Then again its hard not to drive it.
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      02-03-2012, 05:37 PM   #16
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Thanks for the feedback.

Mahzari, thanks for sharing. Even though my sister's problem is different (her car flat out will not start at times), I'm interested to hear the diagnosis on your issue.

Tom @ eas, a reputable BMW mechanic in the area told her the same thing so she asked the dealer to look into the contol module, and they claim that it checked out fine.

The crucial fact in our disbelief that her issue relates to low mileage is that she had issues starting the car within 3 weeks of first purchasing it. The day she drove the car home from the dealership she put 80 miles on it. Then because of the holidays (Thanksgiving/Christmas) she put another 300 miles on it within the next two weeks. She was driving the car a LOT when she first bought it and had trouble getting it started sometimes.

When she told the dealer it was having problems starting they told her she wasn't starting it correctly...which wasn't true, I had seen her start the car, and as a former M3 owner myself, I knew it wasn't how she was starting it, it was weird. Then eventually the car just wouldn't start at all.

A battery tender or trickle charger just isn't reasonable for a 27 year old female. Every time a girl wants to get in a car she doesn't want to deal with popping the hood and getting her hands greasy. And with a 2011 purchased brand new, it doesn't seem like she should have to resort to that. She'd rather find the cause and fix it than just band-aid the issue so she can live with her "ultimate driving machine."
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      02-03-2012, 05:45 PM   #17
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Now when you say not starting. Is it not cranking because the battery is dead? Or is it cranking and not starting, then eventually kills the battery because the starter drained it trying to start the car?
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      02-03-2012, 06:18 PM   #18
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Hi, Edjay. This is Mr.Bimmer's sister.

When I say I had trouble starting the car, I mean that I would put my foot on the brake, push the ignition and it would make a "chn" sound and not start. I would try again, and the brake would be very stiff. After a few attempts (sometimes several attempts), it would start up and run fine...and then I would have the problem two weeks later.

This probably happened a total of 10-15 occasions. It didn't seem healthy, but when I consulted the dealer they said I just didn't have the key close enough to the driver's seat, then the excuse was I wasn't pushing the brake hard enough or not pushing the ignition hard enough...I keep my key in the consule near the cigarette lighter, and after the first few times it happened I was diligent about holding the brake down hard and carefully but firmly pressing the ignition.

Until October of 2011 I intermittently had trouble starting, but it always eventually started. Then in October 2011 I went to start it and it was just dead--no noise, no rumblings of the engine turning, nothing. In Oct. they replaced the battery and I had NO trouble until last Tuesday. Monday I had driven about 50+ miles. Tuesday morning I went to start it, I heard the radio for half a second, and then it was just dead. Pushing the ignition literally did nothing, the doors wouldn't lock, the trunk wouldn't pop, just no life whatsover.
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      02-03-2012, 06:23 PM   #19
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The problems we have had are always highlighted with the idrive, and an alert on the dash. The idrive will state low battery, or battery charge necessary. The car(s) will only "click" when requested to start, but lights, horn, etc will function, but for how long I don't know. Jump starting using my truck battery is quick, or if the cars are in the garage, in park and cannot be shifted to roll them out, thus cannot be reached, AAA is called and they start them with their small battery pack. Car then goes to BMW store for new battery. Agree with all, this should not happen from lack of long drives. Somethings in the wood pile.
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      02-03-2012, 06:25 PM   #20
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She does not drive the car long enough each time she drives, and this is her issue. Had the same issue in my moms X5, my wifes X5, My sisters X6, and now IM dealing with this in my 1.5 year old M3. I have 23k on it and because most days all I drive is about 3 miles to work and back, its not enough to charge up the battery, so every time I drive, its actually draining more than its charging it. SO over a long period of time, the batt % just goes down down down...
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      02-03-2012, 07:23 PM   #21
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Do you leave the key in the consule when the car is at home parked in the garage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Bimmer View Post
Hi, Edjay. This is Mr.Bimmer's sister.

When I say I had trouble starting the car, I mean that I would put my foot on the brake, push the ignition and it would make a "chn" sound and not start. I would try again, and the brake would be very stiff. After a few attempts (sometimes several attempts), it would start up and run fine...and then I would have the problem two weeks later.

This probably happened a total of 10-15 occasions. It didn't seem healthy, but when I consulted the dealer they said I just didn't have the key close enough to the driver's seat, then the excuse was I wasn't pushing the brake hard enough or not pushing the ignition hard enough...I keep my key in the consule near the cigarette lighter, and after the first few times it happened I was diligent about holding the brake down hard and carefully but firmly pressing the ignition.

Until October of 2011 I intermittently had trouble starting, but it always eventually started. Then in October 2011 I went to start it and it was just dead--no noise, no rumblings of the engine turning, nothing. In Oct. they replaced the battery and I had NO trouble until last Tuesday. Monday I had driven about 50+ miles. Tuesday morning I went to start it, I heard the radio for half a second, and then it was just dead. Pushing the ignition literally did nothing, the doors wouldn't lock, the trunk wouldn't pop, just no life whatsover.
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      02-03-2012, 07:50 PM   #22
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OP: I have had the same experience on 2 of my BMW's recently and was told the exact same thing by the Dealership. They went as far as printing out the driving history. Bottom Line: as said above in a previous post, my cars weren't being driven enough to charge the battery.

I turned to Mike Miller (Roundel Tech Writer who lives nearby) and he advised that I get a Battery Tender Plus which I did. It is very easy to connect and disconnect (no greasy hands) but I understand that you don't want your Sister doing this.

I have found that a few hours on the Tender every 2-3 weeks and it keeps everything working properly. Not exactly perfect but I can live with it.

Good Luck!
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