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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Who keeps a battery 7 years?

    That'll be me, or even longer :blush: . My (almost) 21 year old Sentra is only on it's second battery. The '87 BMW I got rid of in the fall was still on the battery my son put in back in 2001. My 2005 truck still has the factory battery in it.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 33,370
    Try Walmart. They have good batteries. Quite possible they carry one for a 3 series.

    Or autozone. Sears.

    it's just a battery, even if it is in the trunk!

    2019 Acura TLX A-spec 4 cyl. (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Below freezing, a battery can lose up to 40% of its power. So if it's 'good enough' for 32 and above, it may not be at 20 and below.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 128,361
    I'm on the original battery in my car... Six years old and counting...

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    do not tweak the noses of the gods.... :P
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited January 2012
    If its a 2006, then its included in the E9x series.

    As far as I know (and, sometimes I don't know very much), all E9x series require battery registration, and BMW dealers are (with few exceptions) the only shops than can do this.

    So, the Piper (in this case, BMW) is probably going to "get his due".

    One poster's experience (from another forum... I hope this will be allowed, since its aimed at helping a poster here...

    I replaced the original battery on my 2006 E90 myself in 2010, figuring it must be due, especially since the Florida heat tends to be tough on batteries. I had read a number of DIYs and never saw anything about registering the battery (never heard of such a thing until today). Within 6 months or so the car was cranking slow. By late summer 2011 the battery went completely dead. I put another new battery in myself (this was just a few months ago). Within weeks I noticed the cranking was somewhat slow again. I started thinking maybe the ignition coils are getting old. Today I've got the car in a good local shop for a rear window regulator replacement (damn those windows). Just got a call --- the battery is bad and the car wouldn't crank. The subject of "registering the battery with the car" then came up and was explained to me. So in addition to the window repair job I'm having them put in a new BMW battery and do the registering

    This is what you call learning the hard way that the car's design is too "advanced" for the owner's own good. Bottom line is I would recommend taking care of the registering.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 2,037
    So exactly what represents 'registering' a battery? It sounds like it involves introducing the charging system to the battery's quirks and limitations to that it doesn't fry the thing. Am I right?

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv. (RIP 2001 Jaguar XK8 cnv and 1985 MB 380SE [the best of the lot])

  • Prior to getting the 330xi, I had a Honda Prelude for about 12 years. Cant remember changing the battery even once. Maybe once, I just dont remember. I left it on a friends driveway, all winter one time and still had no issues starting it up.

    Of course, my friend claimed that he would drive it out once in a while to keep the battery juiced up, and I do believe him :)

    But the 330xi, I only drive once a week or so, and this time, hadnt driven for a couple, just when the night time temps went into the single digits.

    Good news is that the jump seemed to get it back. Im worried, it might stall again on a long drive, so have invested in AAA after many years :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well they call it registering but really any competent and well-equipped indie shop should be able to do this. You have to hook up the scanner, clear all the codes and then check into, and possibly program, (dial in) various systems so that they work properly. So maybe the dealer quote was for dealer shop time rates, which as you know can be $$$.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    So exactly what represents 'registering' a battery? It sounds like it involves introducing the charging system to the battery's quirks and limitations to that it doesn't fry the thing. Am I right?


    Mr_Shiftright pretty much nailed it.

    Different battery construction types have differences in their optimum charge rates, how they discharge, etc., and "registration" gives the on-board computer the info it needs to program charging rates, etc.

    I haven't had the experience myself, so I can't tell you who, besides BMW, may be able to perform the process.

    You can simply change out the battery and replace it with a new one, but be prepared for some strange "electronically related" issues to arise.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited January 2012
    apparently even BMW is not quite sure what strange phenomena might occur. For instance, your sunroof could stop working. The scanner has to figure all this out.

    Here's what ALLDATA says: (ALLDATA PRO is for all types of mechanics, not just the ones at BMW dealerships.)

    The scope of application of some systems may be restricted after a power supply interruption.
    Likewise, individual settings may be lost.
    Settings or activations must be carried out, depending on the equipment specification.

    For example:
    Vehicles with automatic engine start stop function (MSA): MSA function is active only after learning period (vehicle must not be woken for a period of approx. 6 hours) > if necessary, notify customer of the situation
    E46 Perform (four-wheel drive) / E53 / E83: steering angle sensor adjustment
    If necessary, carry out adjustment of active steering
    If necessary, activate slide/tilt sunroof
    If necessary, activate power windows
    If necessary, activate mirror with compass Please refer to the Progman user documentation for further information on vehicle-specific activation.
  • chewy2chewy2 Posts: 19
    Does anybody know what the cost of registering a new battery might be?
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,601
    edited January 2012
    think that this is part of why the vast majority of "modern" BMWs are distributed to (many/most are leased) to consumers rather than enthusiasts?

    BMW appears to prefer that no one ever raise the hood; any and all maintenance issues (including putting in oil from time to time) should be taken to the dealer. The hood may as well be welded shut, oh and the trunk too, in the case of the battery.

    Several of us think otherwise. . .way otherwise.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well just reading that description, and considering what it might take to physically remove and install the battery, this can't be more than ...what....1.5 hours total?

    So where I live that's $200 + the battery.
  • wasdcbmwwasdcbmw Posts: 1
    edited January 2012

    I just purchased a 2010 328i XDrive with 35K miles. Dealer is offering the BMW extended warranty (not third party) for 6 years /100K miles at $2500 (7 years / 100K was $3000). He was also offering to extend the maintenance program to 6 years/100K for another $1700.

    The car is relatively new - In service date was in May 2010 but mileage is high.

    Should I buy the warranty, maintenance or both?

  • onemtonemt Posts: 2
    If you can afford it get the maintenance warranty but I wouldnt get the service warranty because you can save money by buying the parts online and getting a reputable mechanic to do the work or do it yourself if you can. I have an 08 328xi purchased with 39000 miles and havent any issues 30000 miles later.
  • My 2006 330xi has 120k miles and still on original battery, it's garage kept so no more (so far) starting in the morning and this winter it's pretty warm.
    Also I'd drive 80 miles a day 75% highway so the battery gets charged.

    Do a search for
    E90 Duralast 47-DL
  • Here's a puzzler - 2001 330 128k miles. I took it in for a water pump and while in the shop (Indy) the PCV oil separator condensed water & cracked in the cold winter night. When they fired her up the shop filled with white oil smoke... quite an event I've been told. Replaced the PCV assembly and burned off the oil dump into the cylinders... but now on some cold starts (not all) and just driving at any speed or condition, she'll spontaneously burn oil for a couple seconds and then it stops, all is good, like nothing ever happened.

    All cylinders checked for compression and are OK. Based on that we're scratching our heads as to what would cause this intermittent oil burn...

    Any thoughts on next steps?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,115
    white smoke is water, not oil.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • This is oil - billowing clouds - I blew through 1 quart in the last day. The inter-mittent bursts last for about 5 seconds, then the engine clears it out and all is well for awhile. My mechanic is stumped. It is not consistent, it comes and goes. Does not not have to do with temperature as it's 55 degress F in Michigan today. Seems to happen at lower speeds 70mph. Happens whether I'm accelerating, decelerating or on cruise control.

    Anyone have any suggestions on how to analyze to get to the root cause?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Only thing i can think of under these conditions would be a sudden rise and fall in crankcase pressure.
  • Anyone have a recommendation for an Independent BMW shop in the greater Detroit area, Northern suburbs?

    For motor work.
  • Any thoughts on what might cause a sudden rise in crank pressure to happen?

    I thought it may be a faulty PCV assembly that we just put in but my mechanic didn't think so. He said if it was faulty, it would be a continue draw of oil from the pan into the cylinders causing the engine to Hydro-lock... which is what happened to it when they had it in the shop a couple weeks ago.

    Prior to that I had no isues with oil consumption or these intermittent oil bursts.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    No, you can't hydro lock with oil...only with water--that's why they call it HYDRO-lock.

    I'm not getting a good feeling about this mechanic, I have to tell you.
  • Good point! - Sans his incorrect labeling, is it possible to suck that much oil into the cylinders through a faulty PCV assembly to lock it up?

    I also just talked with another mechanic at a shop called "German Motors" and he said he could think of a few things... Cracked piston ring, partially blown head gasket, valve seats.

    Do any of these sound more likely than the others or are there ways to eliminate some of them, without tearing down the engine?

    The car also has an aftermarket supercharger and he said to check the intake to see if there is any evidence of oil from the cooling lines.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    ohhhhhh, well you didn't say anything about an aftermarket supercharger. :shades: Is this oil-fed? If so, then it could very well be sucking in oil. I have no idea what type of unit you have or how it is installed.

    Also, superchargers or turbochargers exploit any weakness in an engine, but I would have thought that only on full boost would the engine then burn oil due to internal problems.

    I'd certainly look further into the supercharger to see if any connection is possible. I know with a turbocharger this would be a prime suspect.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,115
    I still think you've got 2 problems here. Oil does not produce white smoke when it burns. Light some on fire if you don't believe me.

    How has your coolant level been through all of this? What about the condition of the coolant? Any oil getting in there? Have you pulled off your oil cap? Any foam or brown sludge in there?

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490's possible his blower is pushing past the head gasket on high boost. Aftermarket superchargers love to exploit any weakness in an engine not built up for a supercharger.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,253
    edited February 2012
    When the oil separator gets clogged the engine vacuum actually can draw in enough oil to totally fill the cylinders. From the Technical Editor of the BMW CCA magazine ROUNDEL:

    Actually, the saddest stories of M54 oil separator failure end with a blown engine, secondary to hydrolocking with oil, secondary to oil separator failure. It is quite rare but it does happen, especially in cold climates. Your story is quite common. On the bright side, I haven't heard of any catalytic converter failures following oil separator failure -- they smoke like crazy when you start the engine after the repair, but that goes away and so does the smell.

    BMW has a completely revised most of the oil separator parts and every car needs the whole system. But, true to form, BMW didn't tell owners about it and did not issue a service action or provide a secret warranty. The oil separator update with cold weather modification, cleaning out the hole for the dipstick tube, the new dipstick tube, and all the associated hoses (which are always soft and mushy) costs about $450 to $600 depending on where you are and who is doing the work. Every M54 needs it, but it is REALLY important if you live in a cold climate. What happens is that ice forms in the sludge inside the system and completely blocks it, and that's when you get what happened to your car. You're very lucky it didn't hydrolock...

    [T]he updated parts and cold weather modification are detailed in BMW Service Information Bulletin 11 08 03.

    Aftermarket forced induction can only exacerbate the situation I'd bet- especially if the OEM oil separator system was modified in the process.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 33,370
    I'll bite. which engine is the M54, in which models/years? And at what point did they implement the fix on what they were selling?

    2019 Acura TLX A-spec 4 cyl. (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

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