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View Full Version : Cannot unlock my car!! With remote or key!


m4d m1ke
02-09-2011, 07:41 AM
Hi guys, I have a 1997 BMW 540i/6, and for the first time I have a problem with it. Hopefully it's something minor, but for right now I'm unable to open my car at all. I've tried using the remote, I've tried using the key itself and neither has proven successful. The light for the alarm is blinking, so I'm assuming the battery is not dead. Any suggestions???

It was working fine last night, the remote has a new battery and is responding when I press the unlock button. This morning however I can't get it to open. Is it possible for the alarm system to get disabled due to cold weather??? It's -17 degrees today in Chicago. Thanks guys!

540indiana
02-09-2011, 07:49 AM
Have you tried getting in thru your trunk with key? I am not trying to insult you in any way. Maybe you need to reprogram you remote since it has a new battery on it?

QSilver7
02-09-2011, 07:55 AM
Unless the lock is frozen, you should ALWAYS be able to manually unlock the car with the key. Make sure that you are turning it COUNTER CLOCKWISE past the place it unlocks electronically.

If you can't turn your key counter clockwise to the position in the pic below...you need to start lubricating your door lock cylinder...because this may be the only way to get into your car if its locked and the battery dies:

http://www.bimmerboard.org/members/q/original/manual_door_lock.jpghttp://www.bimmerboard.org/members/q/original/Door%20Lock%20Cylinder%20Positions%20E38%20E39.jpg
http://www.bimmerboard.org/members/q/original/Key%20in%20Manual%20Unlock%20Position.jpg

Or perhaps your key needs to be reinitialized if you had the battery out for more than 60 seconds...follow EVERY instructions in the info below:

http://www.bimmerboard.org/members/q/original/Initialize%20rubber%20E38%20Key.JPG

540indiana
02-09-2011, 07:58 AM
+1 Thanks Q. I just assumed that everything on the car was somehow controlled electronically. Very helpful

m4d m1ke
02-09-2011, 08:00 AM
I tried the driver side door first, and i got the key in there, but could not turn it in any direction, the trunk on the other hand I can't even get the key into the lock. I'm assuming they are just frozen.

As far as reprogramming the remote, i don't think that would be necessary since i replaced the battery a few weeks ago and it has been working fine until today.

Josh P.
02-09-2011, 08:18 AM
Hair dryer on lock cylinder.

m4d m1ke
02-09-2011, 08:27 AM
Hair dryer on lock cylinder.

- I wish I had a wireless hair dryer.... :tsk:

energizedmortal
02-09-2011, 08:34 AM
15 degrees in nyc this morning my manual entry was frozen also, had to spray a little bit of water on it and jerk the key a little bit to crack the ice and be able to turn it

Josh P.
02-09-2011, 08:40 AM
- I wish I had a wireless hair dryer.... :tsk:

LOL. Try lock commercial lock deicer or a little warm water, not too much.

m4d m1ke
02-09-2011, 08:54 AM
Well thanks for the quick replies guys, I'll buy some deicer on the way back from work and try it out when i get home and see what happens. Thanks again.

EconoBox
01-02-2012, 04:41 PM
Buying some deicer !

thecushion
01-02-2012, 04:47 PM
I know this is an old thread but thought I would throw in my .02 . I have an 02 540 and you can use the remote to let the windows down.

QSilver7
01-02-2012, 08:57 PM
Yes, you can do that...as long as the battery is not dead.

If the battery is not dead...but you can't for some reason unlock the doors with the key...you'll also need to be agile...cause you'll have to climb threw the window to get inside if the doors were locked using the remote...or if you locked the car manually with the key. When the car has been locked with the remote or manually with the key...the central locking system goes into "double-lock" mode...the handles inside the car will not open the door (unless your car was built after 10/00). If you have a 2000-up...then you have to press the central lock/unlock button on the center console...the pull twice on the interior door handles to open the door if the car has been locked from outside with the remote or in door lock cylinder.

This "double-lock" feature makes it difficult for thieves that try to break into your car...if they break a window...they have to crawl in & out of that window over the broken glass because they won't be able to reach in and pull the door handle to gain access.

bluebee
01-02-2012, 09:37 PM
If you have a 2000-up...then you have to press the central lock/unlock button on the center console...the pull twice on the interior door handles to open the door if the car has been locked from outside with the remote or in door lock cylinder.

I'm confused.

For the 2000 on up ...

What do you have to do to 'double-lock' the doors?

Is it as <s>simple</s> convoluted as:


Shut off the engine & pull the key out of the ignition
Press the central lock button on the console to LOCK the car?
Then exit with the double pull of the door handle?
Then lock the car with the remote after you shut the door behind you???

That can't be right. I guess I need to consult my owners manual ... 'cuz that doesn't make sense to me.

scottjoh
01-02-2012, 09:47 PM
I'm confused.

For the 2000 on up ...

What do you have to do to 'double-lock' the doors?



Double locking of the doors is accomplished by locking via the key fob or locking via the key in the door and activating the electronic locking. When double locked the interior handles won't work and you can lock someone in the car with no way to get out. You can unlock a double locked door with the key fob by pressing unlock, using the key in the door and activating the electronic locks or using the key in the ignition and pressing the central locking button (this last one might have changed)

QSilver7
01-02-2012, 10:28 PM
I'm confused.

For the 2000 on up ...

What do you have to do to 'double-lock' the doors?...
Sorry about that Bluebee (btw happy new year!)

Scottjoh explained it very well.

The central locking system allows locking/unlocking of the entire car from one central point outside the car using a keyless remote or by inserting the key into the lock cylinder...or from inside by pressing the central lock/unlock button on the console.

When the car is locked from OUTSIDE the car...the car is "double-locked" in that every door & trunk & fuel filler door is locked...thus if anyone is left inside the car when it is locked from outside...they can not get out of the car. And to make matters worse...30 seconds after the car has been locked from OUTSIDE...the interior motion sensor will be activated when the slightest movement is detected inside the car. (this is why the owners manual warns to turn OFF the interior motion & tilt sensor when leaving people/pets inside the car).

When the car is locked from INSIDE the car (using the central lock/unlock button...the car is "single-locked". This allows the doors to be opened by pulling twice on the door handles...and also the FUEL FILLER DOOR remains UNLOCKED so that in areas where fuel station attendants fill the tank...the occupants of the car can stay safely locked in the car but the attendant can still fill the gas tank.

Starting with the 2000 model year...BMW changed the way "double-locking" works. They reworked it so that passengers could actually get out of the car if someone locked the car from OUTSIDE. This was the procedure that I was referring to in the post above. You have to press on the central lock/unlock button (FIRST)...which will then allow the interior door handles to be pulled twice...THE ALARM WILL GO OFF...but the door(s) can be opened and passengers can get out of the car...unlike before where they'd be locked inside the car until someone came with a key and unlocked the car from outside.

Hope this makes sense. :)

bluebee
01-02-2012, 11:24 PM
When the car is locked from OUTSIDE the car...the car is "double-locked"

OK. This is easy to understand:

To doublelock:


Exit the vehicle normally
Press the remote-lock button once


(or otherwise lock the car from the outside)

It's now 'double locked' & alarmed

When the car is locked from INSIDE the car (using the central lock/unlock button...the car is "single-locked".

This single locking behavior I'm (all too) very familiar with as mine has that furstugehah automatic-door-locking feature enabled!

Starting with the 2000 model year...BMW changed the way "double-locking" works.

Hmmm...


You have to press on the central lock/unlock button (FIRST)...
Then allow the interior door handles to be pulled twice...

THE ALARM WILL GO OFF...but the door(s) can be opened

and passengers can get out of the car...

I'll have to try this on mine ... but ... seems to me ... offhand anyway ... If I were to be 'locked inside' my 2002 E39 with the key outside ... I would just press on the central console unlock button to unlock the doors.

Maybe that doesn't work from inside (or maybe it does, but the alarm goes off) when the car was previously locked (as I said, I'll have to try it).

Psmith1
01-03-2012, 06:42 AM
Im having a similar issue with my e46 while I was having some bodywork done. The body shop remove the door handle and lock, as well as the mirror. Everything seemed fine, then suddenly he shut a door and all doors locked up. Both doors inside and out are locked tight no matter what he does. The key doesn't work, the remote doesn't work, etc. We've tried the above actions (central lock, then double interior door pull) and nada....

I've disconnected the battery for a few hours and that doesn't reset it either. Everything was put back together and it still doesn't open.

Anything else I can try?

Psmith1
01-03-2012, 08:37 AM
Problem fixed. It was a re-assembly issue with the door. One of the door lock screws was not tightened properly.

Thanks!

QSilver7
01-03-2012, 09:30 AM
Starting with the 2000 model year...BMW changed the way "double-locking" works.

Hmmm...


You have to press on the central lock/unlock button (FIRST)...
Then allow the interior door handles to be pulled twice...

THE ALARM WILL GO OFF...but the door(s) can be opened

and passengers can get out of the car...

I'll have to try this on mine ... but ... seems to me ... offhand anyway ... If I were to be 'locked inside' my 2002 E39 with the key outside ... I would just press on the central console unlock button to unlock the doors.

Maybe that doesn't work from inside (or maybe it does, but the alarm goes off) when the car was previously locked (as I said, I'll have to try it).
Yep...you'll see that if your car has been locked using the remote (in which you're normally outside the car)...and you're on the inside of the car....the central locking button and the door handles are not operable as normal. To get out of (your 02) car when it has been put into "double-lock"...you'll have to press the central lock button, then pull twice on the door handle to get out (and the alarm will sound off). I'd be in trouble since both my BMWs were built BEFORE the 2000 model year...I'd be stuck inside until someone came back with the key. :(

If passengers are going to remain in the car...then let them lock the car using the central button after you've gotten out. That way the car is in "single-lock" and they can get out at anytime they desire...and the alarm won't sound off either.

And if you're leaving pets or anything that is going to move inside the car...then press the remote lock button twice (or turn the key in the lock cylinder twice) to disable the interior motion sensor.

Let us know how your test goes. :D

EconoBox
01-04-2012, 03:40 PM
What are you guys talking about?
I can't use the lock button on the center console, b/c it's disabled when the door is open.
The only way I lock my 530i is to use the remote key. Is there any other way?
Does anyone manually press their door lock after getting out?

QSilver7
01-04-2012, 09:39 PM
1. What are you guys talking about?
2. I can't use the lock button on the center console, b/c it's disabled when the door is open.
3. The only way I lock my 530i is to use the remote key. Is there any other way?
4. Does anyone manually press their door lock after getting out?

1. This thread kind of changed after you brought the thread back...and the discussion turned to how the central locking system works. When the car is locked from outside...the system is double locked...and when the car is locked from inside..the system is single locked (the explanation of those terms was explained above).

2. Yes, you're correct... you can't lock the driver's door when it is open...its a safety feature that prevents the driver from locking themselves out of the car. It was never suggested that this is a way to "lock" your car. This was brought up in the discussion as a way to "TEST" the "double-locked" feature of e39s from 2000 model year up. Passengers accidentally or unintentionally locked inside the car by the driver, can get out of the car...whereas if the car was built before 2000...the passenger(s) would be stuck inside the car until the driver comes back with the key to unlock the car. (see discussion above for the procedure).

3. Yes, you can manually insert the key into the driver's door lock, or the trunk to lock the car from outside. If you're on the inside of the car...and the drivers' door is shut...you can lock the car using the button on the center console. Or if you leave passengers in the car...they can press the central lock/unlock button on the center console after the driver's door is shut.

4. No...as mentioned above...it is impossible to press the door lock pin on the DRIVER's DOOR...due to the "prevent the driver from locking themselves out of the car" feature. But all of the other doors can be manually locked when the door is open.

If for some reason your car has lost power (dead battery) and you want to lock the car...you can insert the key into the driver's door lock cylinder and turn it to the MANUAL LOCK position (past the location that electronically actuates the central locking system)....or you can close the driver's door, then open one of the other doors, reach in and push the door lock pins down...obviously saving the passenger door you're in for last. Then to unlock the car, you stick the key into the door lock cylinder and turn it to the manual unlock position.

http://www.bimmerboard.org/members/q/original/Door%20Lock%20Cylinder%20Positions%20E38%20E39.jpg