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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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Old 04-01-2013, 08:33 PM
Schitzo Schitzo is offline
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Location: Minneapolis MN
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 249
Mein Auto: 2000 528i
Dead Battery, Door Won't Open Manually? Here is My Recent Experience!

cliff notes below.

I have a new to me 530i I put in storage back in November. Prior to storing the car, I did the usual winterizing including lubricating the door locks. I also disconnected the battery since the car would not be driving for another 6 months. I believe I locked the car remotely then disconnected the battery.

Fast forward 3 months later, and it was time to go check on the car. I put the key in the door lock and tried to turn counter clockwise but the key would not barge. I tried the key on the trunk lock and had the same result. It felt as though I would break the key within the lock cylinder if I applied more force . This was back in January so I concluded the lock was frozen. After all, the car was stored in an unheated garage and the temp at the time was below 10F. I figured I would return when it warmed up.

Yesterday it was ~40F so I figured I would go check on the car. Once again, I tried to open the door and trunk but yet again the locks would not barge. At that time I resulted to searching the forums and found there were several people who had ran into a similar situation. It appeared, I had to somehow supply 12 volts to the car in order to unlock the doors. One member on here suggested supplying 12 volts to the foglight lead then using the remote to open the doors. I used a small 12V battery with a fuse on it and was able to open the doors remotely within 5 minutes.

This allowed access into the car but did not solve the issue with the cylinder locks. I tried to lubricate the door and trunk lock while turning but was still unsuccessful. Finally, out of frustration, I pushed the key into the lock as far as it would go then turned. To my surprise the cylinder turned very smoothly to the 45 and 90 degree position. I tried the same approach at the trunk lock and was able to turn it easily. I came to the conclusion that my issue was as a result of a bent key blade. I'm not sure how the previous owner got it this bad.

Below are pictures comparing a brand new key to the old bent key.

Cliff notes: If you cannot unlock your door manually, ensure the key is inserted all the way into the cylinder lock. You may need to apply some force to get it all the way into the cylinder lock.
l Stock 2000 528i l
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:10 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,190
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
Originally Posted by *****zo View Post
my issue was as a result of a bent key blade.
Your information will be useful for this thread:
- How to open the trunk manually when you have a dead 12v car battery (1) (2)
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Note: Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need, in seconds!

Last edited by bluebee; 04-01-2013 at 10:16 PM. Reason: Added picture composite
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