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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old 03-30-2011, 04:49 AM
steve550 steve550 is offline
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Battery Failure

Hello,

Has anyone experienced a battery failure on their 2011 550 yet? My car is 4 months old and last week started to display a "replace battery" error. The car never had any symptoms of a bad battery, however when I took it to the dealer, they tell me I need to buy a new battery. They say they can't find anything wrong, however the computer tells them that I left the fob in the car one time and it kept waking the computer up. They are contributing the bad battery to this and said it was my fault. Anyone heard of anything like this before? They are not covering this under warranty.

Thanks, Steve
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  #2  
Old 03-30-2011, 04:58 AM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve550 View Post
Hello,

Has anyone experienced a battery failure on their 2011 550 yet? My car is 4 months old and last week started to display a "replace battery" error. The car never had any symptoms of a bad battery, however when I took it to the dealer, they tell me I need to buy a new battery. They say they can't find anything wrong, however the computer tells them that I left the fob in the car one time and it kept waking the computer up. They are contributing the bad battery to this and said it was my fault. Anyone heard of anything like this before? They are not covering this under warranty.

Thanks, Steve
I have heard of a couple of issues with this. I would be willing to bet it's related to the logic in the fancy pants clutched alternator not coming on enough to keep the battery charged.

Tell your dealer that it's unacceptable for the battery to have died already and it's under warranty. If they still say no, call BMWNA or find another dealer. You should not, under any reason, have to replace the battery on a 1 year old car unless you're trying to run a small city off it on a regular basis.
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  #3  
Old 03-30-2011, 05:23 AM
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07X3platinum 07X3platinum is offline
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The previous generation 5 had battery problems too, particularly those with Comfort Access. Some dealers replaced their battery under warranty and others did not. I guess it just depends on the dealer.

I think if they can find a reason that it is the owners fault (short trips or leaving the key in the car) then they will ask that you pay for a new battery. If it's a problem with a faulty Comfort Access door handle thats preventing the car from going into "sleep mode" then they probably would have covered the battery under warranty or at least recharged it for free.
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  #4  
Old 03-30-2011, 05:43 AM
bfv bfv is offline
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Originally Posted by 07X3platinum View Post
The previous generation 5 had battery problems too, particularly those with Comfort Access. Some dealers replaced their battery under warranty and others did not. I guess it just depends on the dealer.

I think if they can find a reason that it is the owners fault (short trips or leaving the key in the car) then they will ask that you pay for a new battery. If it's a problem with a faulty Comfort Access door handle thats preventing the car from going into "sleep mode" then they probably would have covered the battery under warranty or at least recharged it for free.
Hope this is a problem with comfort access FOBs only.
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  #5  
Old 03-30-2011, 05:47 AM
midwestengr midwestengr is offline
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Battery is well under warranty. BMW replaced new battery for my previous 3yr old 530i at 48000 Mile Free of Charge! Also on the TV ad, BMW stated $0 for everything except Gas and Tire. You might want to see service manger instead of service advisers. Thanks
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  #6  
Old 03-30-2011, 05:59 AM
Quick11 Quick11 is offline
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My battery failed the second day I owned the car. It took BMW 3 days to decide to replace the battery. I've had it for 6 months now with no recurring problem. (535i)
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  #7  
Old 04-08-2011, 05:34 PM
Shua22 Shua22 is offline
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A friend of mine told me about this in an x5 and Manhattan BMW wanted 700 for the battery. He said they allegedly told him it's common in Manhattan because of the garages and how many times they start the car and move it around the garages. I was surpirsed...

Now low and behold, my 535xi with less than 4000 miles is displaying the following:





Called my Rep today but he's on vacation til Monday so I will let you know how it all turns out.
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  #8  
Old 04-09-2011, 10:58 AM
ict330xi ict330xi is offline
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There is no way in you know where that I would tolerate them not covering the battery. Short trips or whatever reason they give. If the car can't handle short trips it's a design error. I'd go straight to the service manager and I would have the BMWNA customer service number on my cell phone queued up and ready. Of all the little issues on the board this is the one that I dread the most and the only one likely to make be take the nuclear option
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  #9  
Old 04-09-2011, 11:24 AM
Tore_s Tore_s is offline
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I got the battery changed after 6 months, has also been replaced a soft close lock, 4 steel wires in the doors, remodeling of Webasto, changed the battery in 2 personal key's replaced battery in remote control for entertainment system for rear seat! I got my car 6 july, it's a 525da F10.... All this for free! :-)
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  #10  
Old 04-16-2011, 04:24 PM
Shua22 Shua22 is offline
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Re my post above (#7), Manhattan BMW replaced my battery without any any question. They claim that it was a known software issue.
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  #11  
Old 04-16-2011, 05:56 PM
Zathris Zathris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shua22 View Post
Re my post above (#7), Manhattan BMW replaced my battery without any any question. They claim that it was a known software issue.
Interesting. I wonder if there is a software fix available or in what point they fixed it in production.

-Zathris
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  #12  
Old 04-16-2011, 06:19 PM
jcai jcai is offline
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Mine is 535i and the battery is replaced 3 months after I got the car brand new. The dealer just told me that it was just a bad battery and they replaced it with a new one. No further explanation.

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  #13  
Old 04-16-2011, 06:42 PM
Zathris Zathris is offline
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Interesting. My car actualy sports two batteries. I was told this was needed due to the self park feature. I wonder how that might change the battery dynamic.

I've thought about putting a battery tender into the car to top it off over the weekend. Anyone have any thoughts on that solution? I'd imagine it would prolong the life of the battery or batteries.

-Zathris
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  #14  
Old 04-16-2011, 06:49 PM
Quacker Quacker is offline
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...Just a quick note on my 535ix. I've checked all the power outlets (cigarette lighters) including the one in the passenger footwell under the glove compartment and trunk. They all power down in about 10 minutes after the car is turned off. As far as I can tell, a tickle charger would need to be attached to either the jumper terminals in the engine compartment, or a power tap that would need to be installed at the battery itself.
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  #15  
Old 04-16-2011, 08:35 PM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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The BMW battery tender attaches to the under-hood terminals. I use one on my M3, which sat in the garage, unstarted, from 12/1/10 to 4/1/11. Tender works like a charm - started right up after its 6 month "nap" with no drama whatsoever.

The BMW tender is reasonably priced with your BMWCCA discount. You can find a cheaper tender without the Roundel on it, but I am more comfortable using a BMW part - presumably, it gives them less "wiggle room" to deny a claim if my battery dies or the tender fries an electronic module. If I had a Brand X tender connected for 6 months, I am sure that BMWUSA would tell me to take a hike.
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  #16  
Old 12-13-2011, 10:51 AM
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autojack autojack is offline
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My battery failed too after one year, 9950 miles - same as Shua22 in his post below. Same screen message. Mine is at the dealer today. I will report the result tomorrow.
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  #17  
Old 12-13-2011, 12:13 PM
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Erregend Erregend is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathris View Post
Interesting. My car actualy sports two batteries. I was told this was needed due to the self park feature. I wonder how that might change the battery dynamic.
-Zathris
Maybe, but RealOem.com says the second battery is in cars with Integral Active Steering (Option S2VHA). Which I have on my 535i.

Not sure what it is for unless it has something to do with the rear wheel steering on these cars.

Last edited by Erregend; 12-13-2011 at 12:14 PM.
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  #18  
Old 12-13-2011, 03:05 PM
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BobRBob BobRBob is offline
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This is nuts! I sure hope this doesn't happen to me. I've never had a car before that drained its battery in so many creative ways or that needed a battery tender if you aren't driving the car the way you "should be".
What next?
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  #19  
Old 12-13-2011, 03:16 PM
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A big surprise - yes. I have not been able to confirm this from BMW yet, but .... I have heard that the new 2011 F10 bmw efficiency dynamics that gets us a few extra mpg comes at a price - early death of the battery. This might be akin to, but not identical to (i.e., smaller scale) the trade-off in a hybrid, getting better miles per gallon, but with added electrical cost.

This does not deter us BMW faithful, but I think BMW corporate should have just told us up front about this trade-off, rather than being surprised.
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  #20  
Old 12-13-2011, 03:28 PM
Emilner Emilner is offline
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I am on my third battery. They are completely covered by warranty, I would get really PO'd if my dealer tried charging for one.

I for one think the "efficient dynamics" alternator is one horrible idea. It eats batteries like nothing else (and batteries just happen to be one of the greatest ecological nightmares to deal with) and does not contribute to better gas mileage in my experience. The mileage on my car lower than I expected. My S550 which was almost 5000lbs and had a 5.5L V8 regularly got 1.5-2mpg better mileage than this car. Frankly I can't stand how the car slows down so quickly when you take your foot off the gas- the car does not coast, I wonder if the alternator actually costs MPG....
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  #21  
Old 12-13-2011, 05:31 PM
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Okay, just heard back from the dealer. My F10 has a software problem which requires a software update/fix, and there is apparently "nothing wrong with my battery". (???)

I don't think they are telling me the whole story, but it is all covered under the new car warranty, and I have a new 328 loaner in the interim.
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  #22  
Old 12-13-2011, 07:20 PM
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Hmmm. I've noticed now on a couple of very cold mornings that my starter seems to be cranking a bit slower. It still turns over fine (not an HPFP issue), but I've only got 14700 miles and about 15 months on my 535i. I'm keeping an eye on it -- hope it doesn't get worse. I also thought about the alternator setup and wondered if this is common.
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  #23  
Old 12-30-2011, 07:59 PM
RMTBMW RMTBMW is offline
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2011 535i Battery Replacement Message

I got the indication (replace battery) today. 1 year from purchase.
I had heard about this possiblity from a well versed friend who also has a 535 (GT).

I am an engineer and very familiar with battery/charging systems from offshore sailing and managing those DC power systems very closely.

The bottom line is that the car requires significant power to run all the groovy sophisticated toys; GPS, bluetooth, etc. "Efficient Dynamics"... which seems like another word for regenerative braking seems to work pretty well, but if you are outside the statistical envelope of deceleration/braking time versus energy usage the battery will eventually die.

In a normal car the alternator is always spinning... and the amount of power generated varies with the needs of the battery. Downside is spinning it when you don't need the power... and its less green.

There will be a few cases when batteries die early... high electric loads (seat heaters, A/C fans on high, etc... with little braking (lots of cruise control time).

I am a bit surprised that the regenerative braking circuit would not engage during normal driving when the battery was below 50% or other setpoint. Maybe a bit of drag on the car, but obviously better than losing the battery. My VERY speculative guess is that the regeneration takes power from one of the wheels; not two or four. Therefore an assymetric load, and might make the car feel like it was "pulling" left or right. When braking this pull is balanced by the opposite tire brake; when decelerating it may not be as evident, but I am looking for it. It would probably also take 1 or 2 MPG off the ratings.

I have put an intelligent charger on the car and I am monitoring the voltage.

I am not sure of the chemistry of the battery, but if it is regular lead acid... it will either recover or be "dead"... the latter if the charge level got below about 20%.

One "mitigating solution" for this would be to use a larger capacity battery in the same size area, which is a lithium battery (like cell phones). 3x Capacity - same volume. Also accepts 3X Charge rate. And is 50% lighter. They use this technology in electric cars. About 5X price of lead acid.

The higher capacity is not a long run solution if the driving pattern just does not fit. If you use more power than you regenerate... it eventually dies. More capacity can help the issue of the car sitting unlocked or getting through a temporary odd driving pattern.

It looks like my driving pattern was just a little off... 3-5%/month inbalance in Amp-Hours... and its over in a year. Could be longer or shorter depending on the pattern.

I also left my car unlocked in the garage while travelling for a 10 days. The issue is that some of the systems stay "awake" listening for everything from bluetooth connections to key fob proximity signals. Found this out when my blackberry was connecting to the car bluetooth from a room over the garage... that was freaky.

Locking the car shuts more down, and is the right thing to do. Inconvenient maybe, but no big deal. Anecdotal... but I hear that most stolen uber-cars like ours are unlocked; half the times with keys in them... in our nice neighborhoods; a well dressed thief can jump in and drive away.

A real miss in engineering, in my view is the warning coming at "replace battery" time.
If the warning came at (battery low - say 40%)... a better chance to save the battery with a charger; but most of the car buyers would not want to hear it. Frankly, I don't want to be fishing wires under the hood on my Uber-Car. Or trying to drive and decelerate more, and get the little guage to show charge... which I am doing now. That's pathetic.

I also belive they should explain a few of these things at the dealer, or better in the manual. I am a manual reader... and find little to nothing on the subject.

The odd responses from BMW that I see third hand, (but have not personally experienced) is unfortunate. Especially among enthusiasts... it seems transparency and dialogue would be better than lots of speculation (including mine).
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  #24  
Old 12-31-2011, 02:58 PM
MikeTz MikeTz is offline
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As the poster above correctly points out there is a difference between a drained battery and a failed one. A discharged battery can be recharged and a failed one cannot. If your battery failed then BMW must replace it under warranty. The whole key FOB, short trip, and other excuses is pure nonsense. BMW monitors your trip duration but if you make some long trips in between the short ones then your battery should be charged and BMW doesn't monitor the sequence (short then long et.) of your trips so they can't blame the dead battery on this. Besides if you did make many short trips or left your key FOB in the car it would discharge not kill the battery and you could recharge it with no problem.

The design of the charging system is the real culprit. BMW has designed the charging system so it doesn't fully charge the battery. At about 80% charge the software unloads the battery from the alternator giving the car better mileage. This allows BMW to claim better EPA mileage and sell more cars. The downside is it shortens the life of the battery. Your service guys may not know this but that doesn't mean you are at fault. A new battery under warranty is your right and you should be firm on this point.

Ask to see the part in your purchase contract where it states you must drive so many trips of a certain duration or you are responsible for the replacement of the battery - the language does not exist. I had this problem on my 550i and got a new battery replacement free under warranty. But they gave me the key FOB and short trip crap first and said I would have to buy the battery. I am an electrical engineer and after embarrassing the service staff they finally capitulated and replaced the battery.
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  #25  
Old 01-01-2012, 11:25 AM
RMTBMW RMTBMW is offline
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UPDATE:

1- Charger made some progress; indicates full charge. Voltage at 13.1 which is a little high but I can't find the battery to check more deeply.
The car still indicates to have the battery replaced.
I am not very happy about messing with this charger all the time... good thing I have some time over the holidays. Patience will evaporate tomorrow.

2- I was wrong about the wheel/driven regenerative braking... I think. I was under the impression there was no engine (Belt) driven alternator. But I do think I see one, Now that I am tinkering under the hood.
That is consistent with what MikeTz suggests. And if he's right about charge cutoff at 80%... that can be a big life-shortener for a lead acid battery. Mostly depends on when it cuts back in.
MIKETZ... do you know at what level the alternator turns back on? Montitoring that level is also not a simple as one might thing... lots of factors.
Lead Acid likes to cycle between 65-85% of charge. If it goes to much below 50%... bad... below 20% and its killed.

Charging from 85% to 100% is is agonizing as the charge efficiency drops and the CAR (Charge Acceptance Rate) drops off logarithmically.
If one is running a generator, like I do on my sailboat, to charge the batteries once or twice a day, the last 10-15% of charge takes forever and is inefficient
I don't understand that analogy for the car, as the engine is running with other primary loads (driving the car).
So... mileage... yeah... but if I wanted a Prius I would have bought one.

3- I wonder if they considered a lithium Ion battery. These are out for boats now. Charge acceptance rate is flat from 0-100% (incredible). MAX CAR is 3X Lead Acid (charge 3-4 times faster).
And you can discharge down to 10% with very little voltage drop and no damage to battery... so its effectively three times larger.
I have to go find the battery now and see what it looks like. This would seem to simple to miss.... but its probably another $500.

This is my second BMW. First was a EU Delivered 540i. Leased this one. Planning an EU delivered M-5 when the young drivers are out of the house. I will be careful not to buy a science experiment.
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