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X3 F25 (2011 - current)
The latest X3 brings some added style and some new features to the BMW SUV family. Talk about the new F25 now!

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  #1  
Old 11-04-2011, 03:57 PM
Griggle Griggle is offline
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Sudden Battery Death?

I returned from a non-eventful lunch at 1:30, all was fine with my car. At 3:00, a co-worker mentioned to me my headlights were on. I went down to check it out and was unable to get in using the remote. I get in manually, and car won't start. Then, dashboard and interior and exterior light just go nuts. They stop, they start. One light, two lights, rear lights, error messages. Goes off. Then, all go back on.

Road side assistance sends a tow. That was fun. We couldn't figure out how to get the back hatch open to access the battery because none of the locks would open without the electronic key. Tow guy was too big, so I climbed into back to try and figure out how to release the back hatch and couldn't. Tow guy called his boss, he was clueless. He says they cannot and will not take the car because it's stuck in gear (gosh more salt for my miss my MT wound) and they aren't taking a chance. Heck, I'm not giving them the chance. They tell me this is outside their area of expertise and advise me BMW needs to send a technician to unlock the car using some special boot.

I called my dealership. They said they would call me back with instructions on how to open hatch after they went to another x3 to figure it out and I need to call back roadside assistance, get them back there and tell them how to do it.

Service manager also tells me I might have done something wrong. He says that 'believe it or not, there is something you can accidentally do to your headlights that can drain the car dry in a few hours'. wtf? I asked him what specifically that accidental thing was that could do that, but he wasn't sure. He had just heard there was a way. I didn't touch my headlights. I don't touch them. They've been on auto since the day I took her home. Unless I messed with the remote somehow?? Even if I did, draining a practically brand new battery dry in less than 2 hours???? Then, to have a car engineered to not be able to easily access the battery?

Anyway, here I sit waiting for them to get back to me on how to open the hatch so we can get at said battery.


I'm glad that this didn't happen on the side of a road or in a parking lot late at night. I've hated the whole lock system on this car and in particular the hatch since day one - this just takes it to a whole new level.

Has anyone else had this sudden battery death happen? Assuming of course, that is what it is.
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2011, 04:34 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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The vehicle can be attempted to be jumped by using the jump points underneath the hood. That's the proper way to jump the vehicle, not thru the trunk/cargo area, and has been for most BMWs for at least a decade.

The vehicle can only be flat-bedded if you should tow it. Otherwise damage to the differential may occur.

The best you can do is ask for goodwill on this one, as you may have inadvertently left some lights on, potentially thru the kerbside parking lights (unlikely). The battery management system does keep track of the cause of the drainage and the dealer will know this.

I think the sad part is that BMW NA contracts towing services thru contractors that are not trained to deal with BMWs. A very similar situation happened to my dad's E70 last Dezember and the only way they were able to get the car towed was the next day when I, the "resident BMW expert" , showed up to release all the mechanisms.

Last edited by AzNMpower32; 11-04-2011 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 11-04-2011, 04:43 PM
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raleedy raleedy is offline
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I don't believe there's any way to leave lights (or anything else) on long enough to drain the battery. Those things all shut off when the electrical system goes into low-drain mode after a few minutes following locking. The dealer suggestion that the owner is at fault seems just wrong. I would suspect a defective battery. Warranty surely covers.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:14 PM
Griggle Griggle is offline
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AzNMpower32, he did try to jump the car several times using the jump points under the hood. He couldn't get a charge enough to even get her into neutral (so he could put her on the flat bed). He thought direct access to the battery was the way to go. I had a skirt on. Before I climbed over the seats and crawled under the cargo net, he swore to me it was a legitimate option

To your point: He did tell me he wasn't a BMW expert, but professed his boss to be, but that thought was laid to rest when he called his boss who said he had no idea what could possibly be wrong and totally deferred to BMW.

BMW has dispatched a tech who should be here in the next hour or so.

If I had accidentally hit the "on" for the lights (vs. auto setting) - wouldn't I have gotten the warning ding when I opened the car door?
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:30 PM
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Yeah, it sounds an awful lot like what happened to my dad. The dealer claimed he left the parking lights on, draining the battery and that warranty would not cover the replacement (it was later covered under goodwill). Hard to say. The newer cars have such a complex electrical management system that's great when it works, impossible to diagnose when it goes wrong. Don't really know what to say.
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:22 PM
Griggle Griggle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
The newer cars have such a complex electrical management system that's great when it works, impossible to diagnose when it goes wrong. Don't really know what to say.
Gone are the days when my car was dead and a friend would be able to push me until my clutch popped, and off I'd go Instead, here I sit. Technology...ha.

Thanks for the input...at least I know that it's not some epic fail that others have experienced. I just didn't want to come on to find out it was a well documented issue that was bigger than a battery!
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:24 PM
02420X3 02420X3 is offline
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Griggle,

There's something wrong with your electrical system that has nothing to do with anything that you did. And it should be up to BMW Assistance to figure out how to tow the car safely. There is a specific procedure to get the car into neutral if there is battery power available. There is also a specific under-car procedure to get the car into neutral if there is no battery power available. BMW needs to be able to provide to those procedures to their subcontractors when needed.
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:26 PM
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Griggle,
what the latest?
My battery died when car was 6 mo old with 7K miles. Close the door (light off automatically), go to office, return at lunch time - can' open with remote. BMW assist send AAA tow away truck (flat bed). Get new battery under warranty. Sorry about your trouble.
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:10 AM
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Hi
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Old 11-05-2011, 08:22 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Grig, any updates? Still can't figure out why they couldn't load the "in gear" car using a flatbed and dollys on the wheels. Lift up the car, place dolly under wheel, winch up. In any event it is a lousy system that has been badly engineered. What ever happened to the manual transmission release?
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Old 11-05-2011, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleJ View Post
In any event it is a lousy system that has been badly engineered. What ever happened to the manual transmission release?
There was the Park release handle back in the older 6AT cars like the E70 but it appears with the 8AT, that has been deleted as well. In spite of all the stupid electronic gizmos on the E70, there was a manual release for critical components: tailgate, glovebox, AT, and park brake.

I dunno, perhaps I should ask the German forum whether its an issue for them
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Old 11-05-2011, 02:10 PM
Griggle Griggle is offline
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After several attempts at jumping her with his jump box, the tech could not get the car started. The tech had foresight enough to bring dollys with him and he called the same tow company back (who did not have dollys) and she was towed to the dealership last night.

I picked her this morning and was told that it was all battery related. They replaced the battery, reset everything and all seems to be fine. In speaking to the service guys this morning, them confirming and reconfirming it was just the battery and not an electrical problem with the car, we went over some of my (apparently bad) habits with regard to my keys. It would seem that I unwittingly may have just sucked the life out of the battery.

In the entrance from the garage to the house we have a key cabinet where we store all our keys. First and last thing we do when we enter or leave is to hang up or take keys. It's recessed into the wall, attached to a stud like a medicine cabinet. On the opposite side of that wall, less than two feet away, my car is parked. The tech was thinking, because of the proximity of the car to the key, the car always thinks the key is in it, so it's technically always on and using power to some degree when the car is parked in the garage. After 6 months of this and the occasional leaving the key in the car between usages, the battery just got sucked dry.

For giggles, when I got home, I did press my lock button while the key was hanging on its hook, and the locks did engage...

I don't know. While it seems to make sense, I'm not sure that it's accurate. I know once I had my key in my pocket in a jacket that I left in the back and being too lazy to get it, I thought it close enough that I could start the car, and it didn't. So, if the key wasn't close enough at that point to start the car, how is one hanging two feet away close enough for the car to think it's in there?

It looks like I'm fine for now and will hang the key someplace else, and not leave it in the car at all anymore. If it happens again, at least I'll know it wasn't anything potentially key habit related.

The whole thing was enlightening in a way also in that I bought this car with all this latest and greatest technology, and quickly found I was way too ignorant of how it worked. After driving a MT all my life, I honestly ever even thought about the car not being able to go into gear if it stopped or stalled. Had this happened while driving on the road or at a light, I'd have had no idea of what to do. Scary stuff. Shame on me.

Last edited by Griggle; 11-05-2011 at 02:11 PM.
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  #13  
Old 11-05-2011, 04:27 PM
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Glad everything is OK now!
Did you ask your SA how to open trunk with out remote fob?
After reading many post, I start having habit - when I get home after work and park my car in garage - I lock the car. Read some were, that if car not locked, some battery drainage occur. With age of my battery approchnig 5 yrs and what I need to pay $$$ to replace - better safe then sorry.
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Last edited by MB330; 11-05-2011 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:39 PM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is offline
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So Griggle, did the garage tell you how to get the car into neutral if this were to happen on a main road? I think their theory of the "key being left near the vehicle" sounds like a bunch of BS. All electronics are shut off in the vehicle after 15 minutes if the user doesn't double press the start button or lock the car when exiting. Now if you turned on interior lights or something, that might be a different story. Glad it all worked out for you in the end.
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:44 PM
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Question: do you have Comfort Access?

Generally, proximity should not be an issue for the battery unless you have Comfort Access.
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