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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys -

Need a little help in determining if I need an alternator or battery (of course the shop said both :rofl: )

I keep getting the "increased battery discharge message" on my idrive almost never morning. Note - I do not drive my car more than 10 miles/day (short commute) and only drive 3-4 days a week. On top of that its been <15 degrees all week.

Was quoted $295 for the battery and see anywhere from $400-800 for the alternator repair.

Symptoms:
1. increased battery discharge message before every start
2. difficult crank (sometimes need two) in order to start
3. fan speed does not go above medium even if the knob is turned on full (works on full blast when in defrost/demist mode)
4. cannot hold or maintain the date and time

Any ideas?

2008
550i
113K
Great Lakes area
 

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Registered
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432 Posts
Some questions you need to ask yourself.
1: when was the battery last replaced?
2: did the repair shop measure the output from the alternator?

Lack of power will give you a ton of errors and problems that can be very hard to determine. So if the answers point to the repair guys being right then I would have it done before you end up in a worse place than you are in now.. I cannot comment on the price but I am sure someone else will
Best of luck
 

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Casual Fanatic
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Agree with the above. You can get a battery from AutoZone for about $180 and registering may run $50 bucks, so if the $295 includes registration, that's not too excessive.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Car was never taken to the shop. Called ahead for availability and asked the price of a battery.

The battery was replaced roughly 3 years ago.
 

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30FF <3
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2,619 Posts
take it to autozone and have it tested...

temps recently dropped in our area so, maybe the cold may have killed your battery

price to replace alternator sounds reasonable, $100 an hr for labor

belt, tensioner, fan, and if have an oil cooler all of those things have to come out to remove it...

i can replace it for you for a price better than an indy shop if u can provide the alternator "if its not your battery". PM if interested...
 

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Nuclear engineer
02/2012 X5 35d M57Y CPO 99K miles NOKIAN WR G3 12K miles
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17,477 Posts
Increased discharge warnings are not an alternator or battery issue. Auto parts shoppes are not competent or capable of testing an installed (BMW) battery. Installed battery voltages are meaningless as the BMW battery is ALWAYS under load.

newTIS.infobeta
Home / BMW E60 550i Sedan / Repair Manuals and Technical Data / 61 General vehicle electrical system / 61 20 Battery /
Closed-circuit current measurement

https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/...hicle-electrical-system/61-20-battery/YDj5gs8
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks - I have a decent 100-mile trip her tomorrow - perhaps that can charge her up. If not - taking it in for a test. For some reason, I am not sold on it being an alternator.
 

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2013 535xi
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4,190 Posts
Alternator charges a battery, battery holds the charge until drained.
You have something going on the with later.
 

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Under the lift arms
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12,949 Posts
put a volt meter on the battery terminal while under full load,
 
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