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      01-07-2013, 07:48 PM   #1
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Low Battery in Winter with Infrequent Driving

My 2008 135i coupe, with only 22,000 miles, began to have a low battery problem last winter due to my infrequent driving patterns. I'm retired and we usually use my wife's car (a Toyota Venza), so my 135i gets infrequent use.

This winter the problem is even worse. The car has always started, but during cold periods (below 20 F) it has frequent clock resets and today the battery icon came on. The car will be five years old next May, so I guess I've gotten decent life from the battery. I'm going to try to nurse it through this winter with a Battery Tender Junior left over from my (younger!) motorcycle days, but I expect I'll have to replace it sometime during the coming year.

I've read the battery threads and I see it's going to be expensive if I go to the dealer, and I have to be very careful to get the right battery and have it coded/registered properly if I go to a non-dealer shop that works on BMWs.
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      01-07-2013, 09:00 PM   #2
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as for saving yourself a bunch of money I would recommend that you keep a battery tender on the vehicle. Me personally, i had one builtin under the hood so that all I have to do is open the hood a little and plug in an extension cord. then it will trickle charge. The vehicle uses a small amount of energy all the time to run things like the clock and other monitoring functions such as BMW assist if you have it. A battery tender will fix this issue.

I am not sure about the battery part as i have not yet researched that.
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      01-07-2013, 09:31 PM   #3
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Save yourself the cash and just roll with a trickle charger for now, even for the near future, especially if you drive it as little as it sounds like you do.
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      01-08-2013, 12:27 PM   #4
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5 years is about max for a battery, even 4 years is pushing it in some cases. Even charging a weak battery (battery tender) will fail. I would spring for a new one.
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      01-08-2013, 12:40 PM   #5
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Just get a new ones, low battery will cause the car to behave weird in some instances and make things not work properly. It made it through 5 years be happy that it lasted that long mine only lasted 3.5 years
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      01-10-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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I read this post a couple days ago and though to myself my car was cranking slowly. So I took a look and saw the black glassmat battery. I though I had the cheaper battery, wishful thinking I guess. Dealer list $293. Plus coding 1 hour labor. Luckily i know the parts guy and he'll do employee pricing for me. $220. and half hour labor to code. Not going to chance it with anything but an oe battery.
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      01-10-2013, 01:24 PM   #7
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The battery is almost shot on a 2008. As New21er said, 5 years is the normal lifespan of a car battery.
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      01-10-2013, 10:47 PM   #8
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i would still recommend a trickle charger. Car batteries are not meant to run dead and when they do the life span will shorten.
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      01-11-2013, 10:15 AM   #9
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I've been having the same problem with my 2011 135i, which was bought in April of 2010, so the battery is 2 1/2 years old now. My dealer also said they get a lot of complaints about this from people who don't drive the cars a lot (I have 17k miles on mine, but haven't been driving as much since I retired in May of 2012). My previous car was a 2002 330i, and it still had the original battery when I sold it in 2010. I guess it's time for the trickle charger.
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      01-11-2013, 03:24 PM   #10
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THIS has worked like a champ for me.
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      01-12-2013, 08:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wadny View Post
I've been having the same problem with my 2011 135i, which was bought in April of 2010, so the battery is 2 1/2 years old now. My dealer also said they get a lot of complaints about this from people who don't drive the cars a lot (I have 17k miles on mine, but haven't been driving as much since I retired in May of 2012). My previous car was a 2002 330i, and it still had the original battery when I sold it in 2010. I guess it's time for the trickle charger.
When I first called my dealer about this problem, on a 15 degree day during the fourth winter I had the car, I told him my clock and my heater shut down when I drove the car that day. He immediately said "I bet you don't drive your car very much. The car makes a lot of demands on the battery, including when the car is not being driven, so the charge can run low with infrequent use and the problem shows up especially on cold days".

Now it is the fifth winter and the problem has become chronic if I don't use the trickle charger.

I assume the problem is just an aging battery, but I am buying an Equus 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor at Amazon to see if I can assure myself the charging system is still trying to charge the battery properly when I am driving the car.

This voltmeter just plugs into the cigarette lighter, so I am hoping it will not screw up any of my 135i's sensitive computer chip-controlled electric circuits.
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      01-12-2013, 05:21 PM   #12
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Where would put a battery tender, at the battery or at the "jump start" lugs in the engine bay?
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      01-12-2013, 05:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New21er View Post
Where would put a battery tender, at the battery or at the "jump start" lugs in the engine bay?
I would put it at the battery terminals. BMW sells a nice one made by Ctek. You can also look on Amazon for a Ctek one too.
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      01-12-2013, 05:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New21er View Post
Where would put a battery tender, at the battery or at the "jump start" lugs in the engine bay?
I've got the positive clamp of my Battery Tender on the positive teminal
of the battery and the negative clamp here:
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      01-13-2013, 12:31 AM   #15
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Dack, thanks for the info on the Ctek. Looks good. Which one did you get? Did you hard wire to the battery using their pig tail. I have a spare tire in my trunk so I would need the pig tail so I woulden't have take everything apart to get to the battery.
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      02-14-2013, 08:23 PM   #16
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The best bet is to attach at the underhood points. The best battery charger currently is the Battery Minder 2012, which has temperature compensation and desulfation.

Youll need to customize the fused ring terminal attachment, but once you do that, it can easily mount between the terminal block underhood near the jumpstart point, and the negative screw terminal shown in the image above.
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      02-14-2013, 09:24 PM   #17
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Some of you guys are making this waaaaaaaaaaaay too difficult.
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      02-14-2013, 09:30 PM   #18
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Some of you guys are making this waaaaaaaaaaaay too difficult.
Nah. With the ring terminal and the standard SAE bullet 12V connector, the whole thing can be done very cleanly, hid really well, and you never even need to pop the hood to put the maintenance charger on the battery...

That's the beauty of it... Makes it easier in practical application. A stitch in time saves nine
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      02-14-2013, 09:40 PM   #19
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I dunno...putting the regular ol' Battery Tender clamps on the terminals as stated above, closing the hood tight and putting the car cover on
last November for storage didn't seem like all that much of a chore to me. Took about 7 minutes out of my life. But to each his own...as long
as you achieve your goal and the Bimmer stays charged through the winter, it's all good.
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      02-14-2013, 10:04 PM   #20
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Yeah I drive my car all year, but it sits irregularly.

The connection is also better with clamps so no chance of arcing or anything.

I use the clamps on some of my cars too. No wrong way.
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      02-14-2013, 11:03 PM   #21
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So what's the process of getting the battery replaced? Buy online, then bring to dealer/Bimmer specialists for registration? If so, what website??
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      02-14-2013, 11:08 PM   #22
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So what's the process of getting the battery replaced? Buy online, then bring to dealer/Bimmer specialists for registration? If so, what website??
OEM battery or what?

The simplest way is to set up an appointment and get it changed. Youll get a BMW battery and they will program, and charge you the time to install.

Alternately you can buy a battery wherever you want, install it at the dealer and ask them to program. Youll still need an appointment, and they will have to do it.

No idea how long or how much for either approach. Other threads give some ideas.
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