A First off, recognize that modern automobiles equipped with numerous electronic processors and gadgetry experience a parasitic current "draw" on the battery when parked with the ignition turned off.
BMW publishes service information showing the timeline for the current draw after shutdown.BMW E46 How To Diagnose/Fix A Parasitic Battery Drain
After 60 minutes the parasitic loss should be about 30 milliamps -- or 0. It would take several weeks at this loss rate for a good battery to fail to start. The fact that every battery that's been in your car has discharged to the "no-start" point in just a few days indicates the parasitic current draw must be significantly higher. A stuck relay can draw half an amp per hour and flatten a battery in a couple of days. A small lamp -- glove box, trunk or the like -- draws more current and will deplete the battery faster.
Since the shops haven't been able to find the leak, so to speak, you could try the do-it-yourself method that involves connecting a homemade ammeter -- a tail light bulb's terminals connected between the positive battery cable and positive battery terminal.
If there's a significant current flow, the light will at least glow dimly.
How to Do a Parasitic Battery Drain Test
If it does, unplug each fuse and relay, one at a time. If the light goes out as you disconnect or unplug a fuse or relay, that's the circuit where the current is flowing. Don't overlook the possibility of the alternator or charging system not adequately recharging the battery as you drive. The cumulative loss over several driving cycles can leave the battery significantly discharged when you park the car.
Normal parasitic loss can then deplete the battery in just a few days. Q I'm having trouble with the passenger side original rear strut on my '96 Camry withmiles on it. I've had a few timing belts replaced along with one fuel pump, oil pump, water pump and radiator. Unfortunately I've not replaced the struts. When driving down the freeway in the left lane, the right rear strut makes no noise, but when driving in the right lane it clatters very loudly to the point I have to turn the radio up.
Is it not safe to drive it this way? My friends say to drive it until my knees start to hurt. It runs down the freeway fine but handles more like a boat. I hate to put too much money into it. A Are you telling me that your car has more than half a million miles on the original struts? That's incredible. Safety is the biggest concern.
Dead shocks no longer properly control up and down wheel movement and load transfer. That means significantly less efficient "contact patches" between the tire tread surface and road.
And that means the vehicle will no longer ride, stop or turn well. Congratulations on reaching the half-million mile club; that's an amazing achievement. Do your car a favor -- give it a new set of struts. Home All Sections Search. Log In Welcome, User. Coronavirus Minneapolis St. Troubled south Mpls. White House virus task force member says 'none of us lie'.
Lawmakers clash over extension of Walz's emergency powers.I know you only have one hour to leave work, grab the kids from practice, and pick-up dinner, but stop and just have your BMW towed. It can be the most expensive battery or jump start of your life.
30d 2002 BMW X5 parasitic battery drain solved!!!
I got a call from a towing company owner who was having trouble with a i. They went to the residence and jump-started the car followed by the AAA representative selling the customer a new battery.
That is where the trouble started. The AAA rep disconnected the battery strike one and strike twoand then installed the wrong size battery and re-connected the battery cables strike three. Much to his surprise, the car would not start, the steering became locked, gear shifter locked, and there were no instrumentation lights. They are a home computer, entertainment center, home office, and a robotic personal assistant all wrapped in steel with an engine and 4 wheels.
This all requires a significant amount of wiring, control modules, and electrical monitoring systems that make everything work. To complicate things, all of these functions rely upon each other for power and reliability. Simply put, they are strung together like old Christmas tree lights — one goes out and the rest of the strand is closed for business.
The second victim of this battery change attempt was the SZL, which is basically the control module that controls things such as wipers, instrumentation, steering wheel buttons, the horn, turn signals, etc, etc. In short, you cannot just change a battery, there is a specific procedure that must be followed in order to do it successfully.
Ben Amen at our shop explains:. The car must be off and key out of the ignition. The battery should be sonically tested for bad cells, and once tested poorly, should be replaced with a battery of the SAME SIZE and Cold Cranking Amperage to ensure these complex systems receive the same power input that they would from the factory. When removing the cables one must be very mindful of the delicate positive AND negative terminals, as each connection contains a very sensitive micro-control module on them that monitors power input and output of the battery in addition to communication with the airbag deployment string of modules.
OK, enough technical stuff. In this particular case, the car lost several modules and one battery cable. Tons of re-programming and coding was also needed as each step was executed during repair in order to save modules that had yet to be affected. Prior to the battery being replaced, I called BMW roadside assistance, who came out to do a jump start. The tech I got was obviously not very well-informed regarding BMWs because I had to tell them that the jump start terminals were under the hood despite the battery being in the trunk.
In any case the jump start got the vehicle going, but I noticed the date stamped on the battery was so I took the car to an independent service centre and requested that a new genuine BMW battery be installed. It really annoys me that BMW would sanction a jump start even when third parties are involved when there is the potential for so much damage, which they surely know.
I have either been lucky or yet to get the expensive repair bill if any control modules were damaged as a result. I guess the lesson for me here is just to be a lot more proactive as a customer, and insist that the battery is tested during routine servicing to avoid this sort of situation arising in the first place.
Chris, should I be concerned about this causing unnecessary wear on the alternator or the batteryor will it eventually get charged up? As this vehicle only gets occasional use, my thought is to get a charger and use it, but what would be a safe charger to avoid causing electronic damage? My understanding is that the car will not charge the new un-registered battery at the same rate and the new battery will not last as long.
Can you shed some light on that?? Does this mean that the dealer can only provide a battery replacement and not an independant such as yourself? This is true. If you are careful, you can actually change the battery successfully. A good independent BMW shop should have the ability to register your new battery. Simply put, the car will adjust how it charges the battery based on a number of factors including the age of the battery. If you do not register the new battery the car will charge it as if it was the old one.
I have heard of batteries exploding or popping in the trunk due to over-charging.You're late for work and rush out to your car, only to find that it won't start. The headlights are dim and the engine simply refuses to turn over. You realize that your battery is dead.
How did this happen? A car battery is the most crucial piece of equipment to starting and driving your vehicle. This includes lights, radio, air conditioning, and more. You may be able to tell when your car battery starts to die if you find it difficult to start, have flickering lights, or a weakening alarm system. Parasitic drain is due to components in your vehicle continuing to run after the key is turned off. Some parasitic drain is normal — your battery delivers enough energy to keep things, like your clock, radio presets, and security alarm operational at all times.
However, if there's an electrical problem — such as faulty wiring, poor installation, and defective fuses — parasitic drain can exceed what's normal and deplete the battery. Many cars power their lights, radio, and other systems from the alternator, which can make the battery drain worse if there's a charging problem.
The alternator may have loose belts or worn-out tensioners that keep it from working properly. A car alternator recharges the battery and powers certain electrical systems like lights, radio, air-conditioning, and automatic windows. If your alternator has a bad diodeyour battery can drain. Whether extremely hot over degrees Fahrenheit or cold under 10 degrees Fahrenheittemperatures can cause lead sulfate crystals to build-up.
If the car is left in such conditions for too long, the sulfate buildup can damage long-term battery life. It may also take a long time for your battery to charge in these environments, especially if you only drive short distances.
Your battery may wear out before its time if you take too many short drives. The battery puts out the most power when starting the car. The charging system cannot top off your battery while driving if the battery connections have corroded.
They should be checked for dirt or signs of corrosion and cleaned using cloth or a toothbrush. Loose battery cables make it difficult to start the engine too, as they cannot transfer the electrical current efficiently.
If your battery is old or weak, it will not hold a full charge well. You should generally replace your car battery every years. If old, or poorly maintained, your battery may die on a regular basis. Having a battery that won't hold a charge is frustrating, and figuring out what's causing the problem can be tricky. Assuming that the cause of the battery drain is not human error, you will need the assistance of a qualified mechanic who can diagnose your car's electrical problems and determine if it's a dead battery or something else in the electrical system.
Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2, U. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair. You may be able to tell when your car battery starts to die if you find it difficult to start, have flickering lights, or a weakening alarm system Your car battery may begin to drain for 8 reasons: 1.
Parasitic Drain Parasitic drain is due to components in your vehicle continuing to run after the key is turned off. Defective Alternator A car alternator recharges the battery and powers certain electrical systems like lights, radio, air-conditioning, and automatic windows. Extreme Temperature Whether extremely hot over degrees Fahrenheit or cold under 10 degrees Fahrenheittemperatures can cause lead sulfate crystals to build-up. Excessive Short Drives Your battery may wear out before its time if you take too many short drives.Dan Ferrell writes about do-it-yourself car maintenance and repair.
He has certifications in automation and control technology. A parasitic battery drain is when an abnormal and continuous discharge of power occurs after having shut off the engine. Usually, this is caused by a short circuit or an electrical device that remains in the "on" position or energized, such as:.
But a battery-power drain can also be the work of a bad alternator diode or even a faulty battery. Depending on the amount of current being drained, a parasitic draw will suck all the juice from your battery in a few hours or minutes. The first three tests require the use of a digital multimeter. If you don't have one, you can buy a useful multimeter for around 20 dollars. And you don't need to have much experience in car repair to apply any of these tests.
Here are the sections you'll find in this guide. Skip to any particular part you are interested in or read about the tests in the order presented here recommended to follow a more systematic approach to your repair. The first test—the amperage battery drain test—is best suited for older vehicle models, s and older, that come equipped with one or two computer modules.
With newer cars with more control modules, usually you need to wait 30 minutes or so for the modules to turn off. And even then, you may "awaken" one or more modules while conducting a battery drain test. For this type of vehicle model—and older models as well if you wish—use the voltage drop battery drain test described in the next section. Now, start your tests. Note: If you haven't used a digital multimeter before or have little experience using one, watch the next video for some quick tips.
With the amperage test, you probe the different electrical circuits searching for the presence of electrical current when there should be none. For example, if you detect electric current in the accessory light bulb circuit, you'll know this isn't right since all lights should be off. Just remember that the circuits for the dashboard clock, stereo, and computer module will have current in them.
Reading within range: If your reading is within range, you're probably dealing with a faulty charging system or battery.
To do a quick alternator drain power check using your digital multimeter, go to the section Bad Alternator Diode Test below. Then, if your alternator passes the test, do a battery check using a hydrometer tool as described in the Car Battery Hydrometer Test section. Reading above range: A higher amperage reading means you have a problem in one or more of the electrical circuits.
Continue with the next steps and leave your multimeter connected to the battery. Use a pair of plastic clamps to hold the meter probes to the battery terminals, or ask an assistant for help. Make sure no one attempts to crank the engine, turn on the air conditioning or heater, or any other accessory while your digital multimeter is connected in series as for the amperage test to your car's battery. This will blow out your meter's fuse or destroy your tool.Original Poster.
Search My Stuff What's New 3 12 24 Bizzybirdy Original Poster 4 posts months. I Have to share my absolute joy, at last the thing that has spoiled a pretty good car has a last been solved. I've been plagued by flat battery's for nearly three years, BMW had the car to look at when the problem first arose and straight away diagnosed a heater fan final resister as the culprit.
This meant carrying a power pack in the back just incase of the embarrassing failure. The last weekend found the battery going flat overnight, so enough is enough back to BMW with it. They have always said they could't find a problem, and this week for the first day of looking they could not find a drain' so they left it over night with an oscillascope attached and hey presto!!
Next day they left it asleep or so they thought in the corner of the workshop. The mechanic wandered over to check if anything had been going on just at the right time, as he looked the thing flickered into life, so while it was active he started pulling the different module fuses out and when he pulled the telephone command module fuse it stopped drawing. At last problem sorted, as i don't use the phone in the car it won't be a problem not to have it anymore. Just glad to have found the problem, I hope this helps someone out there who is having the same problem.
A Very Happy Bizzy. VxDuncan 2, posts months. Have you not just cured the symptom, not the cause though? The vehicle has been woken from sleep mode, allowing the telephone module to power up a draw current. Obviously, you've reduced the draw buy removing the phone. However, I seriously doubt the phone module is able to send a message to wake the vehicle from sleep mode unless there is a safety critical reason why it would be able to - possible for tracking purposes? All the time it is awake it's drawing more current than it should - it's quite possible the other modules esp the body controller and major CAN gateways will flatten the battery after a couple of weeks.
I wouldn't want to be leaving it in an airport carpark while you go away for a couple of weeks as is. Worth trying to find what the cause is - now if you had access to the BMW CAN spec you could monitor the bus and look for certain message ID's to figure which module was waking it out of sleep, but I guess only BMW could do that. There might be previous of this in BMWs records? Sorry to be a bringer of doom on a rainy Friday night BTW.
A friend of mine is having a similar problem with his 05 Cherokee. The Jeep dealer can't find a fault and neither can an auto electrician, he now removes the battery negative lead every night A good point VxDuncan, will pass your thoughts on to BMW, i'll let you know what they say, meanwhile i'm the happiest i've been with the car.
They had it on test for another 24 hours after they took out the fuse for the TCM, they recorded no more activity. Maybe they were waiting for something different to wake up. DHabibi 1 posts 44 months.All seemed to be working well until one morning when you found your car completely dead.
No lights, iDrive, starter function, just dead battery on your beloved BMW. The night before you went through one of those touchless car washes with the undercarriage spray. And if you have aftermarket devices installed on your car like a DVD player, for exampledo not rush to the dealer either: they will most likely blame the dead battery on your aftermarket gear and make you strip your car off of those before coming back for a re-check.
Unless your car is under warranty still, raising the dead battery issue with the dealer, from what most BMW owners report on plenty on forums, will likely lead to your being sold a new battery. Bottom line: it may be quicker and way less expensive to troubleshoot the dead battery yourself first. Just try the quick and easy steps below before purchasing expensive replacements. BMW recommends that the battery is charged via the jump start terminals under the hood. First, disconnect the battery from the car.
Connect your charger now, red clamp first and proceed to slow charging the battery. A dead battery can take up to 24 hours to fully charge. Do not let the key in the ignition while the battery is charging. Cars use an alternator, a device that recharges the battery while the car is on the move, using as a power source precisely the energy generated from the car engine. So basically the car has a way of recharging itself.
But this only works when the engine is running. If the car is parked, there is no source of energy in use, just a limited capacity battery. And you only have power being drawn from the battery by the plugged-in device and nothing recharging the battery. This is why forgetting your headlights on led to the dead car surprise on your return to the car.
So if you had a dead battery and you just recharged it, make sure there are no external power consumers plugged in. Any chargers or adapters in the cigarette outlet? While there may be instances when you need to keep an OBD-II scanner plugged in to investigate an issue you have with your car, depending on your OBD-II scanner specifications, it might not be a good idea. This will not be a big problem while driving, but it can drain the battery when the car is idle.
The IBS contains a microprocessor that monitors various battery conditions: voltage, current, temperature, starting current and something called closed-circuit current. When the car is currently, the IBS is permanently active and monitoring. When the car is parked, the IBS wakes up every few seconds, performs the tests and goes back into sleep more to preserve battery power. These faced the faulty IBS issue by the hoards.
If the IBS is faulty, it can prevent your car from going into sleep mode and causes the battery to go flat. To test the faulty IBS hypothesis, you simply have to disconnect it from the negative terminal of your battery. To disconnect the IBS, remove the little red wire that goes into this tiny module.
If the battery draining disappears once the IBS is disconnected, you have your culprit. You can then go ahead and purchase a new IBS online. The FSR gets its nickname from its looks: it looks spikey, like an angry hedgehog.When the ignition was turned on nothing happened. No dash lights, nothing. I though it might be the battery so I replaced and the started and everything worked.
The next day the battery was completely drained. I brought back the battery and they replaced it and this time they checked it and said it was good. Two days later it was completely drained. I took it to BMW and they checked the electrical system and said nothing was draining power, the fuses were OK and the recharging system was fine.
The did say the would have used a different battery and wanted me to try that. If you drive the car everyday it's fine but after two days of sitting it is drained again. Do battery drain test below:. One day the car would not start. Do you.
e46 battery drain
Was this answer. This was done at BMW as stated in my statement. Already checked the lights. Something is still draining the battery or could be a problem with the alternator not charging and you running off battery voltage only- Was this answer.
Charging system was checked as well as power drainage and fuses. Any action on this issue? Not happy with this website. Everything told to me I already knew. Final response " take it back to dealer ". I will be requesting a refund. John Was this answer. We will be glad to refund your donation. Send your contact information to: mike 2carpros. Com Was this answer.
If you have a battery going dead in two days, there must be something drawing a bunch of power and to find it, I recommend starting with a fully charged battery, and that the charging system is functional. Close all the doors and windows and let it sit for at least 16 minutes. The light in the shifter display is an indicator of the bus systems' activity, when it goes out, the car should be "asleep" and current consumption must be below 50 milliamps.
Watch for the light to be out, if it not going out, then the car is not going to sleep and the battery will be drained. If you get past that test, then the key off draw amperage test is next. Install a digital multi meter set to measure current on at least a 10 amp scale and when the car sleeps the consumption should go down to Was this answer. Ive traced an electrical fault to my gprs unit draining my battery.
Just wanted to know what options I have? Im thinking I could replace the unit but also my thoughts are that it could be a programming or software issue? Anyone heard of this? Yep that is for the computer bus network, I would try checking the seat switches to see if one is stuck on, or if any of the lights such as the dome, glove box or trunk are staying on.
Please let me know so we can help others.