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Monday, December 08, 2008

BMW M3: Service Update, Replacement Battery

By the time I arrived at the dealership on Thursday morning, I was not in a good mood to meet the service team to work on my e90 BMW M3. I had just been stood up by BMW Roadside Assistance, and I had confirmed that I was supposed to have my transmission service on my 1200 mile service the previous week.

As I pulled into the dealership, I started with the greeter that put my time placard and my paperwork on my car. I then pulled into the service bay and stepped out of my car. After a minute, my service advisor came out and knew I was not too happy.

To start with, I was least critical about the electrical / starter issue. While it was the most serious problem, I figured that with my luck -- I had left something on and it was my fault. The advisor looked into the car and the messages showed as "Increased Battery Discharge", never a good sign. We then discussed that it was possibly a bad battery with my positioning being it seems awfully coincidental that the battery problem started happening right with my 1200 miles. Still, I maintained that even though it was suspicious -- I would reserve judgement.

We then spoke about the 1200 mile service and the omission of the transmission fluid change, which I was pretty livid about. Without the problem with the electrical system, I could have driven the car another 10,000 miles with the drive-in fluid in the transmission. That could have done some serious damage. Luckily, I was only at 1220 or so miles -- while I appreciated the fact the advisor apologize and mentioned it was embarrassing when the customer knows more about the servicing of the car than the dealership, I still had a question. How was I to know if they knew how to service the e90 BMW M3 with a manual transmission? We discussed briefly and I was a little appeased.

One nice thing is that I was given a loaner car -- even though they were technically out of them for the day. At least I knew they understood the seriousness of the situation. I was prepared that I could be without my car for 2-3 days while the car was worked on and I left to head into work.

On the positive side, I received a call at 12:30pm -- that the car was ready. The transmission had been properly serviced and they replaced the battery on the vehicle. Seems odd that a car would have a bad battery from the factory -- but I guess it can happen. I went to pick up the car, here is the detail from the invoice:

1239 verified complaint, vehicle had to be jump-started, ran short test and found multiple battery voltages too low, DME-2793 Power Management, KOM BI-A559 Supply was switched off term. 30G. Followed test plan B6131_70112 and found shot off of term. 30G due to start capability limit. Performed a battery test and batter failed due to a bad cell warranty code B9N1G-2TNGH, Test Plan diagcode:D6121_00 ENDIAG_70_902. Removed / replaced batter, register battery and quick delete fault memory

And that was apparently it. The car would not start because of a bad battery. Definitely unexpected given the car was 4 weeks old, but I was glad that was the case.

The big question was for me, that after 5 hours of sitting at work -- would it start -- and it did. Here were are 4 days later and the car is still starting as expected, meaning I am satisfied for now that the problem is fixed. Hopefully we won't have a repeat 4 weeks from now!


Lisa said...

We have a 2008 535xi wagon and have had continual problems since day 1 with the "increased battery discharge". We've had 2 new batteries, a new alternator, software updates, etc. and still having the problem. Now they tell us we have to charge it at night because we don't drive enough. It is driven almost every day and we have 20,000 miles in the 14 months we've had it. Plenty of driving in my opinion. We are pursuing the Lemon Law on this car. Are you still having problems? We have no add ons, all stock. This is the 3rd wagon we've owned and we have also had 2 325's and never a problem like this before. It's an excuse from BMW for a problem with their cars, telling us to plug it in like we live in 1910 or something.

Ken Hanscom said...

Lisa -- that does sound crazy. Especially with the miles you drive, I cannot imagine you needing to charge the car is really the case. I have been fortuante, the M3 has been perfect since I had the battery replaced.

I wonder if there is a short somewhere in the car that has yet to be indentified. Finding the source of the discharge shouldn't be that difficult given a basic tester and access to the fuse box. I think in fact, there was a letter in Roundel last month that discusses a similar problem and how to go about fixing it.

You would think a dealership could handle that in just an hour or two. Have you tried taking it to an alternate dealership?

Good luck,

Ian said...

Hi Lisa,

Wehave a 2008 535xi also, and are having the identical problem. Power failures every 4th day. 4 trips to the dealer and their dignosis is "You don't drive the car enough" The first year was problem free, but since Feb 2009 they have had the car more than we have. Apparently all BMW problems are initiated by the purchaser. It is never the car's issue. I'm convinced we have aterribly inadequate and ambivalent dealer.

Ian Muir In Edmonton

Ps If anyone has an insight to this issue, I would love to hear about it