With some model vehicles, a few extra steps need to be taken after a battery has been replaced. Some manufacturers require that new batteries be programmed or registered and coded after the installation. If you drive a BMW and wonder if this applies to you, we can help. We researched this car from multiple professional sources, so you'll know what you must do.
Any model BMW manufactured in 2002 and after must have new batteries registered and coded.
Now that we know that BMWs produced over the last two decades need to have new batteries registered and coded, we'll take a look at why this is necessary. You might also be wondering if you can register the BMW batteries on your own or why BMW batteries are so expensive. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post and see what our research has uncovered.
Do BMW Batteries Have To Be Programmed?
Programming the new battery for a BMW is a must if the vehicle is 2002 or newer. The reason this process needs to be completed is because of how a critical piece of technology relates to the battery that powers the car.
Digital Motor Electronics needs to know the battery is new
A BMW has a sophisticated onboard computer system that relays and receives information from many of the vehicle's components. When it comes to the battery, this computer (known as its Digital Motor Electronics) regulates how much power it will need from the alternator to get recharged.
As a battery ages, it loses its ability to charge as quickly and will need more of a push from the alternator. The DME will store the battery's information, basing its regulation of alternator power on the battery's age.
Outdated information can have costly results
If a new battery is installed, the DME will not register that information automatically. In fact, it will continue to treat the new battery as it did the old one, perhaps giving it too much juice from the alternator.
This can severely overcharge the new battery and result in significant damage to it. Over time, this will greatly diminish the life of the new battery and lead to a costly replacement.
The risks extend beyond the battery itself
But the damage doesn't end with just the battery life being lessened. In some instances, not registering and coding a new battery will result in costly damage to the alternator and electrical system. And while it can be expensive to replace a battery, buying a new alternator can set your bank account even more.
How Do I Register My BMW Battery?
When you purchase your new BMW battery, you'll want to be sure that you get it registered immediately. Trained technicians at BMW service centers can handle this for you, but it can cost upwards of $200 just to have the battery registered and coded.
So, maybe you're considering doing this part on your own. You can do this much cheaper by using a company like Bimmertech, which can supply you with the support online to get this finished.
For the job, you'll need a laptop, a Bimmertech coding cable (available from the company), and either an Ethernet port or an external USB-RJ45 adapter.
Purchase battery service registration
If you are using Bimmertech to register and code your new battery, you'll first need to purchase their registration so that you'll get the tech support and coding cable.
Once this has been secured, you'll schedule a date and time for the task. Remember that this should be done the same day the battery is installed.
Install the new battery
Before you can register the new battery, it will need to be installed. Located the old battery (it's almost always in the trunk) and carefully remove it. Be sure you dispose of it lawfully!
Install the new battery. Now, grab your laptop and get ready to start the process of getting the battery ready to be used.
Secure the information from the new battery
On the new battery, you'll find vital information that you'll need to register with the DME. Take a photo of it, making sure that you have clear images of the model number and technical information. This will be necessary to get the battery registered.
Connect the DME to your laptop
Park the BMW in a spot where you will have a solid Wi-Fi connection. Next, look under the driver's side dashboard for the OBD2 port. When your scheduled session with Bimmertech has started, the technician will prompt you when to connect the laptop to this port.
The connection will be secured by using the coding cable from Bimmertech. Depending on what model you are driving, this will either be through an ethernet port or an external USB-RJ45 adapter.
"E" model codes will use the ethernet port, while "G" and "F" model codes will utilize the external USB-RJ45 adapter.
The registration process will begin
Once the connection between the vehicle and your laptop has been established, the registration process will begin. The Bimmertech agent will monitor and walk you through the registration process. In about 15 minutes, your new battery will be registered, and your vehicle will be ready to drive.
How To Replace The Battery In A BMW
It's not necessary to have the dealership or authorized BMW service center replace the battery in your BMW. Once you've purchased the battery, you can easily replace the battery yourself if you have a bit of technical know-how. Follow these steps, and you'll have the new one installed in no time.
- Park the BMW and turn the engine off.
- Locate the battery that you are replacing. It's usually in the trunk on the passenger side.
- Disconnect the negative battery terminal with a 10mm wrench.
- Disconnect the positive battery terminal.
- Use a 13mm socket to remove the battery brackets. There is a bracket on the top of the battery and one on the side.
- Take out the old battery.
- Put the new battery in, and secure the brackets.
- Connect the positive battery terminal and the negative terminal. It's important to do this in that order.
- Register the battery using the methods we detailed earlier in this post.
- Dispose of the old battery according to local regulations.
Why Is A BMW Battery So Expensive?
If you've never replaced a BMW battery before, you might be suffering from a bit of sticker shock when you see how much one will cost. The battery itself will have a price that can be as high as $300.
As we mentioned earlier in this post, registering and coding the battery is not included in the battery price.
How Long Will A BMW Battery Last?
Like most model vehicles, the BMW has a battery that should last between three and five years on average. Over time, the battery will slowly weaken and not be able to maintain a full charge. And as its age progresses, there will come a point where it can't hold a charge at all.
To get the most out of your BMW battery, ensure that you give it the proper care and treatment. Routinely inspect it for buildup around the terminals and remove it when necessary. Make sure the cables are connected correctly and are free from splits or noticeable shorts.
Do your best to not drain the battery by leaving the lights on without the engine running. The more times you drain the battery to nothing, the less life you'll get out of this part in the long run.
Model BMWs that are 2002 and newer will need to have new batteries registered and coded immediately upon replacement. This can be done on your own or at an authorized BMW service center for an additional fee.
Failing to get a new battery registered will lead to damage to the battery and potentially the alternator and electrical system.
We hope this article answered all your questions. For additional information, we suggest reading the following posts:
My BMW Check Engine Light Is On But Gives No Message Or Codes – Why? What To Do?
Where Is The Ground Strap On A BMW? [And How Do You Replace It]?
Is Your BMW Active Grille Not Opening Or Closing? Here’s What To Do!