If your BMW has a dead battery, you will want to put it in neutral so you can tow it. If you're wondering how to do this, keep reading. We researched this topic and have information to share.
Putting your BMW in neutral when the battery is dead can be done in different ways, depending on the model of your car. Some models have manual override, while others have a key and a switch under the cupholder. If the interior neutral override does not work, you should try the exterior override method.
Continue reading as we go through a detailed explanation of how to put different BMW models into neutral when the battery is dead. We will also be answering some frequently asked questions. Let’s get started!
How To Put A BMW In Neutral With A Dead Battery
Most cars, including your BMW, are not exempt from experiencing a dead battery for different reasons. Many modern cars have an electronic ignition and anti-theft lock, which are helpful features.
However, these features can be a problem when your BMW's battery suddenly dies. When the engine has no power, the electronic shift lock will not disengage, making it difficult to tow.
Luckily, these cars usually also include a manual override that will help you put your car in neutral even with a dead battery. Different models of BMW have different ways of being put in neutral. Here are some methods for fixing the issue:
Manual Interior Override
These steps will be done inside the car. The process can be done to certain models of BMW, like 2004-2010 X3. Before proceeding, make sure to engage the handbrake for safety purposes.
Then open the console or the black covering around the shifter. You can use a flathead screwdriver to lift the cover. Inside the cover, you will see a red or black plastic lever depending on the car model.
Click here to see these flathead screwdrivers on Amazon.
Push the lever, and you will be able to move the shifter. You should be able to put it in neutral and have your car towed for repair.
Check out this video on how to put a BMW in neutral:
Gear Release Tool
With some BMW models that are not X3, you will need to use a gear release tool. This tool is located in your car's emergency roadside kit inside the car trunk. It is usually red and looks like a big key.
Inside the car, you will see a plastic covering on your cupholder. Remove the plastic covering using a flathead screwdriver and insert the gear release tool in the hole. You should push it in and turn it to the right to put your car in neutral.
Check out this video on how to put your BMW in neutral using the gear release tool:
Exterior Neutral Override
If the two ways stated above don't work out, you will need to do an exterior neutral override. You should raise the car with a jack and then remove the underbody panels to reveal the part you're going to work on.
Under the panel, you will find a bolt located in the center of the car near the transmission. The bolt is usually a 5mm Allen screw. Using a screwdriver, tighten the screw by turning it clockwise until your BMW goes to neutral or until the screw pushes the other end.
Click here to see these Allen screwdrivers on Amazon.
Here is a video on how to put your BMW in neutral by exterior neutral override:
Does A BMW Tell You When The Battery Is Low?
The most common sign that your vehicle has a low battery is when everything about the vehicle starts to malfunction or has issues. If you own a BMW, you should not ignore the messages that appear on your dashboard, especially any notification regarding the battery.
BMW has dashboard warning lights for a faulty or low car battery. Three warning levels may show up on your car dashboard.
The message may be a "Charge Battery" warning, which may indicate that the battery is going low. However, your car will still work well, and you are not required to do car service.
Before the second warning sign appears, you may experience some electrical features not working properly. The dashboard warning for this level will show a message "Increased Battery Discharge."
If you ignore the first two warning levels, you can may see a dashboard warning that says "Discharged." In this case, the vehicle may not start.
Does Putting A Car In Neutral Save Fuel?
When you're stuck in traffic or just waiting for the traffic light to turn green, you may be one of the many car owners who put their car in neutral.
Although it is widely believed that putting your car in neutral can save fuel, that is not the case. It may even cost you more on fuel, and it can also be a risk to your car's transmission.
When the vehicle is in neutral, and you suddenly need to move, you will may have to rev up the engine, which can cost you more fuel. You should instead pull the handbrake so that the car's transmission will not wear out.
Also, never put your car in neutral while you're driving. This will not save fuel and may pose a danger since you will not have full control of your car.
Can You Push An Automatic Car To The Start Engine?
Many people buy cars with automatic transmissions because they are reliable and easier to drive than cars with manual transmissions.
However, there is a common misconception that vehicles with automatic transmissions cannot be pushed in case the car has some issues with starting the engine.
The truth is that automatic cars can be pushed in some cases. If your car doesn't start because of engine failure or running out of gas, you can push it off the road. But remember that this is not a good idea for long distances.
If your car won't start because of a dead battery and you attempt to start it by pushing it, this method won't work. You can only jump-start your car using another vehicle's battery.
What To Do When Your Car Is Stuck In Park
It is very inconvenient when you find yourself in a situation where your car won't shift out of park. There are many reasons why this happens. Depending on the situation, you should be able to fix your car when it's stuck in park.
If you can't shift out of park while parked on a steep incline, you will need another person's help. The other person will rock the car back and forth to disengage the car and release the vehicle's weight from the parking gear.
If the shifter interlocks, your vehicle should have a shift lock release to override it. But if your vehicle does not have this release, try turning your key to the accessory position while putting the shifter in neutral. If this method fails, you can try overriding it manually.
Another reason that your car may get stuck in park is because of brake switch failure. You will need to have the brake switch replaced if this happens. To avoid this, you should check your brake lights regularly to see if they are working.
A dead battery is a common issue with cars, especially when they are old or not well taken care of.
If you wake up one morning and find that your BMW has a dead battery, you may want to tow it to the garage for repair. However, you will find your BMW difficult to tow if it isn't in neutral.
You can try the methods we covered in this post to put your BMW in neutral even with a dead battery. Remember not to ignore warning signs on your BMW's dashboard to avoid having a dead battery.
Before you go, be sure to check out these other posts that may be helpful to you:
How To Replace My BMW Battery Without Programming?
My BMW Check Engine Light Is On But Gives No Message Or Codes – Why? What To Do?