What does the BMW battery discharged while stopped error message mean? What are the symptoms and causes, and can you reset it?
The error message commonly appears in the winter. That is usually the beginning of other electrical malfunctions rendering your accessories inoperable. Your engine may fail to start, the instrument cluster begins to flicker, and the car stops while driving. It simply means the battery does not supply enough power or may not be charging.
Read on to find out more, including how to troubleshoot the problem and reset the error message.
What Does The Message “Battery Discharged” Mean On The Dashboard Of The 2013 BMW X3?
The error message can take various forms depending on the BMW model you are driving. It can be as simple as battery discharging while stopped. While other models show this message as vehicle battery charge low or increased battery discharge. Regardless of the version, it means the same thing.
The BMW battery discharged error message means low battery voltage. It can also imply the battery discharges faster than the alternator can charge it. This situation triggers other dashboard symbols and may cause different electrical malfunctions.
The symptoms may include the following:
- The engine may fail to start because of insufficient current to the ignition coil.
- The instrument cluster may begin to flicker.
- The car’s engine shuts down while driving.
- Charge battery warning appears on the dashboard.
- Electronic accessories turn off.
- Charge battery warning light appears on the dashboard.
- General electrical malfunctions.
- A service vehicle icon may appear on the dashboard.
- The battery discharged warning message goes away when you start the engine.
What Are The Causes?
The battery discharging while stopped error message on a BMW can be due to different reasons. Before you conclude that your battery is the culprit, you should check all other possibilities, which include the following:
The battery on your car does not last a lifetime. Its ability to store electrical charge deteriorates over time. Most batteries can only last 2-5 years, depending on many other factors.
Every time the battery charges and discharges, cells wear out. Over time, it becomes too weak to keep vehicle accessories running or to start the engine. If the battery drains quicker than usual, it becomes ineffective. This situation triggers the computer system in your car to send the error message on the dashboard.
Faulty IBS Sensor
An Intelligent Battery Sensor (IBS) monitors and measures the battery performance. Its software calculates the state of charge and battery health, then reports to the car’s computer. It does that, whether the vehicle is off or not.
If the IBS sensor is faulty, it can feed the car’s computer with garbage data that may trigger the battery discharged error message. Also, it can cause an internal short-circuit. That will drain the battery even when parked. So, you may need to check it first for parasitic current using a digital multimeter or any other instrument. You will find it connected to the negative battery terminal.
Loose Battery Connection
Loose connections at the battery terminal may interfere with every charging and discharging cycle, which will trigger the error message and cause electrical malfunctions. Check to see if that is the case.
If the connections are not loose, check for signs of corrosion at the terminals. The corroded terminals have high resistance and may stop electric current when it gets worse. Cleaning can help fix the problem.
If you are fond of making short trips that last less than 30 minutes, you may get this battery discharged error message. That is because the alternator never gets enough time to charge the battery, which requires at least 30 minutes.
Let the engine idle for some time to charge the battery between your short trips if you don’t want to experience the problem.
Alternatively, you can use a BMW Advanced Battery Charging System to charge your car when parked in the garage.
People use their cigarette lighter sockets for various reasons. If you plug in a demanding phone charger, it can draw more current from the battery than the alternator can provide. That will trigger the error message.
So, consider unplugging anything connected to your cigarette lighter socket. Drive for some time to see if the error message resets itself.
Cold weather itself may not significantly affect the performance of your car battery to trigger the error message. The problem comes from the many accessories in use during cold weather. Turning on heated seats, power features, blower fans, interior lights, air conditioners, and others at the same time may draw too much power from the battery.
Turn off all electrical accessories and continue driving for some time for the error message to reset. If it goes away, well, you now know the cause.
How Do I Reset My BMW Battery Discharged Error Message?
Resetting the BMW battery discharged error message involves charging it. It usually takes about 30-45 minutes for the alternator to charge the battery. So, driving for that long with other accessories turned off can reset it.
However, if the problem is beyond just battery discharge, you should diagnose it. Whereas the error message persists, check other system components. You may need to start with the IBS. Otherwise, perform battery analysis. You can achieve that as follows:
- Find a reliable digital multimeter and measure the battery voltage. Ensure the engine is off before doing that.
- Connect the positive probe (the red one) to the positive battery terminal and the negative probe to the negative battery terminal. The voltage should be at least 12 volts.
- Turn on the ignition but not the engine and read the voltage. The voltage should still be at least 12 volts. If there is a significant drop, the battery is weak.
- Turn on the engine and read the voltage. If the charging system is working perfectly, the voltage should shoot to 13V and above. If it remains at 12V, the alternator or other component may be faulty.
When the battery is not the problem, you need to perform a full system scan of the modules for stored codes that pinpoint the cause of the problem.
The BMW battery discharged while stopped is prevalent in cold weather. It may come with weird electrical malfunctions that can be overwhelming. But you should stay calm and diagnose the problem. It can be due to a weak battery, too many running accessories, or a fault in the charging system. Fortunately, you can resolve most of these in your garage.