If you’re a long time BMW driver, owner or enthusiast you may be surprised to learn that installing a new battery is no longer an easy 10 minute DIY job on modern models. Starting around 2006-2007 most BMW cars require the battery to be programmed and registered when replaced.
This is because of more complex power management and battery management software. When replacing the battery, you need to tell the car that a new battery has been installed and input parameters such as the amp hours capacity and type of battery (AGM vs. lead acid). While this seems like an unnecessary hurdle to DIYers, it’s actually just a result in the evolution of technology that makes a lot of sense.
If you’re still driving an E30, E28, E34, E36, E32, E39, E53 or E46 then there is no need to program a new battery with software; you simply remove and replace the battery. Nice and easy.
Thanks to inexpensive scan tools made for BMW’s found on Amazon, you can program and replace your battery yourself and avoid the BMW dealership all together. I recommend the Foxwell NT510 here on Amazon (affiliate).
With this tool you can register and program your new battery in about 10 minutes right from your driver seat in your own driveway. No need to pay BMW $300 for this service.
Here’s my step by step guide to replacement in an E70 X5 SAV (sport activity vehicle) along with tips such as how to tell how old your battery is, and how to register the battery with the NT510 BMW scan tool.
While the battery location varies between different models, the registration and programming part of this video is essentially the same across modern BMW’s.
Not sure if it’s time to replace your battery? Not sure how old your BMW battery is? Check out this video to figure out the age of your car’s battery here:
According to BMW, your battery will typically last 3-5 years depending on your mileage traveled and weather. More extreme hot and cold cycles will age the battery faster.
I recently replaced our X5 battery at 7 years old as it started to show signs of failing with slow cranking. If your battery is 5 years old or older, I recommend replacing it immediately.
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