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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > NA Engine (non-turbo) / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications > 2011 328i xDrive not liking cold Wisconsin winters



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      01-17-2016, 02:43 PM   #1
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Hey everyone! My parents own a CPO 2011 328i xDrive with approximately 45,000 miles. They bought it in early 2012 I believe.

My mom generally drives it 5-6 blocks to work, then home after sitting for 8-9 hours outside. Every morning and after work it seems to start really hard and she occasionally gets a warning saying 'increased battery discharge.' When that happens we put it on the charger and then it will be good for awhile.

This weekend it's been -15ish and -30+ with windchill. My dad and I tested the charging system and the battery and everything checks out but she continues having the issue. We've tried driving it on the highway and everything but it continues to start hard when it's cold. The only other issues she's noticed since she bought it are that the memory seats don't always go to the right setting and recently the heated steering wheel doesn't get as hot. Any ideas?
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      01-17-2016, 02:56 PM   #2
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5-6 blocks isnt long enough to recharge the battery from the power it uses while sitting and starting. I suggest a battery tender while she is parked at home.

The other issues are likely related to the overburdened battery. Even if it wasn't winter, i would expect the same problem due to extremely short trips. This can cause other issues too - cat failure, collapsed lifters, carbon buildup, etc. Maybe an alternate form of transportation would make sense since its so close..
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      01-17-2016, 03:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hassmaschine
5-6 blocks isnt long enough to recharge the battery from the power it uses while sitting and starting. I suggest a battery tender while she is parked at home.

The other issues are likely related to the overburdened battery. Even if it wasn't winter, i would expect the same problem due to extremely short trips. This can cause other issues too - cat failure, collapsed lifters, carbon buildup, etc. Maybe an alternate form of transportation would make sense since its so close..
So is this just a BMW thing or with all cars? She's always driven Acuras and never had an issue.

I'll tell her that she should start walking or riding a bike. I'll probably end up being homeless in the near future after saying that.
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      01-17-2016, 03:55 PM   #4
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You should charge battery you have as it's not getting full charge from the short trips+cold weather....you don't necessarily have to put it on a battery tender,but once the battery gets low it needs to get charged back up to optimal voltage to help with those cold morning cranks.
This solved my cold winter cranks.
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      01-17-2016, 03:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1skibum
Quote:
Originally Posted by hassmaschine
5-6 blocks isnt long enough to recharge the battery from the power it uses while sitting and starting. I suggest a battery tender while she is parked at home.

The other issues are likely related to the overburdened battery. Even if it wasn't winter, i would expect the same problem due to extremely short trips. This can cause other issues too - cat failure, collapsed lifters, carbon buildup, etc. Maybe an alternate form of transportation would make sense since its so close..
So is this just a BMW thing or with all cars? She's always driven Acuras and never had an issue.

I'll tell her that she should start walking or riding a bike. I'll probably end up being homeless in the near future after saying that.
It seems a BMW thing....all my other cars never had this problem.
BMW's are electronic intensive that tends to drain batteries easily also batteries in them don't like short trips as they never get fully charged.
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      01-17-2016, 04:09 PM   #6
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A battery tender i think would work better - you can hardwire it in, and just plug it in everytime the car is parked at home to keep the battery healthy. Plus they are cheap.
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      01-17-2016, 08:32 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies! I'll just have to make sure my dad plugs it in whenever there's an error or when it's really cold. I think they're trading it in this spring, but my mom is always concerned that it's not going to start at work.
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      01-17-2016, 08:36 PM   #8
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Its not a bmw thing. Any car with a battery in the trunk will have this problem. Just take it on a long drive weekly or use a battery tender
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      01-17-2016, 08:41 PM   #9
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This is a byproduct of efficient dynamics. The alternator has a list of things that must happen before it starts charging. They are not being met in 5-6 blocks. Maybe your mom should be looking at an i3 for her next ride.
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      01-17-2016, 09:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 08njSTEP
This is a byproduct of efficient dynamics. The alternator has a list of things that must happen before it starts charging. They are not being met in 5-6 blocks. Maybe your mom should be looking at an i3 for her next ride.
Can you explain? I'd like to know more about this.

Every time I have checked battery voltage, it would rise immediately after starting the car.

That being said, the total current absorbed by the battery vs current lost during start up should be much greater. Even for short trips. Remember cold weather means low water pump and radiator fan loads.

I'm not saying the short charging cycles are not harmful to typical lead acid batteries. Most flooded batteries are not very good. Some batteries will deal with these demands better then others. I've seen lithium batteries with some pretty amazing absorption rates.

For short trips an EV would be much better.

Have you ever checked your fuel consumption with a cold engine vs. hot? I'm usually several miles from my home before the DME stops dumping extra fuel to heat up the engine.
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      01-17-2016, 10:08 PM   #11
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In efficient dynamics the alternator is decoupled during acceleration to reduce drag. I doubt the vehicle is getting up to temp, so the fan isnt kicking on which misses voltage draw needed to kick alternator on.I reviewed op and I'm not sure what year they started this. Now with new brake regeneration the alternator is off during acceleration and not used during braking so only runs at idle when needed.

Last edited by 08njSTEP; 01-17-2016 at 10:27 PM.
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      01-18-2016, 09:58 AM   #12
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I think he just needs a new battery.I would bet you he's still on his original battery.
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      01-18-2016, 10:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vut View Post
I think he just needs a new battery.I would bet you he's still on his original battery.
This would be my conclusion as well. Vermont isn't that much warmer than Wisconsin, and my Dad and I never had any issues.

Since the car increases the amperage to account for a dying battery, it'll last a bit longer, but as it's close to the end, the battery is going to be really weak.
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