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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 10-19-2009, 06:35 PM   #1
hx288
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car won't start

Hi all,
I have a 2001, 325i and it won't start this morning. I turned the key and there was no sound. All the lights were on as normal in the dash board. even the AC was still running. I tried to jump start but that didn't help. Please help!
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:35 PM   #2
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Dead battery
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:54 PM   #3
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I would say that if you have lights on the dash and the a/c works. Then your battery is fine. But, your starter or alternator might be bad. If you can get the car to an Auto Zone, I think they can test that for free.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:23 PM   #4
hx288
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I tried to charge the battery with another car for 20 min but that didn't do any good. If I can't get it to autozone for testing, is there another way for me to figure out if it was the starter or alternator?
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:07 PM   #5
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maybe a bad key? try your spare key. The chip died in my friend's key. The car won't start without it.

Also... check the voltage across your battery. it should read around 12v.

Last edited by sycE46; 10-19-2009 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:38 PM   #6
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I'll second the battery.
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Old 10-20-2009, 12:06 AM   #7
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If you try to jump start the car, make sure you use good jumper cables. Cheapo ones won't work.
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:20 AM   #8
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my car does the same thing but only happens everyonce in a while. but when it does it wont start but after a few more trys itll start up. and this will repeatly happen throughout the day. i know it is the starter. but it has not bothered me enough to fix it. and yes i checked and doubled checked my battery. voltage and charged it. had a previous alternater problem but thats fix and the only thing thats left is the starter.
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:22 AM   #9
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and im curious about the key thing??? can someone verify that? my battery is dead in my keyy too.
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:06 AM   #10
hx288
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Originally Posted by sycE46 View Post
maybe a bad key? try your spare key. The chip died in my friend's key. The car won't start without it.

Also... check the voltage across your battery. it should read around 12v.
I will try the spare key this evening after work. How do you check the voltage on the battery?
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:26 AM   #11
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I will try the spare key this evening after work. How do you check the voltage on the battery?
You need a voltmeter. Ask around... one of your friends might have one.
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:49 AM   #12
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Thanks SycE46. A friend of my has the voltmeter and I will check the battery after work. If it's less than 12 V, that means the battery is the problem right? I need to change the battery?
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:45 PM   #13
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Thanks SycE46. A friend of my has the voltmeter and I will check the battery after work. If it's less than 12 V, that means the battery is the problem right? I need to change the battery?
If the battery reads less than 12V, it's most likely the battery that is the issue. Replace the battery.

It could be the alternator that is dying. If you can get the car jump started. and the alternator isn't putting out ~14volts while the car is on. Your alternator could be the problem. if you unplug the battery while the car is on, the car should still be able to run without the battery connected. Alternator should be able to provide enough power to keep the car running without the battery.

When jump starting the car. Thin gauge jumper cables won't work (10-12 gauge). They won't be able to provide enough current. Get a good set of 4-8 gauge cables.

If the car has problems starting (but the battery is good), it could be the starter.

If all the above are okay (Battery / alternator / Starter), might be the key.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:54 PM   #14
hx288
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Thanks everyone for your responses. My wife tried the spare key and the car started with no problem. So, I am not sure what is wrong with my other key. It still lock and unlock doors but would not start the car. Can it be fixed?
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:24 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by hx288 View Post
Thanks everyone for your responses. My wife tried the spare key and the car started with no problem. So, I am not sure what is wrong with my other key. It still lock and unlock doors but would not start the car. Can it be fixed?
Not that I know of. My friend had to buy a new key. There's something wrong with the anti-theft chip. it prevents the car from starting. If you put in the spare key for a second. Then switch it to bad key, the car should start.

Last edited by sycE46; 10-21-2009 at 02:30 AM.
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:14 AM   #16
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Not that I know of. My friend had to buy a new key. There's something wrong with the anti-theft chip. it prevents the car from starting. If you put in the spare key for a second. Then switch it to bad key, the car should start.
SycE46, thank you very much for your help. You have saved me alot of time and money. I was told it was the starter that need to be replaces and I got a quote for $685.00. I was glad that it was just the key.

I did a search and did not find much information for the key issue.
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:59 PM   #17
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SycE46, thank you very much for your help. You have saved me alot of time and money. I was told it was the starter that need to be replaces and I got a quote for $685.00. I was glad that it was just the key.

I did a search and did not find much information for the key issue.
I don't think it's a common issue, but something people should be aware of. My friend spent several hundred towing his car around. Had 2 mechanics look at his car, before they discovered it was a bad key.

Also.. I rarely hear of the starters going bad on the E46.
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