6 Possible Reasons & Fix for BMW Charging Malfunction

The German luxury vehicle BMW is a well-sought-after vehicle that features many premium technologies. The company has recently launched many electric cars as part of its sustainability program. However, these electric BMWs sometimes get into trouble with charging.

Normally, a bad alternator or dead battery can cause the charging system to not work in a BMW. The voltage regulator that is part of the alternator can also sometimes cause charging malfunctions. Charging not working in BMW is solvable, and the first step to the solution is identifying the cause. 

Continue reading to learn more about BMW charging. You will also find out about diagnosing a charging system problem and what to do when you run into a charging problem in your BMW.

How does BMW charging work?

Charging an electric car is surprisingly easy. In the era of technology, where you charge many of our electric devices all the time, charging a vehicle is not much different. The charging system of a BMW consists mainly of the alternator and the battery. 

The charged battery ensures the car’s electronic components are functional even when the engine is off. The alternator makes sure the battery is receiving enough voltage while charging.

Let’s take a look at some other options of charging a BMW below-

  • A BMW can be charged at home or office or at public charging stations
  • You can use a regular outlet to charge your BMW in your garage, but it will take a significantly long time since home outlet voltages are low
  • You can use a BMW Wallbox to charge your BMW at home more conveniently and faster
  • You can check the charging status in your BMW app or on the cockpit display

6 Possible Reasons For BMW Charging Malfunction [With Solutions]

BMW owners can sometimes run into charging malfunctions, unfortunately. We’re here to illuminate you if you drive an electric BMW and are wondering why you are facing charging issues.

1. Malfunctioning alternator

The alternator is a major part of the charging system. It makes sure the correct voltage reaches and charges the engine. If the alternator is undercharging or overcharging the battery, it will result in a charging malfunction. 

Additionally, the alternator belt may come loose. You can take your BMW to a professional to determine if the wiring or the belt is causing charging issues.

You can check your alternator by checking under your BMW hood. You can test the alternator with a multimeter. If you can identify that your alternator is malfunctioning, it then needs to be replaced. 

You should take the car to your BMW dealership or an independent auto workshop to get the alternator replaced. It might cost you between $470-$930. 

2. Problem with the battery

You can identify a battery issue if your battery light is on the dash. You may also face issues turning on the engine. You will hear a clicking sound when you turn the engine on, but the engine will not start. 

The engine might be cranking slowly. Electrical functions of the car, such as headlights and other lights glowing weaker, parking lamp malfunction is also another sign of a  dead, dying or undersized battery.

You can check a battery with a multimeter as well. If you can identify your BMW battery is dead, you should take your car to a professional right away. 

A dead battery needs to be replaced as soon as possible for proper driving of the car. A BMW battery on average costs between $300-$500. 

3. Worn out charging port

The charging malfunction may be caused by an overused charging port. Over time with use, the charging port of your BMW may also become worn out. 

If you notice that your charger is sliding in and out only too easily, and not charging properly, the culprit may be your charging port.

You can take your BMW to an auto repair shop to check whether your charging port is working or not. Installing a new port may cost up to $1200 including labor cost. 

4. Issue with public charging stations

Sometimes, public charging stations can cause issues with charging your BMW. BMW not charging are a common problem at public charging stations. 

The machine may not work properly; there may be issues with the charging cable when you are charging at a public station. 

To rectify these problems, you first need to know how to charge your BMW at a public station. The other suggestion would be to carry a Type 2 charger since many times charging a BMW at a public EV station is hampered otherwise.

5. Damaged charger

Another reason behind your BMW not charging may be your charger. If you use a Wallbox at home and your charger is faulty or damaged, it will surely hamper the charging of your BMW.

You can replace the Wallbox in such cases and buy another one. Wall boxes usually cost around $1249.

6. Draining battery to zero percent 

Draining the battery of your BMW to zero is never a good idea. The mechanism is similar to a smartphone’s mechanism in this case. 

If you regularly wait until your battery drains to zero before charging your BMW, you gradually worsen your car’s battery health. This may lead to charging malfunctions.

You should keep your battery charged up to 80% and charge your battery once it’s near 20% to maintain healthy battery life.

How do you diagnose a charging system problem?

There are multiple signs of a charging system malfunction. Diagnosing can be tricky, but the charging malfunction cannot be solved without knowing the source of the issue. 

You should cover all the bases to ensure you know what is causing your BMW charging system problem. We have listed a few below for your convenience.

  • Checking the alternator
  • Checking the battery
  • Testing if the battery is receiving enough voltage
  • Checking the voltage regulator
  • Checking the wiring of the alternator
  • Checking whether the belts of the alternator are working properly


For further help, we have listed some Frequently Asked Questions in this section about BMW charging malfunctions. Hopefully, knowing them will increase your knowledge of this issue.

Can I drive a BMW with a charging system warning light?

You should not drive your BMW with a charging system warning light. Your car might stop moving after the battery drains.  Sometimes, you may find yourself suddenly stopped on the road. 

So, to avoid being towed and running into such issues, you should avoid driving with a BMW that has a charging malfunction.

What type of charging plug does BMW use?

There are different types of charging plugs that BMW uses. The public charging stations have CCS or J1772 plugs for charging. There are Type 2 plugs that are used in European public charging stations. BMW provides their Wallbox with which you can also charge your BMW at home.  

What is the most common charging system failure mode?

Recharging error messages can be the most common charging system failure mode. Another common charging system failure is a dead battery. It can lead your car to stop moving suddenly while driving.

How do I know if my alternator is charging my battery?

You can test and check your alternator with a multimeter to find out if it’s charging the battery. The multimeter should not read over 14 volts for the alternator to charge properly. 

If the reading shows more than 14 v, your battery is being overcharged. If the reading shows less than 12.65 v, your battery is undercharged.


Now you know why your BMW charging may be malfunctioning. Since you have the BMW, you should always stay up to date with charging. You need to make sure your BMW is charging properly, and that all parts of the charging system are functional.

So, if you see any charging error message in your BMW, you should contact your dealership or an auto repair shop. If a charging error message flashes when you are driving, you should park carefully and check what might be the issue.

Because a malfunctioning charging system might cause you to become stranded as your BMW stops moving suddenly, you should check whether your battery and alternator are working properly.

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