Why BMW Battery Discharged While Stopped? (Cause & Fix)

Like other BMW troubleshooting issues, a warning message will be triggered on the dashboard when the car’s battery is discharging. However, this is a very common issue that most BMW owners frequently deal with. 

When this warning message appears on the computer screen it means that the battery is losing power or voltage. The problem is either going to be with the battery or the intelligent battery sensor. Also, some other factors can cause this error on BMWs. 

Fortunately, all of them are very easy to troubleshoot and fix as well. Today, in this article, I’m going to figure out all possible causes of BMW battery discharges while stopped and the ways to deal with them.   

What Does the “BMW Battery Discharging While Stopped” Mean? 

The error message “BMW battery discharging while stopped” indicates that the battery is getting discharged or not being charged when the car is stopped. When this error appears on the dash, the electrical devices of the car are also temporarily switched off. 

This is probably a result of a bad battery or a disabled alternator. It also happens when the weather is too cold outside the car. In this case, the error message will vanish when the temperature goes up.  

This is a prevalent factor for BMW cars as they’re designed with several modern electrical devices and keep turning on while the car is parked. It causes the battery to be discharged slowly or even faster sometimes.

What Causes Battery Discharging Warning on BMW? 

As we mentioned earlier, usually a BMW battery discharging warning comes on in cold weather. Besides this, multiple things can lead the battery to be discharged after driving. Here are some of them: 

Old or a bad battery 

The battery is the main component of the electrical power system of BMWs. So, if the battery is getting too old or worn out, it fails to be charged properly and loses power or voltage when the car is even sat.

Usually, a BMW battery lasts for 3-6 years. So, when the BMW battery discharging while stopped message alerts, check the battery to see if it is in good health. 

If the problem is found with the battery, install a new battery in the car. On average, it will cost between $200 and $500. Here, the labor cost will be around $175 and the battery will cost $250-$367. 

Faulty Alternator 

If the alternator is defective, it fails to power up the battery properly and leads the computer to trigger the error “battery discharging” on BMW. In this way, a faulty alternator is directly related to this battery problem. 

So, check the alternator, if it is working accurately. Otherwise, replace it with a good one. Replacing a faulty alternator on BMWs will cost $471 to $900. Here, $95-$171 is estimated for the labor cost, while the parts will cost $376-$829.

Intelligent Battery Sensors (IBS) Malfunctioning 

Malfunctions in the intelligent battery sensor (IBS) can also cause the BMW battery discharging error. The IBS is usually placed on the negative post of the battery. 

It is used to monitor the voltages and the distribution of voltages in different directions. A faulty intelligent battery sensor causes the battery to die while the car is sitting after driving.

So, check it and replace the faulty IBS to solve this problem. The cost of replacing an intelligent battery sensor ranges from $150 to $460. Labor cost is estimated at $75 per hour and $75-$310.

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Damaged or Corroded Battery Terminals 

Another common cause of BMW battery discharging issues is corroded or loosened battery terminals. With time, corrosion takes place in the terminals and affects the electrical system of the car.

So, check the battery terminals and see how much corrosion they have. If they have minor corrosion, a simple cleaning will fix the problem. But if the corrosion is so heavy, you will need to replace the terminals with new ones.

On average, the replacement cost of bad battery terminals will cost between $114 and $250. The labor cost is estimated at $35 to $75 per hour, while the parts are $70-$185. 

Defects in the Junction Box 

A junction box is the part of a BMW car where all the electrical parts are connected. So, if the junction box is defective because of wear and tear, it can cause the battery to discharge while stopped. 

In this case, the only way to fix this problem will be to replace the old junction box. The replacement cost of a BMW junction box will be between $575 and $737. Here, the parts will price from $437 to $600, while the labor cost will be around $175 per hour.

How To Deal with Battery discharged while stopped Issue?

Dealing with battery discharged while stopped issue can be very annoying for general BMW users. But here are some easy ways that can help the user to deal with this issue: 

  • Disconnect the devices that are directly connected to the negative terminal of the battery
  • Reduce the number of electrical devices connected to the cigarette lighter 
  • Shut down all the windows and drive the car for 30 minutes to see if the error message is disappeared
  • Switch off all the lights inside the BMW
  • Check all the fuses and electrical connections inside the car if they are loose or worn out.
  • If they fail to fix the problem or the error message is coming frequently, bring the car to the dealers or a professional BMW mechanic.

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If you’re not experienced with BMWs, it will be difficult to deal with “BMW battery discharging while stopped” error without a wealth of knowledge. So, here are some more that you must know:

How do you stop BMW Batteries From Discharging? 

The simplest way to stop BMW batteries from discharging is to idle the car for at least 30 minutes when the weather is too cold. Reducing the number of electrical devices in the car is also very useful to prevent this error. 

Does a BMW Battery Recharge Itself While Idling?

Yes, a BMW battery can recharge itself while idling. This is a very simple method to recharge a battery. When idling the car for 15-20 minutes, the battery will start charging even if it is quite a slow process. 

How Long does a BMW Sit Idle Before The battery dies? 

Typically, a BMW sits idle for two weeks to two months before the battery dies. But you should recharge the battery over time to keep it in good condition. 

Can I drive my car with BMW discharging while stopped? 

The simplest answer to this question is ‘YES.’ You can drive your car with BMW discharging while stopped error. But it won’t be a good thing. The battery will die and can also be damaged completely.

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BMW battery discharging while stopped is a very common issue, especially in cold weather. The error will cause the battery to die completely. As a result, the electrical system of the car will be affected. 

So, keeping the car’s battery in good health is very essential. For this, check the battery and the connections regularly. Keep charging the battery over time. The battery terminals also need to be free from corrosion. 

But once this error is triggered on the dashboard, it should be fixed as soon as possible to prevent further damage. If it requires any replacement, bring it to a repair shop for proper diagnosis and repair.

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