Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30

Thread: If my battery is dead and the doors and trunk are locked, how do I get into the car?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    14,381
    My Cars
    98 540iA (Prd 11/97)

    If my battery is dead and the doors and trunk are locked, how do I get into the car?

    Many members have posted with this problem and the complete solution has finally been presented by Qsilver7 and cnn.

    If you're battery is dead and your doors are locked, first try this method to gain access to the interior and the battery (which is in the trunk) for jumping.
    Quote Originally Posted by Qsilver7 View Post
    Owners unfamiliar with how to unlock their cars in the event of an electrical failure has plagued every BMW forum I've ever been on...going back to my first BMW...a 1985 e30 325e. In each case 99% of the time it is OPERATOR ERROR. First, most asking the question either missed it, forgot it, or never read the info in their owners manual...then when told what to do...they many times fail to turn the key far enough counter clockwise to the manual unlock position.

    This is the manual unlock position for the driver's door (as an example that the lock DOES turn that far)....if your's don't, then when was the last time you lubricated your locks?



    -

    If you can gain entry into the cabin of the car...all that is required to jump start the car or charge the battery is to lift the hood and connect jumper cables or a battery charger to the posts in the engine bay. Screwdrivers & cig lighters seem like a whole bunch of effort if you have the proper tools to jump or charge:

    Jump Start instructions from owners manual:

    6 cylinder engines:

    8 cylinder engines:

    BTW...the same goes for the trunk lock cylinder on the e39 sedan (the e39 Touring does not have an external lock cylinder...but the tail gate can be opened manually from inside...see your owners manual for instruction).


    -

    If you (like many other E39 owners) can't get the doors/trunk to unlock manually, try this method which provides power to the car externally and allows the doors to be unlocked via the key fob.
    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post
    Same issue here, 2000 5-series wagon locked out:
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=502380

    Jack up the driver's side front wheel and support with jackstand for safety reason.
    There is a red cable going to the starter motor.
    You can jump through that (+) post labeled "Red Positive Cable" and a ground (such as Transmission).
    You may have to remove some plastic shield to expose the red cable:

    Both posts are from this thread:

    Battery is dead, car is locked...HELP! ( 1 2)
    evertoconquer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    SF,CA...Sicily
    Posts
    1,644
    My Cars
    E39 m5,528i
    +1
    PM me for Interior Trim Wraps!!! Get rid of your old wood!

    **PM ME FOR DETAILING/ROOF WRAPS(BAY AREA**

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Seal Beach, Ca.
    Posts
    3,442
    My Cars
    2003 540s, 2000 740s
    Jamesdc4 - very, very "Q"ish (& that's a very good thing)!

    Very good explanation for a very common problem people run into.
    <== Steptronic Sealbeach740
    2000 740i sport: 74k Green/Tan chrome MPars, clear corners, quad brake lights, AIC hi-beams, Hoen fogs, 16x9 screen, MKIV, TFT LCD screen in back, license plate backup camera with "on demand" switch, iPod audio/video (CDC/iPod audio switching, iPod video on 16x9 screen), Basslink, gauge rings, ///M pedals, switched steptronic +/- shifting mode, E46 paddle shifter steering wheel, Dinan engine & tranny software upgrade, DDEs controlled via Euro fog light switch, painted calipers with "BMW" lettering, windows up/sunroof close via remote.

    2003 540i sport: 81k, Sterling grey/grey, MKIV Nav, PDC & CWP - Added license plate backup camera with "on demand" switch, paddle shift steering wheel, windows up/sunroof close via remote, Akebono's, painted calipers with "BMW" lettering, quad brake lights, iPod audio via AUX mode/video via 16x9 screen, BMW TV tuner, ///M pedals & gauge rings.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    1,026
    My Cars
    '03 Topaz 540/6
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post

    If you're battery is dead and your doors are locked, first try this method to gain access to the interior and the battery (which is in the trunk) for jumping.

    James, Cam and others,this is excellent information here and i know it will prove to be a gem for many to come. I feel it should also be stressed that we ideally should jump start from the battery terminal in the engine compartment, not the battery. Directly from the battery has been known to create electrical issues.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    3,881
    My Cars
    1998 528i 5-spd 102K
    My method is basically the "last-line-of-defense" one.

    Now to the exact mode of failure:
    - As QSilver7 said, one should be able to open door and trunk manually (even with dead battery).

    - However, I have seen this in different forums that some people are locked out when the battery is dead, and they cannot open the door or trunk manually even with some force. Does anyone know the exact mechanism of the manual mode failure: i.e., exactly what part in the lock actuator goes wrong that prevent people from opening their door/trunk manually? Any door actuator expert here?

    My guess is the arc between - 45 deg and - 90 deg of the lock cylinder is somehow blocked with gunk for not using this part for so long, therefore this prevents people from unlocking manually. Just a guess:






    -----------------

    Back to this trick of jumping the "Red Positive Post" when you are desperate, I just confirmed with my 1998 528i (and probably true for all I6 models, and maybe V8 too) that there is no need to remove any plastic shield to get to it.

    Here is the trick:
    1. Make a note of the Rear part of the tire (the driver's side front tire). The "Red Positive Post" is directly inward of the Rear part of the tire.
    Laying on your back and reach your hand in and you will see it (a large makeup $5 mirror will be very useful).

    2. But best is to:
    - Jack the front driver's side up and
    - Place a jackstand under the subframe. This is very important if you don't want to be crushed!
    - Then do the jumping of (+) and (-) terminals as mentioned previously.

    Last edited by cnn; 12-31-2010 at 08:05 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Arlington Heights, IL
    Posts
    2,183
    My Cars
    Z1, M3 LTW, 228

    Lock troubles with dead battery

    On some of the cars, the trick of using the manual keys and tickling the door handle will pop the lock open, but this is not always reliable, and sometimes just simply doesn't work well.

    While it requires a certain "touch", and if you've never done it, it may not be easy, even when you know what you're doing, it can "fail".

    I used to have this periodically on my E34 M5, and found a workaround to get into the car's front door by the following means.

    Manually open the trunk by key. This never failed, even with dead battery.

    I pulled the CD plug, and gave the car 12V via the CD plug, typically with a small set of jumper plugs and the battery from my Snapon impact....

    Then the front could be opened, then the trunk, then the ardous process of jump starting could begin.
    Alex Lipowich
    xyobgyn on AOL

    For Sale: E36 325 MTechnic with S54 on stock DME TBA

    Trying to make the world a better place with 5 or now 7 extra throttle bodies at a time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    (northeast) Indiana
    Posts
    18,030
    My Cars
    97 740iL & 06 X5 4.4i
    • James: good compilation thread.
    • Sealbeach: OMG... "Q'ish"... I've now achieved adjective status! Thanks, I'm humbled ...that made my day...I've been "verbed" before (Q'd) but I think this is the first time being an adjective.
    • CNN: I agree...90% of those with lock cylinders that won't turn could probably use a little lubrication
    • M3 Euro: I think that the "lift & hold" procedure (while turning the key to the emergency unlock position) ended with the last generation 3/5/6/7/8 BMW models (e36/e34/e21/e32/e31). The instructions to lift & hold the handle is written in the owners manual of those older models plus their door locks where designed slightly different as were their FZV/DWA systems. Then when our generation of models came along, BMW took away the passenger door lock cylinder, updated FZV/DWA as well as the central locking system...and all that was writtten in our instructions was to turn the key counter clockwise to the left to manually UNLOCK the door. For example...



    e38/e39/e46/e53 manual unlock instructions


    e32/e34/e26 instructions...note the text in the red box (the instructions in my e30 was also the same):


    -
    Last edited by Qsilver7; 06-03-2016 at 06:19 PM.
    (if my grammar, spelling, or sentence structure is screwed up....don't blame me...it's my dang bluetooth keyboard...I try to catch & correct the mistakes...but I may not catch all of them.)

    Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
    1997 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date <<~>> 2006 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date
    (SOLD)
    1999 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 1995 525iT (Alpine White)
    1991 735iL (Schwarz) <<~>> 1985 325e (Bronzit)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Bama
    Posts
    1,064
    My Cars
    07 Maxima SE
    Glad my incompetance has helped others, lol. Seriously though, you guys are life savers.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Arida Zona
    Posts
    23,903
    My Cars
    z3
    I thought the Official BMW diagnostic procedure requires the summoning of no less than One (1) Magical Wizard.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    3,881
    My Cars
    1998 528i 5-spd 102K
    Quote Originally Posted by evertoconquer View Post
    Glad my incompetance has helped others, lol. Seriously though, you guys are life savers.
    LOL,

    You still have not explained to the group why you cannot open your door manually....LOL.

    Do the group a favor:
    1. Lower the driver's window so you reach inside.
    2. Lock all doors.
    3. Reach inside and hit trunk release; open the trunk and d/c battery ground cable.
    4. Close trunk.

    Now try to open your door manually, can you open it manually?

    (The reason for #1 above is in case you cannot open the door manually, the window is down so you can still get inside the car).

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    3,881
    My Cars
    1998 528i 5-spd 102K
    For those who follow QSilver7's instructions to the "t" and still cannot open the door manually, this is my theory. It was 10F and I parked the car outside and used my manual key, it was stiff to turn to -45 deg position (see post #5 above) to open the door.

    So I came up with this theory why people cannot open their door/trunk manually when the battery is dead:
    1- If you always use your remote, then your cylinder lock never goes through the "daily workout".
    2- Now add water from rain, car wash, freezing rain over a 10-year period.
    3- Now add the fact that you fail to lubricate your lock cylinder with the appropriate graphite lubricant.

    When you look at all 3 factors above, 10 years later, when your battery is dead, there is a chance that your lock cylinder is seized (rusted in) and you can't open it manually.

    So my 2 cents for those who use only remote:
    - Once a month, give the lock cylinder a "workout": open it manually.
    - Twice a year, spray the inside of the lock some with liquid graphite (available at autoparts store for $2-3)

    This way when you face with emergency, you are not caught by surprise!
    Last edited by cnn; 01-03-2011 at 11:27 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    2,618
    My Cars
    2003 BMW 540iA
    Quote Originally Posted by M3 Euro LTW View Post
    On some of the cars, the trick of using the manual keys and tickling the door handle will pop the lock open, but this is not always reliable, and sometimes just simply doesn't work well.

    While it requires a certain "touch", and if you've never done it, it may not be easy, even when you know what you're doing, it can "fail".

    I used to have this periodically on my E34 M5, and found a workaround to get into the car's front door by the following means.

    Manually open the trunk by key. This never failed, even with dead battery.

    I pulled the CD plug, and gave the car 12V via the CD plug, typically with a small set of jumper plugs and the battery from my Snapon impact....

    Then the front could be opened, then the trunk, then the ardous process of jump starting could begin.
    If the trunk is open, why not just jump the battery directly?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    3,881
    My Cars
    1998 528i 5-spd 102K
    Quote Originally Posted by ElleShooTiger View Post
    If the trunk is open, why not just jump the battery directly?
    1+,

    I agree with ElleShooTiger, once the trunk is open, the battery is accessible.
    Am I missing something here?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    14,381
    My Cars
    98 540iA (Prd 11/97)
    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post
    Here is the trick:
    1. Make a note of the Rear part of the tire (the driver's side front tire). The "Red Positive Post" is directly inward of the Rear part of the tire.
    Laying on your back and reach your hand in and you will see it (a large makeup $5 mirror will be very useful).

    2. But best is to:
    - Jack the front driver's side up and
    - Place a jackstand under the subframe. This is very important if you don't want to be crushed!
    - Then do the jumping of (+) and (-) terminals as mentioned previously.
    I think it might be a better idea to just use this method to get power to the car to open the doors. Then I would pop the hood and jump from the proper terminals in the engine bay. As mentioned earlier in the thread, bad things can possibly happen jumping from anywhere other than under the hood.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Bama
    Posts
    1,064
    My Cars
    07 Maxima SE
    CNN, i greased the lock, works fine now. I couldn't get my lock past the 45 deg mark.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    3,881
    My Cars
    1998 528i 5-spd 102K
    Quote Originally Posted by evertoconquer View Post
    CNN, i greased the lock, works fine now. I couldn't get my lock past the 45 deg mark.
    Keep working on it (to go past -45 deg mark). Spray WD-40 etc.
    The key thing is to get to -90 deg!
    Eventually, you should be able to get past the -45 deg mark.
    Ditto for the trunk.
    Last edited by cnn; 01-03-2011 at 01:44 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    14,381
    My Cars
    98 540iA (Prd 11/97)
    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post
    Keep working on it (to go past -45 deg mark). Spray WD-40 etc.
    The key thing is to get to -90 deg!
    Eventually, you should be able to get past the -45 deg mark.
    Ditto for the trunk.
    Cam forgot to add he's not responsible if you break your key in two.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Campbell, CA, United States
    Posts
    1,648
    My Cars
    2002 BMW M5
    Interesting thread...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    phoenix
    Posts
    14
    My Cars
    97 528i
    Once again the "board" sheds a better light , and in finding this post another question was answered , it has been several months since tearing down the top end of my daughters car in the process of a h/g - turned into cracked cylinders (2) and now I am almost ready to install the new engine . Could not remember what the brass bolt on top of the i/m was till seeing the pics.

    Many thanks to all . Happy New Year too

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    14,381
    My Cars
    98 540iA (Prd 11/97)
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Da Clean1 View Post
    Interesting thread...
    As hard as it may be to believe, this is a relatively common problem. In my time here at BF.c, I've seen this question posted over and over and over.....

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    hillsborough n j
    Posts
    4,928
    My Cars
    2001 540i sport 6spd
    So your saying i didnt need to pay those kids $100 to break all my windows

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Midway, CA,
    Posts
    12
    My Cars
    e39 e60
    Thanks for the tips. In my case, I have a 2002 525ita sports wagon and the key solution did not work (I only had a +45 and -45 movement regardless of lubrication or not. Also, you can only use the key from the drivers side as there is no hatch key. The trick for me was to do what CNN had showed and jacked/braced the car on the drivers side and jump the car from the starter. The only issue with CNNs note was that with a decent pair of jumpers, you will have to take the red shield off the bolt to jump the car. However, the cover is only snapped in place and is easily removable once you are under the car and it provides full access for the jumper contact. After you jump the car, you can snap the cover back in place.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    51
    My Cars
    2002 E39

    Moon

    Worked like a champ. Thanks guys!!

    Mods: Shark Injector | Magnaflow Muffler + Resonator | H&R Springs | Bilstein SP Shocks & Struts | TMS Pulleys
    Umnitza M-Tech bumpers | Umnitza Predator ICE V3 + HID Fogs | Eurodyne CF Hood | BSW Sub + Dice + spec dock |

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    los angles ca
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    2004 bmw 745li
    i accidently locked my manual key in back of the trunk of a 745li and the battery was disconnected how do i get to trunk ? any suggestion would help!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    San Jose CA
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    BMW 550i
    Folks,

    Just wanted to write and chime in with an almost - similar situation. No real new info but just wanted to re-iterate what worked.

    1. Battery went bad. Warnings.
    2. Decided to change battery.
    3. Took out battery.
    4. Shut trunk.
    5. No way to open trunk without battery.
    6. LUCKILY door was open.
    7. Much slap-open-palm-in-forehead
    8. Went to store and bought new battery.
    9. Connected new battery to jump start terminal.
    10. Used remote to open trunk. Completed battery install.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •