Understanding BMW Electrical Systems

The electrical system in BMW vehicles is becoming more and more complicated with the aim of staying abreast of latest technology. What can you do as a proud owner of one of these machines to prevent yourself from getting stuck in the middle of nowhere due to an electrical fault? The first step is to understand the components of your electrical system and know a few tips for troubleshooting.

The Battery

The battery pack stores power responsible for starting the engine of your car and operating the various accessories you enjoy in your BMW. The battery is made up of stacks of positive and negative plates, which work together to produce 12.6 volts.

Your battery should last an average of 3-5 years in normal climates. If you live in extremely cold or hot areas, the battery might just last 2 or 3 years max.

If you start experiencing signs of a failure in your starting system or if the battery doesn’t charge after a long drive, then you need to take your car to a reliable BMW service in Essex and surroundings for analysis. The technician will perform a visual analysis and a voltage test on the battery. Only when the tech rules out battery failure is when he can suspect other system components.

A dead battery will require immediate replacement. Before the technician does this, he tests the BMWs electrical system to eliminate any errors. Imagine replacing the battery only to buy another one a week down the road due to a faulty alternator.

The Alternator

The alternator produces the energy that maintains the charge in your battery so that you can be able to run electrical accessories in the car. Some of the electrical accessories that depend on the charge of the battery include major engine control systems and the ignition.

The alternator is operated by a unique belt attached to the engine to produce an alternating current. Your BMW can’t use the current in this state; it has to be converted to useful direct current by the use of a diode bridge. The alternator doesn’t work continuously; instead, it is on and off depending on the energy demands of your car.

The demands you place on the alternator through running lights, a radio system that is always on and the electrical accessories put a lot of stress on it. An average alternator might last a maximum of 4 years, which is the reason why the first culprit to a dead battery is a faulty alternator.

The technician will check all the circuits to make sure they are operating fully before he can narrow down to the alternator. He will also check for warning lights that might indicate what the problem is. A thorough diagnosis by an expert BMW technician is necessary to make a positive identification of an issue. The technician can use a tool to isolate the alternator from the rest of the wiring to pinpoint the issue.

The Starter

This is a major electrical equipment in your BMW. Although you use the starter only a few times a day, it uses a lot of power and is critical to your car starting or not. The role of the starter is to start a chain of reactions that initiate the combustion process. The starter gets its voltage from the battery and is managed by a relay that you operate from the key switch.

If you notice your engine starting slower than it should, your starter might be the issue. Starters get slower with age, low battery power, and a poor electrical connection. To maintain your starter through the years, you need to keep it clean, make sure it doesn’t overheat and maintain proper wire connections. You can ease the load on your BMW starter by starting the car with major accessories such as the stereo, AC compressor, and blower motor turned off.

Final Thoughts

Electrical issues are some of the common problems you experience as the proud owner of a BMW. The electrical system of this car is made up of the battery pack, an alternator and a starter, all of which work in unison to make sure your vehicle is supplied with enough power to operate the electrical systems. With time, these components start failing and might lead to reduced performance of your vehicle. When this happens, you need to visit a certified BMW repair shop ASAP.