BMW Battery Registration, Coding, Programming

DIY Cost: $65-$165
Est. Time: 30 min
Difficulty: Easy
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to register and code a BMW battery using any scan tool.  BMW vehicles going back to the 2002 model year and newer require that the new battery is programmed (registered). 

What Do I Need to Register a BMW Battery

scanner to register bmw battery

You will need a BMW Scanner to register a BMW and follow the procedure below to program the new battery. A few scanners that can register a BMW battery start in the mid-$100, such as Autophix for BMW, an affordable and popular choice. 

Generic OBD-II scanners can not register or program a new BMW battery. This is one of the main reasons why stores such as AutoZone will not replace the battery on a BMW. 

How to Register a BMW Battery

The following procedure will allow you to program and reset the BMW computer after you change the battery.  These instructions will help you register a BMW battery on 2002 or newer models, including 1, 3, 5, 6, X1, X3, X5 series, etc.

  1. Replace the battery in your BMW. If you need help with this step, see our guide on how to replace a BMW battery.  Find a new battery that matches the old battery. The ratings (CCA, CA, Ah) should be identical or as close as possible to the original. 

    bmw battery

     

  2. Locate the onboard diagnostic port under the dashboard near your brake pedal. The OBD-2 port on BMW cars has a small door that you will need to open. You may also find a cover on the port that you need to pull out. Plug your BMW scan tool of choice into this port. Remember, generic OBD2 scanners cannot perform the necessary BMW battery registration. 

    bmw-obd2-port-register-battery

     

  3. Turn Ignition On. Turn the key to option II. If you have a Push Start button, press it a couple of times. Don't press the brake pedal when pressing the start button. All the dashboard lights should turn on. The engine shouldn't be running. You won't be able to perform the BMW battery registration procedure if the engine is running.

    turn on ignition to register bmw battery

     

  4. Next, select your BMW model, then select the Control Unit. 

  5. Select Power Supply module. 

  6. Select Register a new BMW battery. 

    register bmw battery
  7. Press, OK, and the new battery is registered. In the next section, we show you how to use specific scanners to register the battery. 

How to Register BMW Battery with Foxwell

Foxwell NT510 for BMW is a scanner capable of registering a new BMW battery. This great scan tool is, in fact, capable of reading and clearing fault codes from multiple BMW systems.

For example, you can use this scanner to read and clear codes from modules such as the engine, airbag(s), transmission, ABS, and more.

Procedure

  1. Plug your BMW scan tool into the OBD2 port under the dashboard. ...
  2. Turn ignition on, the key to position II. ...
  3. Select BMW. ...
  4. Scroll down to the Body menu 4.
  5. Scroll down to Power Supply (Battery) and press Enter.
  6. Select option 2 for Battery registration.

Notes

  • It can only register a new battery with the same specs as the original.
  • Make sure to update your Foxwell scanner to the latest software via the Foxwell website.

How to register BMW battery with INPA

BMW INPA K+CAN setup requires a laptop. INAP is more complex to set up and can be difficult for many owners. Not recommended if you do not have experience with the INPA software.

  1. Connect OBD-II Cable to your OBD-II port. Turn on your laptop, then run the INPA software.
  2. Select Body>Power Module
  3. Press F6 to Activate
  4. Press F2 to select Control
  5. Press F7 to select Register battery replacement
  6. If registration is successful, you will get the message, 'Register Battery Replacement Activated Properly.'

These steps will enable users to register a new battery with the same desired specs successfully. These steps will not code a new battery with different specs.

What will happen if I don't register a BMW battery? 

not registering a bmw battery

Don't panic! If you don't register a BMW battery, the car will NOT catch fire. The engine will start, and the vehicle will drive even if you don't register the battery. 

If you don't register the BMW battery, the most likely outcome is that the battery will not last as long. So instead of the battery lasting five years, it may only last two or three years due to over or undercharging. 

bmw electrical problems due to not registering programming coding battery

We have seen very few cases where not registering the battery leads to electrical issues, but that is usually because the replacement battery's specs (CCA, CA, Ah) are significantly lower than the OEM battery. 

We do not recommend skipping battery registration on a BMW just become some guy on Youtube replaced the BMW battery without programming it. 

What is the Best BMW Battery Registration Scan Tool?

To register a BMW battery, you will need an OBD-II scan tool. Here are some of the most popular scan tools used to program a BMW battery. 

  1. Foxwell for BMW NT510 - One of the most popular BMW scanners. The tool can register a new BMW battery with similar specs compared to the previous battery. Installing a new battery with significantly different specs requires coding, which is not currently available on Foxwell NT510.
  2. AutoPhix 7910  BMW Scan Tool - is one of the cheapest scan tools to register a BMW battery. 
  3. Autel MaxiSys - Professional Level Diagnostic Scanner. It can be used to program and code any battery, including AGM and lead-acid, even if the replacement battery is significantly different than the original.
  4. BMW INPA Software (INPA K+CAN) -  Require a laptop and familiarity with INAP software. 
  5. BlueDriver OBD2 Scanner - An affordable scanner that should register a BMW battery. Not tested yet. More details to come soon. 

Other scan tools can register a BMW battery, but these are the most popular in the DIY community. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need to Register a BMW Battery? 

register bmw battery why

A BMW battery needs to be registered so that the engine control module ( DME - Digital Motor Electronics) knows how much current the battery needs to charge properly.

Skipping the battery registration procedure can cause the new battery to fail prematurely due to over or undercharging. 

BMW battery registration was introduced with a few 2002 model years, and by 2005 most BMW models required battery registration. If your BMW is older than 2002, you don't need to perform battery registration.

Do I need to register a BMW battery every time I change the battery? 

Every time you replace the battery on a 2002 and newer BMW, you need to register it, which is a straightforward procedure but requires a BMW scanner.

If your new battery has different specs than the old battery, you need to perform a few extra steps, known as coding.

What is the difference between BMW Battery Registration and Coding?

Our members often ask what the difference is between BMW battery registration vs. coding. The registration procedure clears the old battery's charging history and tells your BMW that a new battery has the same specs as the old battery installed. The Engine Control Unit (DME) can charge the battery properly.

  • Battery Registration 
    • Registration must be performed every time you change the battery on a 2002 and newer BMW. It lets the car know the battery installed is brand new.
    • No coding will be required if the new battery has the same specs or is very close to the old battery (CCA, CA, Ah, battery type). 
  • Battery Coding
    • You will need to carry out coding if you change the battery capacity or type in addition to the registration procedure. Coding is required if the new battery has different specifications than the old battery installed in the car.
    • For example, if you install a battery with a higher or lower cranking Ampere rating or switch between Lead Acid and an AGM battery, you need to code (program) the DME. Otherwise, the DME may overcharge or undercharge the new battery and, therefore, shorten the battery's life.

Can I use an OBD-II scanner to register a BMW battery? 

  • To complete the BMW battery registration process yourself, you will need an OBD2 scanner to perform the BMW battery registration. Not all OBD-II scanners can register a BMW battery. 

What changes in the ECU when you register a BMW battery? 

  • Battery capacity is set to 80%

  • The current Odometer reading is stored.

  • Delete stored battery statistics such as:

    • Current

    • Voltage

    • Battery Charge Level.

  • Stored temperature statistics are deleted.

Can I replace the battery myself and drive it to the mechanic for the registration?

  • Yes. No damage will happen if you have to drive your BMW for a few minutes. It is the overcharging or undercharging that lasts for months that can shorten the life of the battery or cause problems. 

What is BMW Battery Coding?

  • Ideally, you should avoid installing a battery with different specs, but that doesn't always happen. If you install a battery with a higher or lower capacity, BMW has different charging maps (profiles) for each battery, such as  80Ah, 90Ah, or 110Ah batteries.
  • You will need to perform coding to let the DME module know that you have changed the battery capacity.  If you changed the battery type, you would need to complete battery coding as well.
  • BMW charges lead-acid-type batteries differently than AGM batteries.  You need to perform coding if you: Change battery type from Lead Acid to AGM or vice-versa.  Change the battery capacity. 

Why do I have to perform BMW battery registration?

  • Yes. Don't skip battery registration. If you don't have a scanner, find an independent repair shop to complete the job for you. Some shops may only charge 0.5 hr of labor.

Which BMW models need battery registration?

  • Most 2002 and newer models. 
  • E61, E63, E64, E65, E66, E67,  
  • E70, E71, E72, E81, E82, E84,  E87,
  •  E88, E89, E90, E91, E92,  E93, F01, F10.

Should I reset error codes?

  • If you had a failing BMW battery, a low voltage error code might have been triggered and stored in various systems.
  • Perform a scan of all systems and clear any codes that may have been stored. This procedure should also remove any Safe Modes, including Energy Saving and Transport Modes.

How do I know if my BMW requires registration?

  • Here is a list of BMW models that require Battery Registration: 
    • 2006 and up 3-series E90 E91 E92 E93
    • 2004 and up 5-series E60 E61 
    • 2003 and up 6-series E63 E54 
    • 2002 and up 7-series E65 E66 
    • 2007 and up X5 series
    • 2008 and up  E70 chassis
    • X6 series E71 chassis
  • Check with your BMW dealer to confirm.

Can AutoZone register a BMW battery? 

AutoZone does not install or register the battery on 2002 and newer BMWs. We have called various AutoZone's, and they will not install the battery in models that require battery registration. If your BMW is older than 2002, AutoZone may be able to install the battery as those models do not require battery registration. 


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BMW Battery Registration, Coding, Programming What Do I Need to Register a BMW Battery