BMW F30 Battery Replacement – 30 Minutes
The following article gives detailed instructions on replacing the battery in a BMW F30 3 series car (produced from 2011-2019). Even though we have used a 2014 BMW 320i to perform this installation, this article can be applied to any F30 3 series vehicle with minor modifications.
Doing a BMW F30 battery replacement in your 2011-2019 3 series car takes less than 30 minutes and can save you a lot of money.
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from BMW owners here at the Repair Guide is “How long should I expect my (3 series) car battery to last before it dies?” followed by “Can I replace my own battery without taking it to the Dealership?”.
The second question is easy to answer; yes, you can replace the battery in your 2011-2019 BMW F30 3 series yourself…it does not need to be done by a repair shop. The answer to the first question is unfortunately not as straightforward.
The lifespan of a BMW’s battery is dependent on several factors including environmental conditions, maintenance, driving habits and how many on board electronics and accessories are being operated. On average, a BMW owner should expect to get about 5 years out of their battery.
Contrary to what many BMW owners have been lead to believe, you can replace the battery in your F30 3 series with one from your local auto parts store as long as you match the type (lead acid or AGM) and amperage of the one that is currently in it. Why? Your BMW F30 3 series has an intelligent battery sensor (IBS) attached to its negative terminal which constantly monitors the battery’s condition and sends that information to your vehicle’s engine control module (DME). The engine control module is specifically programmed for the the battery that was shipped with the car; changing the original battery with a different type or amperage will “confuse” the DME and can significantly reduce the replacement battery’s life span.
You must always exactly match the battery type (never substitute a lead acid for an AGM…or vice versa). Unfortunately, it is not always possible to exactly match the amperage (especially when purchasing an aftermarket battery). If you can’t get an exact match on the amperage it’s not a big deal; just be sure to buy one that is as close as possible to the one you are replacing.
Registering the new F30 3 series battery
Whenever you replace the battery in your 2011-2019 BMW 3 series car, you must let the vehicle’s engine control module know. As intelligent as we think our BMWs are these days, they still are not smart enough to know when a new battery has been installed. Notifying the car’s control module that a change has been made is called “registering” the new battery. You should register the new battery you put in to get the maximum life span out of it.
Registering the new battery in your 3 series requires the use of a diagnostic scanner. If you are not a home mechanic or BMW enthusiast, then you probably don’t have a scanner just laying around the garage. We suggest stopping by any local auto repair shop…they will probably be more than happy to do it for free. Here at the BMW Repair Guide we gratuitously do it for anyone who pulls up and asks…it only takes a minute and we are happy to help.
1. Replacement battery (required) – For those BMW F30 owners that would rather order their battery online and pick it up or have it delivered, we give you these fine affordable options. There were many different batteries used in the BMW F30…the best practice is to measure the length of your battery and verify whether it is an AGM or Lead Acid type before ordering. See our repair steps below on how to easily remove the side trunk trim so you can get this information from the top of the battery.
Battery H6 Lead Acid (11″ Length) – Autocraft 48H6
Battery H7 Lead Acid (12.5″ Length) – Autocraft 94RH7
Battery H8 Lead Acid (14″ Length) – Autocraft 49H8
Battery H6 AGM (11″ Length) – Autocraft H6-AGM
Battery H7 AGM (12.5″ Length) – Autocraft H7-AGM
Battery H8 AGM (14″ Length) – Autocraft H8-AGM
2. Performance battery (optional) – An average car battery in your BMW F30 weighs about 50 lbs. That is a lot of extra weight being dragged around that effects performance on both the street and the track. Replacing your original factory battery with a light weight lithium ion version can increase acceleration and enhance handling characteristics, making yourF30 quicker and more responsive. They also last 3 to 5 times longer than a standard battery and have a very low discharge rate.
Battery H6 Carbon Lithium Ion (11″ Length) – Braille I48CX
Battery H8 Carbon Lithium Ion (14″ Length) – Braille I49CE
3. BMW scan tool (diagnostic scanner) (optional) – Register your new battery in less than a minute! If you are a home mechanic and don’t have a BMW scan tool, then you will be guessing most of the time when diagnosing issues with your vehicle. A BMW diagnostic scanner is as important to your tool chest as a set of socket wrenches. The Schwaben multi-system elite scanner is an affordable scanner that delivers dealer level diagnosis for all BMW and MINIs.
Diagnostic scanner / code reader OBDII – Schwaben Elite 014020SCH01A
4. Battery charger (optional) – It is always nice to have a high quality battery charger in your garage. Avoid cheap “aftermarket” chargers commonly found in discount stores…you always get what you pay for. We give you several high quality several choices based on your needs.
Battery charger universal – Associated Atec 3075A
Battery charger lithium ion – Braille 3617574
Battery charger AGM – Braille 11236
Battery charger / maintainer – Schwaben
10mm socket wrench
13mm socket wrench
Section 1 – Removing and installing your BMW F30 3 series battery
There are many reasons why you may be performing a BMW F30 battery replacement, but most likely it is because it is dead and you can’t start the car. The battery in the F30 3 series car is located inside the ride side of the trunk. Unfortunately if the battery has completely discharged, you will need to temporarily power up the vehicle to get the trunk open. This can be done by either attaching a battery charging station or jumper cables to the positive terminal and a suitable ground in the engine compartment. Never attach a battery charger or jumper cables directly to the battery…you can destroy sensitive electronics. Always use the terminal in the engine compartment.
- If the battery is completely dead, raise the hood and find the positive battery terminal. It is located on the right side of the engine, usually with a red plastic cover on it. Attach the positive lead of a jumper cable or charging station to the terminal. Attach the negative lead to a suitable ground, like one of the front strut mounting nuts (see image below). When the vehicle powers up open the trunk.
- The BMW F30 3 series battery is located underneath the storage tray on the ride side of the trunk. To remove the storage tray, simply turn the release and pull the tray out.
- Use a 10mm socket wrench to remove the two bolts anchoring the battery rollover bracket to the body of the vehicle. Remove the bracket from the car.
- Use a 10mm socket wrench to remove the negative battery cable. Be very careful when removing this cable from the battery terminal…it has the intelligent battery sensor (IBS) attached to the end of it. Avoid dropping or knocking the sensor against the side of the car.
- Use a 10mm socket wrench to remove the positive battery cable.
- Finally, use a 13mm socket wrench and a long extension (8″ or more) to remove the battery support rail. The support rail is located at the rear bottom of the battery and is held in place with a single bolt. It is a little tricky to remove (and even trickier to reinstall), so use patience. Use your hand and/or a flashlight to first locate the bolt, then lower the 13mm socket on it. Remove the rail from the car.
- The battery can now be removed from its compartment. Grasp the battery with two hands by its plastic handles and remove from car. Now is a great time to vacuum and clean out the battery compartment if necessary.
- Follow the above steps to reinstall your new battery. Be careful when tightening the terminal bolts…over torquing them can break them off and cause a really big mess. Just make sure they are snug and won’t come loose when the car goes over a bump. Once again, pay extra attention the the IBS on the negative cable…it is very sensitive and can fail if bumped too hard against the side of the vehicle.
- If you are a BMW home mechanic or enthusiast and have your own diagnostic scanner, register the new battery to the car. If you do not have a diagnostic scanner, visit any local auto repair shop and they will most likely do it for you for free. For more information on registering your new battery, please read our discussion at the the beginning of this repair article.
BMW F30 Battery Replacement Finished
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. And congratulations for Doing It Yourself!