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Why is my "Park" indicator light on?

Discussion in 'E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006-2011)' started by sarath, Mar 2, 2010.

    sarath guest

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    Okay, I have owned my new 2009 328i convrtible for about a month now and I either have not noticed this before, or something changed, or something is wrong:

    I parked the car (automatic transmission) in the garage and shut it off and left, locking the doors with the key fob. Later, when I stopped in the garage to drop off some trash, I noticed that the amber indicator light next to the letter "P" on the shift selector was illuminated. Yes indeed the car was in Park, but it was not on - this seems like odd behavior, or at least wasteful of energy, unless it's trying to tell me something.

    Starting the car and shifting out of Park and then back does not fix the issue. When I stop the engine and leave, the light remains on. It's been an hour now and that little LED is still lit - nothing else is on. Just the little amber light telling me I'm in Park.

    Is this normal behavior and I'm just weird, or what? I've tried to RTFM and find no mention of this.

    Thanks for any help.

    Sarath.
    • Member

    eam3

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    Yes, it's normal. My mom's 335i does the same thing and that kept my dad wondering about it for a few days. It will automatically turn off eventually but I have no idea why it stays on in the first place.
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    az3579

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    It's normal. All the cars at the local dealership (99% of them automatic unfortunately) have that light lit when in park, even the ones outside.

    sarath guest

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    Super. I'll stop fretting then. It seemed odd to allow the light to just stay on.

    Thanks to you both!
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    granthr

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    BMW did that on purpose so that if you let the car sit it will certainly kill the battery. Then when you complain they will tell you drive it more often. :D Now if you do let the car sit more than a week at a time I would strongly suggest getting a battery tender. They are worth it.
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    az3579

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    I very, very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY seriously doubt a small little light like that will drain the battery. That light shouldn't do a darned thing to the ability to start the car.

    Besides, that isn't something that BMW could get away with; designing it to stay on so it drains the battery. They'd have people complaining like you wouldn't believe.

    sarath guest

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    Actually I found a really nice post about this in another forum (it just tok some more complex searching through Google. Amazing this internet thing). The light is tied in to a communications bus that is on for 16 minutes post car shutdown, or at least this was the case a few years' back on the 740.

    Check http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=497730
    There's a nice post about this halfway down. Sorry to waste people's time, but I thought this was neat enough to share out.
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    granthr

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    I can't remember where I read it, but it was either here or in Roundel. A member did have a new BMW and didn't drive it very often resulting in multiple battery drains and failures. BMW decline to replace his battery under warranty b/c they said he didn't drive the car enough. So don't give them too much credit. Remember if somethings lasts forever the manufacture can't sell them a new one down the road.
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    Zeichen311

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    I have also read this and indeed I think it was in Roundel (probably Tech Talk) and perhaps other sources. There are increasing numbers of systems in advanced, late-model cars that place a not-insignificant load on the battery even when "off." It's not just a little light: it's self-diagnostics, memory functions, anti-theft systems, radio receivers (keyless entry) and on and on. I've heard it rumored that a few weeks in an airport parking lot can be enough to greet a weary traveler with a dead battery. :mad:

    IMO a new battery should have at least enough reserve capacity to start the car after a solid month of immobility. Whether that's practical (in terms of battery size and cost) for these electronics-laden beasties, I can't say. What I can say is--having once awoken to a dead battery because my final-stage blower resistor failed, causing the HVAC diagnostic routine to run the blower on high speed overnight--my next Bimmer will have one of those sealed-battery jump-start thingies as a permanent fixture in the trunk.

    I believe there will be room to store it where the spare tire used to belong. :p
    • Member

    az3579

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    I said that light isn't the one to make the difference between a dead battery and a normal battery. It's everything else that adds up that causes it to drain. :p
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    tiFreak

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    just another plus to owning the older, simpler Bimmers :D
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    eam3

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    We had our 535i's battery die after not driving it for 1 week. After spending a few days at the dealership they determined that everything was normal and that we should "drive the car more." That's pretty sad because a few years ago we left our Volvo outside for the entire summer while we were out of town and when we came back it started right up as if I had just driven it the day before. So maybe the Parking light indicator is part of a bigger scam to sell more batteries in the future ;)

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