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E46General discussion and technical help for 1999-2004 3 series cars.
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Your Ride: 2005 545i SMG
Car wouldn't start???
The night after new years before my 4 hour drive home, I turned my headlights on without starting the car to clean my headlights. I also filled up the washer fluid, closed the hood, then turned the key. For some reason, it didn't start. It clicked three times like it was trying to turn over but it wouldn't. So then I had a couple of guys push me down the street, I popped the clutch, and it started up. After my 4 hour drive home, I shut my car and it started right back up again when I tried it. I have since made about 6 or 7 twenty minute trips and it hasn't happened since. The thing that I'm concerned about is that when it didn't start, I only ran the lights for about 5 minutes. That shouldn't be long enough for the battery to die on me. So what the hell is wrong with my car? Alternator? Battery?
In cold weather your battery capacity drops dramatically. So, putting your headlights on took the "surface" charge down to below "starting levels". If you would've let it sit overnight it probably would've started after it recovered. The drive home helped it immensely to gain back it's charge. If you have doubts, hit the local parts store & have them test it for you. (most do it for free) Your alternator is probably fine too.