Why BMW Won’t Start Push Button & How To Fix It?

Besides the BMW transmission malfunction issue, the scenario of the BMW won’t start push button can make you feel depressed and hopeless as you are stranded with an unmovable car.

Then you realize you’d better prepare yourself more for the situation.

Don’t worry. It is a chance for you to do it. Explore the BMW push-start button and its related issues in our article right now!

What Is The BMW Push Button Start?

bmw won't start push button
BMW Push Button Start

Push Button Ignition

It is keyless ignition, a push-button start car‘s standard feature that works exactly the same as the conventional key ignition.

The manufacturer programmed a code into the vehicle and also stored it on the fob’s chip.

When you press the button to start, the fob should be inside the car and send a low-frequency signal to the computer system. The car safety system will then scan the code and allow the engine to crank.

The technology is practical and helpful in minimizing the risk of car thieves.

BMW Push Start Button

Before the mid-’90s, only a limited number of premium cars obtained a keyless entry. Even many BMWs at that moment still used a physical key to unlock the door and engine.

In the early 2000s, the brand started to establish the push-button ignition. It has become a trend in high-end and affordable cars.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), only 5,000 cars (of all makes and models) were integrated with the technology in 2002.

However, statistics from Ward’s Auto show that this number increased to 4,4 million and the tendency is still growing due to more push-button-start engines.

Recently, BMW has revamped the keyfob with a fully interactive remote control device, showing its development of in-car technology.

Yet, sometimes BMW users may face pushing start cars not starting problems.

BMW Won’t Start Push Button – What Are The Causes?

bmw not starting push button
Why Is BMW Won’t Start Push Button

Short Answer

The reasons for your BMW struggle to start are various from small issues such as a dead key fob battery to bigger problems such as a broken starter motor, bad spark plugs, damaged push system, weak battery, or electrical issues.

Some are easy to fix, while some may require a more complicated process. Seek help from a professional service if you’re not confident about the matter you’re dealing with.

What Are The Symptoms?

  • The car has no response after you insert the key or press the button
  • The engine refuses to start after battery replacement
  • EML light is on or light flashes without starting
  • An exclamation mark appears on the screen
  • The key symbol is on the dashboard, but the engine can’t turn on
  • There can be a clicking noise, but your BMW fails to start

What Leads To BMW Not Starting Push Button?

Bad Key FOB Or Key FOB Battery

The first possible reason for your problem is something is wrong with your fob key. Your key might be stored in a humid place or get wet. As a result, your push-start car won’t start.

Another issue is you have a dead fob battery. The depleted battery makes the fob useless as the keyless engine system can’t detect it even if it’s inside your vehicle.

In this case, you can simply replace the battery, which will cost around $2. However, if your key is damaged because of other reasons, the price of having a new fob is around $300.

Faulty Starter Issues 

Bad Starter Motor

A damaged or malfunctioning starter motor may disable your engine. When you assume it’s the cause of your ignition problem, jumping the car may help.

If the method doesn’t work, you may need to change the starter motor or purchase a new module, solenoid, or relay.

Starter motor replacement varies depending on location but is expected to be from $450 to $550, including labor costs.

In addition, there are thick cables connecting the starter and the battery and sending high electric current to move the car. A poor connection can lead to starting problems.

Starter Circuit 

A small fault in the starter circuit may result in your car’s starting issue. First, you should check the solenoid.

You should hear a click when the contacts shut, meaning it functions normally.

If you don’t hear the sound, it indicates you have problems with the solenoid itself, the ignition switch and its terminals, or the wiring.

Faulty Push System

The push system, including the button and its wire harness, is subjected to damage.

The transmission or the brake pedal positioning switch can be flawed, leading to a faulty system. In turn, the push button car won’t start.

Besides, something wrong with the driving interlock release unit or Neutral safety switch can also affect the push system.

Since the causes are various, you’d better use professional services for proper diagnosis.

They will determine the degree of damage and perform the fixing process which costs from $130 to $500.

Broken Battery

BMW features a bigger battery to turn on the engine and operate other electronic components. A discharged or dead battery can make the car struggle to start.

In addition, you may face other problems, such as lights or dashboards failing to power on, electrical devices can’t operate, etc.

You also can hear some clicking sound while trying to turn on the engine, indicating a low battery voltage.

Try to jumpstart your vehicle to identify whether there is a problem with the battery performance. If your car starts, the battery is most likely dead, or the alternator is broken.

Certified mechanics may recommend battery replacement which is around $300-$500, depending on the vehicle model.

Defective Spark Plugs

Every component degrades over time and requires regular replacement, including the spark plugs.

When you experience power loss, engine misfire, poor fuel economy, or push start not starting, you need to think about the plugs as a potential cause.

You can’t fix a worn-out plug, but the only solution is to replace it. The new detail is from $67 to $165, and the labor cost is around $160.

Double-check the wiring harness when you’ve changed the component, but your vehicle still can’t operate. The incorrect connection may happen to your car.

Each wire should be linked to the ignition coil that it was disconnected from before, so do not switch or mislink them.

Fluctuating Fuel Pressure

Suppose your car cranks without starting; performing a fuel pressure inspection is necessary. The process will be less than 15 minutes and will not be complicated.

When you open the engine cover, you’ll see a Schrader valve at the very beginning of the fuel line. (Schrader valves are common among BMW models, yet some may not possess it).

Then, you attach the fuel pressure gauge to it and observe the readings while trying to power your vehicle. The result should be around 50-65 PSI (+/-3).

Damaged Battery Safety Terminal

A fault in the battery safety terminal (BST) can create an obstacle blocking your vehicle from starting.

If your car experiences an accident, gets rear-ended, hits a curb, or has inappropriate battery replacement, BST can explode.

The component is located at the end of the positive cable connecting to the positive post. If the system senses an impact, the gas and igniter inside can detonate, disconnecting the alternator and starter.

To identify if you have a problem with your BST or not, notice the vehicle’s light, radio, and accessories. If they work, but the BMW 3 series won’t start the push button, the answer is yes.

Blown Fuses

Defective fuses and relays can be the root cause of many issues, including the starting struggle. Since you can remove and visually see the fuses, inspecting is not difficult.

The fuse boxes can be in the trunk area, engine bay, or dashboard. BMW has many fuses and relays; make sure you check all of them, especially the one for the fuel pump and starter.

What Are The Possible Solutions For BMW Push Button Start? 

bmw 3 series won't start push button
Solutions For BMW Push Button Start


We need to keep in mind that there are various reasons causing the issue, and we can’t assume for sure without proper inspection.

If the root cause is not the key fob and battery, you need to inspect the compression, fuel pressure, and spark.

If electronic components work but your vehicle can’t start, use the OBD-II scanner to scan all modules of your BMW to find the fault code.

Deal With A Dead Key Fob

When your key fob is suspected of having a problem, you need to replace it in most cases.

However, if you’re stuck in the middle of somewhere, you can follow the instructions below to start your car without the key fob.

To unlock the door:

  • Press the small button on the back of the key fob. You’ll see the physical key separate from the fob.
  • Find the hidden door keyhole under the removable cap on the door handle.
  • Insert the key and open the door.

To start manually:

  • Place the key on the key fob. Press and hold on to the brake.
  • Hold the car key on the small key marks located on the right column of the car and press the start-stop button to power your vehicle.

Inspect And Replace Bad Relays

The suggested solution for bad fuses or relays is to replace them. The defective one can be one of the candidates listed below:

  • Starter relay 
  • Main relay
  • ECM
  • Fuel pump relay or fuse
  • Engine electronics and management fuse
  • Alarm system fuse
  • Ignition switch control module
  • Security fuse

Change The Battery

Follow the steps below to charge your battery if you have a low-voltage one. 

  • Prepare a charger whose capability is a minimum of 10 amps.
  • Find the negative and positive terminals under your hood.
  • Attach the black clamp to the negative terminal and the red clamp to the positive terminal.
  • Connect the charger to the main power supply. Set up a 10 AGM battery in 12-volt mode.
  • When you finish charging, try to power the vehicle again.

Clean Battery Corrosion

You can perform the corrosion cleaning for the BMW battery by taking it out from the circuit and using hot water to remove the corrosion. After that, reassemble everything. 

Or else, you can apply the dielectric grease on battery terminals to protect the connections from corrosion.


The BMW push button that starts not working can be fixed by performing a jumpstart. You need to prepare jumper cables and a healthy donor battery.

  • Attach the red cable to the positive terminal of your defective battery and then to the booster.
  • Connect the black cable to the negative terminal of the healthy battery and then to the bare metal in the car’s engine bay.
  • After that, power on the donor car and then your BMW.

Replace BST Cable

Once you inspect the BST cable is bad, replacing it might help with the problem of a push to start the car not starting.

You can identify the status of the cable by pulling the red wire from the battery-positive clamp. If it’s out easily, then you should change it.

After the replacement, the airbag dash light might blink. You can reset it to turn it off. If a repair shop replaces the BST cable for you, they may ask you for $500 to $900.

The Bottom Lines

A faulty starter motor or bad battery can deactivate the engine; thus, your BMW won’t start push button. Besides, there are more reasons that we have listed above with possible solutions.

Most of them are pretty easy fixes that you can do by yourself if you have some auto knowledge. Otherwise, bring your vehicle to a local shop to address the issue.

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