BMW won't start

So my mom just bought a used BMW X5 year 2008. The car wouldn’t start about a 2 weeks after we bought it so we replaced the battery, then it still wouldn’t start so we replaced the alternator, however it’s STILL not starting? Were in kind of a sticky situation: we are about 1000 miles away from home and we drove here in this car. Any help/tips would be greatly appreciated!
We’re taking the battery to be charged at a shop because we suspect that the old alternator drained the battery, but we would still love some feedback.
And yes. We are speculating about what’s happening. We know nothing about cars, obviously we can only guess about what’s happening.

With the dash lights on, step on the brake pedal and shift the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts, there’s a problem with the park/neutral safety switch.


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Not sure why you are taking the battery to a dealership to be charged . The not starting could be a lot of things . Frankly have the vehicle towed to a shop because it sounds like you are guessing at the problem.

Your vehicle has what is called an IBS sensor… It is located on the negative battery cable. If there is a problem with the sensor it can actually drain your battery and or cause a no start situation. It is well known for causing all sorts of unpleasant problems actually. You can do a search on the net regarding “BMW IBS sensor and no start” you should have plenty of information to sort through as a result.

Temporarily disconnect the IBS sensor by unplugging it and then try to start your vehicle… Let us know what happens.

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Unfortunately it didn’t work :persevere: thank you for the suggestion though!

What exactly happens when you try to start the vehicle? I do mean Exactly…the more clues we have the more likely the solution will present itself. Please include any sounds and lights you may or may not see or hear.


Also clarify if this is a cranks ok (that rrr rrr rrr sound), but doesn’t catch and run. Or is it a fails to crank problem?

It makes that cranking sound that cars make when you first then the engine on, but then it doesn’t catch and it stutters. The car won’t even shift from park, it’s stuck in park and won’t go to neutral or drive or anything. Interior lights come on but the dashboard lights dont.

No it’s cranking, it just doesn’t catch.

Then It is not the battery, you need a mechanic.

Cranks but won’t start is usually either a problem w/ spark or fuel. So that’s the number one objective at this point, determining which it is, spark or fuel. Sometimes the easiest way to begin is to spray some starter spray into the air intake. If it starts and runs briefly, then dies, the problem is fuel, not spark.

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