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Roger, BMW Master Tech
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 5882
Experience:  10 yrs. experience as BMW Master Technician, shop foreman and dealer.
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I need to reprogram both of my key fobs..Mini Cooper..200 miles

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I need to reprogram both of my key fobs on a 2008 Mini Cooper S. I cannot find a step by step description of how to do it on line. I am 200 miles from my dealer and the car will not start. My wife thought the battery was dead yesterday and I jump started it and she took it to town. Now it gives the key with a slash symbol and the remote keys won't apparently do much including operating the locks. The car is unlocked with the driver window down so I have access but I don't know what to do. I haven't tried jumping it again although I suspect that might make it go. It apparently wouldn't make the remotes work anyway. Can you tell me what to do?



Can I please have the last seven of the VIN and do you know if your vehicle has comfort access or comfort go. This means you would not have to put the key in the slot to start or just pull the handle to unlock.


Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The car starts with the fob in your pocket.
You don't need a key to get in the door.


Thank you.

This could be a few things. The first is that if the battery voltage is low the system will not be able to read the key through the comfort access system. With a jump on the vehicle you can place the key in the slot and it should then start once a charge is built up.

The keys have an internal battery that is replaceable. If this battery fails then you can also get the no key message but if you put the key in the slot it will power up the key through the slot to allow a start. If this is not happening without a jump then this most likely is still related to the overall battery state of charge or a failing battery for the vehicle.

If the vehicle starts with the key in the slot then the batteries on the key should be replaced first. If this does not correct the problem then it may be an antenna problem but again the vehicle should still start in the slot. The antenna system would have to be troubleshooted with the BMW tester at that point. The key programming for this vehicle is that you only have to place the key in the slot and it is initialized so that is unlikely the main issue.

I hope this information is helpful. Please accept and let me know if I can try to help you further. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I will try to check my battery with my own volt meter and then I will leave it on a charger for a little while. The car started quickly with the jump so I am not sure the battery is failing. The battery is a replacement and is probably two years old.
Neither of the fobs worked but I may have only stuck one in the socket.
I will try a few more combos and then put it on the charger. If it turns out to be any kind of a battery problem I will click "satisfied". I do appreciate knowing that putting the fob in the socket will program the remote.
They have both been used recently and I do occasionally stick them in the socket to charge them.

Thank you. Also let me know if I can try to help further. Your remotes actually will not charge in the slot due to the battery is not rechargable. The key fob is powered in case of emergency with a toroidal coil that temporarily powers the key in the slot. You would have to replace the battery in the key if it has drained down. Remove the mechanical portion and the key back comes off to access the battery for the comfort access system.


Let me know how it goes. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am betting it is the car battery for some reason. I tried both fobs in the slot and there was no response at all. I still need to get the volt meter and then the charger going.

I did think the fobs charged while in the socket. I think we have replaced one fob battery a year or two ago. It would be unusual to have them both fail at once but all things are possible.

:) I completely agree. It is unlikely that both batteries failed at the same time.


I think this could be a tired battery or sulphated battery. If it dies quickly after a charge then either there is a drain on the electrical system (parasitic draw) or the battery may have a bad cell or is sulphated. A sulphated battery will even pass a battery test quite often. Once you do get it started though with a charge or jump you could have a local part store test the battery. They will do this for free for you :)

Roger and other BMW Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The volt meter read 8.2 before I started charging. Then I charged it a few minutes on two amps and tried it. The battery was too low to start but it almost did as lots of lights and the ding/ding/ding went off.
The good news is that it apparently recognizes at least one of the fobs that was laying on the seat. For some reason the battery is low or bad.
Once I get it started I can see if the alternator is putting out more than 12 volts. I sure hope the alternator isn't the problem.
I am now satisfied that I can get it going. I will get the battery checked before just replacing it and try to figure out if there are any exceptional parasitic draws. I suspect there are some little loads going on other than the clock all the time but we have gotten along pretty good and haven't had starting problems.
I think what is left to do I can handle. I do appreciate your quick response and will make sure the battery is charged next time before I give up.
Thank you for the update. Let me know if I can help you further. Thank you for accepting.