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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 BMW 5-Series (F10) Forums General 5-Series Sedan and Wagon (F10 / F11) Forum putting car in neutral for a tow - how to?
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      01-07-2020, 07:54 AM   #1
Jeffcharger
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putting car in neutral for a tow - how to?

In reading other threads, I realise that I don't know how to mechanically put my 2015 F10 xdrive into neutral in case it has lost power and needs a tow (onto a flatbed of course). I knew how to with my E60 (and in fact had to do it), but can't find definitive info on the F10.

I regularly use the electronic parking brake so this would be a problem too.

How can you ready the car for a tow if it has no power?

Last edited by Jeffcharger; 01-07-2020 at 08:35 AM..
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      01-07-2020, 09:27 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffcharger View Post
In reading other threads, I realise that I don't know how to mechanically put my 2015 F10 xdrive into neutral in case it has lost power and needs a tow (onto a flatbed of course). I knew how to with my E60 (and in fact had to do it), but can't find definitive info on the F10.

I regularly use the electronic parking brake so this would be a problem too.

How can you ready the car for a tow if it has no power?
Oh it's super easy, just pop out your cup holder and there is a red emergency strap to pull....OH WAIT THATS RIGHT....Some WORTHLESS manager at BMW thought it would be better to save a buck on production dispite how expensive these cars are (and SUV, same for the X's) and leave you with no easy way to do it...

The procedure is: jack up your car, remove the transmission protection plate (if equipped) and turn the neutral override bolt on the driver side of the transmission until it engages the release lever.....even Chrysler gives you a way to do it from inside the cabin on vehicles that use the exact same transmission.....

You have to wonder sometimes with all the amazing engineering in our vehicles, you run into something like this every once in a while that defies logic and makes you think there are secret Mercedes agents working within BMW....

Here is a video on it:


Last edited by Sophisticated Redneck; 01-07-2020 at 10:29 AM..
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      01-07-2020, 09:44 AM   #3
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Thanks for the video Sophisticated Redneck !

totally agree with you.
Its ironic that you gotta jack up the car to do this given that F10s come with run-flat tires so there is no actual jack in the trunk...
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      01-08-2020, 07:30 PM   #4
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If you need to put the car in neutral while on the side of the road, you are pretty much screwed 100%. No idea what the German engineers were thinking.
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      01-11-2020, 02:38 PM   #5
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      01-11-2020, 08:51 PM   #6
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I watched them drag my car up in to the flat bed and then bounce it off at the dealership. It was tough to see.
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      01-13-2020, 11:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f11_carbonschwarz View Post
BTW, great video...thanks for posting. I had the info below from the TIS...and was curious how it worked...seeing the video reinforces what's given in the written version.

Has anyone tried the procedure yet as outlined in the video? I was curious as to how you NOT get the car to start when pressing the brake and START button? I wonder if by pressing the UNLOCK button on the gear shift lever...stops the engine and keeps the starter turning.
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      01-13-2020, 11:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qsilver7 View Post
Has anyone tried the procedure yet as outlined in the video? I was curious as to how you NOT get the car to start when pressing the brake and START button? I wonder if by pressing the UNLOCK button on the gear shift lever...stops the engine and keeps the starter turning.
I think you're missing the point. If your engine does start then it is quite simple to put the transmission into neutral. The procedure above applies if your engine is seized, dead, or fails to start. You cannot simply put the transmission in neutral if the engine is not running (you can give it a try). The starter needs to at least try to turn the engine before the above procedure can be used to put the transmission in neutral. Either that or the bolt underneath the car.
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      01-13-2020, 11:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walmark View Post
I think you're missing the point. If your engine does start then it is quite simple to put the transmission into neutral. The procedure above applies if your engine is seized, dead, or fails to start. You cannot simply put the transmission in neutral if the engine is not running (you can give it a try). The starter needs to at least try to turn the engine before the above procedure can be used to put the transmission in neutral. Either that or the bolt underneath the car.
Actually...I did get that point (about the engine not starting)...but was curious if pressing the gear shift UNLOCK button...would create the same "no start" scenario/situation.

And a secondary question running through my head was...if the battery is dead (car won't start)...could you possibly hook up a battery pack to the jump start terminals in the engine bay...and possibly attempt the same procedure (since the starter may turn enough to engage this procedure without starting the engine). Which ties into my question as to if holding in on that UNLOCK button prevents the engine from turning over and starting.

(hopefully you get were my thoughts were going...I'm wondering if there are alternate scenarios that may allow you to get the car into neutral without having to jack the car up to remove the panel and use the hex tool to manually unlock the tranny)
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      01-13-2020, 12:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qsilver7 View Post
Actually...I did get that point (about the engine not starting)...but was curious if pressing the gear shift UNLOCK button...would create the same "no start" scenario/situation.

And a secondary question running through my head was...if the battery is dead (car won't start)...could you possibly hook up a battery pack to the jump start terminals in the engine bay...and possibly attempt the same procedure (since the starter may turn enough to engage this procedure without starting the engine). Which ties into my question as to if holding in on that UNLOCK button prevents the engine from turning over and starting.

(hopefully you get were my thoughts were going...I'm wondering if there are alternate scenarios that may allow you to get the car into neutral without having to jack the car up to remove the panel and use the hex tool to manually unlock the tranny)
I doubt that holding the UNLOCK will prevent the engine from starting, but honestly I never tested it.

As for your dead battery scenario I think it would work in either case - if enough juice is provided then the engine will start. If not, the starter will turn but fail to start the engine and then you can put it in neutral. Assuming that there is enough power to actually run the electronics.
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      01-13-2020, 12:20 PM   #11
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Now...if I can only remember this procedure if the situation presents itself.
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      01-13-2020, 02:00 PM   #12
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In both the written and video, the unlock button is not pressed until after the starter is engaged, so the engine would have to be in a no start condition.
I doubt I could recall this when needed but I will remember it is possible and look it up.
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      01-13-2020, 02:29 PM   #13
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You guys have beat me into submission ...so I wonder if you pull the fuse to the fuel pump...that would prevent the engine from starting...and allow you to "test" this procedure out. Hmmm.
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      01-13-2020, 05:28 PM   #14
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thanks for the info. Although it looks like a tough procedure, at least it gives us an option should the occasion arise where it's needed. I'll never remember it, so I'm going to print out the written version and put in my glovebox.

At the risk of exhausting people - what do we do about the parking brake if there's no power? Can it be mechanically disengaged? (I'm assuming that if you have power it can just be disengaged as you would normally)
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      01-13-2020, 07:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qsilver7 View Post
You guys have beat me into submission ...so I wonder if you pull the fuse to the fuel pump...that would prevent the engine from starting...and allow you to "test" this procedure out. Hmmm.
I would imagine any no start condition should allow it.
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      01-13-2020, 07:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffcharger View Post
thanks for the info. Although it looks like a tough procedure, at least it gives us an option should the occasion arise where it's needed. I'll never remember it, so I'm going to print out the written version and put in my glovebox.

At the risk of exhausting people - what do we do about the parking brake if there's no power? Can it be mechanically disengaged? (I'm assuming that if you have power it can just be disengaged as you would normally)
That situation makes it a bit harder.
According to newtis, you dismount the actuator motors on both fears then crank the caliper out. Here is a link.
https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/f...brake/Ckzfos1L
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      01-14-2020, 09:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffcharger View Post
At the risk of exhausting people - what do we do about the parking brake if there's no power? Can it be mechanically disengaged? (I'm assuming that if you have power it can just be disengaged as you would normally)
Wouldn't the method of screwing in the release bolt noted at the top of this thread work in the absence of power?
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      02-15-2021, 04:41 PM   #18
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That's why I am carry this just in case
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      02-18-2021, 07:03 PM   #19
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That's why I am carry this just in case
Do you keep it in the car (as opposed to the trunk)? Where?
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      02-20-2021, 01:53 AM   #20
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Not helpful if the starter is dead. Only when is to go underneath
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