BMW X4 Alarm Going Off? (13 Main Causes)

The BMW X4 is a luxury compact SUV with slick styling.

As with any car, this model can be susceptible to alarm-related problems. 

If your X4’s alarm system keeps going off, this article is here to help

Why Does My BMW X4 Alarm Keep Going Off?

A BMW X4 alarm is usually triggered by a faulty hood switch or door switch as these sensors are prone to defects or damage through years of use. Other common causes include battery issues with the key fob, 12V problems, and damaged wiring. 

1. Faulty Hood Switch

For the X4, a faulty hood switch frequently causes false alarm activations.

Typically, the switch is part of the hood latch system.

This small electronic device assesses whether the hood is open or closed.

Issues like malfunctions, loose connections, or dirt in the switch can send incorrect readings to the car’s computer, leading to unwarranted alarm activation.

  • Open the hood and locate the hood switch.
  • Check for any clear signs of damage, rust or loose connections.
  • Give the hood switch a thorough cleaning (with contact cleaner), as dirt and grime can cause issues.
  • With the right tools, you can test the switch with a continuity tester.

If you’re mechanically skilled, consider purchasing a new hood switch online for DIY replacement. Otherwise, it’s best to consult a local mechanic.

One X4 owner had this to say on the r/BMWTech subreddit:

“ … The solution was to either disconnect the sensor (then the car won’t know if your hood is open or closed) or replace the hood sensor.”

2. Faulty Door Switches

Faulty door switches are a common cause of random alarms. If damaged, faulty, or dirty, they can send false readings thereby triggering the alarm.

Door switches are a common point of failure as they are subject to wear and tear due to the doors being continually opened/closed/slammed etc.

The door latches and door switches can get dirty too which can cause issues, so the first thing you should do is give all door latches a good clean and spray some WD-40 on the latch and work it in to see if that helps.

Also check the wiring leading from the body into the door for any signs of damage, it should be in a flexible hose on the hinge side of the door.

If you suspect the alarm issues are linked to the door switch, ask your dealer to run a diagnostic test to try and pinpoint the fault.

3. Issues with the Remote Communication System

Sometimes, poor reception leads to a communication error between the car and the BMW app. Failing to receive the correct vehicle status may force the car to activate its security alarm.

A quick fix often involves refreshing the app’s status. This can be done by pulling down from the top of the app screen, prompting it to fetch the latest information from the vehicle.

To prevent similar issues, ensure both your vehicle’s software and the BMW app are up-to-date. 

If issues persist, consider a professional diagnostic check. BMW service centers can examine the system more thoroughly, identifying any underlying issues not immediately apparent to the user.

4. Interior Motion Sensor

The X4’s alarm system can sometimes be accidentally set off by its interior motion sensors.

It can be triggered by bugs in the cabin so you can try disabling the interior sensors for a few days and use some bug spray to see if the problem goes away.

To avoid false alarms from internal movement, like when pets are left in the car, you can turn off the interior motion sensor.

This is usually achieved by pressing the lock button on the key fob twice, once to lock and once more to deactivate the motion sensor.

5. Loose or Bad 12V Battery Connections

Loose or worn 12V battery connections can cause several problems, such as unintentional triggering of your X4’s alarm system.

These connections might degrade over time due to dirt accumulation or corrosion.

The vibrations from regular driving can also lead to loosened battery terminals.

Before beginning any work related to the battery, make sure the engine is turned off.

If you choose to check the battery on your own, follow these essential steps:

  1. Examine the battery for any indications of wear, such as dirt, rust, or corrosion.
  2. Detach the battery, starting by loosening the clamp nuts with a wrench.
  3. Always disconnect the negative clamp, identified by a ‘-’ sign, first.
  4. Use a toothbrush soaked in a baking soda and water solution to clean the terminals. Rinse with distilled water and dry thoroughly.
  5. When reconnecting the battery, make sure the connections are secure and tight.

“[The alarm issue occurred due to] possibly a bad battery.” – r/BMW subreddit

6. Drained 12V Battery

A weak car battery can lead to several issues, including unintended alarm activation.

It’s advisable to get your battery checked for its health, which is often a low-cost or free service at places like AutoZone.

Alternatively, you can conduct a self-assessment using a multimeter (refer to the guide at the end of the article below).

Typically, a functioning 12V battery should register between 12.6 and 12.8 volts, whereas a failing one will show below 12 volts.

7. Key Fob Running on Low Battery

Unexpected alarm triggers are often caused by a depleted key fob battery. 

Accumulated dust and grime inside the fob can also lead to malfunctions.

To address these issues, clean your fob’s interior and replace the battery. Opting for a premium battery brand is recommended for better performance.

  • To open your key fob, stick your prying tool into the slit or gap between the two halves of the outer casing and gently apply upward pressure to pop open the device.
  • Remove the battery.
  • Give the key fob a good clean to remove any dirt or fluff – a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol should do the trick.
  • Check for damage, rust or loose connection (you may need a new key fob depending on what you find).
  • Be sure to insert the new battery facing the right way up.
  • Assemble the outer casing of your key fob by clamping them back together.

“Try changing the battery on both keys and see if that does anything…” – r/BMWTech subreddit

8. Faulty Key Fob

A common trigger for false alarms in this vehicle can be a malfunctioning key fob.

If you have 2 remotes, try taking the battery out of one and use the other for a while.

Should the alarm issues continue after you’ve cleaned the interior of the fob(s) and replaced the battery, it’s advisable to consult with your dealership for further assistance.

9. Incorrectly Installed Aftermarket Alarm

An incorrectly installed or faulty aftermarket alarm system is a common cause of nuisance alarms.

Aftermarket alarms are typically far more complex than any factory-installed equipment which makes them more prone to issues.

They may also have been installed by incompetent individuals.

If you are experiencing issues with an aftermarket alarm, the best thing to do is speak with a reputable auto electrician. 

10. Faulty Body Control Module (BCM)

A faulty body control module can cause a wide range of issues including nuisance alarms.

  • The BCM is in charge of electrical communication from different electronic systems.
  • This includes the alarm system, lock-unlock functions, climate control etc.
  • If you have a faulty BCM you may notice other electrical glitches too
  • This can include intermittent operation of various electrical functions, such as the horn, lights, wipers and instrument cluster dials

The signals sent from the door and hood are sent to the BCM to be interpreted and it is a core part of the alarm system.

The BCM can be connected to a diagnostic scan tool which should uncover any errors or show a lack of communication with the main computer.

If in doubt, speak to your local dealer or a reputable mechanic to carry out the tests for you.

11. Damaged Wiring

Damaged electrical wiring can cause a wide range of problems, it can often be tricky to pinpoint too and you may need to have an auto electrician run some diagnostic tests.

In some instances, rodents may have chewed through an electrical wire.

12. Animals Climbing On The Vehicle

If your alarm has been set off in the middle of the night, it may have been by an animal climbing on the car.

States such as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin, and Carolina have large wild raccoon populations. 

Have a look for footprints on the hood and the roof. 

If you have a CCTV system, examine the footage. These animals usually appear during the night. 

13. Not Closing Doors, Hood, or Trunk Properly

Something as simple as not properly closing the doors, hood, or trunk will inevitably trigger the alarm.

Make sure to check if you have closed every point of entry of your vehicle to avoid accidentally tripping your vehicle’s alarm. 

Related: How Long Do BMW X4 Last? (Solved & Explained)

Alternative Suggestions

Check for Recalls or TSBs

By entering your car’s VIN number on BMW’s recall page or the NTHSA’s Safety Issues & Recalls page you can determine whether or not there is a TSB or recall for your vehicle and if there is you’ll want to get it addressed.

A recall is issued by a vehicle manufacturer for issues that are safety-related, while a TSB covers components that may be malfunctioning but don’t compromise the safety of the vehicle.

Disconnect the Battery

Sometimes mysterious alarm problems can disappear with a simple reboot, there are no guarantees here but it’s worth a try.

Disconnect the battery for 20 seconds and this resets many of the electronics in the vehicle.

Check For Warning Messages

When the alarm occurs can you see any lights or warning messages on the instrument panel?

This can give a clue as to what’s causing the alarm e.g. ‘Hood Ajar’.

Take it to a BMW Dealership

If needed, take your BMW to the dealership.

Tell them you are NOT paying for a check on what the problem might be.

Ask them if they will check it for free.

Most dealerships and other places do quick/initial diagnosis for no money as they plan to make money for the repair of your vehicle.

If your unit is still under warranty then they should fix and resolve the issue for free.

How to Test the 12V Battery

How to Test the Battery:

  • Before testing, remove the surface charge from the battery, this allows for an accurate reading.
  • Simply turn on the headlights for 2 minutes then turn off.
  • Set the multimeter dial to the ’20 Volts’ setting.
  • Make sure the car is turned OFF.

The multimeter will have a red probe and a black probe.

  • The red probe is for making contact with the positive terminal.
  • The black probe is for making contact with the negative terminal.

Measure across the battery terminals.

  • The meter should display a reading, if the battery is fully charged the voltage should be between 12.2 and 12.6 volts.
  • Anything under 12V and the battery should be charged or replaced.

Related: BMW X6 Alarm Going Off? (16 Common Causes)

Sources

https://www.bmwusa.com/owners-manuals.html

https://ownersmanuals2.com/bmw-auto/x4-2021-owners-manual-78224

https://www.bmwusa.com/safety-and-emission-recalls.html

Author:

  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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