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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just bought this 2017 500e with 25k miles. Went shopping. Sitting in car now and it won't start. Giving me service PRND. I don't have any tools to remove battery terminal. And the key can't be pulled out since I can't get it into park either. Please help...
 

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Sorry I missed this one.

The only thing I know that makes the key stick in the ignition is a dead 12V starter battery, which gets full charging power from the HV battery the entire time the car is on PLUS the entire time the car is being charged. With all that charging, if it ever goes dead in normal use it is simply completely worn out.

The 500e can wear out 12V starter batteries very fast, due to the heat of the adjacent OnBoard Charger & the PIM right below that. It's best to try to charge the car at cooler times/places, & whenever practical leave the hood open while charging. Delete the useless heat-trapping motor cover, & leave in a chunk of styrofoam insulation:
Electrical wiring Font Computer hardware Gas Audio equipment
 

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If it ever happens to you again, or to anyone else who hasn't yet got a bluetooth battery alarm set for 30%*:

It sometimes works to turn off the headlights, wipers, & dome lights, leave the hatch closed & the left door latched only 1 click (to avoid “wake-up” signal), wait about 15 minutes for the starter battery to rest, & try again.

* Mine will only start reliably at 20% or more, so I'd set the alarm to 30%. Then when it starts going off I'd check regularly & when it gets close to the 11.6V minimum I'd start battery shopping. Note that it often WILL start with as little as 10% power, so it can be even lower than that by the time you notice it's dead. That can be too low for a portable jumpstarter to work, so please don't rely on one of those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sorry I missed this one.

The only thing I know that makes the key stick in the ignition is a dead 12V starter battery, which gets full charging power from the HV battery the entire time the car is on PLUS the entire time the car is being charged. With all that charging, if it ever goes dead in normal use it is simply completely worn out.

The 500e can wear out 12V starter batteries very fast, due to the heat of the adjacent OnBoard Charger & the PIM right below that. It's best to try to charge the car at cooler times/places, & whenever practical leave the hood open while charging. Delete the useless heat-trapping motor cover, & leave in a chunk of styrofoam insulation:
View attachment 114337
I think it was stuck because the car couldn't be put in park, as the service PRND was flashing? I charge it at night outside 10pm-8am. what does the styrofoam do? keep the battery from moving? and thanks for tip on hood cover, i'll pull it.
 

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Repeat: The only thing I know that makes the key stick in the ignition is a dead 12V starter battery.

Please check the resting voltage, preferably after several hours parked unplugged with either the hood popped or the left door only shut 1 click, slightly ajar so when you open it to pop the hood it doesn't awaken the car. If it's anywhere near 11.6V after resting for 8 hours it could leave you stranded at any moment.
 

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Sometimes opening the left door activates the power-robbing brake booster pump ("buzz sound"), requiring 11.6V (20%) or more to start the car. Sometimes the pump doesn't buzz, requiring only 11.3V (10%).

I've never heard of the following, but it's possible: The car might not have gone into P due to a computer glitch. You've left the evil humidity sensor unplugged to reduce glitches, right?

More likely, your brake pump activated, causing failure, & then you got lucky & had the pump stay off, allowing operation. How lucky do you feel?

There are 2 awkward work-arounds:
  • Avoid opening the left door until it's in "ready" mode, by getting in the right & twisting the key all the way.
  • Avoid brake pump activation by pumping the brakes JUST until it activates, right before shutting the car off.
 

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As an aside, when putting the car in park, make sure your foot is on the brake. Before removing your foot from the brake after putting the car in park, make sure the parking brake is engaged.

When going back into drive, make sure your foot is on the brake before taking the parking brake off and stays on the brake until the car is in drive.
This prevents loading up the parking pawl due to the vehicle trying to roll when in park. Minimizing the load on the parking pawl reduces the risk of it being damaged.
Also, don't open the door when moving. At low speeds there is a safety feature that will put the car in park if the door opens when the car is moving. This kind of loading on the pawl is likely not good for it. . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Repeat: The only thing I know that makes the key stick in the ignition is a dead 12V starter battery.

Please check the resting voltage, preferably after several hours parked unplugged with either the hood popped or the left door only shut 1 click, slightly ajar so when you open it to pop the hood it doesn't awaken the car. If it's anywhere near 11.6V after resting for 8 hours it could leave you stranded at any moment.
thanks i'll check. he said the battery is 10 mo old, so didn't think that'd be it. I'm ordering the bluetoothe battery monitor as suggested and returning the wifi one. But when I had the error, the center console to show what gear I was in had nothing illuminated, which to me i'm assuming it wasn't in park, and in all cars I've ever had, you can't take the key out unless the car is in park. It had briefly gone into drive with drive flashing, but then it went haywire, and the center screen gave the prnd error.
'
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
As an aside, when putting the car in park, make sure your foot is on the brake. Before removing your foot from the brake after putting the car in park, make sure the parking brake is engaged.

When going back into drive, make sure your foot is on the brake before taking the parking brake off and stays on the brake until the car is in drive.
This prevents loading up the parking pawl due to the vehicle trying to roll when in park. Minimizing the load on the parking pawl reduces the risk of it being damaged.
Also, don't open the door when moving. At low speeds there is a safety feature that will put the car in park if the door opens when the car is moving. This kind of loading on the pawl is likely not good for it. . .
I never use the parking brake in any car i've ever driven. the above seems pretty specific and touchy for a car, and i would be disappointed to hear this is the only way to park and drive the car?
 

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I never use the parking brake in any car i've ever driven. the above seems pretty specific and touchy for a car, and i would be disappointed to hear this is the only way to park and drive the car?
I believe that this advice is if you're in the habit of parking on any kind of slope. Not loading the parking pawl with the weight of the car from being on a hill by engaging the parking brake make it easier to shift the car out of Park. The steeper the slope, the more pressure applied to the parking pawl.

Have a good day.
 

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I never use the parking brake in any car i've ever driven.
It's just like any other car. But also just like any other car, if you're parking on a hill it's best to try to remember to also use the parking brake.

The only different part is the cool auto-park feature, which accommodates my life-long stickshift habit: Just stop, leaving it in gear, turn it off, remove seatbelt, open door & get out. It goes into P by itself.

battery is 10 mo old, so didn't think that'd be it... nothing illuminated...drive flashing, but then it went haywire, and the center screen gave the prnd error.
Some people have claimed 500e 12V batteries die in 6 months. That seems like an exaggeration but maybe it was actually 8 or 10 months. Either way, all the rest of your report indicates a very weak battery.

If you asked me to drive it I would make sure my phone was charged to call for a ride, & I'd put a piece of tape on the left outside door handle to remind me not to open that door unless the car was already "ready". I'd also ask for your second key, to lock one key in the ignition so I didn't have to turn it off & risk it not turning on again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sometimes opening the left door activates the power-robbing brake booster pump ("buzz sound"), requiring 11.6V (20%) or more to start the car. Sometimes the pump doesn't buzz, requiring only 11.3V (10%).

I've never heard of the following, but it's possible: The car might not have gone into P due to a computer glitch. You've left the evil humidity sensor unplugged to reduce glitches, right?

More likely, your brake pump activated, causing failure, & then you got lucky & had the pump stay off, allowing operation. How lucky do you feel?

There are 2 awkward work-arounds:
  • Avoid opening the left door until it's in "ready" mode, by getting in the right & twisting the key all the way.
  • Avoid brake pump activation by pumping the brakes JUST until it activates, right before shutting the car off.
I don't think i understand the work around. are you saying if i have the problem again, don't open the door? yeah, i was sitting in the car when it happened.
and "avoid brake pump activation". so don't put the foot on the brake when you start it ? i;m so used to doing this, put foot on brake when you start, and keep it there while putting car into drive.

So it happened again, got into car, turned key all the way, let go of key, to wait for it to turn on. but instead it gave the pnrd error, and park button was lit but drive button woulnd't acivate. turned car off and on, then all buttons lit up, then off, then on and while turning on, held drive button and it worked. this was yesterday. it's working fine today.

so strange. i'm ordering this battery monitor
to see if it's the battery. the wifi one came but per your other post, i'll use this instead.
 

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Not so "strange" if you know what's going on, so I'll try to explain that again:
  • If you have 11.3V the car will only start with nothing else powered up.
  • If you have 11.4V & the contactors power up first ("clunk" sound when you open the left door) it will only start if the brake pump stays off ("buzz" sound when you open the left door)
  • If you have 11.6V it will start if the contactors AND brake pump power up first.

SO...:
  • If you have 11.5V it will start whenever it doesn't happen to "buzz" when you open the door.
  • If you have 11.5V it will NOT start if you hear the buzz.

Also note that just like a gas car, voltage varies a bit with temperature & time at rest. So it might not start in the cold morning, but then it might start when it's warmer, & then start again over & over all day & into a cold evening since it didn't have time to lose charge while sitting overnight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
thank you!! just for future reference, is it the cranking voltage I should be paying attention to? and for these bluetooth ones, do the apps have to always run in the background? one of the benefit of the wifi one was it uploaded to their servers and sends an alert without having to have anything run in the background. albeit I hear it's a pain to setup and only pings every 10 min
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
oh, and any more reliable battery brand than others? I'll just head to pep boys. lastly, I saw a pic where you removed the plastic shield in the engine bay and put styrofoam in between the battery and the main battery?
 

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You can just monitor resting voltage, preferably after several hours sitting without charging, such as right before opening the left door in the morning, or after an 8-hour work shift. 11.6V (about 20%) is the minimum for reliable starting in the worst conditions of the left door open & the brake pump activating itself.

Good question whether the app has to be open non-stop for the alarm to work! Let us know. Hopefully not, but you wouldn't need to check it very often. It looks like the BM2 alarm only has 10% increments, so I'd set that for 30% & then when it went off I'd start checking periodically until it started getting close to 11.7V at which time I'd start battery shopping again.

Cheap, old-fashioned "flooded" style batteries are supposedly better than Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) in heat, as long as you keep them topped off with distilled water, so for that type you'd want removable caps. "Gel" style is supposedly even better, but pretty pricey, & Lithium-ion last the longest, but are super-expensive, although maybe similar cost per year.
 
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