BMW X5 Owners & Service Manuals

BMW X5: AGM Battery

Fig. 151: Identifying AGM Battery


In September 2002 so-called VRLA batteries, better known as AGM batteries , were introduced.

(VRLA stands for Valve Regulated Lead Acid, i.e. lead acid battery with pressure relief valve; AGM stands for A bsorbent G lass M at, i.e. absorbent glass fiber fleece) AGM batteries are fitted in models with electrical loads/consumers which have a high energy demand.

With the option SA 146 (2nd battery), the AGM battery (70 Ah) is fitted as the 2nd battery.

The constantly increasing energy demand of modern vehicle electrical systems calls for ever more powerful battery solutions. Today, up to 100 servomotors, which have to be electrically powered, operate in a modern luxury-class motor vehicle. Added to these are safety, environmental and comfort and convenience elements which are increasingly becoming standard features, such as e.g. Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), electric steering effort assistance (EPS), heated catalytic converter, electronic chassis and suspension control, air conditioning and navigation system.

The power consumption is considerable even when the vehicle is parked.

The somewhat higher price compared with a battery of similar size is fully balanced by the following benefits:

Service life of AGM battery

Fig. 152: Identifying AGM Battery Service Life Graph

  1. Available capacity (%)
  2. Kilometres covered (1000km)
  3. AGM battery
  4. Lead calcium battery
  5. 50 % capacity limit

Unlike the previously used lead calcium batteries, the sulphuric acid contained in batteries with fleece technology is not self-contained in the battery housing.

Instead, the sulphuric acid is 100 % bound up in glass fiber fleece mats (separators). Thus, no acid can escape if the battery housing is damaged. In addition, the AGM battery is sealed gas-tight. This is possible because the gases are converted back into water as a result of the separator permeability.

Brief description of components

An AGM battery can be recognized by its black housing and the lack of a so-called "Magic Eye".

Fig. 153: Identifying AGM Battery Components

  1. Positive grid with silver alloy
  2. Positive plate
  3. Negative grid
  4. Negative plate
  5. Separator made of fibre fleece
  6. Positive plate pack
  7. Negative plate pack
  8. Plate block
  9. Block holder with bottom rails


The AGM battery differs from the conventional lead calcium battery as follows:

Mode of operation

The AGM battery differs from conventional batteries in its non-polluting and substance-retaining behavior during charging.

When vehicle batteries are charged, the two gases oxygen and hydrogen are released by electrolysis.

In this way, the gas and thus also the electrolyte are not lost.

Only in the event of an excessively heavy buildup of gas, i.e. excessively high pressure buildup (20 to 200 mbar), does the pressure relief valve discharge the gas. In this process, the pressure relief valve does not allow any oxygen in the air to enter. Because a valve regulates the pressure in the battery, the AGM battery is also known as a VRLA battery (Valve Regulated Lead Acid).

Notes and instructions for service personnel

It is necessary when handling an AGM battery to observe some particular points pertaining to battery changing and installation location.


WARNING: Do not charge the AGM battery with > or = 15.2 V. No quick-charging routines! When charging removed batteries (so-called stand-alone batteries), do not exceed the maximum charging voltage of 15.2 V at room temperature.

Also when charging via the jump start terminal, do not exceed the maximum charging voltage of 15.2 V at room temperature.

The AGM battery will be damaged even when it is only briefly charged with a charging voltage of more than 15.2 V. A charging voltage of more than 15.2 V is usually used in quick-charging routines.

Installation location

WARNING: Do not install the AGM battery in the engine compartment.

The AGM battery must not be installed in the engine compartment on account of the high spatial temperature differences, otherwise its service life will be significantly shortened.


WARNING: Do not open the AGM battery.

The AGM battery must not be opened under any circumstances as the introduction of oxygen from the air will cause the battery to lose its chemical equilibrium and be rendered non-operational.

Battery changing

Any conventional lead calcium battery can always be replaced by an AGM battery.

Using an AGM battery does not require any alterations to be made to the vehicle electrical system.

NOTE: The AGM battery is recommended for "problem customers".

"Problem customers" encounter a high energy throughput through their batteries. This high energy throughput is caused by stationary loads/consumers (TV, independent heating, etc.) and a bad use profile for the battery ("chauffeur operation", short-distance driving, "stop-and-go"). The use of an AGM battery is recommended for these problem customers.


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