How to Avoid Coolant Leaks in BMW Cars
By Bavarian Performance Specialists June 8, 2018
BMW cars are especially known for their efficiency, durability, and reliability; however, even BMWs run into issues from time to time. Although BMWs are particularly well made cars, they still encounter the average issues that all vehicles experience occasionally. For instance, coolant leaks are one of the most common auto issues seen in shops. As part of ongoing maintenance and care, coolant is one of the various fluids your BMW requires in order to perform optimally.
Coolant plays an important function in a BMWs performance, and when coolant begins to leak it can have significant, sometimes lasting effects on a car. In this article, we’ll go over: why your BMW is so reliant upon coolant; the typical ways low coolant can affect your car; and what you can do to avoid a leak.
The Importance of Coolant for Your BMW
The internal temperature of your BMW’s engine is high due to constant combustion, friction generation, and therefore excess amounts of heat that needs to somehow be dispelled from the engine, or cooled down so that the engine doesn’t overheat. The cooling system in your BMW is intricate in that it is made up of several parts, including the water pump, the radiator, and the coolant itself. As coolant and water flow through the engine, the temperature lowers, allowing the engine to function properly. Any one of the cooling system parts can fail without proper care and maintenance, so it’s best to stay on top of your auto care as diligently as possible.
How Low Coolant Can Affect Your BMW’s Performance
Coolant leaks can range in severity, but any amount of coolant leaking from your engine will inevitably cause serious symptoms to occur at some point. There are significant effects low coolant can have on your BMW’s engine that must be avoided, but it’s important to obtain an accurate diagnosis, as these symptoms can look a lot like symptoms of other engine-related issues:
When your engine is low on coolant, it cannot circulate the correct ratio of water and coolant, which often leads to overheating—no surprises here. You might notice smoke coming from your engine if it begins to overheat.
Poor Gas Mileage
When your engine can’t properly cool itself down with coolant fluid, it begins to generate too much heat, making it work harder and strain itself. If the leak is a slower one, then you might be able to drive for a bit without the engine overheating; however, you will notice that your engine is burning more gas.
Compromised Engine Oil
Internal coolant leaks are far more sinister than the kind you can see puddled beneath your car—at least you get a good warning! When coolant leaks occur internally, it can be due to a leaky seal, which can lead to engine oil contamination. When engine oil and coolant mix, it can cause catastrophic engine damage—as the oil isn’t able to properly circulate and lubricate the engine components, and the coolant itself actually removes the lubrication.
What You Can Do to Avoid a Leak
Now that you know how serious a coolant leak is for your BMW’s performance, longevity, and overall health, here are a few things you can do to avoid coolant leaks:
Be Aware of Your Temperature Gauge
Keeping an eye on your dashboard to look for signs of engine overheating in a fluctuating temperature gauge is especially important during summer months or while on long road trips.
Keep Coolant On Hand
It couldn’t hurt to keep an extra bottle of coolant in your car at all times—if a leak does occur, depending on the severity, you might have enough coolant to get you to your next destination.
Follow Through with Routine Maintenance
Coolant flushes, coolant top-offs, and ongoing engine and fluid inspections can keep coolant leaks at bay and keep your BMW’s engine in overall good health. You should also follow your routine maintenance schedule set forth by the BMW manufacturer.
What We Can Do to Help You
The BMW pros here at Bavarian Performance Specialists have addressed countless numbers of coolant leaks for clients with European imports like BMW in the nearby areas of Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Westlake, Malibu, and Newbury Park, CA. Since 1983 we have helped multiple generations of families and individuals care for their German and European cars. If you’re experiencing any of the signs of a coolant leak and would like to schedule an inspection, please make an appointment through our website or contact us directly.
* BMW X6 image credit goes to: alkimsarac.