The engine in BMW models has been optimized to ensure the exemplary performance that drivers enjoy. This is why it can be disappointing when your BMW develops coolant leak issues, which can have adverse effects on your engine.
Coolant leaks often stem from different causes and can create symptoms that will need immediate troubleshooting to pin-point the exact root cause. To do this, you’ll need to understand how the coolant leaks happen and what measures you should take when they do.
Coolant fluid is the liquid that is responsible for removing heat from the engine in your BMW. As your car’s engine runs, it releases energy. Part of this energy is what is used to move your car forward. The rest is converted into heat. While some of this heat is released out of the exhaust, some of it remains within the engine compartment.
To prevent extreme heat damage on the engine, coolant fluid from the radiator is passed from the engine block through the water pump. By the time it goes out of the engine and back into the radiator, the coolant will have absorbed the excess heat, where it’s cooled again in the radiator. Then, the process starts again. This circulation happens simultaneously while the engine runs to ensure the engine bay remains at the optimum temperature for top engine performance.
Causes of coolant leaks
There are a number of reasons that can cause coolant to leak in your BMW. Let’s look into a few of these causes below.
- Faulty radiator cap: The process by which the coolant fluid is passed through the engine is a pressurized system. A faulty radiator cap will cause loss in coolant liquid pressure, and the result is that coolant will start leaking. In the same vein, a faulty radiator cap can also cause coolant loss from the overflow tube when it’s heated up. In the end, there won’t be enough coolant to pass through the engine to cool it down. What will follow is that your BMW’s engine will overheat, which can create serious problems.
- Radiator damage: Radiator damage is another cause of coolant leaks in BMWs. The radiator is located at the front of the car, where it’s prone to suffer the effect of any rough driving. If you hit potholes and curbs, your radiator may develop issues more often. Corrosion and external weather elements can also cause the radiator to wear out. A faulty radiator means that the coolant will not be able to flow out into the engine because of the leaks through the radiator. The result is that the engine will overheat and pose serious issues to its integrity.
- Blown head gasket: Among these reasons, the worst cause is a blown head gasket. Head gaskets are small components in the cooling system that prevent the coolant fluid from flowing into places that it shouldn’t. When the gasket is blown out, the coolant will leak into other parts of the engine. In extreme cases, it can find its way into the radiator. If this mixture ignites, it results in white smoke coming out of your BMW’s exhaust. Burning fuel contaminated with coolant can cause permanent damage to your engine, further compounding your problems by causing a need for an engine rebuild.
Dangers and Costs of Coolant Leaks
As earlier stated, coolant leaking from your BMW can be extremely costly, especially if left unchecked for a while. One of the negative effects of leaking coolant is that your engine will overheat. An overheating engine is dangerous because if the heat causes fuel to ignite, it can start a fire. This can be dangerous for both you and others on the road.
Another effect is that your BMW will have poor fuel economy, where you’ll consume more fuel to cover the same distance that you’d cover using less fuel.
Hayes European: Your BMW Expert
If you notice any signs of coolant leaking that include the check-engine light on your dashboard, white smoke from the exhaust, or pools of sweet-smelling colorful liquid under your car, you’ll need to get the help of a reliable mechanic.
If you’re in Santa Cruz, Aptos, Soquel, and Capitola, CA, Hayes European is here for you. We offer quality service that you can trust at prices that you’ll afford. Reach out to us today. We’ll inspect and diagnose your car problems quickly so you can decide on repairs in order to get you back on the road safely.