Tips to Detect e46 BMW 3 Series Coolant Leaks from Experienced Technicians in Santa Barbara
05 May, 21
BMWs are luxury vehicles that are built for comfort and performance. Each is built with a high-performing engine. This engine is then set in a uniquely-designed exterior with an interior to match. When you select a BMW to drive, you know that you can depend on it for a long time. However, as your BMW begins to age, it will require more maintenance. One of the problems that may arise is a coolant leak. Below, you will find out more information about coolant, where a leak can occur, and how to detect it.
What is coolant and why is it important?
The primary function of coolant is to extract all the extra heat that can generate from the running engine of your e46 BMW 3 series. Coolant is made out of a mix of alcohol and distilled water. It can also be known as antifreeze. When your BMW is running, the coolant is continuously circulating through the engine via all the connecting pipes and hoses. It begins in a reservoir that is connected to the radiator, and it also flows through the radiator as well. The radiator is affixed at the front of your BMW just behind the grill. This is so the maximum amount of air intake can occur. This air intake is what cools the coolant as it is flowing through the engine and back again.
As your BMW engine is running, only about half of that energy from the fuel is converted into heat. Part of the heat gets expelled through the exhaust system, but a majority of this heat is going to remain trapped under the hood. This is why the coolant fluid is so important, because as it is circulating through the system, the extra heat is absorbed in order to maintain the proper engine temperature. Without coolant flowing through your BMW, you could end up with a much larger engine problem down the line.
Places a Coolant Leak Can be Found
Due to the fact that the coolant runs through a majority of the engine, leaks can show up in any of the parts that it comes in contact with. One of the parts that will leak coolant is the radiator, because it is the main point of contact for the coolant. The reservoir is attached to the radiator, and the coolant is constantly circulating through it. The leaks will most likely occur around the upper and lower hoses. This is due to the vibrations of your BMW. The hoses can become loose, causing coolant fluid to leak out.
The heater core is another part where you would be able to detect a coolant leak in your BMW. The heater core is located under the dash and is a part of the HVAC system. This part is out of sight, so you will not see a leak coming directly from it, but it will appear on the floor of the passenger side. The coolant leak can be from the heater core itself or one of the hoses that are connected to it. If you are having a coolant leak in the heater core, there will be a stain or a wet spot on the passenger side.
Steps to Locating a Coolant Leak
It is possible to check for a coolant leak yourself. The first thing you will want to do is observe. Open the hood of your BMW engine and take a look around. The most common coolant leaks can be seen by the naked eye, because the cracks in the pipes or hoses that lead to the engine and the radiator will be large.
The second step is to run the car. You will want to pour some liquid into the coolant system and monitor to see how quickly the fluid drains. If it drains quickly, then you know you have a leak somewhere, and you will most likely be able to see the leak.
The third thing you can do is check from inside your car’s cabin. Set your air conditioning to the coolest setting. If it does not cool down quickly, then you know that there is a leak somewhere.
Servicing Your BMW
Once you become aware of a coolant leak in your BMW, it is time to take it in for servicing. At Santa Barbara Autowerks, we will get you in quickly for an appointment or consultation. We are conveniently accessible from the areas of Goleta, Montecito, Ventura, and Santa Barbara, CA. You will be able to bring your BMW in for servicing by one of our trained & certified technicians. We will use the most up-to-date equipment to locate the coolant leak. We will then offer you quality parts from the manufacturer but without dealership prices. Call or come by today.