How Does a Coolant Leak Affect Your BMW From Experienced Mechanics in Morrisville
- January 10, 2020
- BMW Repair
- Posted by Glenn Wood
- Comments Off on How Does a Coolant Leak Affect Your BMW From Experienced Mechanics in Morrisville
BMWs are well-known for the incredible performance and reliability they offer. Made to last and packed with intelligent innovations, a well-cared for BMW is unlikely to ever let you down. However, in even the very best cars, sometimes problems just happen. When not attended, issues can result in you being without your car until repairs are paid for out of pocket. One such common problem is coolant leaks. While they may seem irksome or minor, it is important that they are not ignored. In this article, we will learn about coolant leaks, how to identify them, and where to go for help.
What is the purpose of coolant?
Coolant, or antifreeze, is a brightly colored liquid, most often pink or green. It has a distinctively sweet smell. It is a mixture of distilled water and alcohol with added dye, for safety reasons. The primary role of your coolant is to absorb the tremendous amount of heat created by a running engine. This is done by cycling the coolant around the engine in a continuous cycle, being cooled back down by the radiator after each loop.
The coolant can also help prevent freezing within the engine system, which is why it contains alcohol. This is useful to drivers in cold areas, as the alcohol prevents the liquid from freezing over, meaning the coolant can be effective all year round.
How to Tell if you have a Coolant Leak
Due to its intentional bright colour and distinctive smell, coolant leaks are usually quite easy to spot and diagnose. To confirm your suspicions, place a piece of cardboard under your BMW when it is parked overnight. In the morning, you can study the liquid leaking from your vehicle more closely and make your conclusions. Alternatively, if the liquid is dark, then it an engine oil leak, but if it is clear and without odor, your leak will be transmission fluid.
How do coolant leaks impact upon your BMW?
While they may appear a minor issue, coolant leaks are a serious issue and should be dealt with swiftly. They greatly impede your engine performance, and in a worst case scenario, they can cause complete and irreparable engine damage.
1. Engine Overheating
As the coolant’s main job is to cool down your engine, one of the first signs of a leak in the system is usually overheating. This can manifest in many ways, such as smoke emitting from under the hood or a spike in the engine temperature. If this happens, you’ll have to pull over and assess the issue.
2. Poor Fuel Economy
If your leak is slow, then clear signs such as overheating may not show at first. Instead, you’ll most likely notice a decrease in fuel efficiency due to the engine not being able to operate at peak performance. Bad gas mileage can also be caused by many other issues, but if you’ve ruled out the most common culprits, then it could be caused by leaking coolant.
3. Contaminated Engine Oil
Depending on the cause of the leak, you might notice that your oil and coolant has mixed. This is a serious issue, as it dilutes the engine oil and prevents it from doing its critical role effectively. The coolant can also corrode and damage the interior of your engine if left unremedied.
Causes of Coolant Leaks
There are 2 main reasons behind coolant leaks that drivers should be aware of:
1. Holes or Cracks in the Radiator
If the radiator becomes worn or corroded, it may develop leaks or cracks which can allow coolant to escape. This causes the pressure inside the system to drop, impacting upon the radiator performance. This problem can also be caused by damaged incurred when driving, such as impact with rocks or debris.
2. Faulty Head Gaskets
Faults in the head gasket can cause internal leaks, which is the most common cause of engine oil contamination and will need expert care to fix.
If you suspect a coolant leak, it is essential that you do not delay in seeking repairs. While symptoms might seem minor at first, it is important to remember that they will only get worse and can critically impact the health of your vehicle.
For BMW repairs and services that you can trust, visit Glenwood Foreign Car of Upper Makefield Township, Yardley, Newtown, and Morrisville, PA.