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      01-26-2010, 07:52 PM   #1
TaTaToothy
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Safe to drive with a coolant leak?

Ugh. I love my 2006 330i, but it is insanely unreliable. It's been to the dealer at least 8 times in the 20 months I've owned it, despite it having less than 30,000 miles.

Anyway, today I got in the car and noticed a strong smell of maple syrup. Since I haven't been making any pancakes in the car, I can only assume I have a coolant leak somewhere, likely in the heater core. The coolant light has not come on, however, and the heater appears to be working properly.

I have scheduled the soonest appointment possible at my dealer (the car is still under warranty and I need a loaner), but that is still more than a week away. Is it safe to drive the car in the interim? The dealer assures me it will be OK but it makes me nervous anyway. Any input would be appreciated!
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      01-26-2010, 07:59 PM   #2
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I wouldn't want to drive it like that but if it has to be driven just make sure you carry spare water to keep it topped of. And if you see big puddles of coolant all of a sudden then just leave it parked
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      01-26-2010, 08:10 PM   #3
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no not safe, the car could overheat in an instant, but it all depends how big is the leak, where the leak is coming from and how far you have to drive... I wouldn't drive it more than 10 minutes, just to get to dealer... seriously man, coolant leakage is always serious with far more serious outcome if not attended to promptly. No matter what dealer says, you should know better not to listen to everything the dealer says... they are often wrong.

.... my '07 335i was at dealer far more than that in less timeframe than your car... but it is a great car anyway
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      01-26-2010, 09:20 PM   #4
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I would say that it depends on how quickly the fluid is being lost. If it's slow, then it's ok to drive as long as you keep topping up the fluid. Use premixed coolant and keep a couple of jugs in the trunk. And keep an eye on the temperature. If it starts to lose coolant quickly then park it. Happened to my old Saab a couple of times due to old hoses, loose clamps, etc. There was no problem in continuing to drive until the repairs were made.
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      01-26-2010, 11:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimabimmer View Post
no not safe, the car could overheat in an instant, but it all depends how big is the leak, where the leak is coming from and how far you have to drive... I wouldn't drive it more than 10 minutes, just to get to dealer... seriously man, coolant leakage is always serious with far more serious outcome if not attended to promptly. No matter what dealer says, you should know better not to listen to everything the dealer says... they are often wrong.

.... my '07 335i was at dealer far more than that in less timeframe than your car... but it is a great car anyway
+1. Depending on how much coolant is lost, as long as it's not dripping on the ground, you should be okay. Just make sure you monitor your engine temperature to make sure it isn't overheating. If you feel think it getting too hot, shut if off right away.
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      01-26-2010, 11:49 PM   #6
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I would get the dealer to put in writing that it is "okay to drive" in that condition. It is under warranty, so if you get it in writing, then drive it, and the car sh@ts itself you will have the ultimate "I told you so" card to throw in their face if they try to say you are at fault for driving it. I agree with what others have said, don't just accept some dude saying that it will be okay.
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      01-27-2010, 01:41 AM   #7
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Just be careful, as other technical issues may also be possible (coolant getting into cylinders, cracked head gasket, etc). Always keep an eye on your engine temperature and coolant level, and make SURE none of it is leaking at all. That's never a good sign

LOL at the pancakes joke
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      01-29-2010, 07:24 PM   #8
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Since the soonest appointment was more than a week away, I ended up taking it into the dealer the other day to have them check the coolant level (which, in typical BMW fashion, is vastly more difficult than on any other car I've ever driven). To his credit, the service advisor was concerned and didn't want me driving the car. Luckily they had a loaner, so I left the car there. I am told the heater core was faulty and they have ordered a spare. I should have my car back by midweek next week. We shall see . . .
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      01-29-2010, 08:15 PM   #9
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cool! hope you got a fun loaner.
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      01-29-2010, 08:37 PM   #10
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I am glad you have a reasonable SA. I have a 330xi and would not drive it with a coolant leak. Like any liquid cooled engine, the N52 will overheat quickly and get damaged if it developed a serious shortage of coolant.
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      01-30-2010, 08:37 PM   #11
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cool! hope you got a fun loaner.
They're pretty much always 328xis with no sport package at my dealer, other than the occasional X3. On the plus side, at least it has the Premium package so I can pair my iPhone.
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      01-30-2010, 08:49 PM   #12
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you will be fine; as long as its not a huge leak. if you're running low on coolant, add water.
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      01-30-2010, 08:52 PM   #13
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I would drive it right to the dealership and have them fix it asap
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      01-31-2010, 02:37 AM   #14
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you will be fine; as long as its not a huge leak. if you're running low on coolant, add water.
Gotta be careful with that though. Add too much and it can freeze/cause leaks when antifreeze is added later.

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I would drive it right to the dealership and have them fix it asap
best advice so far.
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      01-31-2010, 03:29 AM   #15
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Coolant leak! We have a coolant leak here!

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      01-31-2010, 03:30 AM   #16
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Coolant leak! We have a coolant leak here!

LOL
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