Bmw 328i coolant location

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Coolant Reservoir Replacement Service

How much does a Coolant Reservoir Replacement cost?

On average, the cost for a BMW i Coolant Reservoir Replacement is $ with $ for parts and $95 for labor. Prices may vary depending on your location.

CarServiceEstimateShop/Dealer Price
BMW iLL TurboService typeCoolant Reservoir ReplacementEstimate$Shop/Dealer Price$ - $
BMW iLLService typeCoolant Reservoir ReplacementEstimate$Shop/Dealer Price$ - $
BMW iLLService typeCoolant Reservoir ReplacementEstimate$Shop/Dealer Price$ - $
BMW iLLService typeCoolant Reservoir ReplacementEstimate$Shop/Dealer Price$ - $
BMW iLLService typeCoolant Reservoir ReplacementEstimate$Shop/Dealer Price$ - $
BMW iLLService typeCoolant Reservoir ReplacementEstimate$Shop/Dealer Price$ - $
BMW iLLService typeCoolant Reservoir ReplacementEstimate$Shop/Dealer Price$ - $
BMW iLLService typeCoolant Reservoir ReplacementEstimate$Shop/Dealer Price$ - $

Show example BMW i Coolant Reservoir Replacement prices

What is the Coolant Reservoir all about?

Cooling systems on vehicles are meant to remove heat from critical engine components. The fluid or coolant that circulates through the system carries the heat out of the engine to the radiator, where air flow dissipates the heat it contains. A natural reaction to the heat which the fluid experiences is expansion. If the fluid in the cooling system is at the full mark when the engine is cold, the volume will be greater when the fluid is hot due to expansion. Because the cooling system is closed and pressurized when hot, the excess hot coolant needs to go somewhere. It is pushed into a surge tank, or an overflow tank, where it remains until the engine cools down. When the engine cools, the contraction from the fluid still in the system creates a vacuum and the surge tank’s hose draws the coolant back into the system. If the coolant surge tank is cracked or broken, the coolant will leak onto the ground. An airlock will form in the cooling system when the surge tank hose only draws in air instead of coolant.

Keep in mind:

  • Engine coolant is extremely hot when the engine is at operating temperature. Never open the cooling system when the engine is hot.
  • The surge tank should be flushed when the coolant is being changed out.

How it's done:

  • The coolant is drained into a suitable container and the coolant recovery reservoir cap is removed.

  • The old coolant recovery reservoir is disconnected from all of the hoses hoses and pulled free of the vehicle.

  • The new coolant recovery reservoir is installed into the vehicle and secured. The coolant hoses are installed and secured using new clamps.

  • The coolant is refilled and purged of air as per manufacturer recommendation.

  • The vehicle coolant recovery reservoir is checked for leaks and proper operation.

Our recommendation:

The surge tank itself should never need attention unless it is damaged or broken. Excess engine heat may also warp the container, though it is not common. If your coolant surge tank is broken or leaking, have one of our expert mechanics replace it.

What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Coolant Reservoir?

  • Coolant leaking onto the ground when engine is hot.
  • Engine overheats due to an airlock.

How important is this service?

The surge tank is part of the cooling system. It may seem to be auxiliary, but it is essential to proper operation. If the surge tank leaks coolant out, an airlock will form in the engine and it could overheat, causing damage. If your surge tank is broken, have it replaced as soon as possible to prevent further issues.

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How to Check, Add Coolant BMW 3-Series


  • Check Coolant Warning,
  • Low Engine Coolant Message
  • Engine Overheating

What you will need


  1. Allow the engine to cool down. 
  2. Open Hood. Locate the hood release underneath the dashboard of your BMW 3-Series Pull the lever until you hear the BMW hood pop open. Next, you need to release the hood safety latch at the front of your 3-Series. Open hood to add coolant check level on BMW 3-Series
  3. Lift the hood and secure it in the open position. 
  4. Locate the Coolant Reservoir. Next, you locate the coolant reservoir (tank) on your BMW. This is where you can check the coolant level and add coolant if the level is low. On a 3-Series, the coolant expansion tank is located on the passenger side of the engine. Open the cap slowly. Open the cap only when the engine has cooled down. How to check coolant BMW i, i, i, i, i, xi, i, xi, i, xi, i, is, xi, d, xd, d, d, xd, d, M3, and M3 GTS
  5. Check BMW 3-Series Coolant Level Remove cap. Look at the coolant reservoir tank and note the low and high levels. If the level is below the minimum mark, you will need to add coolant, or your 3-Series may overheat. BMW 3-series uses the floating device to determine the coolant level.check low coolant level BMW 3-Series
  6. Add engine coolant/antifreeze. Only add coolant type recommended by BMW.

This guide applies to BMW i, i, i, i, i, xi, i, xi, i, xi, i, is, xi, d, xd, d, d, xd, d, M3, and M3 GTS."

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How to Check BMW Coolant Level

Checking the coolant level on a BMW is easy and takes less than five minutes. It is crucial to follow the correct procedure to avoid injuries and get an accurate coolant level low warning


  • Engine coolant level light on
  • Message on iDrive stating Low engine coolant level
  • Engine Overheats
  • Coolant warning on, then off after driving
  • Engine coolant level too low
    • Risk of engine damage! Top up the coolant at the earliest opportunity; see the owner's handbook. Caution: Risk of scalding!

How to Check BMW Engine Coolant Level

Follow these easy steps to check the coolant level on any BMW.

For this procedure, you will need OEM BMW Engine Coolant recommended in your owner's manual and mixed at 50/

  1. Park your BMW in a safe location and set the parking check coolant level
  2. Allow the engine to cool down. Ensure the engine is cooled down before removing the cap from your coolant reservoir or risk getting burned. 
  3. Open the hood. Pull the hood release under the dash bmw hood to check engine coolant level
  4. Locate the coolant expansion tank in the engine bay. As you open the hood, look at the left of the engine bay. This is the typical coolant expansion reservoir location. Some BMW models, such as the 3-series, have the coolant expansion reservoir on the engine bay's right side.
  5. Remove the coolant reservoir cap. Turn it slowly counterclockwise. It will allow residual pressure to release without blowing off the cap. 

    bmw check coolant level message
  6. Determine the coolant fluid level. There are two different float designs. The red float may have two balls, indicating the low and the second indicating the full level. The level is full when the bottom of the float reaches flush with the top of the cap.

    how to check coolant level in bmw 1 3 5 6 series z4 e46 e39 x1 x5
  7. Add OEM BMW Engine Coolant mixed at 50/ If the float is all the way down, you need to add coolant. If the float is sticking up, your BMW coolant level is full. In other words, the BMW coolant level is correct if the red float is aligned with the top edge of the filler opening. A schematic diagram stamped on top of the coolant reservoir, illustrating the min and max level. Rember, the level reading should be performed on a cooled-down engine for proper measurement.

BMW Coolant

BMW Coolant
  • Only use the BMW OEM engine coolant (PN: ) or a coolant that meets the requirements listed in your owner's manual. BMWs have specific coolant requirements to prevent build-up and corrosion of aluminum components, therefore do not use off-the-shelf antifreeze without checking compatibility. 


  • The cap may not be holding the pressure and could be leaking coolant. Replace the cap. Also, clean the cap as there can be a buildup of solids, not allowing the rubber to seal the system and cause a leak. 
  • Typically, you don't need to add more than one quart/liter to top off the system. To make the float move from the minimum level to the maxim, you need less than a quart of coolant.
  • If you have to add more than one quart, you may have a coolant leak. If you are constantly adding coolant to your BMW or have to add more than one gallon of antifreeze, you may have a major coolant leak or a serious engine problem such as a blown head gasket.
  • BMW uses a closed pressurized coolant system with an expansion tank. It operates differently than most coolant systems that have an overflow reservoir.
  • Always check the BMW coolant level when the car is cold and the engine is turned off. The coolant system pressurizes, and if you remove the cap right after the engine has been running, it will still be hot.
  • The hot coolant will cause injuries. To avoid getting burned, let the engine cool down for at least thirty minutes. If you are stuck on the side of the road and have no choice but to add coolant, remove the expansion cap very slowly.
  • Keep your face and body as far aways you can.
  • Allowing the BMW to idle and setting the heat on allows the air pockets in the cooling system to escape. If you suspected an air pocket in the engine and used this method, recheck the coolant level with the engine off. This will ensure you didn't overfill the system.
  • If your BMW is under warranty, take your car to the dealer, and they will top off the cooling system free of charge.

Coolant level full, I still get low coolant warning light.

bmw coolant level warning on idrive message navigation

It is possible to get a Coolant Level too Low warning still even if you add coolant. The first thing that you need to inspect is the coolant level sensor if your BMW has one.

There may be an electrical issue with the sensor causing it to trigger the warning message.

If you are extremely low in coolant, you may get the low coolant warning light even if you add coolant. The car was either neglected or was extremely low in the coolant.

Run the car for one minute and recheck the coolant level. It is possible that you need to add more coolant.

Is the BMW coolant warning message on, even though the coolant level is correct?

This may be caused by outside temperature fluctuations or when using certain incompatible aftermarket coolant brands.

Other possibilities include a defective water pump, bad engine temperature sensor, or bad coolant level sensor.

Older BMWs had a translucent coolant reservoir with a line that shows the high and low levels. Back then, it wasn't necessary to remove the cap to get a coolant reading.

BMW redesigned the cooling system, and now they use an expansion tank. Instead of the transparent tank, they implement the float design ( the rod that pops up).

What BMW engine coolant should I use?

Use the OEM BMW Engine Coolant recommended in your owner's manual mixed 50/

BMW Coolant Alternatives

Not all aftermarket coolant is compatible with BMW cars. Here are a few coolant/antifreeze brands that are compatible with BMW:

Regardless of the coolant brand you use, including OEM BMW Coolant, always pre-mix it at 50% coolant and 50% water.

Full-strength coolant is not mixed, and you will need to mix it yourself before adding it to the cooling system. Use distilled water instead of tap water.

Tap water will work, but it is not recommended because it can introduce impurities and minerals and cause corrosion to the cooling system.

You do not need any extra additives. The 50/50 mixture ratio can be used year-round.

Should I drive my BMW with the coolant warning light on?

NO.  If the temperature gets above normal or you get a warning light that the engine is overheating, stop driving your BMW. Get it towed to a mechanic ASAP.

Frequently Asked Questions

When I check the coolant level, my BMW does not have a floating dipstick.

  • The coolant level may be shallow, causing the float to be much lower than the min. In this case, it may be hard to see the float. Use a flashlight to look inside the coolant reservoir. If the float device is not present, it may be removed or broken.

Would BMW's low coolant level trigger the check engine light?

  • No. Low coolant level warning should not turn on the service engine soon or check the engine light. Unless the coolant system is almost empty, the engine temperature sensor may malfunction, triggering the check engine light.

What happens if you overfill the BMW cooling system?

  • If you overfill the cooling system, it may cause it to be overpressurized. Excessive coolant will be released via the release valve on the cap.

What color is the BMW coolant?

Is it ok to mix or use a different brand coolant on BMW?

  • Yes, but it's not recommended. With that said, it is better to have some coolant than driving a BMW with no coolant at all. Once you get your car to a mechanic, you may want to do a full system flush and install the correct BMW coolant.

Intermittent Cooling Warning Light

  • If BMW coolant too low warning light comes on and then turns off, the level may have dropped slightly. Check the coolant level and add as necessary.

How can I tell if I have a coolant leak?

  • When you have a BMW coolant leak, you will notice a distinct sweet smell that wasn't there before. You may smell coolant in the cabin. Or you may smell the coolant leak when the car is parked. After driving the BMW for a few minutes, open the hood and inspect for a coolant leak.

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328i location bmw coolant

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