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      09-10-2012, 07:23 PM   #1
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Low coolant light on; one of many problems with our X3!

The low coolant light came on for the first time this weekend. It stays on until the car is shut off and may or may not come back on when it's turned on again. We think we have smelt coolant on separate occasions but assumed that it wasn't our vehicle. Checked the coolant level tonight and it was very low. We were surprised because the vehicle has very low km.

We have already had a faulty amplifier replaced, dead battery replaced, and are booked in to get the sunroof replaced tomorrow; (it has been leaking since February!)

So far, our first BMW has been nothing but trouble. Should've kept the Nissan!
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      09-10-2012, 07:26 PM   #2
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Clark, have you considered talking to them about a trade? You seem to have had nothing but trouble with this one.
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      09-10-2012, 08:55 PM   #3
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Poker face, we have never had a new car before nevertheless a BMW. We don't have the lemon law in Canada.

How would we negotiate such a trade? Would this be done through the dealer/BMW Canada? I wonder how much $ we would lose based on depreciation.

I would love a fresh start but don't know the process. Any advice?
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      09-10-2012, 11:14 PM   #4
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Early on, several of us had low coolant levels. In some cases not low enough for the light to come on. My level was low many months ago. I have not had any significant decrease after the initial low level. You might have the dealer or yourself bring it up to level and then check it periodically. My guess is that they are not coming out of the factory with the proper amount and the dealers are not checking it before delivery.
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      09-11-2012, 04:46 AM   #5
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Thanks radioactive, that makes me feel better!
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      09-11-2012, 07:03 AM   #6
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Agreed with radioactive. I've seen the low coolant light come on a few times which led me to add about 6 ozs of distilled water. That brought the level up and for the last 6 months we haven't seen the light on at all.

The amp and battery going bad isn't something that will have a long term impact and are easily replaced so I wouldn't be too concerned there either. Sucks it happened to you though. Never fun. The sunroof is a little more concerning. Hopefully it is easy to replace but even better if it is just a weather stripping job versus complete removal of the roof.

While asking for a new vehicle might be a stretch since there hasn't been repeated failures of the same component asking for an extended warranty would be plausible. I'd tell them your confidence is at an all time low with this vehicle and that you have longevity concerns. Ask them if they'd be willing to supplement your concerns with an extended warranty.
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      09-12-2012, 05:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n55x3
Agreed with radioactive. I've seen the low coolant light come on a few times which led me to add about 6 ozs of distilled water. That brought the level up and for the last 6 months we haven't seen the light on at all.

The amp and battery going bad isn't something that will have a long term impact and are easily replaced so I wouldn't be too concerned there either. Sucks it happened to you though. Never fun. The sunroof is a little more concerning. Hopefully it is easy to replace but even better if it is just a weather stripping job versus complete removal of the roof.

While asking for a new vehicle might be a stretch since there hasn't been repeated failures of the same component asking for an extended warranty would be plausible. I'd tell them your confidence is at an all time low with this vehicle and that you have longevity concerns. Ask them if they'd be willing to supplement your concerns with an extended warranty.
Great advice. Thanks!
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      09-12-2012, 05:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n55x3
Agreed with radioactive. I've seen the low coolant light come on a few times which led me to add about 6 ozs of distilled water. That brought the level up and for the last 6 months we haven't seen the light on at all.

The amp and battery going bad isn't something that will have a long term impact and are easily replaced so I wouldn't be too concerned there either. Sucks it happened to you though. Never fun. The sunroof is a little more concerning. Hopefully it is easy to replace but even better if it is just a weather stripping job versus complete removal of the roof.

While asking for a new vehicle might be a stretch since there hasn't been repeated failures of the same component asking for an extended warranty would be plausible. I'd tell them your confidence is at an all time low with this vehicle and that you have longevity concerns. Ask them if they'd be willing to supplement your concerns with an extended warranty.
Great advice. Thanks!
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      09-12-2012, 05:56 AM   #9
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for first time the low coolant warning came on this morning and low pressure tire on rear driver side. im not sure if the low temp makes the tire pressure warning go on

so should i add distill water or coolant
which coolant should i add
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      09-12-2012, 07:11 AM   #10
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I used distilled water cause we had some on hand. If you're just trying to bring up the level a tiny bit to get above the warning threshold I say put a couple ounces of water in, should not be an issue at all. The coolant you buy from BMW is mixed with distilled water anyway. In a pinch you can get by with regular water. The main reason behind distilled though is that you are avoiding the minerals and deposits you would find in normal tap water. But again, when you are just talking about adding a couple ounces to get above warning level it doesn't really matter too much.

If you are lucky enough to be passing by a BMW dealer I'm sure they'd top you off too.
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      09-12-2012, 07:26 AM   #11
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i just got off the phone with service dept, distilled water or bmw coolant can be used. i dont know how low but im picking up a gallon after work
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      09-12-2012, 07:33 AM   #12
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Cool, good luck. I'd just add a small amount, maybe 3 OZs and see if that brings you above warning level. Probably won't take much.
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      09-12-2012, 09:39 AM   #13
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Getting this mesasage on the NAV screen. A bit surprised. Had the X3 since March and it only has 3600 miles! Brought it in yesterday figuring that a mechanic would check it and add some coolant. No, the service advisor had a container of coolant (by his station) and added it himself right at the check-in station and off I went. Odd, I thought!
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      09-12-2012, 11:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyalpine90 View Post
i just got off the phone with service dept, distilled water or bmw coolant can be used. i dont know how low but im picking up a gallon after work
BMW does sell a one liter size antifreeze/coolant (P/N 82 14 2 209 769), which after dilution will make up to two liters. If you need more than that you are either changing your fluid or you have a problem. So the larger size just maybe over kill.

I do find the recommendation of using “distilled water” for topping off and/or dilution interesting. I have used it in the past, but only because of convenience. In over 40 years of dealing with cars including changing coolant and rebuilding engines I have not once come across a problem with mineral deposits in the cooling system. After thinking about it, I just wonder if it’s a theory that an educated car enthusiast seeking perfection thought would be a good idea without real world proof and the masses thought it sounded good. But, I have never read on a container of coolant “dilute with distilled water” and this includes the BMW container and manual.

IMHO I think potable water is just fine and not a problem.
1. If mineral deposits were a problem the manufactures would recommend “Distilled”.
2. The cooling system is basically “closed”. You are not continually adding more minerals with the addition of large quanties of water.
3. The amount of water in the system is about half of the volume, a small amount.
4. Concentration of hard water minerals in potable water is measured in ppm’s. Very low, even in hard water areas.

I would recommend that one keeps as close to possible to the recommended dilution ratios for your driving environment. If in doubt of the specific gravity of the fluid, purchase an antifreeze hydrometer.

Also, please take note that the antifreeze/coolant is TOXIC TO ANIMALS and they like the sweet taste of it. So if you spill, wipe it up quickly.

BTW, BMW antifreeze/coolant is NOT diluted.
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      09-12-2012, 11:43 AM   #15
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I think in general it's just a a piece of mind thing. Most 50/50 mixes you find on store shelves is diluted with distilled. If you think about it, it's safe for manufacturers and coolant vendors to say used distilled because distilled water is a constant. If they just say water you'd have folks putting in everything from muddy river water to salty sea water to you name it.

However some folks that use well water for example can attest to the damage that mineral deposits can make (namely calcium and lime). Just have look at their plumbing after some time and plaque will build up in the pipes and joints when regular well water is ran through it daily.

But I agree, if you're just topping off any clean water would suffice. If I was doing a complete coolant flush and change I'd certainly spend the $1 per gallon of distilled. We had distilled water sitting around and seeing that this is what manufacturers (of both vehicles and antifreeze) recommend that's what was used.

Also agree that BMW antifreeze is not pre-mixed, I mispoke above. When you buy the antifreeze it's just that and no distilled water has been added. That is something that has to happen prior to adding to your vehicle. Again if you're just topping off a couple ounces either or is suffice, if you're doing a complete fluid flush you'll have to mix yourself.

Last edited by n55x3; 09-12-2012 at 11:59 AM.
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      09-20-2012, 09:07 AM   #16
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I am in the Northeast, my coolant light came on this morning. First morning under 50 deg, I am thinking that cold temp decreases amount in expansion tank? My car is 9 moth old with only 6k mi on it, hard to believe it actually needs lots of coolant.

My tire pressure monitor came on last week when we had another cold night. I wish the TPM said which tire is low. My buddies infinity does that.

(my car is outside , not in the garage yet).
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      09-20-2012, 10:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
My tire pressure monitor came on last week when we had another cold night. I wish the TPM said which tire is low. My buddies infinity does that.

(my car is outside , not in the garage yet).
Given the colder temperatures, you'll probably find that the pressure is low on all four tires.
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      09-20-2012, 11:37 AM   #18
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thats odd it pops on the screen which tire is low, low tire will be in yellow the rest are in green.

usually when tpms go on, just check psi on the tires one of them might be low not a drastic lost but few psi low will trigger the warning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
I am in the Northeast, my coolant light came on this morning. First morning under 50 deg, I am thinking that cold temp decreases amount in expansion tank? My car is 9 moth old with only 6k mi on it, hard to believe it actually needs lots of coolant.

My tire pressure monitor came on last week when we had another cold night. I wish the TPM said which tire is low. My buddies infinity does that.

(my car is outside , not in the garage yet).
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      09-20-2012, 12:39 PM   #19
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I get that in my car too. I believe the antifreeze reservoir is located on the driver's side firewall.

I'll have to check levels on my car...

Quote:
Originally Posted by clarka@csolve.net View Post
The low coolant light came on for the first time this weekend. It stays on until the car is shut off and may or may not come back on when it's turned on again. We think we have smelt coolant on separate occasions but assumed that it wasn't our vehicle. Checked the coolant level tonight and it was very low. We were surprised because the vehicle has very low km.

We have already had a faulty amplifier replaced, dead battery replaced, and are booked in to get the sunroof replaced tomorrow; (it has been leaking since February!)

So far, our first BMW has been nothing but trouble. Should've kept the Nissan!
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      09-21-2012, 09:32 AM   #20
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The general idea here is too add a few ounce of distilled water.

Is there a problem adding a few ounces of regular 50/50 antifreeze that I have used for all my other cars? Is the BMW antifreeze special, and can't be combined? Thanks.
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