What Causes BMW to overheat and how to fix it?

Adventuring on the open road in a BMW is a riding experience unlike any other. However, anyone who owns a luxury vehicle understands they are costly to repair, especially if the engine overheats. Fortunately, modern BMWs are designed with sophisticated cooling systems, which include engine temperature sensors and computer-monitored electric fans to keep your engine cool when the external temperatures rise. Despite these safeguards, occasionally BMW engines overheat. In this article, we’ll look at a few of the common reasons BMWs overheat and how to remedy the problem so you can put the pedal back to the metal.

BMW overheating issues

Coolant Type

Problem: Engine coolant, also called antifreeze, is a colored liquid that’s mixed with water to help regulate your engine during extreme temperatures. Coolant keeps your engine from overheating. When you use the wrong coolant, the mixture cannot circulate through the engine properly, causing it to overheat. BMW engines require a specific coolant to function properly and prevent overheating. Additionally, each model of the BMW requires a specific viscosity of coolant to meet their unique design and engine function. 

Solutions: Coolant can naturally evaporate over time. Check your coolant on a regular basis to make sure you have the proper levels to keep your engine from overheating. When your engine overheats and you need to get to a mechanic or dealership, add a half of a cup of water to your antifreeze tank and wait a few minutes for it to cool the engine. However, this may not do the trick so be sure the engine has cooled a bit to prevent further damage. Before you add engine coolant, be sure to check your owner’s manual to see what type of coolant works best for your vehicle. When in doubt, consult your dealer to confirm you are using the right type of coolant.


Problem: Every internal combustion engine requires coolant to ensure the engine temperature operates at optimal levels. If you notice your coolant levels are consistently low, it may be a sign of a leak in your cooling system. If you think you have a coolant leak, look under the vehicle for small wet spots or drips as this may be an indication your vehicle is losing coolant.

Solution: When it comes to leaks, there is little you can do to remedy the situation on your own. You will need to take your vehicle to your dealer or mechanic to repair the leak so your coolant can function properly within your cooling system.

Restrictions in the coolant system

Problem: Over time, dust, debris, and dirt can naturally build, which prevents the coolant from properly circulating throughout the engine. When this happens, engines can overheat when their coolant systems become restricted. 

Solution: Be sure to have your BMW serviced regularly. During your service appointments, your mechanic can flush your coolant system to make sure it does not become restricted or backed up.

Broken water pump

Problem: BMW water pumps need to be serviced regularly. Water pumps are an integral part of your engine’s coolant system. Engines can overheat due to faulty or broken water pumps. 

Solution: Again, be sure to have your BMW serviced regularly. During your service appointments, your mechanic will check your water pump and replace them as needed. Replacing your water pump on a regular basis is far cheaper than repairing damage caused by an overheated engine.

Broken radiator cap

Problem: The radiator cap ensures no coolant splashes out or overflows. When a radiator cap is broken or cracked it will not be able to create a proper seal. Without a proper seal, air can make its way into the cooling system. When this happens, it creates small air pockets. Air pocket prevents optimal coolant circulation, which results in an overheating engine.

Solution: While the radiator cap isn’t a difficult piece to replace or fix, it does require expertise and the right parts to replace it. If you suspect your radiator cap is broken, it’s best to take it to a technician to be inspected and replaced (when applicable).

Orange Auto

When your engine overheats it can cause costly damage to your BMW. However, if you know what to anticipate, you can try to prevent your engine from overheating. If you suspect your engine is overheating, the most reliable option is to contact an experienced BMW technician or service center

At Orange Auto, we understand the nuances of luxury autos, including BMWs. Our team of expert technicians has the experience and training to accurately determine what is causing your engine to overheat. Whether it’s a coolant leak, a broken water pump, a malfunctioning engine cooling fan, or something as simple as a broken radiator cap, we can help.

Schedule your appointment today.