Winter BMW Care: What is Antifreeze and Why Do I Need it?

Published 7 months ago — by Lisa Federico

What is antifreeze and do I need it?

What is antifreeze and do I need it?
Photo Credit: Alex Pepperhill

What Is Antifreeze?

Antifreeze is a liquid mixture of water and ethylene glycol that is used to prevent the freezing and overheating of the engine in your BMW. You may have heard the term “coolant” interchanged with “antifreeze,” they are similar, but comprised of different concentrations.

Antifreeze is concentrated and must be mixed with water, whereas coolant is already mixed (a combo of antifreeze and distilled water).

Why Does My BMW Need Antifreeze?

Antifreeze plays a crucial role in ensuring the optimal performance and longevity of the engine in your BMW in the winter. When the temperature drops, water in the engine’s cooling system can freeze up, potentially causing the engine block or radiator to expand and crack. Antifreeze lowers the freezing point of the liquid in the cooling system to help prevent it from solidifying in cold temperatures.

Antifreeze also helps to raise the boiling point of coolant, which helps to guard against the engine from overheating, especially in warmer months. So really antifreeze is needed all year long. And because of this, antifreeze is essential to help keep your BMW running smoothly.

How Often Should I Check/Top Off/Change Antifreeze?

General recommendations say it should be checked at least twice a year (before summer and winter), or if you notice a coolant warning light on your dash. It is best to check with your owner’s manual and with the advice of your local independent BMW repair tech during your routine BMW maintenance.

Don’t damage your engine because you have improper water and antifreeze levels! Get to your local BMW service center to have them check out and top off your antifreeze. They will be able to recommend the proper type of antifreeze for your BMW.