The BMW E53 X5 is the first incarnation of BMW’s popular Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) line. Design on this car began in 1994, when BMW bought out Land Rover—a company known for sturdy, off-road vehicles. Since BMW stopped production on the E53 X5 in 2006, two more generations of the X5—the E70 and the F15—have driven off the BMW assembly lines. Still, the E53 X5 became very popular in the US, selling over 200,000 units during its seven year run. An issue that many owners run into is coolant leaking from the car.
The first sign of a problem is the warning light will indicated low coolant levels, a matter easily solved by adding more coolant. If the warning light comes on again, though, the car is experiencing a greater problem. Much of the time, a quick look at the ground underneath the car will show a puddle of coolant on the asphalt. The car will sometimes fill with a sweet smell like heated syrup, and then other times neither of these two things will occur and yet the light stays on, telling you that the coolant is low.
So, what is going on here? Because the coolant runs through so many tubes, hoses, gaskets, and containers the problem can lie with a number of things. Commonly, the valley pan—a staging area where coolant collects before being transferred to different parts of the engine block—corrodes, and leaks coolant from an ever-widening hole. Another typical problem affecting older E53 X5s is a cracked expansion tank.
On the increasingly serious side of things, the leaking coolant could suggest a faulty head gasket or a broken auxiliary fan. A trained Bimmer service expert can identify the precise problem affecting the E53 X5’s coolant system and find a solution before any serious engine damage occurs.
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