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Fluid level checks BMW 3-Series 1998 - 2006 Petrol 320i - 2.2

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

BMW 3-Series 1998 - 2006  | 320i - 2.2 Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1

Underbonnet check points

4-cylinder engine (2.0 litre shown) A Engine oil level dipstick B Engine oil filler cap C Coolant expansion tank D Brake and clutch fluid reservoir E Screen washer fluid reservoir
6-cylinder engine (2.5 litre shown) A Engine oil level dipstick B Engine oil filler cap C Coolant expansion tank D Brake and clutch fluid reservoir E Screen washer fluid reservoir

Engine oil level

1 • Make sure that the car is on level ground.
2 • Check the oil level before the car is driven, or at least 5 minutes after the engine has been switched off.
HINT: If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick.

The correct oil

3 Modern engines place great demands on their oil. It is very important that the correct oil for your car is used.
Engine oil grade:
  M43TU, M52TU and M54 engines BMW long-life oil* SAE 0W-40 or SAE 5W-30 (fully synthetic) to ACEA A3/B3, API SJ/CD, ECII
  N42 engines BMW long-life oil* SAE 0W-30 (fully synthetic) to ACEA A3, API SJ/CD, ECII
  N46 engines BMW long-life oil* SAE 5W-30 (fully synthetic) to ACEA A3, API SJ/CD, ECII
* Refer to your BMW dealer for brand name and type recommendations

Car care

4 • If you have to add oil frequently, you should check whether you have any oil leaks. Place some clean paper under the car overnight, and check for stains in the morning. If there are no leaks, then the engine may be burning oil.
5 • Always maintain the level between the upper and lower dipstick marks (see photo 3). If the level is too low, severe engine damage may occur. Oil seal failure may result if the engine is overfilled by adding too much oil.
The dipstick top is often brightly coloured for easy identification (see Underbonnet check points for exact location). Withdraw the dipstick.
Using a clean rag or paper towel remove all oil from the dipstick. Insert the clean dipstick into the tube as far as it will go, then withdraw it again.
Note the oil level on the end of the dipstick, which should be between the upper maximum mark (1) and lower minimum mark (2). Approximately 1.0 litre of oil will raise the level from the lower mark to the upper mark.
Oil is added through the filler cap. Unscrew the cap and top‑up the level; a funnel may help to reduce spillage. Add the oil slowly, checking the level on the dipstick often. Don’t overfill (see Car care). If you need to renew the oil and filter, click below

Coolant level

Warning: Do not attempt to remove the expansion tank pressure cap when the engine is hot, as there is a very great risk of scalding. Do not leave open containers of coolant about, as it is poisonous.

Car care

6 • With a sealed-type cooling system, adding coolant should not be necessary on a regular basis. If frequent topping-up is required, it is likely there is a leak. Check the radiator, all hoses and joint faces for signs of staining or wetness, and rectify as necessary.
7 • It is important that antifreeze is used in the cooling system all year round, not just during the winter months. Don’t top-up with water alone, as the anti-freeze will become diluted.
The coolant expansion tank incorporates a float device which indicates the level of coolant. When the upper end ofthe float protrudes no more than 20 mm above the filler neck, the level is correct. See the information adjacent to the fillercap.
If topping up is necessary, wait until the engine is cold. Slowly unscrew the expansion tank cap, to release any pressure present in the cooling system, and remove it.
Add a mixture of water and antifreeze to the expansion tank until the top of the coolant level indicator float protrudes no more than 20 mm above the filler neck. Refit the cap and tighten it securely.
Anti-freeze type Long-life ethylene glycol based antifreeze*
* Refer to your BMW dealer for brand name and type recommendations
Should you need to replace the coolant, click below

Brake and clutch fluid level

Warning: Brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces, so use extreme caution when handling and pouring it.
Warning: Do not use fluid that has been standing open for some time, as it absorbs moisture from the air, which can cause a dangerous loss of braking effectiveness.

Safety first!

8 • If the reservoir requires repeated topping-up this is an indication of a fluid leak somewhere in the system, which should be investigated immediately.
9 • If a leak is suspected, the car should not be driven until the braking system has been checked. Never take any risks where brakes are concerned
The MAX and MIN marks are indicated on the side of the reservoir. The fluid level must be kept between the marks at all times.
If topping-up is necessary, first wipe clean the area around the filler cap to prevent dirt entering the hydraulic system.
Unscrew the reservoir cap and carefully lift it out of position, taking care not to damage the level switch float.
Carefully add fluid taking care not to spill it onto the surrounding components. Use only DOT 4 fluid;mixing different types can cause damage to the system. After topping-up to the correct level, securely refit the cap and wipe off any spilt fluid.

Power steering fluid level

10 • Park the vehicle on level ground.
11 • Set the steering wheel straight-ahead.
12 • The engine should be turned off.

Safety first!

13 • The need for frequent topping-up indicates a leak, which should be investigated immediately.
The reservoir is located near the front of the engine compartment. Prise up the plastic rivets, and remove the air inlet hood from the front of the engine compartment (where applicable). Wipe clean the area around the reservoir filler neck and unscrew the filler cap/dipstick from the reservoir.
The fluid level should be between MIN 2 and MAX.
When topping-up, use Dexron III fluid and do not overfill the reservoir. When the level is correct, securely refit the cap and switch off the engine.

Screen washer fluid level*

14 * On models with a headlight washer system, the screenwash is also used to clean the headlights
15 • Screenwash additives not only keep the windscreen clean during bad weather, they also prevent the washer system freezing in cold weather – which is when you are likely to need it most. Don’t top-up using plain water, as the screenwash will become diluted, and will freeze in cold weather.
Warning: On no account use engine coolant antifreeze in the screen washer system – this may damage the paintwork.
The screen washer fluid reservoir is located in the front right-hand corner of the engine compartment. The level is visible through the reservoir body, if topping-up is necessary, open up the cap.
When topping-up, add a screenwash additive in the quantities recommended by the manufacturer. It could also be time to replace the wiper blades. For details, click here
- Close + Open

Wiper blade replacement

Check the condition of the wiper blades; if they are cracked or show any signs of deterioration, or if the glass swept area is smeared, renew them. Wiper blades should be renewed annually.
To remove a wiper blade, pull the arm fully away from the screen until it locks. Swivel the blade through 90°, press the locking tab with your fingers and slide the blade out of the arm’s hooked end.
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