Most Common Faults In A BMW E46: Tips And Solutions!

Hi! good afternoon, now we will created an article about Most Common Faults In A BMW E46: Tips And Solutions!

No car is perfect, not even the beloved BMW E46 3-series, made between 1999 and 2006. Like any long-term vehicle, they have some common problems that owners should look for and then fix. Read on to the end of this list and learn what the common failures in a BMW E46.

Common failures in a BMW E46

The E46 generation is one of the most popular models of the 3 Series, it is the fourth generation of the 3 Series, after the E21, E30 and E36, this vehicle was replaced by the E90 in 2007. Common faults or problems in a BMW E46 car are as follows:

1. Problems with the alternator of a BMW E46

When you alternator fails, has no strength or deteriorates it is time for it to be replaced. Changing the alternator of a vehicle is not a difficult process, the procedure will take you about an hour and you will achieve it with a few tools. Read on and learn: How to change the alternator of a BMW E46.

2. Wheel bearing failure

The wheel bearings of a BMW E46 are very important for the car’s suspension system. Although these usually last a very long time, a worn or damaged wheel bearing can make driving a car a bit sloppy. He continues reading and discovers: How to Replace Wheel Bearings on a BMW E46.

3. Problems with parking sensors

Parking sensors let you know with a beep how far you are from a wall or obstruction when you’re trying to park your car. If you notice that the car has problems with these sensors, please read the following link and learn: How to remove and replace the parking sensors on a BMW E46.

4. Catalytic converter faults

It’s a good idea to check the catalytic converter at least once a year. The catalytic converter can become corroded or even punctured and stop working. If your E46’s catalytic converter is damaged or not working, learn: How change the catalytic converter on a BMW E46.

5. Problems with the key of a BMW E46

The remote for BMW vehicles manufactured between 1999 and 2005 is called an E46 key, and all of its keys require programming before they will work. E46 keys are only available through authorized BMW dealers only. Continue reading and learn: How to program a key to a BMW E46

Common Faults In A BMW E46
BMW 316ti

6. Failures due to the wind deflector

A wind deflector prevents wind and debris from entering the passenger cabin in a convertible while the top is down. Mounting a wind deflector on a BMW E46 3 convertible provides an upgrade to the interior. Read more and learn: How to mount a wind deflector on a BMW E46.

7. Problems with the hood system

Some BMW E46 models are equipped with fully automatic convertible tops. The top needs to be completely closed to prevent water from entering the car during wet weather. If the hood on your car does not close properly, read on and discover: How to reset the soft top system on a BMW E46 convertible.

8. Problems with the armrest of a BMW E46

BMWs cars are considered high-end worldwide, and thus are very durable vehicles, just like any other car deteriorates over the years. If you notice that the armrest cover is damaged, then continue reading and study: How to remove and change the armrest cover on a BMW E46.

9. Problems with headlight bulbs

The headlights on your BMW E46 are xenon, these headlights offer a better brightness compared to traditional halogen headlights and when the xenon headlight bulbs start to have problems, you are going to have to remove and change them. Keep reading the link and learn: How to change a xenon headlight bulb on a BMW E46.

Problems in a BMW E46 (User Complaints)

The BMW E46 3 Series was produced from 1999 to 2006, this car combined handsome styling with impressive performance in a relatively compact package. It is also a much more durable platform than the previous E36 Series 3. However, there are a few areas you should pay attention to if you are thinking of buying an E46 or if you already own an E46. This does not cover the more specialized M3.

engine problems

The 2.5 liter M52 (323i, 325i), 2.8 liter M52 (328i) and 3.0 liter M54 (330i) generation engines from the E46 are quite reliable. From time to time, BMW has to rebuild the engine ECU (electronic control unit) to fix rough idles, flat spots, or problems with power delivery.

This was experienced in 3.0 liter cars with manual gearboxes. Early cars should also be checked for unusual belt tensioner noises.

Faults in the cooling system

Both the M52 and M54 come with water pumps that really need to be replaced every 60,000 or so miles. Likewise, it is recommended that the radiator be changed at 90,000 miles as preventive maintenance.

Suspension and chassis issues

The early E46s ball joints are a known weakness, but can be replaced with the later, stronger ball joints. Rear coil springs have been known to break. If this happens, change both. As with the E36, the E46 series 3 has been known to suffer from the dreaded rear floor failure.

This occurs when the rear suspension literally breaks off the ground. This causes not only a dangerous situation, but also a large repair bill. Some early all-wheel drive E46s had transmission problems that required replacing the driveshaft, transfer case, or rear differential. Some owners have complained about heavy steering on some 2000 model year cars.

BMW has retrofitted some of these cars with rear steering racks to add more power and make them easier to drive at parking speeds. Also on 2000 model year cars, owners have reported vibrating steering that has been traced to faulty front control arms and rotors.

Interior and electrical faults

The interiors of the E46, as a general rule, hold up well. Problems are usually limited to a faulty radio screen. Sunroofs are also a problem on early E46s. The BMW fix sometimes involves replacing almost the entire sunroof. To avoid problems, it is recommended that you regularly oil the sunroof rails to prevent sunroof failure.

It is also known that the sunroof switch “lose” the initialization for the sunroof position. To reset the switch, note the position of the sunroof, and then hold the switch in that position for 20 seconds.

window problems

Your 3 series automatic windows can fail over time, due to improper design or common wear and tear. This can be avoided by diligent maintenance, however the fact that they are built with plastic pulleys and thin cables means they could still fail and leave you stuck in the down position.

Common Problems In A BMW E46
BMW E46 2003

Faults in the cooling system

The cooling system on an E46 vehicle is complex, with many parts that work together to keep the engine running cool and smooth. Any noticeable drift in the temperature gauge should be noted, before the engine overheats, which could lead to other costly problems.

Power steering pump problems

If you hear a deep growl or can feel something rubbing against the steering column, your BMW’s power steering pump may be failing. Check the fluids and filter before contacting a mechanic.

Rear subframe tear

In 2009 there was a class action settlement with BMW regarding the rear subframe on some of the 3-series E46s being torn or cracked. Owners should be aware of loud noises coming from the rear of the vehicle when traveling on even moderately bumpy roads and contact a mechanic for inspection.

supercharged steering

BMWs are known for their steering, so if the vehicle is overcompensating, or not reacting to a driver, there may be a problem that needs repair. This was prevalent on E46 model year 2001 vehicles that were built from June 2000 to April 2001.

Taillight wiring fault

The taillight wiring on the E46 3-series was the subject of a recall several years ago. This includes 2002-2005 3-series sedans, model numbers 325I, 325XI, 330I, and 330XI.

Advice

All 3-series E46s are great cars if properly maintained. Most problems are associated with early cars, but when purchasing any model, a pre-purchase inspection is recommended.

Faults In BMW E46
BMW E46, 318 in

No car is perfect, not even the beloved BMW E46 3-series, made between 1999 and 2006. Like any long-term vehicle, they have some common problems that owners should look for and then fix. Read on to the end of this list and learn what the common failures in a BMW E46.

Common failures in a BMW E46

The E46 generation is one of the most popular models of the 3 Series, it is the fourth generation of the 3 Series, after the E21, E30 and E36, this vehicle was replaced by the E90 in 2007. Common faults or problems in a BMW E46 car are as follows:

1. Problems with the alternator of a BMW E46

When you alternator fails, has no strength or deteriorates it is time for it to be replaced. Changing the alternator of a vehicle is not a difficult process, the procedure will take you about an hour and you will achieve it with a few tools. Read on and learn: How to change the alternator of a BMW E46.

2. Wheel bearing failure

The wheel bearings of a BMW E46 are very important for the car’s suspension system. Although these usually last a very long time, a worn or damaged wheel bearing can make driving a car a bit sloppy. He continues reading and discovers: How to Replace Wheel Bearings on a BMW E46.

3. Problems with parking sensors

Parking sensors let you know with a beep how far you are from a wall or obstruction when you’re trying to park your car. If you notice that the car has problems with these sensors, please read the following link and learn: How to remove and replace the parking sensors on a BMW E46.

4. Catalytic converter faults

It’s a good idea to check the catalytic converter at least once a year. The catalytic converter can become corroded or even punctured and stop working. If your E46’s catalytic converter is damaged or not working, learn: How change the catalytic converter on a BMW E46.

5. Problems with the key of a BMW E46

The remote for BMW vehicles manufactured between 1999 and 2005 is called an E46 key, and all of its keys require programming before they will work. E46 keys are only available through authorized BMW dealers only. Continue reading and learn: How to program a key to a BMW E46

Common Faults In A BMW E46
BMW 316ti

6. Failures due to the wind deflector

A wind deflector prevents wind and debris from entering the passenger cabin in a convertible while the top is down. Mounting a wind deflector on a BMW E46 3 convertible provides an upgrade to the interior. Read more and learn: How to mount a wind deflector on a BMW E46.

7. Problems with the hood system

Some BMW E46 models are equipped with fully automatic convertible tops. The top needs to be completely closed to prevent water from entering the car during wet weather. If the hood on your car does not close properly, read on and discover: How to reset the soft top system on a BMW E46 convertible.

8. Problems with the armrest of a BMW E46

BMWs cars are considered high-end worldwide, and thus are very durable vehicles, just like any other car deteriorates over the years. If you notice that the armrest cover is damaged, then continue reading and study: How to remove and change the armrest cover on a BMW E46.

9. Problems with headlight bulbs

The headlights on your BMW E46 are xenon, these headlights offer a better brightness compared to traditional halogen headlights and when the xenon headlight bulbs start to have problems, you are going to have to remove and change them. Keep reading the link and learn: How to change a xenon headlight bulb on a BMW E46.

Problems in a BMW E46 (User Complaints)

The BMW E46 3 Series was produced from 1999 to 2006, this car combined handsome styling with impressive performance in a relatively compact package. It is also a much more durable platform than the previous E36 Series 3. However, there are a few areas you should pay attention to if you are thinking of buying an E46 or if you already own an E46. This does not cover the more specialized M3.

engine problems

The 2.5 liter M52 (323i, 325i), 2.8 liter M52 (328i) and 3.0 liter M54 (330i) generation engines from the E46 are quite reliable. From time to time, BMW has to rebuild the engine ECU (electronic control unit) to fix rough idles, flat spots, or problems with power delivery.

This was experienced in 3.0 liter cars with manual gearboxes. Early cars should also be checked for unusual belt tensioner noises.

Faults in the cooling system

Both the M52 and M54 come with water pumps that really need to be replaced every 60,000 or so miles. Likewise, it is recommended that the radiator be changed at 90,000 miles as preventive maintenance.

Suspension and chassis issues

The early E46s ball joints are a known weakness, but can be replaced with the later, stronger ball joints. Rear coil springs have been known to break. If this happens, change both. As with the E36, the E46 series 3 has been known to suffer from the dreaded rear floor failure.

This occurs when the rear suspension literally breaks off the ground. This causes not only a dangerous situation, but also a large repair bill. Some early all-wheel drive E46s had transmission problems that required replacing the driveshaft, transfer case, or rear differential. Some owners have complained about heavy steering on some 2000 model year cars.

BMW has retrofitted some of these cars with rear steering racks to add more power and make them easier to drive at parking speeds. Also on 2000 model year cars, owners have reported vibrating steering that has been traced to faulty front control arms and rotors.

Interior and electrical faults

The interiors of the E46, as a general rule, hold up well. Problems are usually limited to a faulty radio screen. Sunroofs are also a problem on early E46s. The BMW fix sometimes involves replacing almost the entire sunroof. To avoid problems, it is recommended that you regularly oil the sunroof rails to prevent sunroof failure.

It is also known that the sunroof switch “lose” the initialization for the sunroof position. To reset the switch, note the position of the sunroof, and then hold the switch in that position for 20 seconds.

window problems

Your 3 series automatic windows can fail over time, due to improper design or common wear and tear. This can be avoided by diligent maintenance, however the fact that they are built with plastic pulleys and thin cables means they could still fail and leave you stuck in the down position.

Common Problems In A BMW E46
BMW E46 2003

Faults in the cooling system

The cooling system on an E46 vehicle is complex, with many parts that work together to keep the engine running cool and smooth. Any noticeable drift in the temperature gauge should be noted, before the engine overheats, which could lead to other costly problems.

Power steering pump problems

If you hear a deep growl or can feel something rubbing against the steering column, your BMW’s power steering pump may be failing. Check the fluids and filter before contacting a mechanic.

Rear subframe tear

In 2009 there was a class action settlement with BMW regarding the rear subframe on some of the 3-series E46s being torn or cracked. Owners should be aware of loud noises coming from the rear of the vehicle when traveling on even moderately bumpy roads and contact a mechanic for inspection.

supercharged steering

BMWs are known for their steering, so if the vehicle is overcompensating, or not reacting to a driver, there may be a problem that needs repair. This was prevalent on E46 model year 2001 vehicles that were built from June 2000 to April 2001.

Taillight wiring fault

The taillight wiring on the E46 3-series was the subject of a recall several years ago. This includes 2002-2005 3-series sedans, model numbers 325I, 325XI, 330I, and 330XI.

Advice

All 3-series E46s are great cars if properly maintained. Most problems are associated with early cars, but when purchasing any model, a pre-purchase inspection is recommended.

Faults In BMW E46
BMW E46, 318 in

Leave a Comment