No car is perfect, even the beloved BMW e46 3-series, Manufactured 1999-2006. These cars are a favorite among Bimmer aficionados and were consistently named to Car & Driver’s Top Ten. But as with any long-lasting vehicle, they have some common problems that an owner should look for and then repair with a qualified, independent BMW Repair Shop.
Front and Rear Window Regulators: The automatic windows in your 3-series may fail overtime, due to inadequate design or common wear and tear. This may be prevented by diligent maintenance, however the fact that they are built with plastic pulleys and thin cables means that they could still fail and leave them stuck in the down position.
Power Steering Pump: If you hear a deep growl or can feel something rubbing against the steering column, the power steering pump on your BMW may be failing. Check the fluids and filter prior to contacting a mechanic.
Cooling System: The cooling system in an e46 is complex, with many parts working together to keep the engine running cool and smooth. Any deviance noticed in the temperature gauge should be noted, prior to the engine overheating, which could lead to other costly problems.
Rear Subframe Tearing: In 2009 there was a class action settlement with BMW concerning the rear subframe of some of the e46 3-series tearing or cracking. Owners should be aware of loud noises coming from the rear of the vehicle when traveling even moderately bumpy roads and contact a mechanic for inspection.
Overboosted 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 in the e46 model year 2001 vehicles that were manufactured from June 2000 to April 2001.
Tail Lamp Wiring: The tail lamp wiring in the e46 3-series was subject to recall several years ago. This includes the 2002-05 three-series sedans, model numbers 325I, 325XI, 330I and 330XI.
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