Last updated on January 13th, 2023 at 07:31 pm
Though the e46 series is the bestselling and one of the most popular BMW models of all time, the E46 series still shows common problems.
And that is what the article will be all about. They are very popular and you can hardly go a single day without seeing one being driven around.
It is also the best 3 series of BMW that has ever been made. There are lots of them on sale in the second-hand market with different degrees of condition and quality.
If you are in the market for a BMW ride, this model might be the right choice for you. You might also love to read this post on What’s the Difference Between BMW e46 and e90.
It breaks down the difference between BMW e46 vs e90. Another related post Why are BMW Oil Changes so Expensive?
There is no doubt that the E46 3 series is a good choice of vehicle. It is very reliable, affordable, fast, and good-looking.
It has a wonderful steering wheel and handling dynamics. The vehicle is a perfect mix of performance and comfort.
If you are on a budget, then you should consider getting this car. However, the e46 BMWs do have their own problem sometimes and that is why I like to show you some of e46 common problems & symptoms
BMW e46 problems: 7, e46 common problems & symptoms
E46 m3 common problems
Some of the problems that the BMW E46 m3 might have are as follows:
Broken window regulators
This problem in your E46 3 is damage to your window which leaves it with an inoperative window.
The window will be stuck in the down position until it is fixed. A major symptom of it before it becomes totally damaged is that, it will make noises before you finally lose control of the window.
You will have to get it fixed as fast as possible to avoid having soaked floors, when it rains.
Tie Rod Wear
Some of the symptoms of this problem in your E46 m3 are that you hear clunking during your steering input and then being unable to hold a correct alignment.
If grease starts coming out then you should know that one of your ball joint boots is cracked. This means you will have to replace the component.
Cracked Radiator Necks
If you have been using your BMW for long, there is every chance that the plastic around the neck of the radiator will become brittle and crack with age.
It might get damaged without any prior warning whatsoever. Radiators are about 100k mile wear items.
Torn or Cracked Transmission Mounts
When the transmission mounts is torn, it could lead to more damages. Some of these are possibly destroying the motor of the car, money shift, or mechanical over rev.
A worn transmission leads to an excess amount of transmission movement. Some of its symptoms can be hard shifting during cornering, and shifter jerking a lot during acceleration and braking.
Water Pump Failure
This is a common problem with E46 m3 and it can be quite tragic. It is one of the easiest ways to damage your BMW extensively. The main symptom of this problem is a rapid overheating motor.
How this problem occurs is if the bearing on the stock pump breaks which will then disable the cooling system of your BMW.
If the temperature gauge of your car is above ¾, then you need to turn it off immediately and tow it to an auto repair shop.
Do not risk driving or managing it. This problem can lead to severe engine damage or a warped head. It is recommended that you replace the water pump of your car as often as you can.
Accessory Belt and Tensioner Failure
When the tensioner is worn, the engine of the car will make a squealing noise. You will need to inspect the belt regularly for any crack.
If a belt cuts, the car’s cooling system will fail to work as the water pump will stop operating. The alternator and power steering will also cease to work.
Once you suspect that a belt has failed, you need to pull over and shut off your car’s engine to avoid extensive damage.
Leaky valve cover gasket
This is a common problem that affects all models of BMW. The symptom that a valve cover gasket is leaking could be the smell of burning oil.
If this problem persists, oil can enter the spark plug holes. This can destroy the ignition coil which is quite expensive to replace.
If you want to replace the coils, the cover gasket should also be replaced.
Failing Fan Clutch
Fan clutches fail between 80 and 100k miles. The fan clutches provide the main cooling for your vehicle. Therefore, it can be easily diagnosed.
Torn Rear Shock Mounts
If you hear a loud clunk sound during any suspension movement, then your rear shock mount is either torn or destroyed.
This could tear through the carpet into the passenger’s cabin. The symptoms of this problem are sloppy handling and excess rear suspension play.
BMW e46 suspension problems
There are so many things that could lead to a suspension problem in a BMW E46. If you notice the suspension compressing during cornering, this is a symptom that your vehicle has worn shocks and struts.
You might have to replace the shocks and struts. Once you are replacing it, it might also be a good time to install lower springs or replace some areas of the suspension.
If you hear any loud clunk during suspension movement, then you might have a damaged rear shock mounts. You will have to get it fixed as fast as possible.
If you hear a squeaking sound from the rear suspension, then the mounting/bushing of the vehicle might have a problem.
The only way to be certain about what is causing a suspension problem is to take the vehicle to an engineer. You will need a complete diagnosis of whatever might be wrong with it.
How many e46 m3 oxford green?
In all of North America, there are about 116 OG cars – 113 in the United States and 3 in Canada. Forty-eight (48) cars were 2001 to 2006 BMW M3 Coupe (BL93) and were painted Oxford Green 2 metallic (430) with an interior of Cinnamon Nappa Leather for the United States market.
Which is better e36 or e46?
Speaking from a logical side, the E36 is better than the E46 because of its weight . The E46 is a stiffer chassis with a wide-body which can fit wide tires.
It also has less power than the E36 if you are looking for or you want a track car. But otherwise, the E36 is advisable for you if you are on a budget.
The E46 is a very luxurious car and also faster than E36. It is faster in a straight line and curvy road because of BMW lightweight feature.
E46 is a good choice if you have money; however, if you are on a budget, then E36 is the better choice. It is cheaper and less expensive to repair and maintain.
How many BMW e46 were made
So when the BMW first made the e46 car, they first created 3,011 E46 M3 with the most optional competitive packaging.
Conclusion on e46 m3 Common Problems
In summary, there are various problems that might arise on your BMW E 46, and the only way to diagnose it perfectly is to take the car to a repair shop and fix in order not to cause more damage to the vehicle.
In this article I have talked how many BWM e46 were made and also showed you some e46 m3 common problems while touching on indications of bmw e46 suspension problems.
And finally I tried to give you a direct response between e36 or e46 which is better? e36 or e46
I hope this article was able to help you, please share it if it helped you. And don’t forget to also book mark it for future reference.
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Hi dear, I am Dennis Gift, an autobody repair technician with over 4 years of experience; and I love everything about fitness and cars and researching and sharing my experience. And this is where I get to do that freely without reservations. So come along with me.