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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I am new to posting in this forum but I have been reading through some of the threads over the last week or so.

Basically I am very interested in getting an e46. My father had one a couple of years back and driving that car was the most fun I ever had.

Right now I am looking at a 2003 325xi with manual transmission. It has 75k miles and is selling for around 11k dollars.

My concern is that many people, my mechanic included, have told me to stay away from BMW's especially not under warranty, because they are very costly to repair and maintain.

I do expect them to cost more then say a Honda or a Ford but is it really significantly more. I really love the e46 and would love to own one but I am worried that getting one would lead to a lot of expensive problems.

What are your experiences with this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

David
 

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Well, you never know what could break on a car. I think most people here will suggest that you DIY whenever possible and avoid the dealership at all times no matter what.

Not sure how the price of parts compares with honda/ford. I'd like to see a comparison sheet with common parts and the prices for different makes.

I have had my bimmer for 1 year. Replaced a squealing tensioner - everything else has been solid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How many miles did your car have when you got it?

Also I would be interested if this type of comparison existed. It would be helpful to many people I think.
 

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Yes repairs are frequent but cost depends on your mechanic aas well. MMost common problems are oil leaks coolant leaks, ssensors failing, vanos etc. Its alot easier if you do your homework before you buy any car. U don't want to end up unhappy since its such a big investment
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I checked the car fax...1 owner, it all seemed clean but still you never know. I wanted to know generally what everyone experience is with costs on fixing/ maintaining these cars.
 

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e46s require a lot attention. So, you have to take care of it often. Good thing is you have e46f which is a great resource for DIYs and members who can help you with your problems as long as you search first. E46 is a phenomenal car, but yes I think you should come in knowing that there will be some problems ahead. Whether its costly or not really depends if you are doing it yourself or taking it to a shop.
 

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dude are we really going to sway your decision? you know you want the e46 bad. just get it, and experience it. all these cars will be different based on how the owner maintained it. and we have no clue how the car was maintained.
 

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It is always worth it to get a PPI (pre purchase inspection) by a dealership or independent BMW shop. There are cooling issues, front suspension issues and window winder regulators that you want to check out first before you hand over the cash.

Just my 2 cents worth!

Edit:- Oh --- and get the codes run off which might show some hidden things. Can you talk to the service shop who has stamped the book? Also make sure you get more than one key! - read expensive!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I understand I will pay. But honestly you pay to own any used car especially close to or passing 100k miles. My question is how much? Compared to other cars how much more expensive is it really to maintain. What is the average experience of users here when it comes to the costliness of maintaining there e46.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It is always worth it to get a PPI (pre purchase inspection) by a dealership or independent BMW shop. There are cooling issues, front suspension issues and window winder regulators that you want to check out first before you hand over the cash.

Just my 2 cents worth!
That's helpful thanks a lot. I will definitely look into this.
 

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if you want a ballpark figure, id say have at least 700 to 1000 dollars put aside for maintenance after you buy the car
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
if you want a ballpark figure, id say have at least 700 to 1000 dollars put aside for maintenance after you buy the car
That's not too bad. I could live with that. I also want to learn how to maintain the car myself for the most part. These forums look like they would be a great resource for me learning.

I've really never done any car work myself but I do think I'll be able to pick it up quickly.
 

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E46s are great cars, as long as you can do simple things by yourself. If you can follow DIY instructions, and replace window motors and do oil chains by yourself, you should be fine. They're really not expensive cars to maintain... Just keep up on the maintenance and don't slack, you'll love the car. Take care of it and it will take care of you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
E46s are great cars, as long as you can do simple things by yourself. If you can follow DIY instructions, and replace window motors and do oil chains by yourself, you should be fine. They're really not expensive cars to maintain... Just keep up on the maintenance and don't slack, you'll love the car. Take care of it and it will take care of you!
Thanks a lot! I think I'm going to go for it.

By the way, here is the car I'm looking at. What do you guys think:

2003 BMW 325 xi
 

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I've had my car almost four years and I spend an average of $1,000 per year on parts and maintenance. I drive a lot (about 20-25k miles/year) and almost all of the maintenance I do is preventative, meaning that I am replacing parts before they are expected to break. I also do almost all the work myself thanks to this great forum. I didn't know anything about cars before I came here. I'm a broke college student and I'd never sell this car in a million years, so if I can afford it, I think most people with the ability to turn a wrench can do it too. That's my two cents.
 

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Thanks a lot! I think I'm going to go for it.

By the way, here is the car I'm looking at. What do you guys think:

2003 BMW 325 xi
That car looks to be in good shape, but if you really enjoy driving, you'll be kicking yourself in a year or two for not getting a sportier model. The AWD model is much heavier, eats tires faster, requires more oil, and is not necessary in rain since the e46 has an excellent traction control system. Unless you get a lot of snow in Federal Way (which I don't think you do), then you probably shouldn't get the xi. If I had it to do over again, I'd be looking for a 330i; one with the ZHP package if it was in my price range.
 

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The most important thing to understand when looking for a BMW is to realize they need good regular maintenance. Check the service book and unless it has been serviced religiously at the required intervals ... look elsewhere. The first 325 I looked at looked good to me but a PPI showed a code for a possible transmission fault that the service shop said would probably be expensive. Second 325 was pretty clean code-wise, new tyres, control arms and rear rotors and pads and power steering pump. This is the one I bought. Still had 2 window regulators, A/C condensor (car yard had gassed it up before I took it for the PPI) and a thermostat. (Took the opportunity to also replace expansion tank and top radiator hose and check water pump while in there). Swapped viscous fan clutch and cabin fan FSU is now playing up to be replaced this weekend.

There are plenty of BMs out there ... just make sure you get a good one with proven history ... they are a delightful car to drive and own.
 
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