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Hey guys! I am about to purchase my first e46 and I've been looking for forums and I believe I found the best one... I wanted to start off by introducing myself. My name is Brad and I live in West Palm Beach, FL. The e46 will be my first car as I am turning 16 in October. I used to be into Jeeps, but I've very much changed my preference on my first car lol. I will have my e46 in my driveway sometime in summer. I have $5,000 to spend on the car itself and whatever I make from my job will go towards aftermarket stuff. I wanted to know if you guys have any advice for me when buying my e46 and if craigslist is a good place to look.

Thanks guys! :bow:
-Brad
 

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An E46 could make for a great first car but first you need to familiarize yourself with the maintenance involved with owning an E46. If you seriously plan on owning one of these cars, you need to be ok with the fact that your money needs to go towards maintaining not modding.
 

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I have $5,000 to spend on the car itself and whatever I make from my job will go towards aftermarket stuff. I wanted to know if you guys have any advice for me when buying my e46 and if craigslist is a good place to look.
Welcome, Brad.

What I'm about to say is only my opinion, at the end of the day it's up to you to make your decisions.

1. Look into a 325. I definitely didn't need a 330 at 16. Seeing as you're in FL, you probably won't need AWD either.

2. Expect to spend $1,000+ on maintenance in your first 6 months to a year. These cars are great, but at the very least you should expect to refresh the cooling system and do your VANOS/valve cover gasket seals. I would also do belts, pulleys and fluids. Please do maintenance before you look into aftermarket mods. Kpeng has a great maintenance guide, and Mango has a great guide on cooling.

3. Craigslist is an okay place to look, but you can search a wider range of cars if you use Autotrader or some other site. I drove 16 hours round trip to get my car, but it was worth it.

4. Use the search feature. Chances are people aren't going to like you here if you ask a question that can obviously be quickly answered with a search.
 

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Brad, it sounds like you are approaching BMW ownership in a smart way. Learn about the car so you will be able to shop wisely. And make sure you get a pre-purchase inspection by a good indy mechanic before you hand over any money.

I will offer up one alternative. You say you like Jeeps. For $5000, you can purchase a CHERRY 1997-2001 six cylinder Jeep Cherokee. It will be more reliable than a BMW, cheaper to insure and replacement parts are dirt cheap. If you want to off-road, get a 4x4 one. It will have plenty of room for friends and for hauling stuff like sports gear or anything large. It would be a pretty fun and safe first ride.
 
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