- Automotive Makes & Models
BMW cars-recalls-faults-problems and remedies E46 E90
The E46 BMW had quite a few design faults, but many faults can be traced to bad assembly. One of the most annoying is rattles in the dashboard. Another is window regulators which seem to have as much trouble as Renault does, with constant replacements common for all four windows.
As mentioned in the hub on the E46, the ignition coils also fail. General electrical component failure is not uncommon with many having electrical and electronic problems as well.
Failure of wheel bearings, air-conditioner fan, cooling system components, cam sensor, and moon roof motor are further faults that are common.
Door handles and locking mechanism failure is a problem on some models.
I believe the E46 had a lot of problems when new, and hopefully by time you buy one second-hand, most of it will have been sorted under warranty recalls.
The E46 is a remarkably nice car to drive, very reliable as far as major components are concerned, but spoilt by build quality in some cases. Water leaks, bad door seals happen too often as well.
BMW's are no longer just made in the original factory in Germany.
They are also made in South Africa, Egypt, Russia and China. I do not know why the E46 is so patchy in quality, but am guessing they are having similar problems with outsourcing as other makers such as Toyota, who have lists of failures that make BMW look good.
I know this list is extensive, and not all E46's will have all of these problems, but they are all common enough to be seen as failure on behalf of BMW to keep quality control at the highest standard as one would expect on a car of this price. Many problems develop early enough to be caught by warranty, but some dealers make you fight for every repairs they do under that warranty.
Having said all that, I have seen and driven many well sorted E46s, and they are a delightful car when nothing goes wrong. A well sorted one gives no trouble at all in most cases.
There are no less than 11 motors available in the E46. The 16 valve motor is offered in 1.8 - 1.9 and 2 litre motors.
The 24 valve head is used on the 2 litre, 2.2, 2.5, 2.8, 3 and 3.2 motors with the V8 being a 32 valve set up.
They also offer a 14 valve turbo 1.7 diesel and a 2.5 litre 16 valve
4 transmissions were offered as well, a 4 or 5 speed auto and a five or six speed manual.
Unfortunately the choice of auto or manual transmission does not preclude trouble with either drive train choice. The manual has clutch problems as a common fault, and the electronics in the automatic give trouble as well.
There is a list of faults for all BMW models here, but they do not include all the faults I have provided from my experience and the experience of my BMW workshop owning friends provided and confirmed here.
Many will have been pleased to buy this model with side airbags for the extra safety.
Most did not expect that the air-bag would deploy when they hit a pothole! This was most common on the 2002 model in my experience.
The E90 does not have a good reputation among mechanics either. Most of its problems are with faulty sensors and electronic glitches that turn on an array of warnings.
Other problems are:
Turbo failure at low kilometres. (This has some owners hopping mad!)
Rattles! These are most annoying and seem to be related to shoddy interior assembly.
The E90 is such a nice car, once again I believe a well sorted one is a joy to drive, if not to own!
Come on BMW, we expect much better from someone who can build the ultimate drivers car!
- BMW recalls faults and remedies E30 E34 E36
This is not a hub to bash BMW's. On the contrary it is through my love of BMW cars that I write this hub or perhaps series of hubs. I would like to allow BMW owners to consider the advice given here as an...