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Topic Review (Newest First)

  • 09-06-2012, 01:07 PM
    AWESOME post goatboy. thanks for that and dead on.
    Anyone buying an M3 should be doing it for love, going in knowing it is an expensive car to buy and maintain. I have a 2002 M3... absolutely LOVE it, but it is *expensive.* Would absolutely do it again, but I can afford it. When I was your age I was driving Preludes and Celica GTS... but if you have the $$$ it is one of the best all-around cars on the road.
  • 03-12-2011, 06:05 PM

    mine'll have 4 bald tires & inspection @110k miles

    The struts will be toast then, too. I figure I'll find it a good home a few k-miles before then. I'm dialing back my driving now to make it last another three years.

    I'm not sure what will replace it. The short list right now is a 911, a M-B E530 Blue TEC, or... my 2007 Cobalt.

    There might be a window for me to retire later this year. If so, I'll take it, ease up on luxury purchases, and take time to smell the roses. But, if I'm working for another five or six years, I'm commuting in style... and smelling my boss's [Oops!] for a while instead of roses. (My old boss actually did stink. Fortunately, the new one has better hygene.)
  • 03-11-2011, 12:25 AM

    Agreed, +2 Very accurate advise. Don't forget

    that tires also cost around $800 a pair and the rears only last about every 30K miles.
  • 02-09-2011, 12:54 PM

    +1 ... very good advice goatboy

  • 02-08-2011, 02:52 PM

    Re: 2001 E46 M3 cost to maintain

    Even if you only drive occasionally you need to consider yearly oil and brake fluid changes, around $300. I have my original 2004 M3, still love it, looks great and worth the money.
  • 02-07-2011, 01:50 PM

    Mustangs have come a long way in 10 years

    Italian tires and brakes go a long way toward fixing a nose-heavy, live-live-axled beast.

    I bet my spreadsheet is better than yours.
  • 02-07-2011, 10:23 AM

    beware, not saying "don't do it," just beware

    BMW's, and E46 M3's in particular are "high maintenance."

    Early E46 M3's had exploding engine problems. 2001's came with 5W-30 synthetic oil. They called everybody back in and switched them to 10W-60. But, the early 2002's started blowing up even more often. They eventually admitted there was a problem and changed out the connecting rod bearings and oil pumps. They later came back and changed out the connecting rod bearings a second time.

    BMW's VANOS (variable valve timing) systems are problematic. If they go out of warranty, it's $4k to $5k. Cat' converters are another BMW problem.

    Trim in another BMW problem. A lot of people have had window gaskets come loose, painted interior trim fall apart, floor mats, and the dreaded self-dimming rear view mirrors (see my thread below). I had the assembly that contains the rear tag lights and trunk switch break loose.

    E46 M3's have solid valve lifters which require adjustemnt during "inspections." Inspections are required every 20k - 28k miles, depending on how you drive (based on MPG). Adjusting the valves requires a collection of shims and special tools. My last inspection was $1,300.

    I've kept accurate maintenance and cost records on my car (an early 2002 with 88k miles). I've spent $8,142 on maintenance and repairs. Depreciation is the big one. My car's depreciated $42,667 during that time.

    As a car gets older, the depreciation costs (per year or per mile) go down, and the maintenance costs up. Depreciation is a function of time and mileage. An older BMW's value is more dependent on mileage than a newer one's is.

    I'm driving it less now (6-8k miles/year), then when it was new (12k miles/year). So, my total cost per mile (depreciation, maintenance, gas, insurance, capital costs (interest the money tied up in the car would have earned) has been very consistant, about $1/mile. My five year old, 83k mile Honda Accord has cost about $0.40/mile. My four year old Cobalt, about $0.37/mile (big deprecation, much higher than the Accord). The last year of my banged up Civic's life, it cost less than $0.20/mile.

    I'd stay away from a high mileage E46 M3. I'd also look for one that has had in-between-oil-changes oil changes (about every 7k miles instead of the scheduled 13-14k miles). If you can find a low mileage one with good original paint, and you can tolerate $1/mile and the occasional $2k to $5k surprise, a lot of good ones are out there.

    You set off an alarm when you mentioned a "good down payment." If buying a ten year old M3 requires a car loan... DON'T DO IT!!!! Relative to your income and net worth, the car could eat you alive. BMW's, either new or well maintained old ones, are cars for people with six-figure incomes. Otherwise, the car owns you instead of the other way around.

    Expensive cars attract vandals, too. If you don't have a garage, safe parking at work, and a beater for trips to Walmart and the mall, it's not worth owning one.
  • 02-03-2011, 06:49 PM

    Hope to count you amoung the owners!

    It's one of the most fun, refined feeling cars I have ever driven. Anymore, the power is good, but no longer remarkable, but it's still fast! It's the naturally aspirated, fat torque, that makes this thing deceptively fast for a 3.2L. Some of the best cars at the same price point are today still only just as fast. You can get a mustang to go faster in a straight line, but it's not the same thing.
  • 02-02-2011, 08:50 PM

    Re: 2001 E46 M3 cost to maintain

    I believe that cost to operate per year will vary significantly depending on how you're using it. I've only put 34K miles on my 2004 but that's because I only use it on weekends or for the occasional trip. My expenses are limited to insurance, about 4K miles worth of fuel, one oil change, and registration. When I replaced the tires at 25K miles it was about $1200. I don't recall what the brakes cost to replace but I remember it being a significant cost.

    Right now there are many e46 M3s on the market for a good price but keep in mind that these cars if driven as a daily driver can require some serious investments for regular maintenance. These cars were just under $60K when taken home from the dealer and parts costs are definitely in-line with that.

    You should get some quotes on insurance before buying. I remember how horrible my insurance was before I turned 25 and can't imaging that an M3 registered to a 22 year old is going to come at a discount.

    Good luck.
  • 02-02-2011, 06:22 PM

    Re: I have an '01 build early '02. Same car.

    Thank you Grimlok that was very considerate I really appreciate it because idk know anybody with this type of car. I'm trying to purchase it this month.
  • 02-02-2011, 02:44 PM

    I have an '01 build early '02. Same car.

    I keep a basic budget spreadsheet, which includes money I spend on gas, insurance, and my car (in the form of routine things, and repairs, and other stuff I might buy for the car).

    I put about 22k miles on my car last year. Average gas cost was 14.4 cents per mile (gas alone). Mostly highway miles, and generally averaging about 23mpg. When I was last on Laguna Seca, I averaged about 9.5mpg... The car has a good electronic engine management system, and how you drive will alter your mileage significantly.

    I spent $4567 in maintenance and repair last year on this car. That includes my registration of around $250 per year as well. This also includes 2 tires that I had to buy to replace one with a hole; and another that was really too warn down to leave mismatched (~$500 for the 2 tires total). The rest was repairing a few little issues including portions of an Inspection II service (valve adjustment), a basic tuneup that I did myself (plugs, belts, 1 new coil because the one I removed was not in good condition, etc), high pressure Power steering line needed to be replaced, a small oil return check valve in the block was leaking oil and I replaced that, and I had a leak in one of the throttle body boots, so I replaced all 6 of those. I change the oil every 7500 miles; oil and filters. The oil isn't cheap, around here it runs about $16 per quart. If I plan ahead I usually buy it online for about $11 per quart, plus shipping.

    In that time, I also purchased the aluminum interior trim kit to replace the horrid painted stuff that was peeling and cracking badly. I think that kit was around $800.

    In '09, I spent around $3900. But that included 4 new tires, at nearly $1k, a used suspension kit for around $800, and a set of used wheels for $1k. Damn... I sound cheap when I re-read that, buying all that used stuff. Oh well :)

    In '08 my cost was $2800 for the year, and that was only routine services. Including the Rear Trailing Arm Bushings which go out fairly routinely if not reinforced. This causes the rear toe to go out and wears out the tires prematurely. Also leads to obvious handling issues as well.

    It might be worth noting, I have tracked my car a few times. But, by some crazy thing, I have the original brake rotors (at min wear points now, need to be replaced), only on the second set of pads (still easily 8 to 10mm thick), and I still have 40% on my original clutch (6-speed).

    My car needs an AC overhaul, the AC is completely out. It's the second time since buying this car in '01 that I have had to service it. My shift lever has too much play in it lately, I need all new bushings there. For the first time ever, when I shifted hard from first to second near redline, quickly; it ground ever so slightly. It could just be the shift mechanism bushing I mentioned earlier, or I suspect the transmission synchro for 1-2 might be going out. At 136k miles I wouldn't be too hopping mad if the tranny were starting to show some age, honestly.

    In summary, the car can be purchased for a great price today. However, you need to consider that repair costs and parts are for a $45k+ car. It's not inexpensive to maintain this car. Oil changes cost right around $100. Tires are going to run you between $160 and $300 each, depending on your taste in tires. A brake maintenance, pads and rotors, is right around a grand. Checking my records back, it looks like I average right around $3400 per year in maintenance costs; and add to that about 14 cents a mile in gas, depending on how and where you are driving.

    Hope this helps.
  • 02-02-2011, 01:09 PM

    2001 E46 M3 cost to maintain

    Hey roadfly,

    My names chris and I'm 22, I'm really considering buying an 2001 M3 but I'm curious to know the pros and cons of this car such as an good downpayment, cost to maintain, Gas, ETC. The help would be nice please reply especially people who actually own this car.

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