Some of the BMW e46 three-series have been on the road for over a decade, as they were produced from 1999-2006. These high-mileage vehicles still perform as a BMW enthusiast would expect, but there are some problems that arise after so many years on the road. One such problem is the rear subframe tearing or cracking, which actually led to a class action lawsuit settlement in 2009.
This problem is common among heavily-used e46 Bimmers, especially those that were used for racing. But even a well-maintained vehicle could experience tears or cracks in the rear subframe. One of the signs to look for would be erratic handling at high and medium speeds. You should also listen for loud bangs, clanks or clunks coming from the rear of the vehicle when traversing moderately bumpy roads. In some cases these sounds could even occur on relatively smooth roads, so be aware.
A class action suit alleged that the e-46 three-series were prone to breaks in the rear-axle. BMW settled this lawsuit, and has reimbursed owners for the cost of repair. In a statement from BMW they said: “Under rare conditions the attachment points of the Sub-Frame may develop a fracture or crack. BMW has prepared an inspection, approved repair procedure, and reimbursement policy in keeping with the terms of the proposed class settlement. This settlement will only pertain to US residents and is not a recall of any kind.”
If you are experiencing troubles with tears or cracks in the rear subframe of your BMW 3-series, contact a qualified BMW technician for assistance. They will be able to repair the damages and may also have information on the settlement from BMW.
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