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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-20-2010, 03:18 PM
LemonLyman323i LemonLyman323i is offline
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How often should you change spark plugs?

I have a 2000 323i which I purchased used about two years ago. I'm just wondering what type of maintenance I should be doing with my spark plugs (replace/inspect...etc) and how often. Since it is used I do not know the last time they received any attention. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2010, 04:04 PM
akhbhaat akhbhaat is offline
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I did the plugs in my last E46 (323i) at 59k miles.

My current E46 (330i) has 62k miles on the original plugs. Frankly, I think the 59k was a bit premature. Most evidence suggests that BMW's claimed 100k service interval is reasonably accurate in this instance.

What's the mileage on the car? If you're not sure if/when the plugs were changed, you could always change them for peace of mind--or even just pull one out and look at it.
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Last edited by akhbhaat; 07-20-2010 at 04:05 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-20-2010, 04:49 PM
jzwu jzwu is offline
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OP's car is ten years old. If the plugs are still the orginal ones, I would say change them. Technology ten years ago was probably not that good.

Newer platinum plugs should go for 100k with no problems.
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  #4  
Old 07-20-2010, 07:53 PM
Ricardj Ricardj is offline
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The dealer recommends to change them about every 100K miles. I changed mine at around 145,000 km (just over 90,000 miles) and noticed a huge improvement in how smooth it ran. The original plugs were a little black with some tiny bits of debris on them, but weren't in horrible condition. I should mention that before I changed them, I thought the car ran just fine.
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  #5  
Old 07-20-2010, 08:22 PM
LemonLyman323i LemonLyman323i is offline
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Yeah the car has 134000 miles on it. I'm not sure if they have been changed, but I guess I will pull them and take a look. Anything in particular I should be looking for when I look at them? I have also heard some about "re gapping" plugs.
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  #6  
Old 07-20-2010, 08:23 PM
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marinekilz marinekilz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricardj View Post
The dealer recommends to change them about every 100K miles
every 100k for e46, I just did mine before the motor blow at 157k. orginal plugs, they looked alittle worn, but the car still ran fine just like ricardj
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2010, 11:24 PM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonLyman323i View Post
I have also heard some about "re gapping" plugs.
No go, Joe. Unless things were very different way back when the plugs were installed in yours, recommended plugs have four ground electrodes surrounding the center. So unless you have some special tool which I can't even imagine (which the maker surely has at the plant), there's just no way you're ever gonna get them regapped. Shown are the stock Bosch (BMW labeled) from my '06. NGK's are the same.

"Gapping plugs" is probably registered in the Obsolete Skills Database...
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:46 PM
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wag-zhp wag-zhp is online now
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I'm admittedly old school in my maintenance beliefs and change the oil at 7.5K and the plugs at 50k. (half of what the manual says)
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  #9  
Old 07-21-2010, 06:57 AM
Cliff Cliff is offline
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I replaced mine at 96k miles. They were due. In hindsight, at $60 for the parts, it wouldn't have hurt to do them sooner. Mike Miller suggests 60k miles in one of his blog entries.
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  #10  
Old 07-21-2010, 07:55 AM
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Solidjake Solidjake is offline
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I did mine at 88k or so and they looked like Cliff's plugs. Use NGK plus and my diy vid.
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  #11  
Old 07-21-2010, 12:44 PM
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Since you bought the car used and don't know the maintainance history you should change them. Plug boots too probably. Change all the fluids too (trans, differential, power steering, brake, anti freeze) and fuel filter. Start off fresh and you'll avoid problems down the line.
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2010, 02:29 PM
e46_platform e46_platform is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
No go, Joe. Unless things were very different way back when the plugs were installed in yours, recommended plugs have four ground electrodes surrounding the center. So unless you have some special tool which I can't even imagine (which the maker surely has at the plant), there's just no way you're ever gonna get them regapped. Shown are the stock Bosch (BMW labeled) from my '06. NGK's are the same.

"Gapping plugs" is probably registered in the Obsolete Skills Database...
interesting website
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  #13  
Old 07-21-2010, 02:51 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
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I'd say 80-100k miles. I changed mine at 112k miles, they could have gone longer. Again at 190k miles with the new E3's because I had a gift certificate for them.
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  #14  
Old 07-24-2010, 10:28 AM
LemonLyman323i LemonLyman323i is offline
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Thanks for the responses everyone I plan on changing them asap. I will be using this DIY which looks to be very thorough. Good luck for anyone who decides to do their spark plugs also.

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  #15  
Old 07-24-2010, 11:29 AM
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catso catso is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonLyman323i View Post
Thanks for the responses everyone I plan on changing them asap. I will be using this DIY which looks to be very thorough. Good luck for anyone who decides to do their spark plugs also.

It's uber easy!
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  #16  
Old 07-25-2010, 07:14 AM
shadow 2 shadow 2 is offline
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Is one brand of plug favored over the other?
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  #17  
Old 07-25-2010, 09:10 AM
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golforcars325i golforcars325i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadow 2 View Post
Is one brand of plug favored over the other?
NGK is the OEM plug.
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