Originally Posted by Big Evil
The E46 has a break away plastic pin that is designed to shear off in the event someone is too rough with the key switch (like a car thief with a screw driver). Just had that same thing in the shop yesterday.
Well I guess that is a plausible explanation to why the door locks are so utterly flimsey. Never used a screw driver or force on mine though. So I guess if you use the mechanical key more than say 20 times or so whilst you are waiting for a hideously expensive new key to be shipped from Germany you are asking for trouble and it will probably fail on you (plastic fatigue).
So if you loose your key, don't even think about using the mechanical key as you will probably end up locking yourself out of your car when inevitably the door lock plastic pin shears off after about 20 lock/unlock cycles.
Remember that the new replacement key CAN'T be used until it has been initialised by inserting it into the ignition key (which means the car must be open beforehand). Catch 22!
Hope this advice prevents others from suffering the misery of an expensive lockout from your pride and joy. Kiss goodbye to at least £750 for loosing a key plus 5 weeks waiting for a new key and magic bits with your car off the road locked out.
Car needs to be picked up on a crane and taken to the main dealer to gain entry and have the new (hideously!!!!) expensive key initialised.
Still annoyed about the whole miserable experience ... Not helped by the engine misfire which took 3 months to figure out (after new injectors, fuel filters, turbo inspection, etc etc) (turned out to be a corroded cheap connector on the fuel injection system going ohmic) ... but still think BMWs are great cars to drive when they are tickety-boo. Cognitive dissonance or what!