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Buying a used 5 Series

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  • I have to agree w/Roadburner, the e34's are very nice but BMW consistently evolves. So the e39 is a logical choice. I just totaled my 94 540 and am still looking for the right e39 to replace it. Don't worry about mileage to a degree, focus on maintenance. All BMW's are good for at least 200,000 miles when maintained.
  • coop9coop9 Posts: 2
    Mileage is definitely more important. I bought a 1997 528 last year that had 162,000 miles on it and since lst year, I have had to have the heads rebuilt (4000.00) replace the catalytic converter (1900.00) plus and about 2500.00 of other misc things. Before I bought the car, I had a pre-purchase inpection done at an import place and it checked out fine but, the next time I would take it to a BMW dealer for that inspection because, they know their cars best.

    I do love to drive it because no other car can handle the road like a BMW and the brakes are off the hook. I also have a mercedes and between the two cars and putting premium gas in both, I may trade the BMW for something with lower maintenance cost. Having two high maintenance cars is not fun.
  • pstsepstse Posts: 2
    Hi,
    I am looking at these two cars. Here're the stats
    2004 530i CPO warrenty til' Sept 2010. It has 36K miles asking for 30K.
    2005 530i warrenty til' Nov 2008. Not a CPO. It only has 20K miles asking for 32K.

    Assume both cars have the same spec, what would you pick? Since ext warrenty last til Sept 2010, would I be better off picking up the 2004 CPO? Or go with the low mileages newer car (actually, I believe the 05 is only 2 month *newer* than the 04) since it has less wear and tear...

    Thoughts?
    P
  • If everything else is equal, it is probably worth $2000 to get 16,000 miles. Other things to consider though are:

    Check maintenance records on both cars; any BMW dealer should be able to access this information with the VIN #s;

    Find out if either car or both were leased; probably both;

    If both cars were leased and only maintained to "free" services; the CPO car makes more sense the closer you will be to 100,000 miles when the CPO warranty expires.

    Chances are either car will be fine.
  • pstsepstse Posts: 2
    Hi 530ir1150r,
    Thanks for your input. Yes, both are lease returns. As to svc record, I tried checking with local dealer and they refuse to reveal the recording citing privacy issue (Sign!)

    Do you have any ballpark figure on how much $$ should set aside annually on wear/pair for these types of cars?

    TIA
    P
  • Their refusal to reveal maintenance history tells me their is little if any history to reveal.

    My personal experience with my 2002 530i SP, 5 speed and Premium Package is:

    2002; $ 117.59
    2003; $ 43.38
    2004; $1819.35 (new tires and wheel repair)
    2005: $1744.21 (new tires)
    2006; $1609.38 (preventive radiator replacement)
    2007: $3185.51 (brake problem, snow tires and wheels).

    I think you can expect $1500-$2000 per year. Automatics probably will be more expensive over time. Also, remember that extended warranties and maintenance plans would only have saved me $1400, not counting deductibles.

    I just had my oil changed at 105k and the dealer advises the belts need changed ($250) and the front brakes and rotors need replaced soon ($650).
  • bristol2bristol2 Posts: 736
    Hi all,

    Currently excited about a 530i with 31k miles, 6-sp manual (manual is a 'must have' for me) for $27,998.

    Questions:
    I assume it is a lease return. When you guys (Shipo & 530ir) refer to 'only free maintenance being done', what is the disadvantage suggested by that comment? I thought all maintenance for a that reliable?

    I am going from a loaded v6 Accord sedan with 6-speed, giving up approx 20 hp with the move to the BMW. Will I be disappointed by the get up and go?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I assume it is a lease return. When you guys (Shipo & 530ir) refer to 'only free maintenance being done', what is the disadvantage suggested by that comment? I thought all maintenance for a that reliable?"

    I'm not sure I understand the question. Could you please rephrase it?

    "I am going from a loaded v6 Accord sedan with 6-speed, giving up approx 20 hp with the move to the BMW. Will I be disappointed by the get up and go?"

    Will you be dissappointed? I doubt it. Even if it is a tad slower than your Accord (and it may very well not be, BMW is very conservative with their HP ratings), I suspect that the overall driving experience will be so far superior to the Honda that you won't even notice.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • bristol2bristol2 Posts: 736
    I'm not sure I understand the question. Could you please rephrase it?

    I guess what I'm trying to ask is, should I be more cautious knowing that the car I'm looking at was a returned lease?
    Also, I have read a couple of times about BMWs being certified beyond the usual warranty, should I assume that would only be true for cars that were bought? I'm assuming a leasee would have no interest in an extended warranty.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I think I've found where you've posted your questions. ;-)

    I wouldn't worry about buying a lease return BMW simply because the maintenance during the lease period is free so the chances are extremely good that any lease return vehicle has been maintained properly. If you're not sure, typically the dealer will print out the entire service history of the car.

    By buying a used BMW from a BMW dealer, there is a good chance the car has been CPOed (setup as a "Certified PreOwned vehicle), and as such it will come with a limited 100,000 mile warranty. Said warranty isn't as good as the bumper to bumper warranty of the new cars, however, it covers most of the expensive bits. I believe that you can opt to buy both a fully B2B warranty as an extra cost item (I don't recommend this) as well as an extended maintenance plan that covers all maintenance up to 100,000 miles. The extended maintenance plan is a pretty good deal, especially if you aren't inclined to do a lot of your own maintenance.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • bristol2bristol2 Posts: 736
    I'm definitely not an 'own maintenance' guy unfortunately.

    I would be buying from Carmax so it sounds like the CPO is out of the question.

    I am not a believer in buying extended warranties but I have heard that Carmax offers a competitive one for Bimmers (the buyer goes to a BMW dealership and carmax pays them). We do have a great private shop that specializes in BMWs in my town so I really need to get a good handle on what I can project costs to be since the car would be out of warranty.
  • I believe for a BMW to last it has to be serviced more often than current BMW recommendations. I also believe following BMW recommendations will increase repair costs over time, like the old Fram commercials.

    My experience is to budget $1500 per year for maintenance. I did not purchase extended warranties or maintenance plans and I paid $1400 for services and repairs that would have been covered by either. All warranty and maintenance plans have profits and commissions included in their cost. Most people will come out ahead self insuring.
  • bristol2bristol2 Posts: 736
    From your earlier posts, you suggested an oil change every 7500 miles- is that correct?

    Given that the car is at 31k miles, what are the immediate service steps I would have to take? It seems that the first major service would be due, I imagine that the previous owner did not take care of it right before getting rid of the car.

    Do the manuals have any differences in services?
  • A leased 2004 probably has had annual oil changes and possibly the brake fluid changed after 2 years.

    I have the oil changed at 7500 mile intervals, brake fluid every 2 years, power steering fluid every 3 years and coolant every 4 years. With previous cars with automatic transmissions, I change transmission fluid every 30,000 miles. My guess is it is time to do everything. At 30k I also changed the air filter and micro filter.

    Check Bimmer or Roundel, Tech Reporter, for maintenance recommendations.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,215
    I am going from a loaded v6 Accord sedan with 6-speed, giving up approx 20 hp with the move to the BMW. Will I be disappointed by the get up and go?

    Did you drive the car? I also drive a 6-spd accord sedan. I recently test drove a 330Ci automatic and thought, even with the auto, it blows the doors off my Accord. Its not all about HP numbers. What I find with my Accord is that the power is pretty peaky. Not as bad as some cars, but it certainly pales in comparison to the fat wide power curve of the BMW.

    Not to mention the Accord is VERY hard to launch in a manner that we would ever see the published 5.9 sec 0-60 number due to the aforementioned peakiness and the total lack of traction that FWD provides on acceleration. It is probably more like 6.5 secs. The 5-series is a bit heavier than the 3'er I drove, but I still think you will be more than happy ... especially when you hit any turns. ;)

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • bristol2bristol2 Posts: 736
    Great feed back!

    I hope to test drive late next week.

    I have a great commute, approx 70 miles at an average of 70mph with some twisty stuff. That is why I am so tempted to get out of the 'sensible' car I am in and into a potentially expensive and risky choice.
  • Just got back from the dealership and signed the papers to purchase a Certified Pre-Owned 2005 545i. I did my research beforehand and consider myself a pretty good negotiator, but I can't help wonder if the deal I got was a little "too good". Here's what I bought (and will be picking up on Monday):

    CPO 2005 545i -- 42,000 miles
    Orient Blue Metallic/Beige Dakota Leather
    Premium Sound Pkg
    Cold Weather Pkg
    Sport Pkg.
    Navigation
    Power fold-down rear seats
    New tires & car is in excellent condition
    Clean carfax (no accidents -- this is also a requirement to be CPO)

    I bought it for $34,400 + tax/tag/title, which is nearly $10,000 less than the value stated by Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book. I don't know if it's typical "buyer's remorse" (how could it be with this beautiful of a car?), but I am hoping someone can tell me that I just got a great deal and be happy with it. Thanks.
  • bristol2bristol2 Posts: 736
    You got a GREAT deal. Be happy with it!

    Since you went CPO, you have very little risk in terms of repair issues. It seems like you got a great deal and a great car.
  • Thanks! I am VERY excited about this purchase since I really wasn't in the market for a 545 and was looking for a 530. I thought the 530 had plenty of power, but when I drove the 545 it just wasn't even close (I guess that shouldn't be a surprise since the 545 has 325 hp/330 ft. lbs. torque). The extra power -- combined with all the options -- came for the same price as many of the 2005 530 models that I was looking at. It was just too good of a deal to pass up on.

    Anyway, thanks again for the response.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,376
    Yeah, sounds like you got an excellent deal. The 5ers are a bit too porky for my tastes, but even I would have been tempted by that price... :D

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • djl01djl01 Posts: 1
    Hi all,

    I'm hoping to get some advice on buying a used BMW 545i. First of all, it is black w/ the beige leather, full options, heads up display and only 32k miles on it. It was a lease return but is NOT CPO. The full service warranty is up this year in 9/08 and the carfax report shows it was maintained regularly and had no prior damages. Paint, rims, body, etc. are all immaculate. I am a first time BMW buyer so I want to ask the forum, Do you think this is a good deal for $32,500.00? Please let me know if I can expect to have any problems after the full service warranty is up although I plan to buy the extended 100k warranty.

    Thanks for your help in advance!! :)
  • bristol2bristol2 Posts: 736
    From the pricing I have seen that sonds like a good deal with all the options.

    Don't forget that a full 100k warranty will add about 2k.

    Most on this forum are BMW fans so I don't think you will hear much on the cars being unreliable.
  • I just saw a 1995 BMW 525i with 53,933 miles on it. They are selling it for $8,995. What do you think? Good deal? Do you think this is a long lasting car? It's already 13 years old, is it going to last another 10 years with the low miles? What problems do the 1995's have? Any info would be greatly appreciated. What to look out for, exc..?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,376
    The E34 5 Series are well regarded in the BMW community. The 2.5 six cylinder is long lived and problem free, aside from a need for a water pump at @60000 mile intervals. I would definitely have the car inspected by a qualified BMW tech. I'd also want to see the service history. Has the oil been changed every 7000 miles or so? Has the coolant been changed ever three years-using only BMW coolant? has the brake fluid been changed ever two years using a DOT 4 fluid? How about the final drive and transmission? Assuming the car checks out, I'd think you could easily get 10 years and or another 150000 miles out of it. As for price, I would think $6000-$8000 is the price range, depending on location, condition, and color. You might want to read up on the E34 here, here, and here.
    There is also a comprehensive service manual available from Bentley if you want to tackle some projects yourself- it's an easy car to work on.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Hi All,

    I'm considering purchase of a 2001 525 with only 17,000 miles which is selling for $20,000. Its being sold by a reputable non-BMW dealer. The CARFAX report identifies it as a one-owner vehicle which has had regular maintenance. Its owner apparently lived in Washington DC and drove the car infrequently. I had several questions which I thought you might be able to help me with:

    1. Are there mechanical or body discrepancies that I should be on the lookout for in purchasing a vehicle such as this which has been driven infrequently?
    2. I've seen the EPA mileage estimates (19/27), but I was wondering what kind of mileage I could actually expect with relatively conservative city/highway driving?
    3. Is it OK to use regular unleaded rather than the recommended premium fuel? I've heard that for high compression engines you can place an additive in the fuel that has the same effect as higher octane grades.
    4. Are there any significant maintenance or reliability problems with this model?
    5. Are there any problems with using certain aftermarket parts rather than BMW parts?

    Thank you for this forum....its been very informative.

    Steve
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    1. Are there mechanical or body discrepancies that I should be on the lookout for in purchasing a vehicle such as this which has been driven infrequently?

    Yes, there are issues with engine oil (one year), brake fluid (two years), and coolant (four years, errr, I think) that are age and not mileage sensitive. You should be asking for a full service record for the car.

    2. I've seen the EPA mileage estimates (19/27), but I was wondering what kind of mileage I could actually expect with relatively conservative city/highway driving?

    With my 2002 530i 5-Speed I was able to handily beat the EPA mileage estimates for both city and highway, in fact, I was able to routinely get over 30 mpg on the highway.

    3. Is it OK to use regular unleaded rather than the recommended premium fuel? I've heard that for high compression engines you can place an additive in the fuel that has the same effect as higher octane grades.

    Is it okay? Yes and no. If you want to run Regular gasoline, you should be looking at a Honda, Toyota, Lincoln, Chrysler or Cadillac. FWIW, while the engine will run on Regular fuel, your fuel economy will drop to such an extent that your fuel cost per mile will actually be higher than if you just ran Premium in the first place. FWIW #2, BMW does NOT recommend using ANY fuel additives.

    4. Are there any significant maintenance or reliability problems with this model?

    No, not really.

    5. Are there any problems with using certain aftermarket parts rather than BMW parts?

    Parts? What kind of parts?

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • alko1alko1 Posts: 9
    I'm shopping around for a low mileage (<40k) '02/'03 540 Steptronic with Sport Pkg. I love the looks of the M Sport Pkg which was available only on '03s but they're few to be found. Is there a difference between the two packages besides exteriors? One ad I saw made reference to gearing and/or differential ratios being different (like the M5). Also what effect does this have on MPG? :confuse:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,376
    Is there a difference between the two packages besides exteriors?

    No. IIRC, all 540i Sports get a 3.15 final drive as well as a 155 mph limiter(non Sports get a 2.81 ratio and a 128 mph top). As far as M Sport packages go, there's no such thing when it comes to US spec cars- there are only Sport Packages. BMW has a penchant for adding a few additional ///M touches to Sport Pkg. cars towards the end of their model run, as in the case of the E36/5, the E36 328is Sport, the E39 540i Sport, and the E46 ZHP. People sometimes call them M Sports because there are similar packages offered across the pond, but-aside from a few E36/5 and E34 cars built by BMW Individual in the 90's-BMW NA has simply called them Sport Packages.

    Also what effect does this have on MPG?

    Who cares? I'll trade mpg for added thrust all day long.

    And one more thing...
    Buy a six speed manual.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • I have been reading some of the posts in this forum this morning, and there seem to be some very knowledgeable folks who answer these questions, so am hoping to get some help on a couple of questions.

    My father is the original owner of a 2001 BMW 530 with just under 40,000 miles. He is going to sell it, and I'm interested in buying it. He has purchased 1 year warranties twice now from BMW, which have since expired, and he's been told by BMW that he cannot purchase another.

    If I purchase this car I will do so only if I can also purchase an extended warranty. I called my local BMW dealer to see if I could purchase a warranty from them, and they said I could only purchase it if the car had originally been purchased from them. That is not the case, so I believe I need to get a 3rd party warranty.

    I've done some reading on purchasing extended warranties that cover both wear and tear, as well as mechanical breakdowns. Does anyone have any advice on reputable companies that I can get a quote from? Any advice on the length of the warranty I should get? Can I even get coverage for this type of vehicle and, if I can, is it even worth it (ie will I get nickle and dimed in the fine print and not qualify for repairs)?

    Any advice or experience is most welcome.

    Thanks!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,376
    Any advice or experience is most welcome.

    The following suggestions are based on my experience running a 1997 528iA from 2001 to 2005:

    1. Forget any non-BMW NA warranty. They are glorified insurance policies. The House almost always wins.
    2. Set aside $80-$90 a month for service/repairs
    3. Find a good independent BMW tech, which will cut service costs @30%-40%.
    4. Join the BMW Car Club. Receive up to a 20% discount on parts and/or labor.
    5. Enjoy owning and driving a world class sports sedan.
    6. (Optional) Buy the E39 Bentley Service Manual and learn to perform simple maintenance and repairs-oil change, brake pads, plugs, etc.-yourself. And save even more money.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

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