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Buying a used 5 Series

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  • I am considering buying a pre owned 2006 BMW 525xi and would love to have some comments/observations, good or bad from current or past owners of this model. I have admired BMW's from a far for years; this will be my first so any advice from BMW pros will be appreciated :)
    Thanks!
  • I have a few general questions regarding the 540:

    1. What years to avoid based on major engine problems? I have heard about engine failures, cylinder heads problems, oil leaks etc.

    2. What years are best to purchase in the under $15,000 range with under 100k miles?

    3. What is the typical routine maintinance cost of ownership for a 540 that is in good condition and has been maintained?

    4. How many miles do 540's last for under normal driving conditions and proper maintinance?

    5. Is the 530 a more reliable car?
  • alko1alko1 Posts: 9
    Thanks for the reply. It's just a matter of sorting through the listings on Autotrader and sometimes the photos don't match the descriptions. For example I saw one 2003 540 advertised w/ Sport Pkg which had the 3-spoke steering wheel and correct wheels, but had standard seating - not the sport seats. (I look for the thigh extenders in the photos to confirm) How was this possible?

    Also how can I tell from a photo if the sound system is Premium Sound?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The only year that the 530i was available with the standard seats and the sport package was 2001. In that year you had to order the Sport Package as well as the "M" Seating Package to get the full enchilada. For the 2002 and 2003 model years, the Sport Package included all of the bits.

    Hope this helps.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    Also how can I tell from a photo if the sound system is Premium Sound?

    Have you listened to the "Premium Sound" system? To my ears it doesn't sound all that great. Bavarian Soundwerks sells a speaker upgrade package for the E39 that is an easy afternoon DIY project. For $450 that is the route I would take.

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

  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    Have you listened to the "Premium Sound" system? To my ears it doesn't sound all that great. Bavarian Soundwerks sells a speaker upgrade package for the E39 that is an easy afternoon DIY project. For $450 that is the route I would take.

    My E39 has the premium sound. The best thing about it is that the EQ settings are pretty extensive, and allow some decent customization. Most people don't adjust anything there. I also upgraded the speakers using one of Bav Soundwerk's kits, and now it sounds even better.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    My E39 has the premium sound. The best thing about it is that the EQ settings are pretty extensive, and allow some decent customization.

    My wife's E39 had the DSP as well, I finally found a guy on BMWTips.com who had spent some time with a Rat Shack spl meter and a calibration CD. I set the equalizer to his recommendations and the result was a much better sound. Still not that great though. In all honesty, I thought the premium system in my E36/7 sounded much better- though I am planning to fit it with the BSW midranges and tweeters.

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

  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Posts: 263
    My 2002 530i, Sport Package, has comfort seats, which may look like standard seats in a photo.
  • harry67harry67 Posts: 2
    I am considering buying a 2003 340i with 51,000 miles in the Central NJ area. What should I consider when to purchase this car? Warranty? Is this a good price? Potential maintenance? Other considerations? Thanks
  • harry67harry67 Posts: 2
    I am considering buying a 2003 340i with 51,000 miles in the Central NJ area. What should I consider when to purchase this car? Warranties? Is this a good price? Potential problems and maintenance? Other considerations? Thanks
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    That is indeed the question!

    I leased a 2005 545i back in July 2005 for 3 years and got a great deal: 0.001 (2.4% interest) money factor and a great cap. cost with no money down, 36,000 miles allowed.

    The car has performed flawlessly-no mechanical or electrical issues. No dings. Looks as good as new.

    I get an incredible 21 mpg out of the wonderful V8. The vehicle only has 23,000 miles.

    It has Steptronic transmission and comfort seats. No sport package.

    I just put new Contis on and it rides better than ever!

    The buyout on my contract is $34,320 which I consider a bit "high!"

    I really hate to give this baby back which has performed flawlessly with much fewer miles on it than the 36,000 that is allowed.

    I have always leased BMW's since 1993.

    Would it be wise to CPO the 545i and buy it? If I do so, would I be in a good position to negotiate a lower price than the $34,320 with my dealer? Would he rather "deal" with me than take the car back at lease termination? Any wiggle room here?

    From BMWNA's website, they finance 2005 CPO 5 Series at 3.9%. I believe it costs around $1400 to CPO the vehicle.

    Or, should I just forget all this, give the 545i back and move on to the next lease which more than likely would be a 3 Series? The run-flats, however, would be a huge turnoff for me on the 3 Series.

    I have only been driving around 9000 miles per year, so excessive maintenance costs with the 545i shouldn't be an issue. But, who knows?

    I am open to any and all suggestions. :)
  • mrfinaglemrfinagle Posts: 20
    Is $13300 a fair price for this 2002 530i sports package 5 spd auto in good/average shape with 75k mi (lt blue/teal)? The plastic on the driver's seat is scraped down to the uncolored base plastic, it has a quarter size dent by the trunk lock, a chip on the rear rt door and light scratches here and there. I test drove it with my wife and son. They loved it, but its hard for me to tell if its a bit soft on suspension, if it has good performance or if the engine noise is low because I drive an old Corolla now. Thanks in advance. I put a $100 deposit on it with balance next week after a mechanic's inspection.
  • tc520tc520 Posts: 1
    I was in the same situation. CPO = $1500 or so and residual = $34900. Total with all fees would have been over $39000. Didn't like what I was hearing so I downloaded a bunch of competitor's ads advertising 2005 545s with similar mileage that were listed for considerably less. After showing them the ads I told them I wanted to stay with the current dealer but not at a 2-3 thousand dollar premium. After some haggling we agreed on a $33995 price with CPO and new tires thrown in. This price was negotiated after the dealer had initially said the residual was set and couldn't be negotiated down.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    $13,000 doesn't sound too bad; Autotrader shows several 2002 Sports listed for over $15,000. Still, I'd check it against Edmunds TMV and I'd also ask the guys in the "Real-World Trade-In Values" thread. The flaws you noticed are fairly inexpensive to correct. Does the car have a full service history? It's good that the "60,000 mile cooling system service" has already been performed :P (although my indie shop performed the same work on my 528i for $1,200). Just what did the dealer do on that $5,000 visit? It would be nice if the ATF and final drive oil had been changed as well. Does your mechanic know BMWs? Make sure that he inspects the lower control arm bushings and tie rod ends. Did you check to see that all four power windows work? The E39 5 Series is a really wonderful sports sedan. I'd set aside @$80 per month to cover service and repairs and drive it for another 75,000 miles.

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

  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Thanks for sharing your experience, tc520. You did very well!

    Sounds like I have quite a bit of wiggle room if I show the dealer I will walk if he won't negotiate the residual down. I already put new Contis on several weeks ago for a little over $800. Leasing would be really terrific if one didn't have to shell out for new tires before turn in. At least I will have 5 months of use from them if I decide to turn the 545i back in to BMW.

    Leasing 3 Series vehicles is even worse now. The run-flats that must be replaced on turn in cost around $1200 per set.

    There are so many new vehicles out there that I can lease or buy so I can afford to float a low ball offer for the 545i. If he takes it fine. If not, no big deal.
  • mrfinaglemrfinagle Posts: 20
    Thanks for the clear and useful response Roadrunner. I checked the trade in pages. Someone quoted $14k last Nov to trade-in a 530i w/2k less mi and prem./nav extras. Last Feb someone said $14.3. That's what the seller was asking for at first, but I bargained him down a G. I haven't been given a full service history so far. I got the receipt for the "$5000" service which was $2000 (I guess that bothers me the most that he lied in the ad and said it was jsut serviced at the bmw dealership for $5000). The work included oil pan gasket R&R, replacing the radiator, hoses, water pump, coolant. I learned a lot from calling the shop owner that did the service, (like where the seller got the $5000 number...it was quoted as what the dealer would charge by the mechanic). He said it was a sound car, a single owner (description fit the seller). I googled his shop and it looks legit. I also checked Carfax and it was serviced at least once a yr, had a single owner, no accidents, mileage checks out, that's all I can tell. My mechanic is not a BMW expert but he put it on a lift, test drove it, and brought it to a friend up the street that does high end cars. He said the engine was in good shape, but noticed some power steering weeping and that said the steering mechanism would have to be replaced in 2-3 yrs but not just now. They gave me a part price around $1100 (rack w/something-tronic), which I tried to use as a bargaining chip to lower the price but the seller wouldn't budge from $13.3. I will check the windows and look into the ATF/drive oil change (wondering if that's expensive). ">Let me know if you think anything is a deal stopper or if anything else comes to mind! Much appreciated!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    noticed some power steering weeping and that said the steering mechanism would have to be replaced in 2-3 yrs but not just now.

    Maybe, maybe not. BMWs are notorious for having power steering hoses that leak or seep. Often a low pressure hose can be fixed by removing the crimped-on clamp and replacing it with a good screw clamp. If it does turn out that you do need a steering rack, there are several shops that sell rebuilt racks for less than the factory units(another reason to join BMW CCA).

    ATF/drive oil change (wondering if that's expensive)

    Not really; my local dealer changed the ATF and transfer case fluid on my wife's X3 for $208. In your case I'd say that $400 would be the most it would cost to service both the AT and the final drive. That said, I'd strongly advise that you use a good dealer or BMW independent shop for the transmission service, as the procedure is fairly involved- as can be seen here.

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

  • mrfinaglemrfinagle Posts: 20
    Thx roadburner! So many more questions come to mind but I'll join BMW CCA to ID shops, etc and look to forums first beforehand. Wish I could buy you lunch for the help!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    Thx roadburner! So many more questions come to mind but I'll join BMW CCA to ID shops, etc and look to forums first beforehand. Wish I could buy you lunch for the help!

    No problem; ask away! And you can always shoot me a PM at roadburner@carspace.com... :D

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

  • At 200,000 miles I have a chance to purchase a 1994 BMW 530i. Anything I should look for when test driving this car? I tend to read alot of transmission comments when it comes to 530i's. The car looks clean and well taken care of, but at 200,000 I would think something has to be waiting to happen or I may be wrong?

    I look forward to any replies.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    The car looks clean and well taken care of, but at 200,000 I would think something has to be waiting to happen or I may be wrong?

    If the car checks out fine AND you have average or better DIY mechanic skills and tools then I would say go for it. If you will have to pay for all maintenance and repairs it could be very expensive to own. DO NOT even THINK about buying the car without having it inspected by a tech who knows BMWs. It might be a decent enough deal, but you need to have all the data in front of you before you can make an informed decision.

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

  • rl328rl328 Posts: 3
    Any thoughts? Thanks.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    I ALWAYS prefer the smaller and lighter car(with RWD). You may not. You really can't go wrong with either car, so take each one on an extended test drive and pick the one YOU like.

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

  • gb2008gb2008 Posts: 5
    Hi , I have a couple question that I would like your help with.

    I have neevr driven a Manualdo you thinkthis would be a issue?

    Also I have heard that the drive mode on the SMG is not that good is that true?

    While I am driving in the Stick mode do I have to change the stick myself or does the car do it automatically?
    Would appricate your help
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    The SMG transmission is not available on any US-spec 5-Series cars other than the M5.
  • gb2008gb2008 Posts: 5
    You are wrong this is a 2005 530is I saw it for my self the two peddles mounted on the steering wheel comes with sport package as well
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Paddles are no indication of SMG. There are plenty of car makers that use paddles for gear changes on cars equipped with a conventional torque converter style automatic transmission (BMW and Lexus included). Like it or not, there are no 530i models sold here in the U.S. that have an SMG transmission.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • gb2008gb2008 Posts: 5
    ok I guess so you are telling me that both dealers are lying and the SMG on the gear stick it self is wrong and why does it have R, N , (--down) (up+) and then the D off to the right . but go check http://www.kingsautoshow.com/vehicle.asp?v=407930#1 just maybe I am wrong
  • Hello all, I want to get your opinion on a deal I am getting ready to do on a CPO BMW. Here are the details:

    40k miles
    Cold Weather Package
    Premium Package
    Heated Steering Wheel
    Navigation
    Bluetooth

    We are at $27.5 in the negotiations. I think the dealer can do more but they insist they can't. Do you think this is a good deal?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I stand corrected.
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