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1995 BMW 525i. Salvaged title?

playtothebeatplaytothebeat Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in BMW

im REALLY considering buying a '95 BMW 525i. the only thing is it's a salvage title. I ran carfax on it, and it got in an accident in 1996. Since then, it's had 3 owners, who put over 80k miles on it, so obviously the car runs fine.
It's in great shape, looks VERY SHARP (all black, tinted, leather), and i was told it runs great (it's an automatic). It's from a dealer, and they're asking 5500, but i can hopefully work it down to 4800-5000.
i talked to my stepdad about it, and he knows anything and everything there is to know about cars. While he was skeptical at firt, once he saw CarFax report, he said it's not a bad deal, knowing how it's been driven for 7 years since the accident (and passed emissions 4 out of thr 4 times it went through them). plus, im not paying huge money for it, and insurance won't be too much ($150/month full coverage). im a 17 y.o. high school senior.

do you think i could make a mistake if i buy this car?


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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481

    Ironically, the salvage title is not the real issue seems to me. The price is discounted enough (about half of normal) to account for the "curse" of a salvage title (which will never go away by the way. The curse remains when you sell).

    The REAL problem is:

    You can't afford this car, and you certainly can't afford to maintain it. You are way out of your league here, so forget it, please.

    A high mileage BMW out of warranty being supported by a 17 year old? C'mon, sober up and don't let your eyes get so big.

    Someday soon enough, you work hard and have a good job, and you can drive a car like this. But not now, it's no good for you. You will become this car's slave, and compared to spending your money on trips and dates and clothes and fun toys, it really isn't even CLOSE to worth it.

    And worse than that, it will be hell to unload with a salvage title at $5,500 (plus the thousands you will have put into it).

    How about a Honda for now, a BMW after college?

    PS: Carfax doesn't show ALL damage, only TOTALS. If the car had been hit three other times at $5,000 a pop, it wouldn't even show on Carfax.
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    playtothebeatplaytothebeat Member Posts: 2
    Well, i have about 4000 right now, and it will take me maybe 8 months to pay off the other 1000. insurance money isn't a problem either.

    it has about 100k miles on it now.

    i have looked at hondas, but i really dont want a civic, and i can't seem to find an accord newer than a 93 in this price range.
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    swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    the answer is that it was a totalled car that somebody rebuilt. we don't know how well.

    whatever you buy is going to need some repairs within a couple of years, guaranteed. I'd ask around friends and neighbors, so you know how the car has been driven and treated, and see if somebody has something reliable that maybe doesn't look so sharp that lets you bank a little regularly against when it needs work.

    somebody out there you know, if only sort-of, is going to decide that they don't want to get ripped off on a $1500 trade-in allowance for the new car they've been looking at, and will sell it to you instead.

    my first car didn't have rear fenders from the top of the tires on down; rusted away from launching sailboats... I learned body putty work and did a decent repaint job with Dupli-Color spray cans, after practicing on cookie sheets first, and had a good time with it.
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    Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,150
    You inadvertently hit on a key point as well:
    "Since then, it's had 3 owners, who put over 80k miles on it, so obviously the car runs fine."

    It's a 7-year-old vehicle that's had 4 owners. Most cars don't experience that kind of ownership turnover. Since none of us can chat with the previous owners, how would one know how much money they have collectively dumped into this car to keep it running "fine?" As Shifty mentioned, you will likely have to work, work, work to support this car. AND, even worse, it's gonna be a bear to resell.

    You should check out other discussions like What is the perfect automobile for a teenager? to get suggestions. If you've got $4-5K to spend, you can get into a perfectly good used Mazda Protege or similar vehicle that is good on gas, and is easy & cheap to maintain & insure. Parts are easy to come by, and most shops service these types of cars.

    Heck, I just did a search for fun on ebay motors, plugged in a price range of $4,000 - $5,000, and came up with a 97 Sebring convertible, a 96 Infiniti I30, and a 95 Volvo Wagon, along with many others -- all of which I believe would be better choices than a salvage-titled BMW. Shop around!

    Roving Host & Future Vehicles Host

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
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    justinjustin Member Posts: 1,918
    a NEW BMW from the factory has expensive issues pop up. thank goodness for the warranty and loaner car program. i can only imagine what a 7 year old car with 4 owners and (at least one) major accident will turn out like right after you take ownership....

    DON'T DO IT. I predict problems. My first car was a Volvo 240. Tons of problems, luckily it was a family hand-me-down, so I didn't have to pay to fix them :) I always recommend making your parents, if at all possible, help you pick the car, then if it breaks, you can run the guilt trip on them, and let them pay for repairs. Until they catch on, haha.
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    isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    You have been given good advise here and I hope you heed this advise.

    An elderly BMW is a money pit like you can't believe. You WILL be a slave to that car.

    When you get fed up, you'll have a car to sell that nobody will want because of the salvage title!
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    edgewareedgeware Member Posts: 6
    Why don't you try this experiment. Go to your nearest BMW dealer, walk to the service department and ask to speak to a service rep. Tell the rep you have a 95 5 series (use the designation of the car) that needs a new fuel pump, water pump and front brakes. Tell the rep you also want him/her to flush the cooling system and say it will probably be needing new front struts. Get a price for all the work. Next run an add in your local paper to sell a 93 5 series salvaged with 115,000 or so miles in excellent shape for (pick a price.) See how many responses you receive. If you're happy with the outcome of this two part experiment STILL DON'T DO IT!!
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    At the risk of repeating myself, the primary issue here is not the salvage title--that's the secondary problem. The first problem is that you can't afford to maintain a car like this. You are living way outside your means, which is not a great habit to get into at your age.
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    isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Probably not what he wanted to hear though!
This discussion has been closed.