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Buying a Used 3-Series

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Comments

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,360
    The 328i is a LOT more fun with the manual. The 335i automatic is a much better combination- although I'd still prefer a manual...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • I will manual is a lot more fun in general, but I just couldn't find any manuals. Probably 99% of the BMWs now days are automatic.
  • Am looking at a 2001 330i convertible with just under 50k on it....it appears to be in good shape - just under $16K price tag....is it a keeper?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,360
    it appears to be in good shape

    As always, I strongly recommend a pre-purchase inspection performed by a good BMW tech. Once you know the true condition of the car you can begin to discuss price.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    "all new cars are the same, but each used car is different".....so the value is very much pinned to the condition, service records and owner history. Once you know THOSE things, then the question of value is easier to research.

    That's why getting a pre-sale inspection is important. But at least drive the car first. Even if you aren't a mechanic, you can often tell if some very important components aren't working right. You can also look and smell and learn a lot.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    edited October 2011
    To underscore your point...

    My son has been looking for a used car and had settled on a mid to late 1990s Audi 90/A4 2.8 Quattro 5-Speed; the first car we drove was a late production Audi 90 with only 90,000 miles on it and in very nice shape. A few dogs with fleas later we drove a nearly cherry looking A4 a year or three newer than the 90 and with 140,000 miles on the clock.

    On the surface the Audi 90 was a better deal because the only obvious flaw was a crack in one headlight lens; on the other hand, the A4 was desperately in need of rear struts and brakes and had a few other cosmetic flaws (and also had a complete service history from its one and only owner). Which one did we buy? The A4 with 140,000 miles on it. Why? Because after a good long test drive in the Audi 90 I stopped by a Dunkin Donuts, grabbed a few napkins and swabbed out the tail pipe tips. When I pulled the napkins out they were saturated with a considerable amount of oil; the same test (which was one of many) on the A4 revealed some nice grey dust. :)
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    The old napkin in the tailpipe trick!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Funny thing, in all of the years I've been looking at old cars for friends and such, this is the first time I've ever actually seen a tail pipe with any significant oil in it.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    heh...I would have thought you'd start a fire ;)
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited October 2011
    I'm actually surprised you found any. I wouldn't think any oil could make it that far back through the chain. Whatever the headers don't crisp, I would think the heat all the way down the chain (and the cats and muffler) would catch/vaporize anything left.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    I'm thinking plenty of oil can make its way through the system before everything gets all hotted up; I checked maybe ten minutes into the drive, long enough to allow anything heading downstream to make it to the end, but not long enough for everything in the system to burn off.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    That makes sense.
  • foxyesqfoxyesq Posts: 26
    I am considering purchasing a certified 3 Series. The Car Fax report indicates that the car has been in accident, but comes up negative for airbag deployment. Since it is certified and no airbag deployment, I assume that the accident was minor (probably a fender-bender that someone reported for insurance and liability reasons). However, I am skeptical about purchasing a car that has been in a reported accident and don't know if I can completely trust the fact that the car is okay based upon the fact that its certified and looks good to me.

    I looked over the care carefully and cannot find anything wrong but I am not an expert. Should I pass on this vehicle, take it to a mechanic or trust the certification process and go with it? The asking price seems reasonable (perhaps a bit low) and probably accounts for the fact that the car was in an accident. What do you think? :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited October 2011
    The BMW Standards state that a car cannot have a "disqualifying" CARFAX report. So the question you need to ask is what is a "disqualifying" CARFAX criteria? My impression is that some minor damage doesn't disqualify a car but the CPO standards are, I believe, pretty specific on what constitutes minor damage. If entire panels have been replaced that's a different story than a dent and some paintwork IMO.

    You should ask to read the manual of their CPO standards that covers this, just in case.
  • foxyesqfoxyesq Posts: 26
    I was able to find a brochure with BMW's CPO standards on the web. Very interesting for anyone who is looking for a CPO --even with a clean Carfax (body standards are on page 8).

    The link to the brochure is: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=200512

    My belief is that it is up to the dealer to certify that the car complies with BMW's standards. There are some unscrupulous dealers out there. However, my feeling is that if it is certified and shouldn't have been, there is a warranty and recourse against the dealer and BMW. Anyone agree or disagree?">link title
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well sure, there isn't going to be someone from the BMW factory doing this at every dealership---so the dealer does the certifying and, one would hope, makes BMW itself legally liable to back that up.

    The manual says:

    "For the purpose of evaluating CPO Program Eligibility, any
    vehicle where a Component as listed on the Unibody Review Chart has been replaced WILL NOT be eligible for
    CPO enrollment. Vehicles where these components have been repaired will qualify for enrollment provided that the
    repair conforms to the functional requirements of the body component (example: doors meet alignment and operation
    standards if the rocker or pillar[s] were subject to repair)."

    So what I'm reading here is that a car could take a pretty hard smack, but if it were all straightened out and no welding or gluing of panels, rockers, A pillars, etc, took place, then it could be CPO.

    Okay, good detective work! Now we know a lot more than we did yesterday.
  • I had a new 2006 325iX and it would hesitate as much as 3 seconds whenever I tried to accelerate from anywhere near 30 mph like to pass somebody such as slow truck or a bus. That delay was the most annoying characteristic of any car I have ever driven. I had at the dealer at least 3 times and the loaner cars they gave me all had the same identical problem - 330i, 328i, 325i. The dealer was not able to do anything about it besides lip service and I came to realize that it was a characteristic of the car. It seems to be caused by the Steptronic transmission that shifts sequencially so when it downshifts from 5 to 3 lets say, it holds off the engine until it completes the shift. As I said it can take as long as 3 seconds. Making a left turn in front of oncoming traffic is something you can't do, as well as passing on a winding country road, the 3 seconds might put you in a compromised position. If you are thinking about buying a 3 series any year, be sure to test drive it. Take the car up to about 35 mph and then demand power suddenly as if to pass someone. You will see what I mean. Its not at all the ultimate driving machine.
  • I had a 2006iX and it had a hesitation problem whenever you accelerated as if to pass someone. The dealer couldn't fix the problem and all the loaner cars they gave me had the same thing. When you test drive this car, bring it up to about 35mph and try to accelerate. You will notice a definite hesitation as much as 3 secnods. If this doesn't bother you then go for it. I could not deal with it.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    I think the thing you're missing is that if it has an automatic transmission, it isn't an ultimate driving anything. If you want a true BMW, get one with a stick.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,360
    I think the thing you're missing is that if it has an automatic transmission, it isn't an ultimate driving anything. If you want a true BMW, get one with a stick.

    Exactly- but even so, the 325i and 328i slushboxes I've driven have not displayed any adverse driving characteristics(if you don't count the missing third pedal).

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • .......and make sure it is rear wheel drive. An automatic transmission or an Xi only give you half a bag, and don't let bad weather scare you. My 325i with snow tires is better in the snow than my wife's X3 with all-seasons. I will attest to that. I had a 325Xi for about 9 months several years ago and it just does not handle as well as my current 325i. I only drive manual in my cars, but when I drive my wife's X3 I shift her automatic transmission so I have never experienced what you are talking about. I will have to drive it in pure auto mode and see if I notice anything.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Agreed, RWD rules! :shades:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,360
    I only drive manual in my cars, but when I drive my wife's X3 I shift her automatic transmission so I have never experienced what you are talking about. I will have to drive it in pure auto mode and see if I notice anything.

    The autobox in my wife's X3 shifts fine in manual or automatic mode.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • ghareghare Posts: 1
    Hi there, I am thinking of buying a 1993 320i with 68,000K for $5,500. It appears to be in excellent shape, other than one annoying feature, that being a loose fitting cloth material loosely fitted on the inside door panel. The seller says this is normal but I have never seen this before. I first thought it was placed there to somehow protect the cloth on the door by the owner. This car came from japan and has had only 2 owners since new and hardly driven, maybe comments on price and any other tidbits of info would be appreciated
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,411
    Is this here in the US? Is it a sedan, coupe, or convertible?

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • I am considering buying a 1999 BMW 323i as my car to finish out my last year at college and to drive to job interviews with. I need some advice on basic maintenance costs (tune-up, oil changes, tires, etc.). I've been shopping around for a nice used car for a couple weeks and found the BMW on the used dealer lot while I was looking at another car. The BMW doesn't appear to have any physical problems and has approximately 110k miles on it. In my research a lot of people seem to have needed to do a lot of the more expensive repairs before the 80k mark.
    Any ideas on what kinds of repairs I might be looking at? Is it possible to get a look at the maintenance records for the car (I read in one consumer review that BMW doesn't release those)?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,411
    will you be doing your own maintenance or paying someone else? If someone else, who? Dealer or indy shop? Taking a bimmer to a bimmer dealer is very expensive. If you have an indy shop that specializes in them, I would give them a call and ask what they charge for various basic preventative maintenance items.

    BTW, tires aren't specific to BMW, so that will cost you the same as any other car with the same size tires.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I'd certainly join the BMW Club (http://www.bmwcca.org) to take advantage of their discounts and advice in their forums. That should cut costs somewhat. I'd have someone look the car over, especially things like control arm bushings. I'd also have someone tug on the upper radiator hose to see if the radiator inlet pipe breaks off (stand back!).

    Also play with all the dials and switches, and check the HVAC system for proper function.
  • Hello Folks..Just came across a pre-owned 2013 328i deal. It has 21000 miles in ~1yr and it was sold to the dealer in a Manufacturer Vehicle Auction. It is Lux line+Prem Pack+Tech Pack+Cold weather pack+Lighting pack+Driver Assis Pack and the dealer has very good price tag on the vehicle. Any suggestions/experience with Manufacturer Vehicle? I really love the deal, however, I am not familiar with Manufacturer Vehicle handling..?? Are 21000miles/yr too much? Is it a good call to buy the vehicle..? Any suggestions would be appreciated..!! I'm California.
  • I own three 3-Series BMW's, more because my wife and kids like them rather than my own personal tastes. Here are some things I've learned:

    1. My wife's 2008 328xi has a chronic a/c problem, which the dealer has never been able to fix. As a result, the Freon has to be recharged frequently. The dealer has tried to stick me with the cost of repair on this issue. I had to raise hell with them to get them not to charge me, and to warrant the work they've done. If you do a little research online, you'll find out that this has been a problem for 3-Series BMW's, but BMW won't do a recall on it.

    2. Everything that the dealer does is going to be expensive. My wife's car had a no-cost maintenance deal on it. Once that ran out, we've been taking the car to a repair shop with a mechanic who knows BMW's. This has been considerably cheaper.

    3. Take the car to a mechanic you trust for an inspection BEFORE you buy the car. The dealer will not want to let you do this, but do not back down. The mechanic should produce a report on any issues with the car, along with the cost of repairs. The inspection should cost you $100, but it is well worth it. I have walked away from two cars that I had planned on buying based on the mechanic inspection. On the flip side, another time the garage was so impressed with a car I was looking at it that one of the owners stopped by to tell me to buy the car.
  • subbu1subbu1 Posts: 4
    Am planning to buy a used 2008 328xi with 50k miles on it. Has sports package and premium package and asking price is around $18k. However when I test drove it, it was pulling way to the right side. Seller told me that the front tires need to be replaced and he had replaced the rear tires with gft abt 5k miles ago..also the alloy wheels seems to have some dust accumulated and he said that it was the brake dust as it has the sport package. Can anyone advise me if this is normal? And if it might indicate any issues. I would get it checked before I buy it anyways but wanted to get some opinions from the experts. Also any common issues I should watch out for..
  • Hi, while this is almost a year after the fact I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. I had a 2002 VW Passat with cloth seats and door panels...they did the same thing and I thought it was unusual until I did a little research and found that many of them do that, seems that the adhesive just breaks down and no longer will hold. Plus the fact..lol..loaned it to my daughter and they would take it to a place to get it cleaned and they used super strong vacuums on the door cloth..helped loosen it I'm sure...traded it last week for a 2007 328i...the VW had less than 62k on it...had it for 11 years...was 2 owner.
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