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Buying a Used 3-Series

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Comments

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 13,447
    I wonder if I should offer to pay $26,400 but ask him to throw in 100,000 mile maintenance (which is worth $1000).

    Well, the worst he can say is no... :D

    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

  • canman1971canman1971 Posts: 61
    Hey Guys, I just bought a 04 325IT Wagon with 37000 miles on it for 23000 on paper. They gave me 29000 for my trade, which was more than I paid for it, so I think I made out pretty well. Great shape, it is black with no scratches, which amazes me. My question is, where can I get a good after market warranty? I still have time. The dealer wanted my to buy theirs, but it was 1720, which I know is robbery. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  • donnabgood1donnabgood1 Posts: 39
    I personally wouldn't buy anything other than a BMW manufact. warranty, period. what was the quote 1720 for? 6 years/100k thru BMW? If so buy it. If was a not a BMW dealership where you bought your car and not a BMW service contract then go to a BMW center and get their 6/100k from them directly..before you hit 4 years or 50k miles.

    Congrats on your new Bimmer.
  • canman1971canman1971 Posts: 61
    Thanks for your quick response. What does that go for from BMW? I didn't get it from a BMW dealer. The previous, and only owner, bought it from the one near my house. Have you heard anything about warranty direct?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 13,447
    1. Join the BMW Car Club of America
    2. Find a good independent BMW tech. Don't even think about taking it to places like Jiffy Boob.
    3. The E46 has proven to be a very reliable vehicle, so forget the non-BMW extended warranties; they are legalized gambling- and the house almost always wins. Instead, put $1500 in a money market account as a cushion for unexpected repairs, which should be few and far between. That assumes that your 3er receives proper maintenance.
    4. Enjoy the drive.

    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

  • canman1971canman1971 Posts: 61
    1. I think I already did, but I have to check. This is my second BMW. I had a 2000 323i, and had a extended warranty, which did pay for itself after I needed a new radiator, new ball joints, 2 new window motors, and a rear coil spring.

    2. I do have a good BMW tech. He did all the work on my last car. I'll go to the dealership for the next year though cause I still have the warranty and maintenance plan.

    3. Yeah, I am always skeptical of these things, but my last warranty paid for itself due to some repairs.

    4. Thank, already enjoying it. Quite a difference going from a BMW to a FJ Cruiser back to a BMW.
  • robl1robl1 Posts: 25
    I ended up buying a 2003 330xi but not from the Chevy dealer but from my local foreign car repair shop (they also sell lots of off lease Mercedes, Audi and BMW cars). Premium package, steptronic, Harmon Kardon etc. New tires, new brakes. 1 year/12000 mile bumper to bumper warrantee. Price $23,430 (includes all dmv fees) + $1405 sales tax = $24,835 OTD. Nice ride and handling but I probably also would have done fine with the 325xi.
  • kandie2kandie2 Posts: 1
    I am thinking of buying a '94 325iC for me and my son to share - he has been wanting a car and I would like to have a second one anyway. I have done research on the pricing it is listed at $7900, but after averaging the retail price on kelly, edmunds, and nada, I am prepared to pay only up to $6500 - it has 125K miles and is listed as a certified used car. My question is regarding maintenance and upkeep on getting a car this old. The mileage is actually pretty low for the year and it seems to be in pretty good condition and it is a certified used car. Do you think this is a good buy for the price?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I never heard of a car being certified at 13 years old and 125K. Who is certifying it and what does that mean? Not BMW.

    My two cents is that such a car is high risk for trouble. I'd prefer you chose a BMW with fewer miles. But others may disagree---it's only my two cents remember...

    Price seems high also, so it had better be an absoutely pristine unit.

    If you're hot for it: a)run a CARFAX b) have it checked top to bottom by a BMW independent shop (about $150 bucks) and c) ask to see all service records.
  • raudiaudiraudiaudi Posts: 8
    I have narrowed it down to three options with BMW
    1. Lease a 2007 335i or 2007 328i (I will see if the turbos are worth the extra dough when I drive it). If anyone has payment numbers on these two cars with a 36 mo. lease, I would like to know what to expect.

    2. The local dealer has a 2004 525i with 15k and is CPO asking 38.9k I think I could talk them down a bit and go with BMW's 2.9% 60 mo. financing. Downside, BMW is very vague about the CPO program, at their website, they state under the covered tab--engine, transmission, then under the what is not covered, they state engine, transmission, it seems to me that they have sort of a carte blanche type attitude if they will take care of a problem under the CPO---SCARY!!! Any bad experiences with BMW CPO? Also the 4/50k will be up sometime in 2008, I will have to see the in service date. And I know this is a 3 series blog, but again this is what I might do.

    3. Go with a 2004 3 series with the E46, which I have heard was a great car if you stay away from the completely sealed and unmaintenanceable auto tranny of the 2000-2001 years. But the cracking rear subframe issue has me very afraid of even touching the car, bummer about this car because I would love to own one and feel for those that do. So there again, it leaves me with a 2004 5 series to avoid the rear subframe problem that to my knowledge is part of the 3-series up until 2005 or go with an 07 3 series. I will take any opinions or guidance in this matter.

    Life is expensive, get a good job to pay for it all!

    Thanks in advance..
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 159,303
    The best lease deals are on the 328i model, but they aren't outstanding.. AWD models are considerably more expensive to lease.

    The '04 525i will be painfully slow... 184 hp.. Also, first year of production...lots of glitches (not with the engine, though).

    E46 3 series? Get the performance package model.. Sedans from '03-'05 and coupes up through '06.. Go CPO if you can find it.. '05-'06 models will be $28K-$34K for nice CPO versions..

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • raudiaudiraudiaudi Posts: 8
    Good idea about the 525i, don't want to get stuck with a slow car...

    I don't need AWD, I had Quattro in an A4 and it was great for Colorado, but now that I will be in Las Vegas, I don't see the point unless I want it to really rally around the corners.

    The E46, from other forums that I have read refers to the 3 series cars that have been prone to the rear of the subframe cracking. But the E92, which began in 2006 I guess doesn't have this problem. Please educate me if I am incorrect on this. So I guess that leaves the '06 CPO or new 2007, which I will have to evaluate price and lease offers.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 159,303
    The subframe issue is real... But, I think we are talking about less than 5% of the models (maybe, way less). And, it is probably something you could have checked before buying.

    I wouldn't avoid the model because of that issue.

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Subframe cracking is more common that you'd think. Saabs were great for that. My suspicion is that low profile 18" and larger tires are one reason for this.
  • crnhskr80crnhskr80 Posts: 2
    Hello Everyone:

    New forum member here - great feedback from what I have read so far. I am looking to purchase a 2001 BMW 330ci convertible. The car has 35,000 miles. I would welcome comments on this specific model or the 2001 3-series in general.

    Thank you.
  • peekapeeka Posts: 3
    I recently purchased a 325i 02' sedan. It has 74k miles. Im not concerned w/ the miles since I have 2 others and both ran awesome. My 97' 328i ran up to 190k miles and never had any issues. This was a spur of the moment and I had no time to shop for financing so I paid cash (using my credit card) for the vehicle. Now that it is mine, I would like to obtain a loan for the car. I'm having trouble finding any lenders to secure the loan because of the mileage. Is it even possible? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    have you tried e-loan.com?
  • albrtkimalbrtkim Posts: 1
    Hello all, I am interested in buying a used bmw at an auction which would have high mileage (67k to 110K) (I previously bought a 00 7 Series with 169000 mileage at the same aunction for $6400,$1k in repairs, ran fine, but sold it since i was in school and couldn't afford the upkeep), but I just graduated, I want to avoid car payments, so i figure since i would buy it cash, with no car note, I would have the extra money fix it (when necessary). Keep in mind I still have my college car 00 focus with 150k miles on it. Any suggestions with the long term upkeep of a older high mileage Bimmer.
    Or should i just get a post college Honda, and work my way up to new Bimmer.

    Thanks in advance
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think a 3 series under 80K miles might be a decent risk, but over 100K, you're going to run into the same upkeep problems you had last time. Usually (but not always), higher mileage auction cars have been kicked around a lot from owner to owner and dealer to dealer. These are not lease returns or rental units, so more risky IMO.
  • oceana143oceana143 Posts: 38
    with CPO, how much room is there generally for negotiations. For example, if the car is offered for $26,900 but Edmunds TMV is about $25,500, how much of a dollar amount or % are they generally willing to talk?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I believe Edmunds also shows a "target" CPO price. If what you are saying is that you want a CPO car for the "private party" price...well...that's worth a shot but it might be difficult, as the private party hasn't value-added extra warranty.

    Remember though you aren't getting an extension of the factory warranty with CPO. You are getting a different, more restricted warranty that kicks in when the factory warranty expires. CPO does NOT cover: upkeep items, wear and tear, body and interior, or accessories.

    So you have to decide what this "new and limited" extra warranty is worth over a private party target price.
  • black00black00 Posts: 48
    I'm considering buying a used 06 330i and a quick search in Yahoo Autos show that they start at about $34,000. I see some cheaper ones, but they're not sold by BMW dealerships (so are probably not CPO). I know that when it comes to used cars, there are no rules and many more variables, but since I've never purchased a used car in the U.S. before, can you please tell me your experience when negotiating these advertised prices? Is it reasonable to expect some 10% off? Otherwise, they're really expensive and not much cheaper than a new 328i with only 25 hps less!
  • They advertise used BMWs, Mercedes, etc. in Car & Driver. What is there reputation? Not crazy about spending the extra $$$ for a CPO.
  • Raudiaudi,
    I'm sure you've probably already made your decision by now. But this is my take. I own a 2001 325cic and a 2003 330ci. First, decide if you want to own or lease. Then I will say that you MUST get the extended warranty. It will be about 1,800 to 100k but worth it. Also, check on extending the service warranty(break job is about 600-700 at dealership) That almost pays for itself. Not that BMW are a lot of trouble. I love mine. But when you need something done...it will be worth the warranty. You can get some good warranties through companies like GMAC if you don't go through BMW but the payment and settlement of claims may be a bit more time consuming since you'll be responsible for making it happen on your end. But either way, you will love your BMW.
    -Joe
  • Hi all, I've been looking at 06 325i's and test drove one with 25k miles on it early this week. The car was OK except millions of dents on hood (hit by small rock I guess). One thing that rings alarm to me is that the MPG indicator says 99 all the time and the guy just told me it needs to be "reset". Is this pretty normal? Could this suggest problems with the car?

    Also I checked carfax and it's a company lease car and I don't know why they want to get rid of it after just one year.

    Any suggestion is appreciated

    - a new cop
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    "...and the guy just told me it needs to be "reset". Is this pretty normal?"

    Ummm, no.

    I'd pass that one by at a trot if not a full run. There are plenty of used 3-Series cars out there to choose from.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Fine, ask him to reset it while you're standing there :P

    Might be an okay car but it had better be very attractively priced. Sounds like somebody took a beating on a lease deal. Could have been a business write-off or something.

    There are so many pristine, well-maintained 3 Series for sale, that I'd pass unless the price was just a steal, like way off book.
  • Sounds like hail damage to me.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I thought that too. Might be a good car to run through CARFAX to see about the status of the title.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 13,447
    Might be a good car to run through CARFAX to see about the status of the title.

    I'd just find another E46; they are common enough that you can take your time to select a good one. The car in question might make a good track rat if has a manual AND it is cheap enough- but that's all I'd want to do with it...

    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

  • Hi all,

    I am looking to purchase a used 330i. I found this one at local Honda dealer that I have been keeping an eye on.

    link title

    I did see it in person and it appears to be in good condition. The thing is, they have had it on the lot at least 4 months. When I first saw it in May, it was priced at 26,000 and now its down to 20,600. The price almost seems too low. Should I take it to my BMW dealer to have it looked at?

    The carfax only reports that in 10/04 and 12/04 the electrical system was serviced. It also shows that is was a leased vehicle.

    If anyone wants to give me their opinion on it, id appreciate it.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 13,447
    If anyone wants to give me their opinion on it, id appreciate it.

    My guess is that the model year and the manual transmission are making the car hard to move; the vast majority of BMW wearers prefer the latest and greatest Bimmer fitted with a slushbox. It looks like a great deal, especially considering the miles. It would be nice to have Xenons and heated seats, but for $20K I wouldn't quibble. I would definitely have it checked out by a good dealer or independent BMW tech. A service history would also be a plus. Still, if the car checks out I'd be inclined to grab it.

    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

  • kc1976kc1976 Posts: 11
    My 14 years old corolla cannot start anymore, which make me seriously consider buying another car.

    I have been dreaming getting a BMW for a long long time. New BMW is too pricy for me. I am also a little bit scared about buy a used. So I'm thinking maybe a CPO is a good fit for me. Now the decision comes down to 04 vs 06 325i. 04 is about $5-7K cheaper for similar features and BMW offers lots of incentives. 06 has 2 more year original warranties and looks nicer.

    I'm pretty new to the BMW world. I would like to hear any suggestions you may have. Thanks!

    KC
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    The 2006 is larger (can be a good thing or bad) and has a better power to weight ratio.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • I just purchased this same model vehicle with 79,000 miles. I traded in a 2003 330i with 109,000miles. Did you get the car?
  • As the new owner of this vehicle which has 79,000 miles I had a couple of questions: Would it be worth looking into an extended warranty? What type of cleaner/protector is recommended for the fabric top? Does anyone know of a used car cover available for this model? Thanks for the help.
  • rts3rts3 Posts: 26
    Hi!

    I'm so conflicted between:

    1. 2004 Certified BMW 325i with CPO from the dealer for $21,800 +ttl with 27k miles
    2. 2005 uncertified BMW 325i from the dealer for $21,950 +ttl with 29k miles
    3. 2006 BMW 325i from CarMax for $26,955 +ttl with 24k miles

    All three cars are black without any sports package etc., but do have moonroofs. I used various calculators to check the residual values of each of the cars after 5 years (that's how long I'm planning to keep the car), and see that I'll probaly loose couple thousand dollars more on the 2006 model when I sell sell it (by comparing Initial price paid minus what I will get for the car).

    So could you please let me know your opinion, and what would you would do if you were to make a choice among these three options?

    Thanks!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 159,303
    1) The '06 model is an entirely different car.. with about 20% more horsepower.. If that is important to you, then your decision is made.

    2) Why is the '05 car not certified? That would be a prime candidate for certification, and I'd want to know if it doesn't qualify for some reason.

    The '04 model may have only two years of warranty left with no maintenance, while the '05 should still have a year left on the original warranty, with free maintenance. That would tip me towards the '05, assuming there aren't any issues with the car.

    But, there are lots and lots of '04s and '05s coming off lease.. You should be able to find plenty of candidates..

    regards,
    kyfdx

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • rts3rts3 Posts: 26
    Thanks for your response. This makes sense. I'll find out from the dealer why '05 is not certified, but I'm pretty sure that he'll make an excuse like it just came in, or increases cost ... blah blah, but would definitely not tell me if it failed the certification inspection.

    In terms of 2004 versus 2006 cars, ... Yes, horsepower is important to me, but so is money. I really don't want to spend a lot on the car after spending 30k on a Honda Pilot for wife and kid 6 months back. But if the 2006 is really a good deal, then I can probably stretch myself once in a lifetime!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 159,303
    Some people just like the look of the previous generation E46 more than the new model (me included). But, if you are going to keep the car 5 years, an '04 or '05 model may start to look really dated.

    Also, just want to reiterate one point: There are a lot of used 3-series out there.. Take your time, and make sure you get one that you really want.

    Good luck,
    kyfdx

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • rts3rts3 Posts: 26
    Thanks for all your help on this forum. I found a "last chance - priced to move" 2004 BMW 325i at CarMax for 20,998 +ttl with 35k miles. It has one year of manufacturer's warranty left, but I also bought comprehensive BMW warranty via Carmax for $1949 which lasts till Oct 2012. Ended up paying $25,090 after warranty/taxes/title when all was said and done. The car has cold weather and premium packages with power seats, Seat Heater and Sunroof etc. Upon some research, seems like the car was previously leased for three years to a female real estate agent ... wish I knew how her driving was!

    Do you think it's a good deal? I had to drive 70 miles from Chicago to Indiana to get it!
  • kc1976kc1976 Posts: 11
    I have been looking for 325i CPO. I visited a local BMW dealer today. There was warranty information paper pasted on the window of the car I was interested in. But the warranty shows that the car sold "as is, no warranty". Asked the sale person. He said it is required by law to say that, this car does have CPO warranty.

    Do you think it is strange? Is there any problem?

    thanks
  • robl1robl1 Posts: 25
    A good reason to go for the previous generation E46 is you get real tires not the infamous RFTs. I bought a new 325xi for my wife in 2005. At 46,000 miles it still has the original front tires in good condition. I went shopping for a used 3 series and got a 2003xi. Classic BMW looks will never appear dated.
  • rts3rts3 Posts: 26
    How do you tell which 3 series are based on E46 platform? I saw this information on Wikipedia:

    E46

    Would my 2004 325i be previous generation E46 and not have the infamous RFTs problem that you mentioned? By the way, wat is RFT?
  • robl1robl1 Posts: 25
    Up through 2005 was the previous generation. RFT means run flat tires. You get no spare in the trunk and the technology is young so many owners have reported serious problems with their RFTs (vibrations, rough driving, sidewall bubbles etc)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 159,303
    E46 coupes '00-'06 (and convertibles)

    E46 sedans '99-'05

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 13,447
    Do you think it's a good deal? I had to drive 70 miles from Chicago to Indiana to get it!

    It does sound like a pretty good deal. If you don't have a full service history I would advise changing the following fluids so that you'll have a baseline from which you can determine future maintenance requirements:

    Engine oil- use BMW Synthetic 5W-30, Castrol Syntec 0W-30, or Mobil 1 0W-40 and a BMW filter. Change it at 7,000-8,000 mile intervals.

    Brake Fluid- Any good DOT 4 fluid such as ATE Super Blue, BMW Brake Fluid, or Castrol LMA. Change it every two years.

    Coolant- Use ONLY BMW Coolant+ distilled water, and change it every three years.

    I'd change the ATF and final drive oil in the 75,000-100,000 mile range, using BMW's proprietary fluid for the transmission and any good synthetic 75W-90 gear oil for the rear axle(Mobil 1, Redline, Royal Purple, etc.).

    The E46 3ers have proven to be very reliable vehicles. Take good care of yours and you should be able to drive it well past 150,000 miles without replacing any major components.

    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

  • rts3rts3 Posts: 26
    Thanks for your response and the maintenance tips. Yes, actually I don't have the service records in the car (though I found out that the car belonged to a good looking woman who was a realtor .. not sure whther she maintained it well though).

    My dashboard indicator shows that next oil change is due in 7200 miles. Should I go to the dealer and request oil change, brake fluid, coolant and inspection? The car is under manufacturer warranty with full service for the next 10 months .. but since the indicator doesn't have service light on, do you think that the dealer would charge me for it? Any idea on how much?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 13,447
    since the indicator doesn't have service light on, do you think that the dealer would charge me for it?

    Yes, the dealer won't perform the work for free unless it's due within a couple of hundred miles.

    Any idea on how much?

    Depending on the shop, $75-$100. If you aren't a member of the BMW Car Club I suggest that you join. The Windy City Chapter is very active and you can find out what shops that they recommend. And don't forget- if all else fails, an oil change is a dead easy DIY procedure.

    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

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