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Buying a Used 3-Series

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Comments

  • 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: 12,098
    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: 12,098
    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: 119,928
    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: 119,928
    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: 119,928
    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: 12,098
    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: 12,098
    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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