Tips For Buying a Used BMW

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Buying a used car is a bit of an annoyance. It’s hard to be sure if you are getting a good deal or buying an expensive problem. There are a few common things that can or indicate an expensive problem.

  • Car windows. Every car window has a manufacturer stamp and date. Check every window. And if you find that on one side of the car windows were changed, it’s a red flag. It could be that the car was hit on that side. 
  • Determine if tires are worn out evenly. If they are not, it could indicate bad alignment. A problem with steering and suspension components, or with the car frame.
  • Check the exterior for rust. A little bit of rust won’t affect a car’s performance but it will spread. Unless you invest in removing it. A lot of rust, cracks or dents is an expensive problem that will affect vehicle performance.
  • Check the frame. The damaged frame could indicate an accident. Keep in mind that even after repair, it will affect a vehicle’s symmetry. 
  • Get a car’s VIN and get a full history report: number of owners, real mileage, any damage. You’ll even get the info if the car is a rental vehicle or was used as a taxi. You can get a report here.

What You Should Know Before Buying a Used BMW

BMW has a long history of top quality and innovative technology. The company produces high-performance vehicles and has a wide range of models. From luxury cars and SUVs to sports cars. BMWs are famous for powerful engines and reliable rear-wheel drive. They are very pleasant to drive, very stable on the road, and are superbly maneuverable. When you are behind the wheel of BMW you feel a better driver. 

Keep in mind that BMW is a premium car. Expect maintenance and new parts to cost more than usual Honda or Toyota. But it’s worth it. Ask any Bimmer owner about the quality of driving. It’s better to do maintenance work at a shop that specializes in BMWs. Those cars have lots of special requirements. You can always do it at a dealership but prices will be even steeper. Keep in mind, the older the car, the bigger price for maintenance.

BMW depreciation is a big deal. In three years, when a warranty expires, the price of a car can drop in half. And it goes on. A three-year-old M3 would cost you around 38-58 thousands of dollars. A six-year-old price is around 23-39 thousands of dollars.

Most Common Problems with Used BMW Cars

Like any car, Bimmers has its own set of common problems. Mechanics notice that turbocharged models often have a bit more problems.

  • All BMWs have a complex electronic system. All those high-tech innovations are very nice when they work properly. But they can become a bit of a headache if they break-down.
  • iDrive keeps on rebooting. If you’ll go to a BMW dealership they will just replace iDrive and charge you a full price. Some iDrive problems can be solved with a software update. If that doesn’t help, try to find used iDrive and change it in a non-dealership shop.
  • Coolant fittings. Various parts of BMW’s cooling system are plastic. With time plastic becomes brittle and brakes. But there are lots of suitable and cheap metal parts on the market. 
  • For older used BMW hood supports can fail and the hood won’t stay up. Parts are not expensive and an experienced mechanic will change it very fast.
  • Door locks. Always check if all door locks work properly. Sometimes the button on the center console stops working.

Most Popular BMW Models

BMW M3 – most popular BMW model in the US

A small luxury car with a fancy interior. Has superb handling and acceleration paired with remarkable fuel economy. They are very stable on the road, solid and safe.

All variations of BMW M3 have a low price, compared to other BMW models. But the same prestige and same high maintenance and repair costs. When the warranty expires the price of M3 plummets significantly. If you are lucky to find a properly maintained vehicle it could be a real bargain.

M3 shares the same problems as many BMWs: oil and coolant leaks, electronic problems, lots of plastic parts under the hood.

2017-Present BMW M5

A midsize luxury sedan. The best-selling BMW worldwide. It’s a joy to ride but still very comfortable for passengers and long drives. It feels very smooth but still sporty and very responsive. 

The interior is top-notch. Big variety of innovative technology features. Superb sound system, gesture control, Display Key with a built-in screen. Lots of safety tech.

BMW M5 is one of the most expensive cars in its class.

BMW X3 2010-present

It’s a crossover that’s as good as other BMW cars. Looks superb and has a high-end, super comfy interior. Performs like you would expect BMW to perform. Keep in mind that it was not made for extensive off-roading.

X3 has a good fuel economy and is very well isolated from tire and wind sound.

It costs more than similar competitors. And if you want to feel the BMWs fun to drive, you need a sport-themed upgrade package.

Check BMW Car History

The best way to check a car is to decode BMW VIN number and get a car history report. You can buy it from providers like carVertical. You’ll get a very detailed report that will clear many potential questions and problems:

  • Odometer rollback
  • The real number of owners
  • Sustained damage
  • Had it been used as a taxi or rental car

Check it out yourself and avoid any nasty surprises that come with buying a used car.

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