Last post on Apr 30, 2013 at 3:31 PM
You are in the BMW 3-Series
What is this discussion about?
BMW 3 Series, Sedan
Go to NHTSA to file a safety complaint.
Or call Monday-Friday (8 am to 8 pm ET) (888) 327-4236 TTY: (800)424-9153
#3997 of 5349 Advice for buying used 99 - 01 BMW 3 series
Oct 10, 2008 (5:42 pm)
Im looking to buy a used BMW(first car) but i have concerns about the reliability, life and cost of maintanence and repairs. Im looking at the following(all have clean autocheck):
2000 BMW 328i - 95k miles
2001 BMW 325i - 134k miles
1999 BMW 328i - 140k miles
looking at between 7k to 9.5k for these.im a college student in Orlando, Fl.
and i will atleast on a vehicle another 3 years/30miles.
1). At this mileage is it even a wise idea to buy one of these?
2). when do the major things get replaced by on average in the 3 series? In other words, is buying the BMW around 95 - 100k better than one at 133. From what i have read, most problems that need costly replacements happen around 95 - 110k. So is better to go with something with more miles?
3). im willing to pay premium fuel, and do maintainence, but i dont have money for repairs or replacements of major parts. at this mileage/age what issues should i look out for? if i take it to a good mechanic and have them check it out, will he be able to accurately tell me when the different parts are gonna need to be replaced/die or will it happen randomly.
4) i heard that the transmission gets shot up on these cars at 100k. how do i check , to see the car im gonna buy doesnt have that happen.
3) is it better to actually buy a 1997 or 1994 at half the price at around 160k, knowing that probably all major things would have been replaced hence the car will atleast give life for another 25k/3years? are the 3 series <1999 more reliable. I have talked to BMW owners. and i always get mixed answers. all love their cars, but some have no issues and others have problems all the times. How do i make sure that i buy a car that is in the former group. Anyhelp will be greatly appreciated... I have tried my best to read and get educated. but i feel that i need someones real ADVICE!
#3998 of 5349 Battery life
Oct 15, 2008 (10:20 pm)
I have 06 325i BMW bought in the middle of 2005. How many years the battery should last? I have only 4000 miles.
Best regards, Lehrer
#3999 of 5349 Re: Battery life [lehrer1]
Oct 16, 2008 (2:55 am)
I'd say that you're about due for a new battery. That said, if you pull the caps off of the cells and top them off with distilled water, you might be able to milk a little more time out of it.
#4000 of 5349 Re: Advice for buying used 99 - 01 BMW 3 series [kapitanraider]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Oct 16, 2008 (8:58 am)
I don't think a high miles 3 series is a good choice for anyone on a budget. If you have access to funds whenever you need them, or you can do a lot of your own repair work, that's another story. But if being blind-sided now and then in the course of the next few years by $1,000 --$1,500 repair bills in addition to the usual maintenance will really hit you in the gut, then I'd either shy away from these types of high mileage cars or try to finance one still in warranty or under extended warranty. These mileages are right at the point where cooling system and suspension issues and electrical glitches abound on these cars.
It sounds like your desire exceeds your finances at this point, which is okay, as you can get yourself the car of your dreams once you're making a good living.
I see your point about buying a beater BMW for cheap as an alternative, but this is also risky and you don't get any status points.
So I'd say unless you can spend $150 a month on average over three years to keep a high miles BMW in tip-top shape, then don't do it.
#4001 of 5349 Re: Battery life [lehrer1]
Oct 16, 2008 (1:41 pm)
I just replaced the original battery in my 140K mile '01 330Ci about a month ago. My car batteries usually last a long time... I think it's because living where I live, and working where I work, a short drive for me is about 5 miles and my normal daily commute is 40+ miles each way. My battery is constantly being fully charged.
Based on your mileage, it sounds like the opposite is true for you... short or infrequent drives. I would do as Shipo states if you can de-cap your battery (are they sealed?). Might not hurt to throw it on a charger also to see if it still takes a charge.
#4002 of 5349 Re: Battery life [shipo]
Oct 16, 2008 (2:09 pm)
Thank you, Shipo.
I went today to the bmw service for oil change and asked them to check my battery. They said that the battery is OK. I finished my 3d year in BMW and had no problems, but RFT was a bad decision. RFT is OK for densly populated western Europe but what about US South-West?
Best regards, Lehrer
#4003 of 5349 Re: Battery life [kominsky]
Oct 17, 2008 (2:30 pm)
Thank you for your message, Kominsky.
Your battery life is impressive.
Best regards, Lehrer
#4004 of 5349 Thinking about it.
Oct 18, 2008 (1:21 pm)
I'm thinking about helping out my 16 yr old niece with her first car. She just turned 16 and was able to get her license on the first try (very happy). My brother and SIL are divorced so they split the time with her. I told them about a car my coworker has and is thinking about selling. She has a 1992 BMW 318i 5spd sedan. car has about 150k on it and only has 3 issues (which I don't think are biggies). #1 - A/C needs either recharged or new motor, #2 - Rear DS window does not work, only clicks, & #3 - Power moon roof does not work. I'm thinking the 2 windows also might only be motors. Other than that the car runs unbelievable. It's Hunter Green with Beige Leather. My co-worker only wants $1200 because of the 3 issues. Does this sound like a good deal for a 1st car for a 16 yr old.
P.S. - My SIL think my niece should have an AT instead.
#4005 of 5349 Re: Thinking about it. [odie6l]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Oct 19, 2008 (6:11 am)
Yeah those are big issues and $$$ to fix. That's why the car is cheap. I don't see how a 16 year old can afford to drive and maintain this car unless the parents are ready to dig deep for stuff. If the kid is really hot for it, he/she can live without the sun roof and the AC and just fix the window, that would save a lot of money. If the AC compressor is bad, it may have seized and contaminated the entire system and this could cost well over $1000 to repair. If the sunroof cable system is screwed up, you have to replace that and drop the entire headliner as well, not so cheap a repair. A window motor and repair shouldn't be more than a couple hundred dollars.
I'd say worst case scenario to fix all three items about $2,000 bucks. Best case scenario with all the luck in the world $750.
Also there normal high-miles BMW maintenance to consider...unless the teenager is doing DIY a lot and is motivated to seek out bargain parts, (as some folks on this board do so successfully) you have to figure $100/$150 a month to keep this car safe and reliable. You could spend less but you'll just be deferring the inevitable.
If the parents think a BMW is a good car for the kid, then I'd pick a lower miles 325--I think it's a much better car.
#4006 of 5349 Re: Thinking about it. [Mr_Shiftright]
Oct 19, 2008 (12:09 pm)
I was talking with my brother and he thinks the 5 spd is okay, but is concerned with it being RWD. Him and I would be the one to fix all the window issues so those are not a biggy. we are just going to keep looking at other vehicles also. my niece does have $3500 saved up, but that is also to cover insurance and all the little things. She followed my example and has been putting $$$ away since she turned 13 to get ready for a car.