Considered the second-best-selling second-hand car in Romania in 2016, BMW is renowned as a premium brand, but its product prices are also “premium”. Obviously, this is due to the fact that reputation, quality and technology must somehow justify its value.
But you do not need to dream a lifetime of a new generation of a BMW, you can buy it and run it with a reasonable mileage and in impeccable technical condition. Before you do, however, consider a few details that need to be checked when you want to buy a second-hand BMW.
1. Find a detailed car description
First, check bodywork, interior, engine, drivetrain by looking at the car pictures and description.
Then, if available, check the VIN, the “Vehicle Identification Number”, known in most countries. This is a unique alphanumeric identifier of 17 characters. It allows you to check the equipment of the car or “car options” and track the service history to find out if the car had major damage, repairs and if the mileage is correct.
2. Find service history
To track the service history and the actual mileage, you can choose various online sites that can provide more or less complete reports about it. We recommend the BMW VIN Decoder website (the History component). Checking the history requires a small “investment” of about 2 euros.
3. Inform yourself about the features of each model
Try to find as much information on as many BMW models as possible, so you can figure out what you want.
For example, the 1 Series has rear-wheel drive and four or five seats. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a small, luxurious and fast car. If you are interested in the best-selling models, then you must turn to the 3rd Series. This is a medium-sized car, but comes with both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. You can also choose between several variants: sedan (F30) and break (F31). If you want something cheaper, consider the coupe or cabriolet version of E46 or E92.
The BMW 5 Series is more generous and can be categorized as a luxury car, and if you are interested in large models, you’d better find out more about the 7 Series cars, the luxury sedan, especially designed for those who benefit from the services of a driver.
Let’s have a look at SUV versions. At this point, the X3 is remarkable, but the most expensive BMW cars (besides those in the 7 Series) are the X5 or X6. Be careful, they are expensive and, after many years of use, maintenance is costly.
Verification of the equipment is very simple, it can be done online on various sites that offer such information. You can use the BMW VIN Decoder, as stated.
Be aware that some equipement is standard in some countries but option in other. A good example is the air-conditioning. In southern countries, this is part of the standard equipment of a car.
5. Consider the depreciation rate of a car
We do not try to convince you otherwise, BMW cars are among the best. The Series 1 or X5 models for instance retain their value for a long time.
Note that depreciation enables to buy older BMW models at much better prices. The difference between a 3 or 6 year old car can be substantial.
6. Learn more about maintenance costs
BMW cars can be very expensive in this respect. They need fuel, oils or quality tires. Not to mention the manual labour. If you bought a car launched before 1999, these costs may fall.
Even though BMW cars are generally trustworthy, they sometimes need repairs. Many of the problems are created by plastic parts or the onboard electronic system.
7. Find out as much as you can about the potential issues of BMW car models
Some BMW cars have common problems, specific to the purchased model. Here are just a few of them:
Electrical problems: the complex electronic system of the high-end BMW models from the early years 2000 can lead to problems with battery, fuses or control systems.
Engine problems: Like many other brands, BMW has focused during the previous decade on lowering the fuel consumption of their vehicles. The cars and engines became lighter, but in a few cases the reliability was compromised. Especially the early models of the N47 diesel engine suffered from weaknesses in the timing chain. As such this is a relatively inexpensive component, but when it fails while driving it often has catastrophic consequences for the engine. And replacing the engine may cost up to several thousands of euros.
8. Do not be fooled by the car price
After all the information you’ve been through, try to stay on the ground when it comes to the value of the car. A purchase below market price may mean higher investment in repairs. Avoid situations you do not understand.
In addition, you should consider these two tips:
• If you want to buy a convertible BMW, make the purchase in the winter, it will be much cheaper;
• If you want an X5 or an X3, it is better for the same reasons to do the deal during the summer.