Buying A Used BMW
By: Paul 11/01/09
Buying a used BMW e46 can be a tiring but very exciting process. Finding the right car can take time and a lot of patients. I personally looked for a car with few visual flaws in good mechanical condition. This guide will help you out in locating and finding the right car for you.
1. Finding that right car.
Locating a good car to go and take a look at can be a process in itself. If you want a stock car I'd start out with the online auto classified sites and also craigslist. If you're looking for one with some minor modifications or one that may be a little bit different I'd check out all the different online forums that are out there like e46Fanatics or Bimmerforums.
Take a look at the pictures and see if there is any visible damage or issues. Always remember that pictures don't tell the entire story and many minor blemishes will be masked. If it looks good in the pictures, it can still be in rough shape. Good pictures are a good start.
Next look at all the information going with the car. Over roughly 75k miles there are a lot more items on the car that are going to need replacing so these are going to need a little bit more of a look over. Check to see what items have been replaced recently (brakes, suspension, tires, etc.). Once you are satisfied with the ad take it's time to give a call or go take a look.
Also take a mintue to look up the CarFax for the vehicle based on its VIN number. This can give you a lot of insight into it's previous owners driving history. If something looks bad (accident etc.) it may be time to keep looking unless it seems minor. Sometimes accidents happen and the car is just fine, but really it comes down to your comfort level.
2. Looking and/or talking about the car.
First start off by giving their person or dealership a call. I'd make sure to get a detailed description of the maintenance history and if they have paperwork to support it. Having the proof of maintenance is key and in my opinion is worth paying for especially if the car has higher miles. Also make sure to get ask if there are any other issues. If you are talking to a dealership they may or may not have any history of the car unless its a BMW dealership. However you usually can take the VIN for a car to any BMW dealership and get some of the maintenance history of the car.
Next the important step is taking a look at the car. I'd check at least the following before having a mechanic take a good once over on it. Unless you're buying from a trusted dealership, ALWAYS have a trusted mechanic take a look at the car and get his blessing before buying. If you don't, you may end up with a lot of issues that will cost you a lot of time, money, and headache. I'd check out the following:
3. Take the car to a mechanic for a thorough once over.
There are many different things that just taking a look you'll never find. Having a mechanic put the car on a lift and check everything out is a must to find out if there are any issues. Ask specifically about the following which are problem areas or just good things to know about.
With the mechanics blessing you've got a car that's ready for negotiation.
4. Negotiation and Purchasing.
This is an important step because you need to get a good deal on this good vehicle. Work with the person and dealership until you get a good price. Remember that a car with maintenance history, minor blemishes, and runs great is worth a bit more. To get comparison prices, check out all the ads and that you reviews. Also check out KBB or other pricing sites to get a good price. Always remember that a car is only worth what someone will pay for it. Once you've worked it out, enjoy you're new car!
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