What To Look For When Buying A Used BMW?

Buying a used BMW can be one of the smartest ways to get the features you’re looking for without paying top dollars for a luxury car. But you need to know what to look for when buying a used vehicle. Failing to do your research, or overlooking the hidden costs of owning a specific type of car, can cause you to pay more than you expected in the long run.

Is a BMW a Good Car to Buy Used?

Owning a used BMW will require ongoing maintenance and repairs. The more you drive your used car, the more wear and tear you need to consider. The price of a used BMW may be higher than other used vehicles. And the prices of replacement parts and services they require may also end up costing you more.

BMW cars are recognized for having a strong engine and rear-wheel-drive platform. You can find a used BMW car easily, helping you avoid the depreciation that occurs immediately after a brand new car leaves the lot. From a financial perspective, buying a used BMW that’s five or six years old can be the best option.

Having the resources you need can help you find the vehicle for your needs, maximize its lifetime, and minimize the total costs of owning a BMW. The following are the essentials you need to know, when buying a used BMW.

Is It Expensive to Own a BMW?

Owning a BMW can be costly. You have to consider expenses related to maintenance, repairs, fuel, and insurance. Compared to the average automobile, the prices for these and other factors can be higher when owning a BMW. High-end parts and tires, synthetic oil, and premium gasoline requirements can increase the cost, depending on the series model you choose. Owners can often end up spending thousands of dollars more each year when compared to owning a less expensive car like a Toyota, Ford, or Honda.

The depreciation of BMWs can also make it a more costly vehicle to own. The average cost of a six-year-old BMW 3-series is about $17,000. But a three-year-old model can sell for an average price of $30,000. That’s a $13,000 depreciation in just three years! That’s why choosing the right vehicle is important. An older series model can offer the same features and performance at a fraction of the cost. 

If you know what you’re looking for when you go to buy, you can make a smart financial purchase of a used BMW.  We all know that buyers aren’t interested in purchasing a BMW because they are the cheapest cars to own. They are making their purchase based on the fact that BMW produces some of the finest vehicles in the industry, and it is understood that the cost to maintain these fine vehicles will be commensurate. But as you do your research, you will see that certain models and years make more financial sense than others.

Why Is BMW Resale Value So Low?

BMW vehicles, like other luxury brands, tend to depreciate in value more than general economy brands. They cost a lot when they are brand new but drop significantly in price when resold. In fact, a study by I See Cars (https://www.iseecars.com/) shows that luxury cars tend to cost roughly 30-40% less when purchased used.

The popular used Mercedes model, the Mercedes-Benz E-class, was 34.5% cheaper second hand which equates to about $23,000 less. The Lincoln MKZ was similar at 33.7% and $14,328.

No BMW vehicle was included in the list of top 10 cars to buy used over new, but they’d be right up there because they are luxury vehicles. The study suggested that the low resale value was due to companies and individuals leasing new BMWs and then upgrading to the newer models within a year or two.

Luxury cars like BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche often have low resale value because they factor in luxury car maintenance. Unlike popular vehicles such as Toyota and Chevy, it can be pricier and sometimes more difficult for some mechanics to find luxury car parts. However, while this may have been an issue in the past, parts and accessories have become more readily available. It’s clearly not the only reason for low resale values.

Compare these low resale value luxury vehicles to high resale economy models. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited was only 8.9% cheaper as a used vehicle. The top 10 consists mainly of Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai.

What does this mean for you? Well, luxury vehicles like BMW models, are ideal second hand vehicles to purchase. You’ll save money avoiding the initial depreciation that occurs when you buy one brand new. You’ll also come close to breaking even when you sell it.

What Do You Need to Know Before Buying a BMW?

Preventive maintenance of cars can protect their lifetime value and minimize the out of pocket expense you have to deal with as a car owner. In most cars, things can start to break down after 80,000 miles. Plastic components can begin to fall apart and you may have expensive issues with the electric components including its power windows and seats.

When considering buying used BMW vehicles, car buyers need to consider the features and components that can eventually break down. In addition to the engine, power steering, and transmission, you should look at the car’s air conditioning, sound system, Bluetooth capabilities, and other features. These can be costly to repair or replace, so inspecting them thoroughly when looking at different models is critical to finding the right car for your needs.

Water damage can be one of the most important things to check when shopping for a used BMW. Common areas where water damage can occur include the trunk and floorboards. Water damage can wreak havoc on the car’s electronics whether you’re buying a BMW, Toyota, or any other vehicle.

Look for cracks in the car’s rims. These can cause air leaks that compromise the car’s performance and safety. These cracks can be difficult to find, so make sure you look closely when inspecting different car models. Suspiciously low tires can be a tell-tale sign of hidden cracks.

Used automobiles can have engine issues you need to consider. The car’s high pressure fuel pump may not be in working order if you notice a rough idle after starting the car cold. Other things to check when inspecting under the hood include the smell of burnt oil or any other visible  leaks.

Take a test drive to get a better idea of the car’s condition. The performance of a used car’s mechanics may be the most important factor when compared to how old it is or the number of miles it’s been driven. As you drive the car, look out for any transmission issues as you shift gears. Look for rough shifting or unusual sounds from the car’s drivetrain.

The dealer or owner should share any information related to the car’s history and any accidents it’s been involved in. While we’re not saying a private sale is always going to lead to trouble, you get a lot more assurance when buying from a licensed dealer. Whenever possible, have a used BMW inspected by a professional with experience working on BMWs.

What Are Common Problems with BMWs?

The engine cooling systems of BMWs tend to have problems frequently. The water pump can fail and coolant has often been known to leak. Damage to the cooling system is something that has to be addressed ASAP. Failure to deal with it can cause overheating which leads to severe engine damage.

The CCV-crankcase ventilation system can also be problematic. Vacuum leaks can also occur, thanks to cracked hoses. Oil leaks can frequently create a smell of burnt oil emanating from the car’s hood. Fuel pumps and injections can also falter.

Electronic issues can arise, too. With there being so many different features, controls, and devices in a BMW, this should come as no surprise.

Is a BMW Expensive to Fix?

Regular maintenance can extend the lifetime of any car. When you search for a used car, you want to know how expensive it might be to make repairs. This is especially important if you expect to be driving many miles over the car’s lifetime. The factory service schedule can give you an idea of how much work will be required to get the best experience out of owning a BMW. But you should expect more frequent maintenance if you wait to keep your car in optimal shape.

You should always be on the lookout for common issues that can arise in a car. This can help you take the steps to prevent them ahead of time and avoid more serious problems down the road. If you search for problems early, the repairs you need may end up costing you much less. A responsible driver understands the importance of getting any minor issues checked out as soon as possible. Every driver should know how to check for leaks as well as coolant and oil levels.

Tires must be kept properly inflated, especially on all-wheel drive BMWs. Make sure you check the specs for your car. Depending on the series model, the pressure required for the front tires may be different than the pressure required for the rear tires. If you notice any jolting when stopping or speeding up, your tire pressure levels may be off.

These and other issues are factors that will impact the cost of fixing your used BMW. But many things will determine your lifetime repair costs, including the series model of your car, the amount of use, and the road conditions you encounter when driving.

Do BMWs Break Down a Lot?

According to the 2021 Consumer Reports Car Reliability Survey, BMW has improved its newer models. In the past they were considered to be average in reliability but now they are above average.

So what does that mean to you? When purchasing used, you may be buying an older model BMW, which will have average levels of reliability. There’s no reason to think you’ll be buying an inferior brand that breaks down a lot.

They might not be considered the most reliable vehicle, but they’re still dependable. They fall somewhere in the middle of the pack.

How Many Miles Can a Used BMW Last?

The lifetime of a car can be hard to determine since many factors can influence its performance. The parts of a vehicle become weak and brittle over time but maintenance is the key. A well maintained used BMW can easily exceed 100,000 miles.

Having a repair shop nearby that understands the mechanics of BMW cars can be essential to the lifetime of your car. Not all mechanics may understand the specifics of BMWs, and depending on the series model you may need specialized attention to keep your car running longer. Remember, a local repair shop fully versed in BMWs will be less expensive when compared to dealerships

Is Buying a Used BMW Worth It?

Doing your research is the best way to know if a BMW is the right car for you. Are BMWs reliable? They are, but what you get out of your car depends on what you put into it. Different BMW series models have different needs. BMW 5- and 7-series automobiles are available in hybrid and diesel models. The 1-series models are typically smaller and may have less complicated components.

You should always keep depreciation in mind when deciding which car to buy. As with other makes and models, the value of a BMW will understandably drop over time. But while many vehicles have a higher resale value than others, higher end vehicles like the BMW also tend to depreciate much slower than others, which can help if you go to sell.

What Are the Benefits of Buying a Used BMW?

If you do not want to buy a brand new car, which many people do not, the only alternative is to purchase a used car. Cars lose value immediately after they are driven, so used cars tend to cost a lot less. BMWs are generally expensive, both new and used, however used models are significantly cheaper than new models which can be a serious bonus if customers are trying to find alternatives to affording a new BMW. Again, a growing concern would be maintenance costs, but used BMWs, on average, require fewer repairs in comparison to other non-prestige used car brands.

A well maintained used BMW performs incredibly well in terms of reliability, comfort, and value for the money.

What Are Some Of The Greatest BMW Models Ever?

  • 2002 BMW 318i
  • 2008 BMW 750i
  • 2012 BMW Z4
  • 2016 BMW M4
  • 2004 BMW 325i
  • 2019 BMW F40
  • 2018 BMW i3
  • 2006 BMW E90 330i 

If you can locate any of the above models and they have been well maintained you will be purchasing winner.

How To Choose A Used BMW Car?

Buying a used car can be an exciting experience, but before you start to just select any model BMW on the lot you need to be equipped with some basic knowledge to help you choose the right model for your needs and the best price for your budget. Here are 6 things to consider.

1. Set a budget for yourself and keep in mind the price of each car that you look at.

2. Take a moment to review the Carfax and maintenance record for your used BMW of choice.

3. Inspect the interior and exterior for any flaws.

4. Take the vehicle on a test drive to get a feel for it.

5. Take a look at the age of the car and compare the age to how many miles are on it.

6. Schedule a Pre-Purchase Inspection with a mechanic knowledgeable in the workings of a BMW.

Final Thoughts

BMW has built up a solid reputation as a producer of finely engineered vehicles that are widely sought for their amazing driving experience and reliability. The frequency of repairs, the severity level of repairs, and the expense of maintenance are some of the factors that tell you whether a car is reliable or not. An average BMW car may cost roughly $1,000 for annual maintenance. According to Repair Pal (https://repairpal.com/) an average BMW visits the repair shop about 0.9 times annually, which means the brand‘s vehicles are pretty reliable.