Whether purchasing a used BMW is a good idea depends on the driving style of the previous owner and how the car was maintained and serviced. Regardless of the model and brand, if a car is poorly maintained, it’s not a good idea to buy it.
Generally purchasing a used BMW is a bad idea because of the high repair costs and common car failures.
Why is purchasing a used BMW a bad idea?
Although BMW produces luxury vehicles and has been on the market for quite a while, experienced mechanics and car enthusiasts would argue to stay away from a used BMW regardless of the model. These cars do not age well. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule like the E90 330i and 2006 – 2008 3-series in general.
Bad driving habits and aggressive driving
We all know how BMW drivers do not signal when turning. There is some truth behind all jokes. A lot of aggressive drivers hop on behind the wheel of a BMW. Studies show that the men who rage the most on the road are behind BMWs. Aggressive driving is also sometimes linked to poor maintenance of a vehicle, so stay away.
BMWs are great until they aren’t
These cars are fast, luxurious, and feel great to drive. On the other hand, after you come close to half of your warranty mileage, you are most likely going to experience some engine issues and electronics failure, as well as clutch and gear issues.
Not only that, but also the repair or replacement of these parts is quite costly, so if the warranty is expired, you will most likely regret having purchased the vehicle in the first place.
In the case of a pre-owned car, BMW might mean Break My Wallet
BMWs average $18,000 of servicing in a 10-year period, almost double any other car on the road. This number also grows quite substantially if your car has been used by another owner and not maintained well in the first place.
BMW is constantly pushing the limits on engineering, which might result in some innovations, but also in a lot of failures and unexpected defects in their cars. BMWs are designed for performance driving, not reliability and maintainability.
If you cannot afford a brand-new BMW, you most likely cannot afford a pre-owned one because it will cost you even more in the long run.
In the case of proper maintenance, a BMW can be a reliable car that is just as reliable as any other vehicle on the road. However, you cannot do anything about the cost of repairs. Rumor has it that in recent years, BMW has been making almost as much money from selling parts as from selling new vehicles.
When is purchasing a used BMW a good idea?
Purchase from a friend who has taken good care of the car
Like any other car, if it has been properly serviced, a BMW can be reliable, despite its bigger-than-usual repair costs and fuel usage. If you know the owner of the vehicle you are about to purchase and are well aware of their driving habits and maintenance, then you are good to go.
Consult an authorized BMW mechanic
Enjoying the performance that BMW cars have at a discounted rate by purchasing one as a pre-owned vehicle is a great idea if you can be certain that it has been properly maintained and not used to its limits. Therefore, before purchasing an old vehicle, especially if it was on the road for 5 plus years, make sure to hire a specialized mechanic to inspect the vehicle.
A mechanic can give their honest opinion on whether the car is worth the cash or not. Whether you know the owner or not, consult yourself with a professional that might end up saving you a lot of money, or even save you the compromise of your safety.
Look for reliable BMW models
If you are looking to purchase a used BMW for performance and enjoyment, in addition to making sure it was well-maintained, consider the model. Some of the more reliable models include:
- The 2006 – 2008 3 Series
- Most models ranging from 1996 – 2006
- The 318i, 32i, and the 330i
- The 2019 E90
Very few car owners have regretted purchasing these models as they make excellent cars with bulletproof engines. Despite common misconception, a well-maintained BMW can drive as up to 200,000 miles.
Get an old BMW if you are a mechanic and can repair the car yourself
If you are a mechanic and have the skills to repair your used car, you could greatly cut the costs of ownership of an old BMW and get to enjoy the great performance from it at a large discount, as they depreciate quickly after their first owner.
If you are not able to repair the car yourself, at least make sure to get one in warranty if possible since simple repairs might cost more than $1,000 and more complex ones like requiring a change of engine components go up to $5,000.
FAQs about pre-owned BMWs
Why are some used BMWs so cheap?
The reason for a much cheaper car than the usual second-hand price is most often due to a defect. Read the description of the car listed carefully and hire a mechanic to inspect it before purchasing. Used BMWs are usually cheap because of the saturated market with a supply of such vehicles, as well as the ever-rising maintenance costs of older BMWs.
What are good older used BMW models to buy?
Generally, all 3 Series from 1996 to 2006 are reliable and have bulletproof engines. The E39 M5, E36 3 Series, the 2003-04 E46 are also great. The main reason for older BMWs to be more reliable than newer models is the innovative technologies that BMW often tries out on their newer models. Aside from that, BMW seems to have increased the cost of the repair parts and profits on these greatly in the last few years.
What are the best cars to buy second hand?
Aside from the 1996 – 2006 BMW 3-series, there are other brands and models that you should consider before making a purchase. The Kia Rio, for example, has a great reliability rating, alongside Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Sonata. All of these have proven themselves to be quite reliable and not costly to repair.