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-   -   Top 10 things you need to know before buying a new or used BMW (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=195771)

KrisL 03-21-2007 12:16 PM

Top 10 things you need to know before buying a new or used BMW
 
Here are the top 10 things that anyone considering a new or used BMW should know. I'm going to make this a sticky - feel free to add on to it!
  1. Most newer BMWs require synthetic oil and premium fuel. Do not give your car less than it requires.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, parts and labor on BMWs is not more than the competition; however, BMWs are not as reliable as Japanese cars and they do require more maintenance.
  3. If your car is out of warranty, find yourself a competent independent mechanic. Their labor rates tend to be about half that of dealers. http://www.bimrs.org/ lists such shops.
  4. Buy a Bentley repair manual for you car. Even if you don't work on your car yourself, it's good to be an informed consumer (example: if your check engine light illuminates, Autozone will plug into your car for free and give you the car's trouble code. You can cross-reference it in the Bentley manual to see what's wrong).
  5. Historically, manual transmissions are more reliable that automatic or steptronic transmissions.
  6. BMWs have great brakes - this is due in part to the rather soft pads and rotors they use. Don't expect them to last more than 30-50k miles. The rotors generally wear at the same rate as the pads so 'machining' the rotors OR replacing pads without rotors is not recommended. There is a 'brake pad low' warning light that is triggered by a wear sensor that will illuminate on your dash when you are due for new brakes. It looks like this: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/att...1&d=1174499658. When you replace your brakes, you also need to replace the wear sensors ($10-20 each). There's one on the front left wheel and one on the rear right wheel. Parts for all 4 rotors, pads, and sensors are generally $200-500 and labor is about the same.
  7. The 'sport package' available on most BMWs is usually considered a necessary option by enthusiasts. It usually includes better (bolstered) seats, stiffer suspension (better handling), as well as larger wheels and tires. One caveat: It also comes with summer only tires that are NOT suitable for ANY slushy/snowy/icy conditions. If you live in an area that gets snow, it's highly recommended that you buy a second set of wheels with dedicated snow tires.
  8. It's fairly common for OEM tires to only last 10-20k miles. Price out replacements on www.TireRack.com to prevent being shocked: It can cost $600-1500 for replacement rubber. Also remember that tires are the #1 performance mod available to you! There's a significant difference between cheap all-season tires and good summer-only tires. Ask any questions in the Tires, Wheels, and Brakes forum.
  9. BMW engines are tuned very well from the factory. It's very difficult to get more than a few horsepower out of intakes, exhausts, chips, headers, etc. (the newer the car, the more true this is)....unless, of course, you're talking about the N54 twin-turbo (335i, 535i, etc), in which case, completely disregard what I just said!
  10. The BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA) is a great organization- membership ($48/yr) entitles you to a free subscription to the monthly magazine Roundel, discounts on parts at most BMW dealers, high performance driving schools/car control clinics/autocrosses, local gatherings/rallys/dinners, as well as a $500-1500 discount on your next new or CPO BMW (you must be a member for at least a year prior to purchase - and this transaction is completely independent of the dealer - you receive a rebate check after purchasing the car for at your dealer-negotiated price). Join here and if you found this post useful, use me as your referrer (Kris Linquist #170334)

DJmuggs 04-09-2007 08:02 AM

same here ...

PollyBoston 04-13-2007 07:25 PM

.....
 
very interesting about the synetic oil... I noticed BMW sells their own oil under accessories... does anyone only use that exclusively?

KrisL 04-13-2007 07:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PollyBoston (Post 2305557)
very interesting about the synetic oil... I noticed BMW sells their own oil under accessories... does anyone only use that exclusively?

If the dealer is convenient to where I am, I'll buy that. Otherwise I use Castrol 0w30 European Formula, only available at autozone, that meets BMW's Long Life oil certification.

115sonic 04-21-2007 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DJmuggs (Post 2293975)
same here ...

Great going, DJ.

I am also saving my money. I recently located a large plastic water jug that goes on top of a water fountain.

I just calculated that if I put 25 cents in that jug every week, I will pay for my M6 in about 90,000 years.

I can't wait.

junw 04-22-2007 01:41 PM

Coolant temperature gauge and oil dipstick
 
I am considering getting a 328i. The car has no engine temperature gauge and oil dipstick. Is this a serious issue?

KrisL 04-22-2007 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by junw (Post 2324885)
I am considering getting a 328i. The car has no engine temperature gauge and oil dipstick. Is this a serious issue?

Well, they're both just electronic. Coolant temp is actually electronic on most cars these days - it's simply displayed with a typical gauge needle. You can go into the menu on the 328i and see the oil level. I suppose the sensor could fail, but the car will likely throw a code to let you know.

335inVA 05-06-2007 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KrisL (Post 2251270)
[*]BMW engines are tuned very well from the factory. It's very difficult to get more than a few horsepower out of intakes, exhausts, chips, headers, etc. (the newer the car, the more true this is).

Nice list KrisL, but I would modify item #9 to read: "BMW engines are tuned very well from the factory. It's very difficult to get more than a few horsepower out of intakes, exhausts, chips, headers, etc. (the newer the car, the more true this is). Unless, of course, you're talking about the N54 twin-turbo, in which case, completely disregard what I just said! :rofl:

KrisL 05-09-2007 04:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 335inVA (Post 2357683)
Nice list KrisL, but I would modify item #9 to read: "BMW engines are tuned very well from the factory. It's very difficult to get more than a few horsepower out of intakes, exhausts, chips, headers, etc. (the newer the car, the more true this is). Unless, of course, you're talking about the N54 twin-turbo, in which case, completely disregard what I just said! :rofl:

Fixed!

jasonhummer 05-18-2007 11:45 PM

Sorry KrisL for being so naive I am still relatively new to all this BMW talk, your comment on #9 so are you saying there is room to upgrade in the N54 twin turbo??

KrisL 05-19-2007 06:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jasonhummer (Post 2388259)
Sorry KrisL for being so naive I am still relatively new to all this BMW talk, your comment on #9 so are you saying there is room to upgrade in the N54 twin turbo??



Yes - Vishnu makes a kit called the PROcede. It consists of only a chip and an exhaust, but yields significant horsepower gains (50-75!!).

abe 05-25-2007 07:28 PM

KrisL, does that void the warranty? Also, how does that affect gas mileage?

craigrhyne 05-25-2007 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 115sonic (Post 2323296)
Great going, DJ.

I am also saving my money. I recently located a large plastic water jug that goes on top of a water fountain.

I just calculated that if I put 25 cents in that jug every week, I will pay for my M6 in about 90,000 years.

I can't wait.

That would be one expensive M6!! $1,080,000!!!! :D

Dave 330i 06-05-2007 06:13 AM

Something's wrong with my brakes. My car has nearly 70K miles, and the wear indicator has not illuminated yet.

BMWREP 06-19-2007 11:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PollyBoston (Post 2305557)
very interesting about the synetic oil... I noticed BMW sells their own oil under accessories... does anyone only use that exclusively?

You dont always have to use BMW brand oil, they recommend Castrol fully sythetic, but it has to be fully synthetic and the manual will tell you what kind is suitable for grade

Malibubimmer 06-19-2007 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 115sonic (Post 2323296)
Great going, DJ.

I am also saving my money. I recently located a large plastic water jug that goes on top of a water fountain.

I just calculated that if I put 25 cents in that jug every week, I will pay for my M6 in about 90,000 years.

I can't wait.

I am 90061 years old and was just able to buy my M6.

Alang12 07-11-2007 07:10 AM

Doors on new 3 Series very vulnerable to dents
 
While the deisgn of the new 3 Series in beautiful, the new design is very vulnerable to parking lot dings. This is espcially true due to the raised cornice metal cornice that runs the length of the vehicle. Unlike the 2005 and older models, there is no guard strip to prevent door dings and the cornice takes full impact of a parking lot door ding. I recently has $800 worth of damage done to the drivers door in a parking lot. What I recommend is a product called Door Defenders. I found these on the net. They are long, tubular cushions that attach magnetically to the car and protect the doors. I bought a pair and intend to use them to prevent another such mishap. You can find them on the Internet.

JBsC5 08-27-2007 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alang12 (Post 2499479)
While the deisgn of the new 3 Series in beautiful, the new design is very vulnerable to parking lot dings. This is espcially true due to the raised cornice metal cornice that runs the length of the vehicle. Unlike the 2005 and older models, there is no guard strip to prevent door dings and the cornice takes full impact of a parking lot door ding. I recently has $800 worth of damage done to the drivers door in a parking lot. What I recommend is a product called Door Defenders. I found these on the net. They are long, tubular cushions that attach magnetically to the car and protect the doors. I bought a pair and intend to use them to prevent another such mishap. You can find them on the Internet.


Thanks.. I have been looking at the very beautiful 335ix coupe and was somewhat concerned at its vunerability.

I'll look into the door defender product.

Great information on many aspects of BMW ownership at this site.

JB

synergest1 08-27-2007 07:26 AM

KrisL, great info, thank you.

ClayW 09-02-2007 11:49 PM

Im 17 years old and i just bought my first BMW, and i HATE it!dont get me wrong, the car is great, its that bmw addiction ive had ever since i got it is what makes me mad.lol.I LOVE EM!

anyways, i have a couple of Q's so heres the deal.
i just bought an 83' 320i for $800 off of my buddies dad.its a manual.the inside is in PERFECT condition, the outside has a few rust spots but nothing a little bondo and new paint job cant fix :). and it has about 130,000 on it.BUT! the first owner was a little old lady who put on about 90% of the miles and garage kept it.the second and third owner bought it to restore but it ended up just sitting there.

so now that i have it, being the 17 yr old i am with big dreams and little income, i wanna know if its worth droping money into.i looked everything up, and from new rims and lowering springs to a decked out inside it will be around 2000 bucks.i know its a stupid question but, is it worth it?

KrisL 09-03-2007 08:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ClayW (Post 2618101)
is it worth it?

First of all, cars themselves are never "worth it" - they're depreciating assets. Not only that, but mods usually decrease resale before they increase it. Will you get $800 of enjoyment out of it in its current state?

Do you think you'd get $2800 of enjoyment out of the car in the modded state? ...or perhaps you'd get more enjoyment out of a newer (87+) 325i (a BMW that could be purchased for around $2800)...

Just some things to think about..

Any car I personally bought for $800 I'd just drive it until it didn't drive any more :).

johnny420 09-27-2007 12:51 PM

I don't know if is the right place for this, but bullet point number two above has me thinking. I'm currently considering a 2008 328i. At this time, I'd rather buy than lease, both because my payments would be much lower (I'd be putting down a substantial down payment) and because I've always purchased cars. The car I'm looking at will have 6 MT, SP, leather and Xenon lights, and that's it.

Is buying a BMW outright a bad idea? Are they really that unreliable?

The fact is I love this car and have coveted Bimmers for years, but a $4-500 lease pymnt is more than I want to take on at this point.

Any input would greatly appreciated.

crowz 09-27-2007 01:57 PM

I think its how you treat them more than anything. Mine is pushing 250k miles and is a great car still and very dependable.

woozhp 09-29-2007 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by junw (Post 2324885)
I am considering getting a 328i. The car has no engine temperature gauge and oil dipstick. Is this a serious issue?

I certainly think it is. Serious enough to cancel my order for an '08 coupe! Dipsticks always tell the truth. Not only can you check your oil level with a dipstick, but you can also visually check it's condition. I want a new BMW, but I'm not ready to encourage some bastard beancounter in Munich. :mad:

Young K 09-29-2007 06:27 PM

Great Post!
I'm new to the forum. I feel like I made a HUGE mistake. I just ordered a 328i - montago/saddle bag/step/premium/cold weather and in an effort to save a few dollars, I opted out of the sport package. I know it is only a G, but I didn't want to have to get a second set of tires and swap them out every season.

Did I just 'F' the car up before I even got it?


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