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Thread: 1995 BMW 525i
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:54 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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Pre-purchase Inspection

Originally Posted by mr.gordon2 View Post
I'll keep that in mind when I go back and check it out . But he's only asking for 1,500 for it .
You should definitely take it to a workshop for an undercarriage inspection, not because the price seems low, but because that's what you should be doing for any unwarrantied car anyway. Penny wise, pound foolish, as they say.

(With the mechanic's aid, ) you'll be wanting to check for :

1. Leaks everywhere. Ask questions about old leaks too.
2. Cracks in the brake hoses
3. The condition of the tranny, engine, brake, rear diff and power steering fluids.
4. You'll want to check the ball joints and bushings for the front and rear suspensions.
5. Check the condition of the engine, tranny and rear diff mountings/bushings.
6. See if there are any signs of unusual tire wear, and if so, identify the cause.
7. Check if any of your pulleys are damaged, dented, sunken in, or basically require replacement.
8. Check the condition of your belts. Check how tight they are on the engine - this will demonstrate if the pulley's tensioners are in good shape.
9. Test fan clutch for stiffness.
10. Look out for anything else that looks off.
11. If possible, do the stomp test or have the car's codes scanned.
12. Run the engine and check the tailpipe for smoke, check the engine for unusual noises, idle, or behaviour.
13. If its an automatic, check for hard shifts from N to D, N to R, and delayed shifts during a drive up to speed. You should have checked this during your own test drive anyway.
14. Check for cabin heat and temperature variability.
15. Check the shocks and front shock mountings' condition (visible from the engine bay) .
16. For good measure, if you can, get the mech to take the car for a short test drive, especially if you have areas of concern following your own.
17. Get quote for work needed, separated into parts and labour. Specify that you don't want original BMW parts but you want OEM parts. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts are the factories that BMW buys most of their car's parts from. However, once they take the parts and stamp the propeller logo onto it, the exact same thing sells for between 20%-200% higher.
18. When in doubts, ASK the question. Don't be concerned that you might sound stupid. You are in control, always, as long as you have money and they want it. Never let yourself be hustled by anyone on the basis that you're inexperienced. If you notice that, ask them "excuse me, are you trying to hustle me because I'm inexperienced ? " with a straight face, and that should straighten them out.

The inspection alone will take 30 minutes at most. The whole affair, if you include the test drive, should take under an hour. Its an easy job for the workshop and they have the chance that you might come back for any work they identify might be required, so you should not expect to pay more than $50-$100 for this.

Negotiate the price with the current owner before you do this. Make the price conditional to a satisfactory inspection at your own cost and give yourself the right to renegotiate the price or abandon the sale if repairs or wear and tear items exceed say 10% of the car's price. Not that you have to activate this option if you find stuff, but the its good to have it declared up front.

Basically, your initial personal viewing and test drive should be about you looking for reasons to buy the car. The undercarriage and workshop's inspection should be about looking for reasons to cancel the sale. Take this two step approach and you'll be fine.

Whatever you pay for the car, flush your mind's buffers about its purchase price immediately after that. If you're going to be a practical person, or an enthusiast, or a purist, this car will cost you an additional $500-$2000 over the next 3-36 months over and above what people might spend for a car of similar vintage. The justification for such high costs ? Pedigree.....

Please read the maintenance sticky at the top of these forums and trawl through these archives for a better idea of what you're getting into.


Last edited by robertobaggio20; 11-30-2012 at 09:40 PM.
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