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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

After weeks of searching I have found a BMW that I like. It is a 2001 orient blue 330i with 56K miles on it.

I am a little nervous about this deal because I am buying it from a non - bmw dealer (this car has apparently been traded in) who is not willing to give me any kind of warranty. Moreover, he has agreed to sell this for a deal that is too good to be true (arnd 15K). He has agreed to let me inpect the car from a mechanic of my choice. I am going to check this car out from a certified bmw dealership. My question is, does this inspection uncover every single problem about the car so I can feel confident abt buying it?

The car is looks and drives good but I found 4 holes about 1/4'' diameter drilled on the carpet in front of each seat. This is really weird and I don't know why this could have been done. Any ideas on this??

The car doesn't have heated seats. Is this an option that I can install?

Also I would really appreciate any information about this 330i that I need to check out before buying it.

Thank you
 

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Yoyo Mama
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If it's too good to be true, then it probably is.

Get the VIN # and run a vehicle report. A BMW dealership may not find everything since alot of dealers have become more and more careless these days.

Have the holes checked out by the dealer or a good mechanic.

You can't install heated seats unless you pretty much take the car apart.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.. The carfax report looks clean. However the dealer doesn't have any maintenance records/manuals from the previous owner. He doesn't want to give the contact number of the prev owner claiming it is a privacy policy or smthg... I don't want to screw up my first bmw purchase. Thanks for your inputs
 

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Hmmmm

sairam313 said:
Hi all,

After weeks of searching I have found a BMW that I like. It is a 2001 orient blue 330i with 56K miles on it.

I am a little nervous about this deal because I am buying it from a non - bmw dealer (this car has apparently been traded in) who is not willing to give me any kind of warranty. Moreover, he has agreed to sell this for a deal that is too good to be true (arnd 15K). He has agreed to let me inpect the car from a mechanic of my choice. I am going to check this car out from a certified bmw dealership. My question is, does this inspection uncover every single problem about the car so I can feel confident abt buying it?

The car is looks and drives good but I found 4 holes about 1/4'' diameter drilled on the carpet in front of each seat. This is really weird and I don't know why this could have been done. Any ideas on this??

The car doesn't have heated seats. Is this an option that I can install?

Also I would really appreciate any information about this 330i that I need to check out before buying it.

Thank you
==========================
I am going to sound like an old record - If it looks like poop and smells like poop - must be poop. If the deal is too good to be true - then usually it isn't a deal. // I am in the insurance busines. We also sell auto insurance - there are many woes in private deals. I agree - I have purchased some used vehicles and all in all I was lucky and they were solid. Overall, I would be more willing to spend a few extra dollars and purchase from a BMW dealer with the warranty. With all the newer computer componets and expensive parts, it would not take long for a good deal to be a bad deal. The previous owner should be allowed to release the records on this vehicle for you. "I would be a little nervous on this one".:dunno:
 

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anysat is probably right. The holes were for those carpet clamps.

15k is surprising to be offered but not unbelievable. I say this because the wholesale value on this car is a good deal less.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your replies guys.. The holes must be carpet clamps.. I will verify this from the dealer..

Can you please let me know the wholesale price of this car?? The seller said that he is selling me this car in wholesale price and that's y he can't give me any warranty (I suppose fed law dictates dealers give 30 day warranty on cars less than 60 k miles)...

Well about a few extra dollars from a bmw dealer, the lowest price on a 330i in my location from a dealer with warranty is 25K.. I am willing to take a risk to save 10K .. but i want to make sure I do all my homework right..

another question I have is about buying extended warranty. The seller has quoted 2K for 12m/12k bumper to bumper warranty and 1200 for powertrain. Should I buy this? or should I buy it from somewhere else? or should I buy an extended warranty at all??

Appreciate all your replies. Thanks
 

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I would still take it to your personal mechanic, or a BMW garage, for their professional opinion. My first BMW--which had a spotless Carfax report--had indeed been in an accident. So bad in fact a rim was bent and the entire passenger side was "filled in", according to a mechanic friend I took it to AFTER I purchased it. When I recently bought my '02, I went to him first BEFORE buying! So you cant **always** trust a Carfax report.
 

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The holes are normal

The holes are normal. There is a round plastic velcro like disk that screws in there, about 1.5" in diameter. It is used to hold down factory floor mats which has a velcro pad on the back. Look in the front udber the mats, they should be there too.

Most dealers can sell an after market warrenty policy. Some are better than others. I got one an 5 year old BMW, 3 years, 36K miles from the time of purchase, all mechnical and electrical. It ran about $1700.

Check the carfax and have it inspected. If you still are uneasy, try and get the policy. If the car has an automatic, the policy may be a good idea (Unless the transmission has already been changed).

It was kind of funny as I got the policy because of the fear of auto transmission failure (unfortunately common in BMW's, $5K in the V8 in my case). After I got the car and the policy, a few days later after reasearching the history, found out the transmssion had be changed 5K miles earlier. Had I known, would not have purchased he policy. Oh well. You can often can negoicate the price of the policy as well

As far as maintenance records. With the VIN number any BMW delaer can tell you warrenty repairs performed. If you can find the originating Dealer (and especially if you can get there in person), they should have all records of the car. Explain to them you simply would like to know the service history of the vehicle, you have no interest in the previous owner. This worked for me (That's how I found out about the transmission).

Oh yea, you could install heated seats but it's expensive. Not worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks KeithS.. Thats good information. This car does have an auto transmission and I did not know that they fail.. I will check if it s been replaced. Can you let me know what else might need replacement for a 330i with 56k miles??

also can you let me know where you purchased your extended warranty?? it appears to be the best deal I have come across... Thanks again
 

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Some more info

If you seach these boards you wll find many of the answers and more. In the nutshell the E46 is a reliable car, but has it failures, most are common.

If you are handy with tools and are a DIY kind of person, except for the transmsission, almost all the common failures are fairly easy to repair.

Depending on how long would own the car you will replace one or more window regulators. Not related to mileage

Front contol arms and control arm bushings. If these have not been replaced the car will soon need one, or both. The balljoint is an integral part of the control arm and cannot be replaced separately.

Water pump & thermostat. These can fail as early as 60K miles, and tend to go sooner on automatic tranmission cars due to the extra fan. Auto cars have BOTH the electitic fan in front of the radiator and the mechanical fan hanging off the water pump. Manual cars do not have a mechanical fan. It is recommended that the pump and thermostat be changed proactively as preventitive maintenence at 60K.

By far the big one is the automatic tranmsission. While they can fail at any time, they most commonly seem to go around 80K-100K miles. Interestingly enough the most frequent failure appears to be loss of reverse. There has been much discussion on the merits of changing the automatic tramission fluid for extending transmission life in spite of the 'lifetime' label.

There is the rear subframe/floor failure. Be sure the car is inspected for this. It is rare (less than 1% ?) but if it does happen, costs about $4K to repair.

The warrenty policy I got was 'Guardian'. www.guardian-warranty.com They may not cover MN and it appears as it's only available if sold by the dealer you are buying the car from. Can't say how good they are, never made a claim (Yet).
 

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sairam313 said:
Hi all,

After weeks of searching I have found a BMW that I like. It is a 2001 orient blue 330i with 56K miles on it.
search this website *extensively* before buying a 2001. make sure u know what you're getting into.

if you're short on cash, i would highly recommend you look for a 2000 328i instead. :rolleyes:
 

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Are you referring to over boosted PS?

Are you referring to over boosted PS? Yes, unless the rack assembly was changed by request, these cars had what many conisdered over boosted power steering. Not a problem or fault, just that many did not like the steering feel. Either it bothers you, or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks a lot guys.. one more question - is Xenon lights a standard option with 2001 330?? I don't remember if this car had one and i saw in some posting that it is standard..
 

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?

sairam313 said:
Thanks for your replies guys.. The holes must be carpet clamps.. I will verify this from the dealer..

Can you please let me know the wholesale price of this car?? The seller said that he is selling me this car in wholesale price and that's y he can't give me any warranty (I suppose fed law dictates dealers give 30 day warranty on cars less than 60 k miles)...

Well about a few extra dollars from a bmw dealer, the lowest price on a 330i in my location from a dealer with warranty is 25K.. I am willing to take a risk to save 10K .. but i want to make sure I do all my homework right..

another question I have is about buying extended warranty. The seller has quoted 2K for 12m/12k bumper to bumper warranty and 1200 for powertrain. Should I buy this? or should I buy it from somewhere else? or should I buy an extended warranty at all??

Appreciate all your replies. Thanks
=========================
Man I'm confused. Is the seller selling you a warranty or not? I agee 10K can purchase a lot of repairs. I personally do not buy into the seller. I think you are being stringed along. Think about it. Why is it 10K under everywhere else. Do you really believe this? If you were sitting on my side of the desk and heard all the horror stories with cars and to good to be true investments where the purchaser has ended up losing, you might be a tad more careful. In any event - sounds like you are falling for this Babe. Therefore, I suggest (1) take it to a BMW dealer and pay to have it inspected by a mechanic (2) Take it to a body shop where they do a lot of BMW repairs and pay to have someone go over the vehicle. I sincerly hope it works out. "Sorry - I am sceptical" But then - I sell insurance.:dunno:
 

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$15k is probably around wholesale. If it passes an independent inspection, go ahead and buy it, just don't expect to save money owning an out-of-warranty E46. Budget $2500/year in maintenance, and keep it over 5 years, otherwise you won't save a cent.
 

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sairam313 said:
Thanks.. The carfax report looks clean. However the dealer doesn't have any maintenance records/manuals from the previous owner. He doesn't want to give the contact number of the prev owner claiming it is a privacy policy or smthg... I don't want to screw up my first bmw purchase. Thanks for your inputs
In my experience, CarFax is BS:
1) Not all states are required to report to CarFax and some don't.
2) I had a serious accident in NJ, $2k damage, and it never showed up on CarFax. Ever. This was with my 96 Accord in about 1998 or so. The accident happened when the car was parked and I was in the gym nowhere near it, but I did file a police report and an insurance claim. No CarFax report ever. I told the buyer about it and he was fine with it, but just goes to show that CarFax can miss major issues . . .

Get the car inspected by a good non-dealer mechanic that you trust. Maybe one of those "foreign car" garages that specialize in imports. Spend $200 for a really good inspection.
 

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sairam313 said:
Thanks a lot guys.. one more question - is Xenon lights a standard option with 2001 330?? I don't remember if this car had one and i saw in some posting that it is standard..
Not standard and not worth it. If aprojector unit goes, which one will eventually, you are looking at about $450 per unit. That's against $6 for a regular bulb. Mine came with them, but if the one you're looking at doesn't have them, you are better off.

$25 thousand seems a bit high for a CPO (BMW warrantied) 2001 330i, if you ask me - although you're looking at automatic cars, whereas when I shopped for mine I was looking for sticks.

I agree with folks that pointed out you have to budget for maintenance, even assuming you don't do something crazy like take it to a BMW dealer :)eek: ) for repairs. This is not a 90s Corolla or Civic! You can't just weld the hood shut and add gas occasionally. Figure out what it will cost you to run, and then consider whether you can and want to afford it.

Personally, if I had a do-over, I'd buy said Civic. There's a lot of fun (or a lot of 401(k)) you can buy with the difference in price between the two, and when it comes down to it a car is just "wheels". :dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Thanks.. I understand that clean carfax does not mean the car is immaculate.. But it is hard to find a non-dealer mechanic in my location.. Anyone know of any foreign car garages in MN??
 

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First as a couple people have mentioned take the car to a good mechanic and have the car looked over before buying.

Second if you buy the car do not take it to the dealer for out of warranty work find a good honest indy mechanic this will save you at least a third the cost a dealers service department will charge you for repairs.

Third do a search here for known problems with the 2001 E46, every year has its known problems, some years may have less problems than others but in my opinion it is mostly how lucky you are in owning a trouble free car.
 
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