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I'm thinking of buying a 10 yr old BMW Z3 3litre. It's body work is in immaculate condition, and there are no signs of corrosion in the wheel arches or sills - something review sites advise I look out for. I took it for a drive tonight and all seems fine. Basically it looks very well looked after.
However, the car dealer when asked said the car had a full service history - yet when looking through the documents I see no original BMW paper work. The service history present is minimal - two receipts for services at 50,000 and 80,000 miles. There are other receipts replacement shock absorbers (due to leakage) and some the replacement of a couple of fuel valves. The service at 50000 miles is stamped in a extended warranty book - perhaps implying that the service history up to that point was ok.
I have said that if I was to buy it I would want the join of the differential to be examined, and the fuel tank, along with a full service.
I really like the car and the price is reasonable. The question is am I letting my heart rule my head and should I be asking for other checks - or even walking away given the lack of service history?
Any advice appreciated.
PS it comes with a basic 6 month warranty.
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There are plenty of BMWs around which are 20-25 years old or even more. Properly looked after they seem to go on for ever!
To be honest a full service history is a big selling point. Lack of one should depress the price. You can always get the AA or RAC to do a check.
Are you buying it from a dealer - I assume you are if you are getting a 6 month warranty... which is not bad, but I would want at least one year from a dealer.
Hope this helps in some way!
Mike Otley should be able to help you on car issues.
With the minimal evident you have, you may as well think of the car as having part history and judge the car on what you see and feel to drive. With a 10 year old car, you should really judge on condition and what need attention soon. Most common parts to go will be suspension bushes, so listen to clunks and bangs over bumps. Any unusual noise or vibrations? With any car of that age, thing will start to wear and need replacement parts. Various forums will tell you typical parts that need replacing soon.
If you have the V5 or the current MOT certificate, you can check the MOT history online. Check the mileage lines up with the history you have. You'll also see any advisories that were issued with the MOT certificate. I did this once on a car I was thinking of buying and found it was clocked by 60,000miles!
If you're not mechanically minded, it may be worth getting someone who is or the AA or RAC to do an inspection.
Quote: I see no original BMW paper work.
Not a problem necessarily.
Quote: The service history present is minimal - two receipts for services at 50,000 and 80,000 miles.
Quote: There are other receipts replacement shock absorbers (due to leakage) and some the replacement of a couple of fuel valves. The service at 50000 miles is stamped in a extended warranty book - perhaps implying that the service history up to that point was ok.
Not necessarily i.e. implying is not the same as actual proof.
Quote: The question is am I letting my heart rule my head and should I be asking for other checks - or even walking away given the lack of service history?
And - Yes.
Based on what you have written Adam, I would walk away.
A six-month warranty..??? In a lot of cases, 'Warranties' - outside of a Manufacturers Warranty - are almost worthless. The analogy I give some of my Customers about 'after-market Warranties is to ask them if they have ever fished - and caught an eel. The way an eel squirms and wriggles on the end of a fishing line is a perfect example of how a Warranty Company reacts when receiving a claim.
Full service history without documentation would make me suspicious - not of the car as such but who I was buying it from. If it ain't documented the 'full service history' did not happen! So if the price quoted is for 'car+history' then if there is no history you should get a price reduction. This is exactly the same tactics he would use in negotiating a price.
By all means get views on the Z3 as a car, but you are not only buying the car you are also buying the salesman's honesty.
Thanks Mike - and Ive just PM'd you too!
Thanks all. So what else should I be asking - looking for?
Response in your 'Q' Adam...
After 40 yrs in the trade I echo all Mike's comment's.
There will be other Z3's around don't just buy the first you see.when i was looking for my 3series tourer I looked at about 7 or 8 and was going all over the country almost buying everyone I saw by that I mean that just something on all the sales just didn't feel right so I walked away.Untill one day almost not looking the car I wanted turned up only 10 miles from home, but 2 years newer and a generation newer than I thought I could afford,only very slightly over budget, the paperwork was right the car drove right it's now been mine for 18 month's,
So what I say is if the whole deal dont feel right and you need to question it dont do it.
One last bit Mike and myself are engineers not nerds
It´s a buyers market and always has been. The customer is power! I take it this Z3 is not at a main BMW dealer, as they tend to deal in newer vehicles, but a used car dealer. Personally, I´d stay well clear of these bandits. They are there to make as much money as they can out of you. You will find the warranties they either give or sell you are not worth the paper they are written on.
You need to look online, at private sales. Look out for cars that have had maybe 1 or 2 owners from new. They should be living in a good property,basically telling you they have the cash to look after their vehicle. Most probably, the car was the wife's car in the household and has had little use over the years. It should come with a full BMW service history, along with any other receipts.
Purchasing from a private seller means you will pay less than buying from a dealer. remember, a dealer is there to make a profit!
Leave a refundable deposit on the car if you are happy with it and get a AA or an RAC inspection.
There are some fantastic vehicles out there and you should be getting the latest mags, local papers or internet access to get to them first. Don´t rush into purchasing a car, take your time. Buy only from a reputable dealer if you want to go down that route, but personally, I would purchase privately. Look at Quentin Wilson, he buys private and look at some of the cars he´s purchased on his TV show.
The warranty that the dealer gives really is not worth the paper it is printed on. If you are not mechanically minded you should be careful as to what you buy, as you may end up spending loads on unforseen repairs. Go with you gut instinct, mine would be to walk. As others have said their are loads of beamers out there, careful searching could reveal a real gem, take your time, view loads, and haggle!
Quote: The warranty that the dealer gives really is not worth the paper it is printed on.
That's a generalisation. Depends on what sort of dealer; a main dealer's warranty will often be pretty much as good (or sometimes even better, in terms of length) than the car's original warranty. However, a warranty from an 'under the arches' dealer needs very close scrutiny!
Lets not forget the cars 10 yrs old, and has no main dealer service history, so I would doubt if it has a main dealer warranty! I would expect some things to go wrong with it at that age, depends if you want the hassel with a third party warranty company - they do wriggle and will not cover everything, just be prepared for the unexpected.
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