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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 06-06-2004, 01:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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<babble>The first car I ever drove, and the care I drive now, is my dad's '93 Volvo 940 sedan. I viewed it then as an older vehicle, appropriately with a more conservative look for older men, but, of course, with time I came to love "my" black 940 for all it has, even including it's reserved style. But, to get back on track, what I really loved about it was how it handled. An interest in drifting lead to me learning about the different drive systems which lead me to learning my Volvo was RWD which lead me to a Slate article which seemed to perfectly explain the pheneomenon behind the enjoyment I get out of driving my car: apparently I just love rear-wheel drive and apparently that system is somewhat of a rarity among cars now. (the Slate article's over here, BTW: http://slate.msn.com/id/2081194/ )</babble>

Anyway, fast-forward to today. I think I'm ready to get a new car ("new" to me, that is) and research has lead me to the position I'm in now: looking at Bimmers, more specifically '95-97 325/8is's. I'm currently looking at three offers, but the more interesting and financially comfortable purchase is a '96 328is w/ 175k miles on it! That's significantly more than our Volvo (133k mi.) and that's a '93! Now, to be honest, at this same time last year I wouldn't have even known how many miles I or the avg. driver make a year, but today, with word that BMW owners can end up spending a good deal of their money after the purchase, with maintenance & repair costs, this 175k has me concerned. Naturally, the dealer (not the actual owner) claims it feels like it has a fraction of the mileage (smooth, with no unusual noises or anything either), but I'd like more assurance than that. I plan to get the vehicle inspected, but even if it comes through relatively clean today, (assuming I take good care of the car, maintenance-wise from the time of purchase onward) what can I really expect from a car with such mileage? Will the types of repairs required be more expensive? Will the /rate/ of required repair increase significantly? Linearly? Exponentially, even? Or, perhaps, if the car is fine as I get it and proper respect is payed to it, the same maintenance & repair schedule that had applied to it 5 years ago can apply for the next five?

Clearly I have a lot of questions (or, moreso just variations on the same), but what I'm asking is: Is it unrealistic of me to think I could buy this car (or any 3-series with similar mileage), perform regular oil changes, get professional inspections every 25k miles and dish out similar cash to that spent on a car with half the miles? Is it even realistic to think I'll be able to keep the car for 5 years? I just want to know what the timeline is for a 3-series car. (please, if you mention something to be expensive or inexpensive, please try to come up with an actual figure, as rough an estimate as it might be, as expense is highly relative)

I'm sorry this got to be so long and also if some of the questions asked here are being or have been asked elsewhere. I've found so many semi-relevant threads here within the past two days and accumulated so many counter-questions to all of them I felt my overall message or question would be lost if I didn't just ball it into one thread. I'm greatly appreciative of anyone who might take the time to read through my concerns and try their best to set me straight. Thank you all, in advance.

- Corey (a newfound Bimmer-driver wannabe?)
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DISCLAIMER: I don't yet actually drive a BMW. Currently, I proudly drive a '93 Volvo 940, the inspiration for my love of RWD cars.
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Old 06-06-2004, 10:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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First off, that is a lot of miles. People on this forum will say that you can own and drive these cars for hundreds of thousands of miles (and that is true), but not without a significant replacement of parts and substantial maintenance.

Should you buy this car? I probably wouldn't. IF I had intentions of keeping a car for 5 years, I probably wouldn't buy a twelve year old car with upwards of 170K+ miles on it. IF you were dealing with the origional owner (or at least someone who had owned the car for some time--not a used dealership), and the car came with all records of maintenance proving that it had been maintained properly, that may sway my opinion in the other direction. But if the glovebox is empty and you have Earl "the used car King" breathing down you back, I would walk away.
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Old 06-06-2004, 02:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I second Jllphan. He's right. espically about the dealer. unless u get a great warranty, walk away. good condition BMW's are out there and it feels great when you find "the one" and u will!

I have 2 Bimmers but 1 has the mileage your asking about. its on a 91 318is, which are almost indestructibleas far as im concerned, trust me, i've tried! mainly because there are many parts i have replaced with many more to came.

when u raise the mileage u raise preventative upkeep costs, but BMW's can hit higher mileage it just costs alot.
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Old 06-07-2004, 03:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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there are a good number of used bimmers in the market....

just be patient and keep watching, you'll find one that's worth spending your savings for.
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Old 06-09-2004, 03:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice guys. I let most of the offers considered at the time of that post pass by, one of them unintentionally. I was kinda sad to see them go, temporarily, but I don't regret it. I needed to switch out of that mindset. New cars go up for sale by the week and, as urgently as the internet auction-style ads made me feel, I'm not really in a great rush. If I plan to keep the car for 5 years, it should be something I can be proud of in just about every aspect. Again, thanks for the help and wish me luck; I think I might have found a good one tonight.

P.S.: I'm now aiming between the 80's and a max of 110k miles. Lower is gladly accepted, of course, but those numbers are more on par with the model years I'm looking for and prices I can afford.
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Old 06-09-2004, 03:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I would get it inspected first by a mechanic i picked up my 1992 325i a acouple of months ago for 5800usd it has 180k. The things that i have had to replace so far are the battery, fuel filter, tranny service, spark plugs, and the o2 sensor and its now running like a champ. all in all i have probably spent an extra $400.00 for it to be running smooth. I love my car and It will run for many years to come. but I would definately get that 328i checked out for a 1996 that seems an awful lots of miles. for what its worth the guy who use to own my took good care of it and owned it for 4years, he had to get rid of it because he had a 4th baby and they no longer fit in the car. B)
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