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      08-05-2009, 02:44 PM   #1
Sixspeed J
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Buying a used M3

I am looking at some used M3's that are not at BMW dealerships if I take the vin to one will they check to see what kind of maintenance has been performed? Is there any way to check on the car i.e onboard, i drive? Thanks
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      08-05-2009, 02:47 PM   #2
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One thing you can do is ask a BMW service rep (best if you are friendly with one at your local dealership), and ask him to check the service records on the car based on the VIN. All service records are linked and will show you full service records on the car. The service rep will probably read you what they see on the screen, and can give you some input on what they think may be bad service items.

Also, its always worth an PPI for the peace of mind on a car as well. If you are serious about the car, its worthwhile to bring it to a local BMW for a PPI and pay the dealer fee for the inspection.
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      08-05-2009, 02:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sixspeed J View Post
I am looking at some used M3's that are not at BMW dealerships if I take the vin to one will they check to see what kind of maintenance has been performed? Is there any way to check on the car i.e onboard, i drive? Thanks
No, they won't. In most states it's illegal, and it's BMW's policy, as the records belong to the person that actually owned the car when work was performed. They are *not* transferred with the car.

So, unless you get the previous owner to get you the records, or if you know someone at the dealership, they *may* tell you nothing major has ever been wrong with and/or all work has been performed. Only the dealership where the work was done will have any history, IE there is no central service database.
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      08-05-2009, 03:27 PM   #4
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if I take the vin to one will they check to see what kind of maintenance has been performed?
That shouldn't be a concern since BMW pays for service, other than if you want an oil change in-between services, which I'd definitely demand. If you look for a car with less than 9K miles, that woudn't even be an issue at all since that's right where you'd change the oil on your own.

I'd also look for ORIGINAL OWNER, so they could provide with with everything you want. WIth original owner and less than 9K miles you can't go wrong. Just make sure has never been involved in an accident, hasn't been 'curbed', scratched, etc. Good luck.
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      08-06-2009, 05:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warzilla View Post
One thing you can do is ask a BMW service rep (best if you are friendly with one at your local dealership), and ask him to check the service records on the car based on the VIN. All service records are linked and will show you full service records on the car. The service rep will probably read you what they see on the screen, and can give you some input on what they think may be bad service items.

Also, its always worth an PPI for the peace of mind on a car as well. If you are serious about the car, its worthwhile to bring it to a local BMW for a PPI and pay the dealer fee for the inspection.
I will look into this ppi. Thanks
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      08-06-2009, 05:14 AM   #6
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That shouldn't be a concern since BMW pays for service, other than if you want an oil change in-between services, which I'd definitely demand. If you look for a car with less than 9K miles, that woudn't even be an issue at all since that's right where you'd change the oil on your own.

I'd also look for ORIGINAL OWNER, so they could provide with with everything you want. WIth original owner and less than 9K miles you can't go wrong. Just make sure has never been involved in an accident, hasn't been 'curbed', scratched, etc. Good luck.
I was just worried about that 1200 mile oil and filter change. How would I go about finding the original owner? Are you saying I should buy private party and forget the dealership?
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      08-06-2009, 05:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by arr0gant View Post
No, they won't. In most states it's illegal, and it's BMW's policy, as the records belong to the person that actually owned the car when work was performed. They are *not* transferred with the car.

So, unless you get the previous owner to get you the records, or if you know someone at the dealership, they *may* tell you nothing major has ever been wrong with and/or all work has been performed. Only the dealership where the work was done will have any history, IE there is no central service database.
I did not know that. I was searching a carfax the other day and I noticed that it mentioned a oil and filter change at 1200 miles. So I figure it had to be public knowledge right?
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      08-06-2009, 05:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arr0gant View Post
No, they won't. In most states it's illegal, and it's BMW's policy, as the records belong to the person that actually owned the car when work was performed. They are *not* transferred with the car.

So, unless you get the previous owner to get you the records, or if you know someone at the dealership, they *may* tell you nothing major has ever been wrong with and/or all work has been performed. Only the dealership where the work was done will have any history, IE there is no central service database.
not true, all service work done by bmwna under the warranty/service agreement can be seen by any dealership. I asked for and was given the service history of my used '08 when I purchased it.
I asked a second dealership when was the exact date that the run-in service had been performed, punched in the vehicle chassis number and everything was there.
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      08-06-2009, 06:27 AM   #9
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Im in the same boat looking at used m3's and wondering about the maintenance on them
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      08-06-2009, 07:00 AM   #10
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I just bougth an 08 M3 with 3100 miles. The only I was and still an concerned with is how the car was broke in. Otherwise you should feel pretty comfortable know the car is under warranty. I bought my car from a non BMW used dealership and demanded them to provide maint history. Which they did. On top of that the carfax showed some maint history as well.
Good luck!
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      08-06-2009, 08:04 AM   #11
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not true, all service work done by bmwna under the warranty/service agreement can be seen by any dealership. I asked for and was given the service history of my used '08 when I purchased it.
I asked a second dealership when was the exact date that the run-in service had been performed, punched in the vehicle chassis number and everything was there.
Correct, there most certainly is a central database that any BMW dealer has access to. It is not a violation of any previous owner's privacy for a service department to tell you what work has been documented on a particular car.
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      08-06-2009, 02:22 PM   #12
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Correct, there most certainly is a central database that any BMW dealer has access to. It is not a violation of any previous owner's privacy for a service department to tell you what work has been documented on a particular car.
+1. The only folks who claim it's illegal to give out this info are...BMWNA and BMW dealers. Why would they say that? They have no interest in giving you info about a car for sale from a private seller or dealer. They do have a strong interest in selling you a CPO car from their lot, and the markup that comes with it.

The best thing to do is befriend a service advisor at your local center, I've never had a problem getting a SA to read me the warranty claims info and service info (if there is any) on a car I was looking at off the computer. No, they don't have to help you with this type of issue, but asking nicely goes a long way in my experience.
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      08-06-2009, 02:47 PM   #13
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Are you saying I should buy private party and forget the dealership?
Of course not; I was just stating my opinion. Buying from a dealership has its advantages, especially if car is certified (which you should DEMAND, for the additional warranty).

When you're as picky as me, I want to make sure car was pampered by original owner, plus you can have each and every question you have answered by the owner. You can easily tell if an owner pampered his/her car, and the trunk is a good place to start. But when car is traded in, it's hard to know where car has been... and how has been treated. Expensive cars are usually 'wholesaled' when traded on a different brand, then sometimes auctioned off, etc. You can imagine how people are going to drive an M3 they know are going to be selling in a week or two. This is especially bothersome with a manual transmission, which is what I like. So the first thing you want to make sure is car was traded-in at that dealership, and asking for the title can confirm that.

And finally, I wouldn't try to contact a previous owner with a car traded in; they'd probably not going to help you anyway. I meant buying from an original owner advertising on Ebay, forum classifieds, etc. Plus you should be able to buy it cheaper, atlhough not certified (which by itself adds like 2 grand). Good luck man.
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      08-06-2009, 04:48 PM   #14
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Of course not; I was just stating my opinion. Buying from a dealership has its advantages, especially if car is certified (which you should DEMAND, for the additional warranty).

When you're as picky as me, I want to make sure car was pampered by original owner, plus you can have each and every question you have answered by the owner. You can easily tell if an owner pampered his/her car, and the trunk is a good place to start. But when car is traded in, it's hard to know where car has been... and how has been treated. Expensive cars are usually 'wholesaled' when traded on a different brand, then sometimes auctioned off, etc. You can imagine how people are going to drive an M3 they know are going to be selling in a week or two. This is especially bothersome with a manual transmission, which is what I like. So the first thing you want to make sure is car was traded-in at that dealership, and asking for the title can confirm that.

And finally, I wouldn't try to contact a previous owner with a car traded in; they'd probably not going to help you anyway. I meant buying from an original owner advertising on Ebay, forum classifieds, etc. Plus you should be able to buy it cheaper, atlhough not certified (which by itself adds like 2 grand). Good luck man.
+1000000. With a used, high-powered car I always buy from a private seller. This way you can lay eyes and ears on the previous owner and at least get some sense of whether the car had good care or was driven to within an inch of its life at every opportunity.
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      08-06-2009, 08:20 PM   #15
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Best place to buy used cars is on forums, esp when they have people vouch for them.. If they care that much they prob baby the car til 1200 and keep up with all the maint.
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      08-06-2009, 08:26 PM   #16
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+1. The only folks who claim it's illegal to give out this info are...BMWNA and BMW dealers. Why would they say that? They have no interest in giving you info about a car for sale from a private seller or dealer. They do have a strong interest in selling you a CPO car from their lot, and the markup that comes with it.

The best thing to do is befriend a service advisor at your local center, I've never had a problem getting a SA to read me the warranty claims info and service info (if there is any) on a car I was looking at off the computer. No, they don't have to help you with this type of issue, but asking nicely goes a long way in my experience.
+2. When I was planning to buy my used 08 M3, I ran the VIN with my local BMW Service Rep, who looked it up on the computer and went over all the maintainance records DONE by other dealers on that car. All maintainance records on a BMW are accessible by BMW Dealers, its only a question if they want to share that info with you or not. Also they won't give out the previous owner's name, but will give you a good insight on their thoughts of the maintainance history of the car and can identify if there is anything 'wrong' with the car's history.

My car was a late 08 model and had over 3 years + left on the warranty, so looking at the maintainance history, talking to my service rep, and having a PPI done, I was totally comfortable buying the car.

Totally hear other forum members that prefer private sellers and that 'personal' connection with the original owner. I would also play devil advocate and say that original owner can say all the right things and look good in person (i.e. lives in a nice house, seems like a considerate fellow, car is totally detailed, etc), but it doesn't always mean the car was totally mint.

Example: when I sold my 335i via private sell, I had my back bumper repainted due to a large parking lot scratch. Buyer looked thru the car completely, asked me tons of questions, looked at me, we were at my house, etc. But after he went thru his inspection, I told him everything that was wrong with the car including the back bumper which he didn't realized was re-painted (I got a top notch shop to paint it). Now I like to be honest, but unfortunately I can't say the same for every person I meet. Just food for thought.
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      08-07-2009, 02:10 AM   #17
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Thanks guys you have been a wealth of information!
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      08-12-2009, 05:57 PM   #18
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FYI Guys

Well I guys I have found my Baby. If everything goes as planned we will be driving home a E92 M3 a/w fr tommorow.

But a FYI to anyone out there looking for a Used M3 do your homework! There are a lot of M3's out there so don't settle. In my search I have come across a couple of lemons that the dealer didn't really mention right away they will try to suck you in. There are also known as Manufactured Buy Backs. A couple of Repo's which won't really affect anything, but make sure to check the condition of the car throughly! They will mostly definately would have been auctioned off and possibly abused. Also found a M3 that a dealer had put into their dark showroom to hide some still obvious paint problems. It had looked like somebody had just learned how to use a PC and had no Idea what they were doing.

There are a lot of different ways to find them but I used mostly Autotrader, Ebay Motors, Craigslist and this forum which is how I found mine. I tried the BMWCCA website as well but everything on there was overpriced imho.

Anyways thanks everybody for their input. It helped alot.
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      08-12-2009, 09:37 PM   #19
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Congrats on the car! Can't wait to see pics.
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      08-12-2009, 09:58 PM   #20
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Congrats on the car! Can't wait to see pics.
THanks! Pics to come this weekend.
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      08-12-2009, 10:42 PM   #21
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congrats on the M
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      08-12-2009, 11:55 PM   #22
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COngrats on the M...you wont regret it one bit!

Enjoy it in good health and be safe
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