The search for a used car that fits your budget, tastes, and needs can get stressful if you let it. Just choosing between car dealers vs. private sellers can become somewhat of a contention. That’s not even based on the car, more your personal preference for time vs. money. Once you end up in the private market though, there are a few specifics that you’ll want to keep track of. A good used car checklist can be handy to guide a newcomer through the process, but ultimately it isn't that difficult. We have a whole section on car buying and selling help if you need any advice. One of the biggest is ensuring you get your BMW pre purchase inspection done by a shop that is qualified to do so.
What is a BMW pre purchase inspection?
A car inspection is a key part of the used car buying process in which you enlist a qualified mechanic to do a complete review of the vehicle you’re considering buying. The purpose is to ensure that somehow who knows what to look for is inspecting the vehicle vs. just you armed with what you read on the internet. While some people like to think they can check a vehicle themselves, it’s completely reasonable to surrender that job to a professional. They have much more experience doing so and can point out things quickly and confidently. This becomes even more of a concern when you are looking at an older generation BMW. These cars have very specific issues and service requirements, so having a knowledgeable mechanic can be extra helpful.
What are the benefits of a BMW inspection?
The BMW pre purchase inspection should be used pretty much any time you are buying a used BMW to provide confidence to the buyer that the car is in good shape, has had all required oil changes and services, and/or any necessary repairs are called out. The PPI is a mechanism of due diligence that takes some of the risk out of buying something that has been used by previous sellers to an unknown degree. Ensuring that you get your BMW checked out can ultimately save you thousands in repairs, and hours of headache. When you take into account the avg used car sales prices is approx. $20,000, it seems very appropriate to spend the few hundred dollars necessary to ensure that the car you’re buying is really what you want.
BMW pre purchase inspection price
The normal costs of a PPI don't necessarily apply here because we're dealing with a higher end brand that may need a bit more time and investigation. That said, our estimates for the high end of normal are around $300 for the exotics and performance drivers and that's about right for a BMW. There are some great forum chats that cover this topic and you can see one person was shooting for closer to $150 - help with a PPI | Bimmer Fest - and the chat generally agrees that the prices vary but they have seen it in that ballpark. Another poster started with $400 and the group suggested that's likely too much - PPI cost help | BimmerForums. I think you ca see here that it really depends on where you are and who you go to, but you are not likely to be outside of that range. I chose those two as they were good examples of a high and low.
In general, any time you take something to a dealer they are going to charge you more for it than an indie.
Are pre purchase inspections worth it?
Yes. Definitely. I may be a bit biased but I definitely still believe that inspections are worth it. They are a relatively small investment to add confidence to a much larger purchase. You can think of it like the Apple Care option for Iphones. They charge about 20% of the phone value to insure it and it's hugely popular. A BMW pre purchase inspection is closer to just 1% of the overall price, yet many fewer people invest in doing so. Sure, it's not a warranty so it's not apples to apples, but it definitely makes you more confident in the purchase. Better yet, just use Topmarq for your private car purchases and you won't have to worry about the inspections because it's done before any car gets listed.
Where to go to get a BMW inspection?
As mentioned above, there are 2 main choices for taking your BMW to get checked out: a dealer and indie shops. There is a third - mobile car inspections - that can be good in some cases, but not all so be wary. Some people prefer dealers because they are sponsored by the manufacturers and likely see many of your car models. This can certainly be true, and I would say many are pretty decent. As a whole, though, they tend to ring in more expensive than other options. They have large facilites to keep up and they also finance most of their car sales with their servicing profits. A good local shop can be just as good if not better in spending time with your vehicle and getting to the bottom of any concerns. When searching for a shop, try to find an imports-specific option so they will have more familiarity with your bmw
How do I arrange a pre purchase inspection?
Generally any legitamate seller should have no issue with supporting your request to get a PPI. So long as you are reasonable in your timing requests, it will often be to their benefit to drop the car off wherever you request. Some things to be aware of are distance from the seller's home or work, and time it will take. Remember, this may still be their daily driver so asking them for the car over the weekend might not be acceptable. A few hours is normally plenty for a thorough inspection and can often be easily fit into a work day (drop in morning, grab the car at lunch).
While it has always been the case that the buyer handles the PPI, it’s a bit of a backward process. Why should you have to pay to check out all the cars you consider buying? It seems reasonable that when a seller listed the car, that part was done in advance for all potential buyers to review. That’s the approach taken at Topmarq, and it ensures that buyers get full transparency from the very beginning and don’t have to go through the hassle of arranging anything themselves. If you have a BMW you'd like to sell, check out our submission page.
Good luck with the search - and remember to get that BMW checked!