The Ultimate Pre-Owned BMW Buyer’s Guide

Owning a BMW is the dream of many people, but should it only be a dream? If you cannot afford a new one, buying a pre-owned car with a BMW extended warranty is an excellent option. You get all the perks of having a luxury car without the hefty price tag. Many second-hand BMWs are still in excellent condition, and they cost a fraction of the original price.  


Even if you are eyeing a specific BMW model, don’t forget to research the right model suited for your needs. A BMW sedan might have caught your eye, but are your kids going to fit in the backseat? Isn’t it more practical to buy an SUV? BMW has many models, and they have their own features and details. Make sure you are purchasing the model that fits your lifestyle. 

Search for the Best Deal

One of the things you should search about is the actual market value of the pre-owned BMW you are considering. Look up the exact model that you want to buy. To get the car's true market value, you have to compare the dealer’s price and the national average. You can also use reliable sites to compare and contrast the price tags. There are four different categories of pre-owned BMWs. 

  • Certified Used Vehicles – Under the certified pre-owned program, only an authorized dealer that is a member of the program can sell a pre-owned BMW. To be a CPO model, a pre-owned BMW car needs to meet certain requirements. It needs to be inspected by a certified technician and approved by managers as a CPO model. It also comes with a certified used warranty. 

  • Trade-ins – The trade-in value is the amount the dealer paid for when the car was traded-in. Usually, a BMW traded in is worth more than the dealership paid for.

  • Dealer Retail – This refers to the value estimated by the dealership. This is one of the fairest prices for a pre-owned BMW. The buyer will get more or less the actual worth of the vehicle. 

  • Private Party – Buyers can also get their BMWs directly from private owners than dealerships. Here, you can haggle and negotiate the terms of the deal. 

Check the Car’s History

Often overlooked by buyers is checking out the car’s history. Go in-depth in knowing about the car, such as the detailed summary, the number of previous owners, the accidents it had and how grave those accidents were, and the services it has availed in the past. If possible, have the car checked by a trusted car mechanic. You can also ask for a detailed report of the car’s history from the mechanic who serviced it. 

You shouldn’t rely on photos alone. Make time to inspect the car’s interior, exterior, accessories, and electronics. Is there cosmetic damage? If there is, talk to the owner about any discount to cover the damage. 

Prepare for Maintenance and Ownership Costs

Unlike standard vehicles, luxury cars like BMW have higher maintenance and ownership costs. Naturally, oil changes, tires, spare parts, repairs, and replacements are more expensive. Make sure you know what you are facing when you buy a pre-owned BMW. That is why you should negotiate well when buying a pre-owned car. You need every bit of dollar you can save from the sale to maintain your car for a long time. 

Be Thorough on Mechanical Issues

Go through the mechanical features of the car. Involve a reliable technician when checking the car. Do not assume anything when buying a pre-owned vehicle, whether it’s a BMW or not. If you are not familiar with how a BMW should sound when it starts, ask a technician knowledgeable about European cars to go with you. Some BMW models have cooling system features, so ensure that the thermostat and water pump are working. 

Schedule a Test-Drive

Nothing matches the information you can derive from actually testing the car. Ask the dealership or private owner if you can test-drive the car. That will help you feel how the vehicle handles the road. While driving the pre-owned BMW, make sure to switch off the music so you can listen to the car well. 

If you hear any sounds from the engine, inform the owner because you shouldn’t be buying a car with engine issues as these are costly repairs. If the dealership or owner shrugged off the complaints, move on to the next seller because you cannot compromise on engine problems. 

Budget for Success

There’s a huge difference between buying a certified pre-owned BMW and one from a private owner. One of the perks of buying a pre-owned vehicle is the warranty and insurance that come with it. However, buying from a private owner will give you more leverage in terms of negotiating the deal. Determine how much you can and want to spend on the car, and make it an essential deciding factor.


When everything is to your liking, make an offer for the car. If there are problems, negotiate with the seller about deducting the repair cost from the asking price. The seller can also offer to fix the issues for you. Buying a pre-owned car should not be a chore if you know what to look for and watch out for. It’s no different from buying a brand-new vehicle wherein you had to research, test-drive, and negotiate.

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