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Old 01-26-2011, 08:32 PM
 
5,702 posts, read 16,180,463 times
Reputation: 8570

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Just curious what you savvy car buyers think about an older car with very low miles. I am looking to replace our 12 yr old car and my budget is pretty slim. Approx 8-10k.

I have always wanted a BMW 3 series and just found one out of state. 2002 with 29,000 miles for 12,000. I emailed the dealer and was told the car is a one owner trade in. She said it is like new. Clean Carfax, etc.

I am undecided if I will pursue this mainly because

1.) it is over my budget but I could swing it,
2.) it is pretty far from where I live (about a 14 hr drive)
3.) not sure if it would be a practical purchase since I have heard many stories about how high maintenance these cars can be.

So I got thinking, why would anyone trade in a car with that low of miles! I guess I hang onto my cars too long. I drive em till they drop. So I can't help but be suspicious when I see a deal like this.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:52 PM
 
Location: NYC & NJ
747 posts, read 2,280,273 times
Reputation: 331
It may not be "suspicious" (by that, do you mean odometer fraud?), but it doesn't sound like the right purchase for you regardless.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Floribama
14,949 posts, read 31,348,948 times
Reputation: 13766
Sometimes the owners get old and need the money, or they die and the kids sell the car.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:57 PM
 
5,702 posts, read 16,180,463 times
Reputation: 8570
I guess I get suspicious because with a car having that low of mileage makes me wonder if the car was a hassle to own and has a ton of problems.
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Verde Valley, Az
419 posts, read 1,129,401 times
Reputation: 536
Lots of people buy cars and then don't drive them very much. My 96 Dakota only has 80k on it, thats only about 5300 miles a year. (Bought new)

BMWs are good cars, but maintenance is $$$. If you are on a budget, I would set my sights on a different car.

curly
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Cartersville, GA
1,255 posts, read 2,978,015 times
Reputation: 1083
Engines can sometimes develop problems if they sit for long periods of time without being started up, unless the owner took steps to prevent these problems. A good mechanic could inspect an older low-mileage car to determine if there are any issues. It's always a good idea to get your mechanic to inspect any used car before a purchase.

If the Carfax report is clean, I would be far less suspicious of odometer rollback. If you take the reasonable steps to rule out problems, you will probably be in good shape.
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:02 AM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,305 posts, read 23,476,528 times
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When I seen "older" in the title, I was thinking like a 1960s or 70s car... I have never owned a car newer than 2000, so a 2003 model sounds new to me. lol.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:25 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,368,175 times
Reputation: 14917
Quote:
Originally Posted by fallingwater View Post
Just curious what you savvy car buyers think about an older car with very low miles. I am looking to replace our 12 yr old car and my budget is pretty slim. Approx 8-10k.

I have always wanted a BMW 3 series and just found one out of state. 2002 with 29,000 miles for 12,000. I emailed the dealer and was told the car is a one owner trade in. She said it is like new. Clean Carfax, etc.

I am undecided if I will pursue this mainly because

1.) it is over my budget but I could swing it,
2.) it is pretty far from where I live (about a 14 hr drive)
3.) not sure if it would be a practical purchase since I have heard many stories about how high maintenance these cars can be.

So I got thinking, why would anyone trade in a car with that low of miles! I guess I hang onto my cars too long. I drive em till they drop. So I can't help but be suspicious when I see a deal like this.

Thoughts?
1) If it's over your budget, then don't buy it ... because
3) these are expensive cars to maintain and keep on the road. You'll have already spent more money in the acquisition than you wanted to ....

Low mileage trade-ins? Lots of reasons .... anybody's guess without knowing the owner/situation ....

For example, an elderly owner might not drive a lot any more ....

Or the owner might have a second home out of the area, and the car just sits much of it's life. Or it's a 2nd or 3rd vehicle in someone's garage that simply doesn't get driven ....

Mileage itself isn't the big issue when buying a used car ... it's all about condition. What you're buying is the remaining service life, which is why a pre-buy inspection by a knowledgeable tech is so essential to a good purchase.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:46 AM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 15,352,869 times
Reputation: 10248
In the late 80s I bought a 1972 Cadillac sedan de ville, so over 15 years old, with about 60,000 miles on it. Had been owned by an older couple who had two Caddies (his and hers), didn't drive much and when he passed away, the wife put his car up for sale. I paid $500 for it, drove it for about 5 practically trouble-free years, and sold it for $500. One of my best car buys ever and I still regret selling the thing.

A mechanic once told me that a car's mileage wasn't the issue...the issue is not how many miles it has on the odo but how many it has left. I've bought plenty of used cars and always kept that in mind!
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:41 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
4,464 posts, read 9,991,978 times
Reputation: 2830
Maintenance doesn't have to be an issue or terribly expensive on a BMW, as in: There isn't necessarily more of it.

That said, servicing cost at a dealership can be pricey and certain parts can cost a lot, and frankly, with an E46, I'd much rather have bought a higher mileage 04 or 05 rather than an 02, BMW has a history of sorting their cars out throughout the years of any one model, so by the 04-05's the E46 was much more reliable.
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