When you set out to test drive a used car, there are a number of things you should focus on. When you’re considering purchasing a used BMW, even if you have found this particular car you’re interested in from a third-party individual, focus on the following three things and make sure you get to take it out for a spin.
1. The condition of the oil.
Pop the hood and draw the dipstick out. If the oil is black or looks to be near black, it hasn’t been changed in quite some time. Even oil that is several thousand kilometers old can begin to appear dark, but when the oil is black and extremely thick, that means it is loaded with contamination that it has picked up from inside the engine.
This is a pretty good sign that the BMW may not have been taken care of like the owner is suggesting.
2. Pay attention to the sounds it makes.
You know what cars generally sound like when they are out on the road. You’ve driven cars for many years. Use your experience in these situations to evaluate the sounds that this particular BMW is making. If you hear groaning when you turn, a grinding noise when you come to a stop, chirping or squealing or any other odd sounds that you can’t pinpoint where they are coming from or what they mean, it’s absolutely essential you have a qualified BMW service technician take a look at this vehicle before you make a purchase.
When you drive down the road, slow down to about 40 km/h and move the steering wheel back and forth in short motions. Make sure you don’t put yourself or anyone else on the road at risk. Notice how the car handles. Does it seem to bounce a lot on the suspension? Does the steering feel ‘loose?’
If you’re concerned about any of these issues, bring it to an authorized BMW service technician to have it properly evaluated before you make your decision. If the owner won’t allow you to do this, walk away.