03 530i opinions

Any thoughts on a 2003 530i, 93k miles for 19k. It has a good service history all at a dealer. Are there any hidden/upcoming things to worry about?

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93K miles is alot of miles. You should review the service history. For example, when were the fluids changed, i.e., transmission/differential, brake and coolant? Where these done on a regular basis? Further, BMW uses plastic in its cooling system. Look to see if the plastic parts like radiator, coolant reservoir, and maybe thermostat housing were replaced?
The key with any used car is how close to knew does it look and whether its service properly. If the "service history" is complete, and more importantly, has been well-maintained, you should have a nice car.
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Good post.
Sweet car, but at a maximum of 3 1/2 years old, thems serious miles.
Auto trans? If it hasn't been serviced its likely to give trouble in the 120-150K range. BMW says 100K. Should be at least every 50K.
Fluids. Brakes and cooling every two years. Diff, P/S, and Man trans every 30K or service interval. Oil at least twice as often as oil service interval (if you plan to keep it for another 100K).
Double vanos can develop problems with seals over time. Is the cold idle smooth?
Insure coils have been replaced IAW BMW service bulletin.
Non-reliability issues.
Pixels in OBC display on inst cluster OK?
Leather holding up well?
O2 sensors and plugs will require replacement at 100K (if not already done) ... sensors are expensive.
Tire wear. Rears have some negative camber and a little increased inside wear is acceptable. Fronts should be even. Strange tire wear indicates alignment issues.
Brakes. Highly dependent on driving style of previous owner, but the parts alone will run about $600 for rotors and pads + labor.
I personally think the E39 six is the definitive BMW. Adequate power, excellent handling and superb balance. AAANNNDDD, its not Banglicized.
R / John

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John Carrier wrote:

I'd agree except that highway miles tend not to bother an automatic transmission nearly as much as stop-and-go miles for obvious reasons. Not sure about the service interval on an '03 transmission, but 100k sounds about right considering the prior use.
--
-Fred W

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Sometime in 2002 BMW decided "lifetime fill" wouldn't work and went with the 100K service. I still think 30-50K is more reasonable, but the OEM fluid IS expensive.
R / John
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snipped-for-privacy@hiwaay.net wrote:

The car has had a lot of miles put on in 3 years which most likely means all highway. Those are the good kind of miles. If you have a full service history you can see that everything has been done per requirements. There will be nothing unusual required other than the normal wear and tear items, which should be minimal considering the type of mileage it has had.
That price is a steal. Snap it up.
--
-Fred W

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I just completed a 2 month search for a 2003 530i. A few thoughts for you. 1. The price is VERY good .... BUT 2. My previous car, a 540i, 1997, was totalled. I bought it in 2000 with 96k miles on it. Totalled with 165k miles on it 5 years later. During that 5 years, i put in 2 radiators, a water pump, various bearings and seals, etc etc. Probably a dozen major ($300-1000) parts. frankly, I would NEVER buy a BMW with that high mileage. Been there, hated that. 3. I wound up buying a 2003 530i with 28k miles. And over 3 years/and 70k left on the warranty. But it cost me $30k and I thought I got a good price. 4. BMWs are fun to drive...feel good cars. This is my third and I love them. But I am not convinced they are built that well or that BMW has put sufficient thought into parts that last....c'mon, plastic flanges on the Radiator??? So get one with a warranty and some peace of mind. 5. The cupholders suck. Had to say that as I face that issue every day. Why hasnt someone thought of replacing the SAME cupholders with ones made of metal that don't crack at the drop of a hat. Put $210 worth of cupholders in my 540i. 6. So, you will be paying $11k less than I did for 65k more miles (average yearly driving is supposed to be 15k miles, so you are getting 4.33 years more wear on your car. And that is the point...my 540 with 96k miles had lots of signs of wear on the interior, exterior and engine...you can't drive an extra 65,000 miles without lots of things happening...spills, sharp objects, road chips, etc etc. $19k is a great price, but is it worth it? How many days/weeks will the car be in the shop because it started with 93k miles? And the 3-4 times you break down with a broken radiator or water pump or seal or ? over the next few years and are stranded or towed, ...what is the cost of that? 7. Finally, I did learn that it becomes VERY hard to sell a car with high mileage. As I watched cars go for sale online and at a few dealerships, the old ones didnt move...partially because there were plenty of 530i's to go around. People didnt need to buy ones with damage or high mileage as they could find them with 35 or 40k miles on them. Or, as I did (twice shy), Certified Pre-Owned...have put 2k miles on the new one...love it. feels like a brand new car.
Good luck and best wishes, m.

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The 2001-03 E39 530i, especially with 5 speed manual and sport suspension is a very desirable car. I agree that one BIG problem is BMW cooling system, due mainly to the use of plastic parts. If you have one of these cars, its best to do a cooling overhaul every 60,000-80,000 miles by changing out the water pump (get one with metal propeller), radiator (if you willing to spend the $$$, I believe there are aluminum rad available for that car), coolant reservoir (more plastic) and thermostat. Also, don't forget to use BMW coolant (or a cheaper alternative is Saab - both use Valvoline Zerex G-48 in the US). Good Luck!
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Don't think radiator problems are so common with six cylinder E39s as with V-8s. Think the water pump on these doesn't have a plastic impeller.
--
*If you remember the '60s, you weren't really there

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

I disagree, ALL BMWs from 1990 or maybe even earlier, have plastic radiators. IF the OP has experience with plastic necks breaking, its highly recommended that it should be replaced every 60,000-80,000 miles.
As for the water pump, you may be right. Still, its always good to make sure that any replacement has a metal impeller.
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Thanks to everyone that replied, the wife didn't like the high miles so we ended up with an 03 525 with 61k miles for 22,500. The 530 was definately more fun and cheaper, but this being her car she had the final say so.
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snipped-for-privacy@hiwaay.net wrote:

wimp. ;-0
--
-Fred W

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