I've found the bmw I'm most likely going to get its a 1996 BMW 318is
and I was fortunate enough to find one with only 48k miles on it.
There is only one problem with it, the right brake light doesn't work
so a circuit board or something needs to be replaced which doesnt
really worry me. I was wondering if anyone had any insight to things I
should keep an eye on as well for this car. Also I noticed that it has
an A & M switch which I'm guessing is the Auto/Manual Switch- Anyone
know where you doing the shifting at after entering manual.
The brake lights are an ongoing problem, but usually easy to fix. The
bulb is in a removable socket under a plastic cover accessed easily in
the trunk. You can touch up the contacts with fine sandpaper or an
emory board, and bend the contacts up a little. New sockets are pretty
reasonable from the dealer. My 92 and 94 both needed ball joints, and
handled much better after replacement. I got the whole control arm from
the dealer with the new ball joints already installed in them. Both my
cars also needed a new pump for the windshield washer. The factory part
is costly, but I found that a "universal" pump from Walmart works just
fine for something like $8. Both cars also have parts of the instrument
backlighting out, but I've never bothered to see how hard it is to find
the bulbs back there. One car had a problem with the ignition switch
which I understand is common. The warnng chime would not go off when
the key was removed, and sometimes the key was hard to turn or remove.
I read that a little pin insidee breaks. You have to replace all the
locks and have the new key matched to the security system to fix it,
but over time the problem went away. I guess the broken part finally
disintegrated. Otherwise, both have been extremely trouble-free cars
for me. The A/M switch prevents the transmission from shifting, and use
use the regular shift lever to select the gear you want. I have found
it useful in the mountains, but seldom use it otherwise. Good luck, and
enjoy for BMW!
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