Buying from individual, used BMW 325i

So I found a nice 2003 bmw 325i. sport/premium package. Nice color, very low miles.
21K.
Sound about right?
I think it's pretty good.
Here's a question: He says he has the title. How do I make sure? I
mean if I give him a check, suppose it's a forged title or something? Stupid question, but I've never bought a car from an individual before.
I guess I could drive up there, if I like it, make a deposit, get it titled in my name, etc....then pay him? But would he go for that? Or would he want the money up front, before I take his title and "bill of sale"...I don't know, it's confusing.
It's an "auto" too...so I may get stuck with the rancid transmission. Maybe I should hold out for a manual....autos are nice, if they don't blow up, that is.
I was on another board and someone insisted that the GM tranny was actually the "good" one and the ZF was the "bummer" tranny. What do you think?
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There are all sorts of online searches that will allow you to look the history of the car up from the VIN. This will tell you the current owner, and all the previous owners, and if any large insurance claims have been made on the vehicle. They all cost some money but are worth it.

Get the VIN and look it up, then get the title and make sure it all matches up and you'll be fine.

Hold out for a manual. BUT, when you buy a used manual, you need to be that much more careful that they were driven by a careful driver. Clutch changes on that car aren't TOO bad, and the clutch should last a couple hundred thousand, but idiots can wreck a clutch in short order still.

I think all automatic transmissions are bummners. There's just too much damn stuff going on inside that box to go wrong, and there is a very complex hydraulic control system that few people really understand, even guys at transmission shops. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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By far and away the most common faults on an auto are the same as with a manual transmission - worn out clutches. Actual hydraulic faults with the control system are rare - although the pump may need replacement on some. There's a great deal of mystery surrounding autos, but a competent home mechanic can overhaul most types - provided he has the use of a workshop manual for the stripping and overhaul sequence. I've done several different types with success. If anything, they can be easier to fix properly than some manual transmissions these days.
--
*I wish the buck stopped here. I could use a few.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Sounds very low milage for a car its age. Check against MOT, service log book and with BMW.

You need to check the V5 is kosher and shows his address on it and that he lives there - ask for copy / take a photograph and check for the watermark.
An HP check is a good idea, as is checking whether it is MOT'ed and insured online with the DVLA.
Get him to sign a contract that says you buy the car as seen, but that he guarantees that the car is his to sell.
If s/he is in the phone book, owns the house (check land registry) and the name comes up on the internet, then if there is a problem you have someone to sue and can find them again.
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"R. Mark Clayton"wrote

I thought 21K was the price, not the mileage.
Pete
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Uzytkownik "kpb" wrote

Is the car out of warranty already? If so, the price isn't all that great. A year ago I bought an '02 530i (so it's like buying an '03 today) with sport pkg, premium pkg, and xenons, for only a grand more. Very low miles as well.
If you really want a manual, then keep on looking.
Pete
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It is the price. The mileage is about 25K.
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wrote:

I would expect ~12kpa these days so 50k would be normal.
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wrote:

It really depends. I recently bought an '01 530 with 50K miles on it. So far it's been a great car.
I agree also - hold out for a manual tranny.
-Karl http://www.sandiastrings.com
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kpb wrote:

From what I read, I got that impression, too. I think a lot of people heard "GM" and leapt to a conclusion. But then why is the 2000 323i mentioned so often, when it was the one that got switched to the ZF in the middle of the model year, while the 328i, which kept the GM, is not mentioned at all (comparatively).
I also read that it was the "steptronic" tranny that was at issue. The GM unit is not "steptronic", while, I believe, the ZF is.
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