Odometer discrepancy

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Need some advice folks. I am in the UK. I have signed an agreement to part exchange my BMW for another BMW through a non-BMW gargage. I have since done a check through RAC and they report an odometer
discrepancy. It seems a few times in the last 4 years, the car had its mileage changed back. I merely did it as 31K miles seemed a little less for a 4 year old M3. Will I be within my rights just to cancel the deal? I hadn't paid a deposit. It was going to be a striaght swap, my BMW for theirs. It was all set to happen on Tuesday. I have e- mailed the slaesales person to cancel the deal and attached the RAC report, but this being the week-end, haven't heard from him. Any suggestions?
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I would think that that would be grounds for canceling the deal; certainly would in the US.
FloydR
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In the US it's not only grounds for cancelling the deal, but the dealer can be brought up on criminal charges. --scott
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Run, do not walk, to the neartest exit. There is NEVER a valid reason to set the odometer back.
The caveat is, you can pay for the full report (assuming what you have is anything like Carmax in the states) and it is possible there is a keystroke error that is relatively easy to identify. For example, afer the first year the car went 12,000 miles, after the second it had gone 38,000, then after the third it was 36,000. This would tell you the car went 12,000 per year, and the second year reading ought to have been 28,000. Going from 12k to 38k says the car went 26k miles in a single year. This is a possible number, but is unrealistic for most people. Goiung from 12k to 28k only requires 16k miles, and except for California is not considered normal mileage anywhere in the USA.
Having said that, I would not expect an error such as this more than once, and 31k in 4 years is just over 7500 miles per year, and that seems to be far too low. I see red flags all over the place on this one.
Miles? I would expect you to be reporting Kilometers.

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Thanks Jeff, Floyd. Following is the report on mileage:
6th November 2006: 15000 Miles 16th August, 2007: 27000 miles.
So far so good. But then;
29th August, 2007: 18000 miles, and again' 29th August, 2007: 18365 miles 19th Novemebr 2007: 33000 miles
And now car has been advertised for the last couple of months @ 31K miles but when I test drove, it showed 32,325 miles.
To be honest, I did wonder if the 29th August figure could have been an error as otherwise the miles seem to be adding up about average. But then, it seems to have gone back again from 33K in November 2007 to now 32K+. It has been with the current delaer for close to a year now and just hasn't sold (because of the 'credit crunch' and high petrol price).
The memo of agreement I signed, it states that 'I was given the impression verbally or otherwise that the mileage was correct'; so it should be easy to get out of the deal, I would think.
Thanks once again!
Vijay
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16 Aug. 27k 29 Aug. 28k -- entered as 18k 29 Aug. 28.3k -- entered as 18.3k 19Nov. 33k
Sounds like a possible keystroke error.
What triggered the input on 29 Aug.?
Nevermind.
If the car had 33k in Nov. 2007 and in Mar. 2009 still has the same, that's a red flag. I'd back out of the deal, and if they bitch about it, pull out your cellphone and call the local cops. Be sure to tell them you are phoning the cops because of the fraud. They may not be engaged in any fraud, but they won't want to explain to the cops what the discrepancy is.
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In article

A 4 year old M3 should have a full service history with a stamped up service book. The mileage on that is entered by hand - as well as being held on a central computer. If it doesn't have this service book run away. They have something to hide.
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Hi Dave:
The service book has three stamps, 1st one at the time of delivery, 2nd one at about 16K, an oil service and the third one an inspection1 in 2007 (forgot the month) at 31000 by a BMW specialst dealership (a well known one over here, I might add). The dealer says they got the car in November-December 2007 and just hadn't been able to sell it. They (a non-BMW delarship, although they specialze in sporty vehicles) have serviced it recently as it has been over a year since the last service. Having said all this, I am out of this deal as if nothing else, come me selling the car, no body will touch it with a barge pole.
Vijay
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London SW

Hi Dave:
The service book has three stamps, 1st one at the time of delivery, 2nd one at about 16K, an oil service and the third one an inspection1 in 2007 (forgot the month) at 31000 by a BMW specialst dealership (a well known one over here, I might add). The dealer says they got the car in November-December 2007 and just hadn't been able to sell it. They (a non-BMW delarship, although they specialze in sporty vehicles) have serviced it recently as it has been over a year since the last service. Having said all this, I am out of this deal as if nothing else, come me selling the car, no body will touch it with a barge pole.
Vijay
Those numbers align to the official (RAC?) numbers you reported earlier, if you accept the error that in August they reported the mileage at 18k instead of 28k.
The ONLY issue to iron out, if this is true, is why the dealership had the car sitting on its lot for a year and was never driven. This sounds fishy, but it is possible.
One theory is that the car was driven, but with the speedo disconnected.
The problem with this theory is that the speed data from the speedo is required for a host of other systems to function properly. There are a few systems that one could deal with if they functioned marginally, or not at all, but there are other systems that if they did not have the speed data they would not function at all, and these could be problematic in terms of basic driveability (not to mention the performance issues that one would never accept).
If one wanted to suffer through the driveability problems that the lack of a speed sensor might give a Toyota Corolla (for example), then maybe it would make sense to disconnect the speedo on that car. But if one wanted to drive an M3, disconnecting the speedo would be the LAST thing one would do because the drivability issues that would result would defeat the whole purpose of driving the car in the first place -- one may as well be driving a Corolla if they were going to drive a BMW with the speed data missing from the computer inputs. .
I'd tend to go with the assertion by the dealership that they simply couldn't sell the car, and held it in inventory for a year. This would allow the numbers on the odometer to fit nicely with the printed record. The question becomes, how come the car could not be sold in all of that time? Maybe the dealer paid too much for the car and as a consequence set the price too high. Maybe the car was wrecked and ended up in a place there the Title is not branded as a salvage car (total loss), and on a car this new the damage would have to be significant.
There are some red flags on this deal, but the odometer error is looking like a keystroke error since the problem numbers came on the same day, and ther is other data in the hand-written record that tends to show the actual life of the car.
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Jeff, could you say a bit more on driving the M3 with the odometer cut off? For instance, could the delaer have driven the car for over a year with odometer 'turned off'? When I test drove the car, it drove fine. I mean engine sounded great and performed well. But the driver side door had a noticable rattle (that is to be fixed before I buy it) and the engine management light (that amber engine sign) was on thorughout the drive. It is apparently one of the O2 sensors that will also be replaced. The chassis just felt a little looser for an M3 that only has 32K miles. So, can the car be driven for a year with odometer not turning, by a car dealer, say for personal use, (as opposed to a common Joe, as the delaer may have the technology to deal with the complications)? I know I sound paranoid but one can't be too careful! You can see that my heart is still in it:-)
V
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London SW

In theory, I suppose it could. As a practical matter, I don't see why anybody would even want to.
The speed data tells the transmission when to shift, as well as playing into the air fuel ratios and other performance-critical decisions. If the speedo was disconnected, I'd think that the performance would suffer to the point where the entire motivation to even drive the car would be gone. Braking performance would go away because the ABS system would not work right. Traction Control would be compromised because the TC system looks at the rear tire speed and compares it to the front tire speed and overall vehicle speed. It seems to me that if the odometer was not working, the car would lose all of the systems that makes it fun to drive, and therefore it seems that leaving it parked would give nearly as much excitement as driving it with the odometer defeated.
I think, but am not sure, that BMW would not build the car in such a manner as to defeat such a vital part of the car. Everything is speed dependent and many things are distance dependent, and BMW would be inclined to not want deceptive operation of their cars that might expose them to warranty work that had long since expired.
Speed and distance both arise from the same sensor that, if I remember correctly, is mounted on the differential. My understanding is that the main speed sensor is on the diff, and each tire also gets a speed sensor that is compared with the main one and with each other. It sounds complicated, but such a system would let the car know that any one tire is different than the others, and different than the car's drivetrain.
I think the mileage is not as big of a problem as when you first asked us. If anybody set it back, they would have set it much more than you think it has been set.
It seems odd on the surface that the car would be parked on a dealer's lot for a year. If I was a dealer, I'd have to push the car off onto wholesaler after it took space for more than 6 months, or lower the price to move the car to a buyer such as yourself. And, as a dealer, I'm not sure that your 335d has any more market appeal than the M3 I already have. I'd have to ask myself, why would I trade an M3 for a 335d? My logic sways that the M3 would be an easier sell if I could set the price at the same point the 335d will bring me.
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Thanks Jeff. That is very helpful. Your last point is easily answered. He wasn't going to take my car for his dealership; he was able to make a couple of phone calls and get another dealer to buy mine.
Over here at least, diesel cars a little more in demand because of the mileage. I am sure you know that gas is 3-4 times more expensive in the UK and so the diesel cars are a little more in demand and do sell a bit more readily.
Thanks again. I will let people know what transpires in the end!
Vijay
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The engine ECU also records the mileage, and if there is a discrepancy between the display unit and it the display will show IIRC a dot to one side of the reading.
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What does the service book say? I'd expect it needs an annual oil service regardless of mileage. So if nothing else the 2008 one is missing. Is it a one owner car? If so the mileage should be reasonably consistent year on year.

Sounds iffy to me - that was before the recession took hold.

But not stamped the book?

Would depend on how long you intend keeping it. Service history becomes less of an issue, price wise, on an older car.
But since this sort of car has been very hard hit by the recession I'd be looking for a perfectly straight one - unless the price they're asking reflects the iffy history. And knowing what that price should be is difficult since any guides go 'out of date' so quickly in these dreadful times. Ebay may be the best way to get a rough guide the latest values.
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I agree with the oil service in 2008 which is missing, even if it was just standing. The dealer has serviced the car at the dealership itself and WILL stamp the book accordingly (although they hadn't done it when I saw the car). In answer to another question, it was priced too high for a while. The dealership had it for 24,000.00 and advertised it for 25,500 for a long time. Slowly, it seems they have been reducing it because of lack of interest in gas guzzlers. It is now going for 19,900. That is why I was interested.
It had one owner, and it is strange that the service history will be so poorly recorded. If I were the owner, I wouldn't take it to a non- BMW garage for its very first service, but that is what is in the service book.
The last service in 2007 accords with the mileage of 31K and if it has been with this dealership since soon after, then the current mileage of around 32K+ also tallies. But then there is the mileage of 33K as recorded in Novemeber 2007 that is a little more than the current mileage. So, it is still a 'hmmmm'.
Vijay

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wrote:

I agree with the oil service in 2008 which is missing, even if it was just standing. The dealer has serviced the car at the dealership itself and WILL stamp the book accordingly (although they hadn't done it when I saw the car). In answer to another question, it was priced too high for a while. The dealership had it for 24,000.00 and advertised it for 25,500 for a long time. Slowly, it seems they have been reducing it because of lack of interest in gas guzzlers. It is now going for 19,900. That is why I was interested.
It had one owner, and it is strange that the service history will be so poorly recorded. If I were the owner, I wouldn't take it to a non- BMW garage for its very first service, but that is what is in the service book.
The last service in 2007 accords with the mileage of 31K and if it has been with this dealership since soon after, then the current mileage of around 32K+ also tallies. But then there is the mileage of 33K as recorded in Novemeber 2007 that is a little more than the current mileage. So, it is still a 'hmmmm'.
Vijay
<JS> I think you are splitting a very fine hair on this one. Anybody that is going to bother altering an odometer will be doing it for several tens of thousands of miles, not a few hundred miles. There is simply no gain to roll an odometer (if a BMW odometer _can_ be rolled) back from 33k to 32k. There would be a gain to roll if from say, 75k to 31k.
Given the information you have put forth here, I'd say the car is probably a safe bet unless there is something lurking that you don't know about -- major wreck, something like that.
You can find stickers on all of the major body panels that contain the VIN. If these stickers are all intact, the panels are originals, and the chances of a wreck are eliminated.
</JS>
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Thanks! That last point is very helpful. I did inspect the main VIN plate, under the front wind-shield and that looked kosher. I will look at the body panel stickers and see if they are all there. I presume, if the panels had to be replaced, the stickers won't be there or have different manufacturers' details on them?
V
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wrote:

Thanks! That last point is very helpful. I did inspect the main VIN plate, under the front wind-shield and that looked kosher. I will look at the body panel stickers and see if they are all there. I presume, if the panels had to be replaced, the stickers won't be there or have different manufacturers' details on them?
V
<JS> Sorry, I lied.
My E36 has VIN numbers on stickers on the various body panels, but my daughter's E46 does not have them. I do not know why BMW stopped putting them on.
If the stickers _were_ there, they would carry the same VIN, or a generic BMW logo on the same type of sticker. My E36 had a fender replaced long ago before I bought the car, and the sticker on the replacement finder is identical except that the VIN is not there, and has a generic DOT (Department of Transportation) certification printed on it instead. All the replacement fender tells me is that it is a genuine BMW part, but all of the rest of the body panels have the VIN printed on them. The E46 has not got the stickers that I was telling you to look for.
E36 and E46 ... These are chassis designations. E36 is production from 1993-ish to 1998-ish, and E46 is 1999-ish to 2006-ish. I forget the precise cut-ins for the various chassis, but you should get the point. The M3 you are looking at is an E46, I'm not sure what the 335d is. The current chassis is the E60.
</JS>
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No, Jeff, current 3-series is E90/91/92. E60 is a 5-series.
FloydR
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wrote ...

Good call, thanks. E90 is what I meant for the 3 Series. the E92 is the convertible, what's the E91?
Duh, sedan, coupe, convertible.
How come they separated the models this way, they never did that before.
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