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
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.
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
Insure coils have been replaced IAW BMW service bulletin.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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