Buying a Late Model BMW vs Pre-owned BMW

There is nothing like the excitement of driving off in a new BMW model. The thrill of being the first to be behind “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” can excite any BMW enthusiast. With all new performance upgrades and the dependability of the BMW brand, many new owners are created every day. But what about pre-owned BMW models? The longevity of BMW models makes pre-owned vehicles an attractive item for many first time BMW buyers. Some of the items to consider when choosing between a new or pre-owned BMW include: vehicle options, current mileage of the vehicle, and the maintenance history and overall condition of the vehicle, to name a few. In order to keep buyers better informed, this post is dedicated to evaluating maintenance options between new and pre-owned BMW models.

Whether you are considering a new or pre-owned BMW model, we’ve created a list of 7 maintenance tips for each new and pre-owned BMW models.

Below are tips to keep your late model BMW (New) well maintained:

1. Your vehicle is programmed with conditional based service intervals. Your vehicle will prompt you when “it thinks” it is time to perform maintenance such as oil services, engine air filter, cabin air filters, etc. It is important to realize that your specific conditions, the fact that we are located in Texas (and not the cooler temperatures of Germany) and driving patterns makes a significant difference in your service intervals.

2. In the extreme Texas heat, German Auto Center strongly recommends changing your engine oil more frequently than the preprogrammed 10,000 mile factory intervals. We strongly advise an oil service every $7,500 miles for non-turbocharged engines and 5,000 miles for turbocharged engines. If you do not drive your vehicle much and do not reach these annual miles, we advise and oil service once per year.

3. Why service your cabin filter? Do not forget your vehicles cabin filter. The cabin filter not only purifies the air that you breathe, it protects the expensive blower motor in your dash. German Auto Center recommends that you use a charcoal infused filter to remove pollen and molds common to the Texas area. These filters add little to no cost over the standard paper filters.

4. Your BMW engine has many plastic components that are subject to extreme heat under the hood of your BMW. German Auto Center, recommends all hoses, belts and plastic coolant components be inspected at least once per year to help avoid any unplanned service.

5. Monitor your tire pressures. Proper tire inflation is key to ensure you get the most out of your tires. You can stop in at most any tire store and they will check your tire pressures at no charge. Be careful NOT to set tire pressures based on what is written on the tires. Tires fit many different vehicles and it is ALWAYS recommended to follow the manufacturer’s inflation guidelines. You can often find these in the owner’s manual, on a sticker behind the gas filler door or on the driver door frame.

6. You can easily protect your BMW’s interior by using a good quality windshield screen available at most any automotive parts store. A good sun shade will have a reflective outer surface, be designed to fit your vehicle and store easily. This can reduce the interior temperature of your vehicle by 30%.

7. Check for open campaigns, recalls or service bulletins related to your vehicle. BMW will often release service bulletins to automotive shops and professionals advising about items that may need attention. These are not recalls and hence, you may not be notified by your dealer or manufacturer. Stop in at German Auto Center and we will be happy to take a look for you.

Below are tips to keep your pre-owned BMW model well maintained:

1. Take care of your pre-owned BMW and it will serve you for years to come. Here at German Auto Center we see many vehicles with well over 200,000 miles that are still going strong.

2. A pre-purchase inspection can save your thousands of dollars and many headaches to come. German Auto Center will perform a complete vehicle inspection and advise you of pending maintenance and service items and any concerns. If your seller will not permit you to have a pre-purchase inspection completed, you should consider walking away from the vehicle and moving on to the next one.

3. In addition to the maintenance tips associated with a late model BMW, there are a few additional items to consider related to the vehicles cooling system, rubber hoses and belts. As vehicles age the engine operating temperature combined with the extreme ambient heat condition on the Texas roads, special attention should be given to inspecting your BMW’s coolant expansion tank cap, the tank itself, the plastic radiator end caps and the plastic thermostat housing. These are high heat and high stress points and a common point of failure. When inspecting, look for any “white flaky” substance which may be residual from dried coolant. As always, you can bring your vehicle by German Auto Center and have one of our technicians visually inspect your cooling system at no charge.

4. Do not forget your fluids. vBrake fluid attracts moisture and should be changed every two years.

5. German Auto Center strongly recommends that you purchase a vehicle with service records. If service records are incomplete or not available, it is recommended that you have your vehicle inspected and a baseline service performed. This will ensure that you know what fluids are in your vehicle and what services have been performed.

6. Check the date stamp on your vehicle’s battery. In the Texas heat, batteries often last between five and six years. Your vehicle battery may fail to start your vehicle with little or no warning. If you notice a slow crank when starting your BMW, it may be a sign that the battery is weak or failing. Remember that with many BMW’s you can not put in just any battery. Most BMW vehicles since 2002 require that the vehicle control units be reprogrammed for the battery, this is often called registering the battery and this can only be done with the BMW diagnostic equipment. Failure to register a battery can lead to electronic system failure and damage to the battery, alternator and power modules.

7. It is recommended that you use the fuel recommended for your vehicle. Using a lower octane will reduce performance, fuel economy and cause internal engine damage. Be sure to stop filling when the pump shuts off – putting that extra click or two of fuel in can cause damage to the charcoal canister and damage your vehicle fuel ventilation system.

If you are considering a pre-owned BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Porsche or Volkswagen, we strongly recommend having a pre-purchase inspection done to avoid any surprises and future disappointment with your vehicle. The experts at German Auto Center will be happy to perform a complete vehicle inspection on your behalf minimizing the risk and surprise with your new purchase.

Whether you drive a new or pre-owned BMW model, the experts over at German Auto Center can help give your automobile personal attention and care. We offer a full line of service and maintenance options using manufacture tools and premium parts. German Auto Center has been repairing BMW models and serving Austin, TX since 1979 and would like to welcome you to our growing family! Post written by Len Gilmore, owner and operator of German Auto Center of Austin.

Have a maintenance tip about your BMW model? Use the comment section below or on our German Auto Center Facebook page to ask and one of our experts will reply.