August 12, 2008 by esarsea
Well, dreams do come true…maybe.
After a 3 month search and a lot of comparison shopping, my wife finally found her new car at Platinum Autos in Bellevue, WA. A 2001 BMW 330xi. Clean as a whistle, 86K miles, and about $4000-$5000 below NADA Blue Book!
We didn’t think it would last long at this price. I had to work the next day, so my wife asked her ex-husband to go with her to look the car over. After all, he’s a journeyman mechanic with years of experience.
In case your’re wondering, I was cool with that idea. The wife’s ex isn’t a bad guy, and has probably forgotten more than I’ll ever know about cars and automotive repair. But I digress..
The ex looked the car over and gave his approval, and when I got home from work the new (used) BMW was proudly parked in front of my house. It ran like a champ, and I fell in love with it during my first drive.
I decided to take the car to BMW NW in Tacoma WA just to have them go over it and make sure there wasn’t any major hidden issues. Judging by the condition of the paint, interior, and spotless engine compartment I had every confidence it would receive a glowing report.
It was glowing allright.
The sunroof would not retract properly and needed what they called a new cassette. Cost to repair: $1550.
The left front output shaft boot had been torn (it’s an all-wheel drive model) and all the grease had leaked out, allowing the CV joint to run dry. Cost to repair: $920.
The “Service Engine Soon” light came on once and went out. Since they were looking it over I asked them to double-check this while they had the car. It was determined we had a thermostat that was sticking which caused the light to come on. Cost of diagnostic test: $200.
We did not know when the last oil change had been performed, so we asked them to do a lube-oil-filter. Cost: $90.
The steering control arm bushings are worn and will need replacement at some point. Cost to repair: $1350.
There was a leak in the power steering line between the power steering pump and reservoir. Cost to repair: $235.
The oil pan splash guards were damaged. Actually one was damaged and one was missing. They are a protective shield under the car that help protect the underside of the motor and oil pan. Cost to repair: $545.
The belts were worn and cracked. Cost to repair: $200.
The “cyclone separator” (some sort of fancy crank case vent) is defective. Cost to repair: $585
So, the bill stands at $899.72 after tax for just the buyer’s inspection, diagnostic test, oil change and thermostat replacement. We’re going to put off some of the non-critical reapirs, but it looks like we’ll be dropping at least $3000 before we get out of there.
I still love the car – it’s an absolute joy to drive. But by the time we’re done, we’ll have paid every bit of the NADA Blue Book value and then some.