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5 Of The Best Used BMWs

These are some of the best used BMWs available

If you have always wanted to hit the road in a luxury vehicle but can’t afford the huge price tag that often accompanies them, finding a used luxury ride is often the best way to slide behind the wheel of a BMW, Mercedes, Audi, or other equally luxurious car.

Finding the best used BMWs is our goal today, and we have found some beauties that are lovely to look at, fun to drive and loaded with luxury. Luckily for you, BMWs depreciate pretty quickly once they leave the lot so it is not that difficult to find a late model BMW at an affordable price point.

Before signing on the dotted line for that new-to-you luxury car, take into account the other costs that come with it. Insurance, maintenance and operating costs will all be more expensive with a luxury vehicle so be sure you can cover those additional costs.

Let’s have a look at the best used BMWs out there.

What Is The Best Used BMW Model To Buy?

2009 BMW X3

If you are after a BMW SUV, this is the model you want. The X3 is a compact SUV that is sporty, fun to drive, and loaded with luxury and convenience features. The 3.0L inline-6 engine produces 260 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. It is paired to a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. All-wheel drive comes standard on all trims.

The interior is loaded with luxury. Standard features include automatic headlights, panoramic sunroof, automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, leatherette upholstery, keyless entry and a 10-speaker CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary audio jack.

The X3 will also keep you and your family safe out on the road. It was named a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, automatic brake drying, full-length side curtain airbags, front-seat side airbags, stability control as well as hill descent control.

The X3 offers plenty of cargo space, is fun out on the road and pretty affordable for a luxury SUV. Prices vary depending on mileage and packages but expect to spend between $11,000-$16,000. Naturally, if you want a certified pre-owned model with a premium package installed, leather seats, a top of the range navigation system and the like, price tags can be a little bigger than we’ve predicted, but generally you can find an X3 within that budget, which is a bargain compared to new BMW offerings!

2006 BMW 3 Series Sedan or Wagon

The second vehicle on our best used BMW list is the 3 series sedan and wagon. They were redesigned for the 2006 model year while the coupe and convertible were left basically unchanged. While the 3 series is an entry-level Bimmer, it’s still plenty powerful, fun to drive and luxurious.

The sedan is available as a 325i or 330i and while they both have a 3.0L inline-six under the hood, the 325i puts out 215 hp while the 330i is rated at 255 hp. As you would expect with a BMW, the interior is filled with tech and convenience features. Automatic climate control, power moonroof, one-touch power windows, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, and keyless entry all come standard. It is possible to upgrade to leather seats, adaptive xenon headlights, active cruise control, parking sensors and active steering.

The 3 series was named a top safety pick by the IIHS with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, and dynamic brake control all coming as standard.

The BMW 3 Series lineup includes the 325i, 325xi, 330xi and 330i sedans, and wagon, which are the redesigned models for this model year. The coupe and convertible versions, the 325Ci and 330Ci were not updated in 2006.

Expect to fork up between $7,000 and $10,000 for a used 3 Series.

2013 BMW 1 Series

This one is going to push the budget a bit as it is a newer model but the 2013 1 Series received rave reviews and packs everything that is great about the BMW brand into a small package.

The 1 Series has the same engine as the 3 series, just in a smaller package, which ups the performance and thrill factor. You can choose between three different 3.0-liter inline-6 engines that range from 230 hp all the way up to 320 hp. A six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment but an automatic is optional.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, eight-way manual front seats, fog lights, cruise control, premium vinyl upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control as well as a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player.

A variety of trims are available on this used BMW selection, the 1 Series is available as a two-door coupe or convertible and available in 128i, 135i and 135is configurations. The 1 Series was not evaluated by either the IIHS or the NHTSA but it is loaded with safety features. Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control as well as hill-start assist.

As a newer used BMW, the price point is going to be higher. Expect to pay between $12,000 and $24,000 depending on the trim level you choose.

2010 BMW 5 Series

If you are looking for a luxury sedan and are willing to sacrifice a bit of sporty performance, the 5 Series will fit the bill. The 5 Series was completely redesigned in 2011 so 2010 models can be a bargain but the years 2010 to 2013 all come highly recommended.

While not as fun to drive as some of the smaller models, the 5 Series is still a serious performer. The base model 528i has a 3.0L inline-6 that puts out 230 hp while the 535i puts a turbocharger on the engine and cranks the horsepower up to 300. The big boy 550i gets a 4.8-liter V8 and 360 hp. A six-speed manual is standard with an automatic being optional equipment.

The 5 Series is packed with safety features. Antilock disc brakes, stability control and front and rear side curtain airbags all come standard. An optional lane -departure warning system will alert the driver if the car veers out of its lane. A night vision system is also optional and displays hazards that are outside of the headlights range.

Depending on mileage and condition expect to pay between $8,000 and $15,000.

2008 BMW 7 Series

If you’re looking for a combination of luxury and great power, the 7 series may be the best used BMW for you. This is the top of the line when it comes to large luxury BMW sedans. Luckily for you, due to their high cost, they also depreciate the quickest, making the 2008 model year an affordable used BMW choice.


The 7 Series is loaded with power, the 750i and 750Li have a 4.8-liter V8 under the hood that puts out 360 horsepower. Bumping up to the 760i pushes the horsepower up to 438 with a 6.0-liter V12.

The 7 Series was not rated by the NHTSA or the IIHS, but as you would expect, it has plenty of standard safety features, including antilock disc brakes, front and rear parking sensors, stability control, front-seat side airbags, driver’s knee airbag, and a 4-year subscription to BMW Assist telematics.

Luxury abounds, with adaptive bi-xenon headlights, power moonroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, walnut wood trim, 18-inch wheels, 14-way power front seats, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker CD stereo coming as standard equipment.

Thanks to massive depreciation, you can pick up a used 7 Series for $9,000 to $15,000.

Final Tips for Used BMWs

The cost of driving a used luxury car doesn’t stop with the purchase price and it’s always a good idea to fully understand the additional costs. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a used BMW or other luxury car:

Cost of repairs – Luxury cars are filled with technology and complicated electronics, which can be expensive to fix. In addition, even routine maintenance on these types of vehicles tends to be more expensive. Consider the cost of regular upkeep on the car before buying it.

Cost of insurance – Despite the fact that the car has depreciated, it will still cost quite a bit to repair if you are in an accident, which is why insurance will be more expensive. Engine size also plays into insurance cost so if you are driving a 7 Series with a V12 expect to pay significantly more for insurance. Get an insurance quote on any luxury vehicle before purchasing it.

Fuel – A V12, and even the V8s will gulp fuel so be sure to take into account operating costs when shopping for a used luxury vehicle.

Depreciation – While you are benefiting from the massive depreciation that takes place with luxury vehicles, it won’t stop once you park it in your driveway. Remember that a used luxury vehicle will depreciate quicker than a normal sedan.

Article Originally published AutoWise by Chris Riley

When Is the Perfect Time to Check Your Cars Brake

When it comes to safety, making sure the brakes on your car are properly functioning is a must. Even just the feeling that your car’s brakes are not working like it normally does is already unnerving! But you do not have to go through unnecessary stress, knowing when is the right time to check your brake pads or have them replaced, will save you the trouble of ending up with bigger problems. 

Brakes pads are an essential part of a car’s vehicle brake system. You can find them between your brake shoes and brake drum. When the brake pads are no longer working properly it will wear down other elements of the brake system including the rotors, discs and calipers. Keeping brake pads in good condition is a must to avoid very expensive repairs and unsafe driving conditions. So knowing how to identify when to replace a car’s old brake pads is very important. But first, why do brake pads wear?

Brake calipers which looked like big, adjustable clamps squeeze your brake pads against the brake rotors causing the car to slow down and stop. When you press the brake pedal, it makes the calipers clamp down on the brake pads which compress the rotors thereby transferring the kinetic energy of the vehicle into thermal energy also known as heat by friction. The resulting friction is what cuts the speed and brings your car to a stop. Each time the pads rub against the rotors, they wear down little by little. You might have noticed some black dust on the wheels of some vehicles. This black dust is the residue from the material of the pad and steel rotor that has worn off. Brake pads are an important part of a vehicle’s disc-braking system and making sure they are working properly is a must for your safety.

Indications of Having Worn Out Brake Pads
You do not have to be an expert to know if you need a brake job. Disc brakes generally show a few clear signs that it is time for you to have them checked or replaced. 

Screeching Noise 

One of the first indications is when you hear a screeching noise or squeal when pressing the brakes. What you can hear is a sound produced by a thin metal strip in the pads. It is purposely embedded in your brake pads to let you know that they are worn to the point of needing replacements. You can easily hear it when the windows are up but it may be masked by surrounding sounds like loud music and other noises in the environment. Not all vehicles have this feature though so better check to see if yours does. It is called a “mechanical brake-wear sensor” or a brake scraper. When you are hearing it on a regular basis then it is time to bring your vehicle for an inspection. Rain or storm can expose your brakes to damp conditions. When this happens a thin layer of dust may form on the brake pads and cause a very similar squealing noise while braking. If the noise disappears after the first few times you engage your brakes then that’s a good sign that the culprit is just a bit of rust built up on the brake pad and you do not need to have your brake pads replaced. 

Less than ¼ INCH Brake Pad

You can also conduct a visual check up to see if your brake pads are in need of replacement. What you can do is to look through the tire spokes and you should be able to see your brake pad squeezed against your brake rotor. It should be at least a quarter of an inch thick (or 3 millimeters). If it is less than that, then consider bringing your car to a brake specialist especially when it has been a long time since the last inspection. Most likely it is time for their replacement. In case you cannot see the pad by looking through the tire spokes, you might need to jack up your car, then take off a front wheel and check for pad wear. Bolt the wheel back on, jack up the rear of your car then remove a rear wheel and inspect for a rear brake as well. You might need a flashlight or trouble light so you can see clearly in the dark fender wells. Since you already went into trouble checking some of the brakes, you might as well check all four brakes. 

Deeper Grinding or Scraping Noise 

If the noise you are hearing sounds like metal grinding or a rumbling growl, chances are your brake pads are already worn down to their metal backing plates and to the point that those plates are now being compressed directly against the steel brake discs. This is a very dangerous situation as it can reduce the vehicle’s stopping power significantly. Your brakes will not be able to slow your car adequately or even not at all if you ignore this issue for any period of time. This condition will also damage your brake discs and can lead to a complete brake system failure. So when you hear any grinding noises you have to check your brakes immediately. Bring your vehicle into a service shop to avoid bigger problems. 

  1. Indicator lights are on. Some cars have an indicator light on their dashboards that will tell the driver when it is time to replace the brake pads. Read your owner’s manual to know if your car has a low-pad warning system. Keep in mind that if the light does come on, you will need to have a mechanic replace both the light sensors and the brake pads. 

Other Signs of Brake Issues 
There are other indicators that tell you you are having brake trouble which don’t involve worn brake pads. When your brakes don’t stop immediately as they normally do, when the pedal feels spongy than firm, or slowly sinks toward the floor, you are probably having another issue. It could be that the brake fluid is contaminated with water or air. It can also be caused by a fluid leak in the system or even a malfunctioning brake master cylinder. If you have any of these problems, then see your trusted auto shop or dealer. 

Another issue is when your car pulls to one side during braking. The causes can be: uneven wearing of brakes, an issue with steering or front suspension which is unrelated to brakes, or a leak in one of the brake lines. When you feel a vibration in the brake pedal during normal braking, it is likely your rotors are warped and would need truing to smooth them out, and it might even need to be replaced. But if you are using the brakes harder because you are descending on a hilly road or driving aggressively, your brake’s performance might just go back to normal when the brakes cool. However, if the vibration continues then you will have to bring your vehicle to an auto shop to have it inspected. 

Some Brakes Can Wear Faster 
There are many factors that can contribute to the longevity of your brake system. In certain environments and driving styles, brakes may wear at a faster rate. It is expected that your brakes will wear quicker when you live in a hilly or mountainous area than those who live in flatlands. If you live wear-prone areas then you will want to check your brakes more often. 

Nothing is more important among all the components on your car than your brakes. Knowing what to look and listen for to make sure they are in good working condition is a must for every vehicle owner or driver. It is better to be proactive by doing routine maintenance as it can save you more money in the long run and most importantly, keep you safe. 

It might just be a simple pad replacement but it can evolve into a way more expensive and complex brake repair if you find the brake pads worn and let time pass by before addressing the issue right away. 

How Often Should Brake Pads Be Changed  
As mentioned previously, the frequency of changing your brake pads depends on the typical terrain your car is driving on, driving habits and even the type of vehicle. Overall, one good tip is to check the brake pad lining’s thickness every time you change oil. Most auto shops that do brakes will automatically check them when changing oil since they will look to sell additional services. But you can also do the checking yourself as indicated above. 

In general, you should replace your brake pads after driving at least 50,000 miles. But other drivers may have to replace their brake pads at 25,000 miles. But there are brake pads that can last up to 70,000 miles before needing replacement.

The lifespan of your brake pads also depends on the material of the lining. Soft brake-lining materials like organics are expected to wear down quicker and need to be replaced more often while metallics usually wear on the rotors more heavily. Linings that are made of ceramics are more recommended as they give the best of both worlds. They offer the best features of a soft-brake lining and a metallic lining but they are more expensive. 

Glazed Brake Pads   
Another thing to watch out for are glazed pads. These pads are caused by overheating and when pads become glazed they provide little friction to stop the brake rotors and cause danger. Fast-braking in an emergency or riding the brakes for a longer period of time can cause glazed pads. It is easy to notice as you will find the surface smooth to feel and is shiny or crystallized in appearance. You may also find your car’s stopping distance increase significantly. When your brake pads are glazed, you have to get them changed immediately regardless of their thickness. 



Brake Pad and Rotors Maintenance Tips  
To make sure your brakes are working 100 percent, maintaining your car’s brake pads and rotors is a must. Here is a list of maintenance tips you should do: 
  1. Check brake pads and rotors regularly in order to identify any issues and fix them right away. Taking care of your pads and rotors better also means less fixing and lower costs.
  2. Follow the mechanic’s advice to flush your brake fluid. It will help maintain the brake pads and rotors. Also, the flush functions like a tool that refreshes the vehicle’s braking system. Hence, it is a must to keep flushing your brake fluid when necessary.
  3. Replace the brake parts when needed. A braking system has several parts. Pads and rotors are just two of the many other components of a braking system. You must understand that brake parts should be replaced when they are used excessively and when they have worn down. To make sure you can maintain the brake pads and rotors, upgrading the parts of your brake system is a must.
  4. Overall care and maintenance of the braking system is a must. Having your brake system go through regular routine maintenance not only maintains your brake pads and rotors, but also other components of your braking system. Also, do not carry too much load as weight affects the longevity and performance of your car brakes. Too much weight brings more pressure to the brake system reducing its life. 
  5. Maintain a comfortable speed when driving. Driving carelessly and unnecessary speeding up can shorten the lifespan of your brake pads and the pressure exerted in speeding up a car can ultimately ruin the brakes.
  6. Avoid hurrying up to a stop. Many people are guilty of doing this and though it helps the car to stop, it is causing damage to the car and its braking system. This is particularly harmful to the pads and rotors. Using your brakes sensibly at all times will make them last longer.