Woodspiral

3 Series Touring Buying Advice

Recommended Posts

Hi,

Looking to buy a 3 series Touring and would appreciate any advice people can offer. There's a myriad of specs and just basically need to know what to look for, what to avoid.  I'm focusing on the 3 touring because it's listed by Which as being a great car and also BMW has 5 stars for short and long term reliability.  Is that people's experience? I'm looking for an affordable secondhand car that's reliable and cheap-ish to run.  The estate seems quite useful as I sometimes carry a full load, and will get a tow hitch attached for a bike rack.  

My budget is around £5000 although could stretch a bit further if it made a huge difference. One model that seems to be about right is this one in Ashford;

https://germanperformance.co.uk/vehicle/name/bmw-3-series-318d-exclusive-edition-touring/

It's got high mileage, but if the 5 star reliability is believable then it should go on for another 100k with proper maintenance?  Some on sale from that year(2012) have done 200k+. 

Combined fuel economy is 62mpg but HonestJohn has figures of more like 52/53. Is that about right?

Appreciate any advice!

Thanks!

Woody

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Hi Woody....welcome to the Forum

It looks a great car and as you say, lower mileage than most.

Like any car, it depends on how its been treated as to how long it will go on for and how much trouble it will give you en-route.

I would advise checking all service history and also get a proper inspection carried out on it prior to signing on the line.

Otherswise it looks like a great car

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thanks, Trevor.  That's a vote of confidence and good generic advice.

I've realised if I stretch to 7.5-8k I could get a 5 series touring model. More luxurious and more toys but Which rates it lower and says "3-8 year reliability is poor". That's a shame, if true, since the 5 looks a lot sharper than the 3.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Morning David

BMW like most manufacturers have had at some time had "batch" issues with timing chains on the small diesel engines there was quite a bit of chatter about it on the internet. How you identify it can't remember but there is a way to protect yourself if the car is in good mechanical condition and has a full history take out a Warranty. The car your looking at looks great and that is normally an indication it has been given some love. As Trevor says History is important also check if there are any recalls outstanding.

If you go for a 5 series and you can stretch the budget I would go for a 3.0d my brother inlaw has one which he uses to commute to Holland on a regular basis his is now in excess of 300k mechanically he has had no issues apart from a turbo at about 200k. He has had faults but most of them electrical and we have resolved without expensive Main Dealer intervention.

So with good maintenance and a logical approach to issues (all cars all marques have them) I hope you find the right one for you

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Greydog, thanks for the detailed advice!

Yeah, I figured the 'bad batch' type of thing affected the Which review.  I actually found another review by Which on their site for the 5-series as a whole which contradicts the 5-series Touring review and says that the long term 3-8 years reliability is very good!  At this point I began to get suspicious of these particular results in the review since one always wonders firstly how widespread they were in their scope (i.e just how many drivers they polled at that time) and secondly the bad batch factor.  Trying to form cast iron metrics about any part of the motor industry is quite hard work I think and subject to annual fluctuations, bias, subjectivity etc etc.  For these reasons I was more inclined to go with their general recommendation that BMW was one of the top manufacturers for reliability.  I was still very grateful to Which though actually, as I would never had looked at BMW as I may have thought that they were too expensive to own and run.  Well, ask me that again in a year because today...

...I took the plunge and bought an absolutely gorgeous 520d SE Touring machine!  I had to pay 3k more than my original budget but I'm so glad I did because driving it back home tonight was a very happy experience indeed.  It really lacks for nothing in my opinion and for a shade under 8k it's a huge amount a car.  It's obviously been extremely well looked after and the services and MOTs seem to all be in order.  I'll be getting a tow hitch fitted soon, so I'll take that opportunity to ask the engineers to give it a quick once over and check for any missing recalls.  I didn't have time to organise a vehicle check prior to purchase as it was on at a very reasonable price and the dealer had had a lot of interest in it. Had I not bought it today, I would have lost the opportunity I think.  

There are a few oddities which I need to get used to.  One is that the turn indicator on the satnav is under the binnacle dials, which is nice if you are driving straight, but I was stationary one time with the steering wheel rotated ready to pull off at a roundabout and couldn't see the indication because the arms of the steering wheel were obscuring the view.  Perhaps the turn instructions can be configured to appear on the main screen as well?  Another oddity is that when breaking the car judders a little more than I would expect, like the breaks are being applied too aggresively - perhaps that is my fault on the pedal?  Perhaps the break pads are very new?  Perhaps there is an issue with the breaks/suspension.  The dealer said he would fix anything that came up in the first three months, so now is the time to get these things ironed out.

It's an unknown beast to me, that I need to get to know.  The computer side of it seems to be the most daunting.  Couldn't even work out how to switch the screen off without locking the car!  So many puzzles, I will need to spend time to read the manual.  But it drives like a beast!  For me the 3.0 would have been a bit overkill - I'm a fairly sedate driver TBH.  3.0's consumption is a bit higher and the insurance group is a bit higher.  If I was a German salesman hammering my way down from one end of their country to the other on autobahns burning company fuel then I'd want a 3.0 but as it is my 4 cyclinder twin turbo 2.0 seems to be adequate enough, with sport mode to the rescue if I need to do some serious accelerating.  For the foreseeable I'm not planning on towing anything too heavy, just a bike rack, so I think it can cope with anything I throw at it :-)

I'll get some photos together and post them onto the other intro forum.

Thanks again,

Woody.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yahoo Welcome to the BMW family Woody

For your own peace of mind have a look at https://check-mot.service.gov.uk put your reg number in the search box and you can scroll through your cars history, you will also see a search box for checking recalls. If you are a man who likes to understand his car then here are a couple of sites that will help www.realoem.com this is a BMW Parts List site as used by dealers and Factors to ensure you get the correct parts. Put the last 7 digits of your Vin in the search box and it will bring up your model. Also www.newtis.info a BMW Technical Information sight as used by Dealers.

With your brake judder there are a few possible causes (1) New Discs were fitted and someone has been the "last of the late braking champs" so overheated and warped them new discs and pads normally need around 500 miles of gentle use to bed in (2) Check for odd tyre wear at the front (3) Last and most likely in my opinion are the front suspension bushes often the first sign of wear is shake/vibration as you slow down. 

The Idrive computer is a mystery to many BMW owners (me included) my brother inlaw uses Google and Youtube there are just to many functions you can access plus hidden menus !!! I remember in the 1980's buying a VHS machine, the remote had more buttons and functions than the space shuttle and the salesman proudly proclaimed that it had a 30 day timer allowing you to record whole series over a month. My wife asked if they had one with 3 buttons On Off and Record!! some tomes the techies out there forget that just because the micro chip has loads of extra capacity you don't have to use it. 

Enjoy your new Beemer 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much Greydog!

The checkmot site has revealed that there is an outstanding safety recall.  I will follow up with the dealer to get that sorted.  It shows that it has passed all the MOTs which is great news, but the last one has an advisory of wear to near legal limit on nearside front. I am wondering why just one would be worn, that seems a little unusual.  It fits with your reason (2) for the brake judder, although TBH that was 93k and the vehicle is now nearly at 99k, and the previous owner may have replaced the tyres.  I didn't spot any issues when I did the walk around and from the photos it looked ok too.  It's something I should have asked when buying; that's my inexperience of buying cars showing through, but at least that is easy to sort out.  I'll go and check in a bit and see if I can gauge the condition of the tyres myself. Wear to the  legal limit should be easy to spot with the coin test. 

On the judder I'm not sure if (2) would be responsible since it doesn't happen all the time.  I feels more like a mechanical thing.  If it's (3) as you think most likely then that is something I can ask BMW to check when doing the safety recall.  Just possible the recall is related to the judder I suppose.

Yes, the iDrive is certainly complicated.  I got the hang of the bare basics I think; I paired my phone, I used the sat nav to get me home, found the manual and the car status. There's a host of other things in there which need looking at like the multimedia stuff.  A bit of a learning curve.  Learning how to switch it off after driving when stationary would be a good step 🙂

I need to research towbar options - I had a quick look last night and there seems to be a few companies who offer them at reasonable prices.  I'll create a separate post if I have further questions.

Once again thanks for your great advice - I will save the links you mentioned into the wonderful OneNote application (best note taking app+application on the planet!)

It's grey and wet here in 'sunny' Bedfordshire so photography will have to wait, let's hope the sun comes out tomorrow.

Best wishes,
David.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Morning David

Glad you found the sites useful, with regard to odd tyre wear that showed up at MOT out side edge tyre wear can be a result of worn suspension bushes or wrongly inflated tyres. There is another cause that's not unusual sadly when you look at the state of our roads there is a stretch of "A" road near me that is like a ploughed field because of all the pot holes that have been badly repaired. At my last MOT I needed 3 out of 4 tyre replaced (so that was a full set) due to side wall damage all inside edge due to damn potholes through the winter. A friend with a Toureg who hit a water filled really deep one actually suffered chassis damage that meant it was impossibly to track the vehicle correctly it was found by a really switched on tyre fitter at his 3 rd attempt to track the car, it needed a specialist body shop to put it right. 

Dave

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dave,

After inspection found out that all my tyres are brand new.  I think the dealer my have fitted them. We all hate potholes but I read in the paper yesterday of trials of graphene-infused tarmac which will improve matters. Obviously it will take time to roll out across the UK, and lets hope all counties adopt it.  Beds defintely worse than Cambs for example - quality of roads changes when you cross the county line. Something to do with budgets, no doubt.

The dealer checked the outstanding safety recall with BMW and it was for potential exhaust recirculation but was actually fixed so it seems like a paperwork error.  I will follow up in a couple of weeks to make sure it has been cleared off the MOT system.

Another issue came to light (in addition to the very occasional brake judder/worn bush one) in that the key fob can unlock the door without any hand contact, particularly if I approach the car from the passenger side, along with repeated clicking for about 10 seconds.  This seems to be a well documented problem with a cause of faulty door handles so thats another reason for a trip back to the mechanics which has been arranged.

These are small faults for what is a beautiful car which is a joy to drive. I will get around to posting some photos eventually!

Best wishes,

Woody.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Morning Woody

Sounds like your getting there, as I said my brother inlaws has been (still is) awsome I checked with him he is now on 330k. Faults have been mainly electrical and either earth related or in one instance a component change.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Greydog,

Yeah I'm sure once these teething issues are ironed out it'll be plain sailing!  I just ordered a Witter towbar install.  I could have tried it myself but couldn't bear the thought of breaking or scratching something! I'm quite handy but cars can be very fiddly and specialist to work on. 

I need some advice for a dashcam choice and install - will post another topic for that.

Thanks,

Woody

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...