A Man Bought a Cheap BMW Sedan for $17K and Learned a Hard $15,000 Lesson

Article Highlights:

  • Man buys high-mileage luxury car, pays luxury car prices for repair
  • Getting a pre-purchase inspection can save you from getting burned
  • Paying big money for high-mile cars often has some pitfalls

“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” Well, someone was selling John Pierce a 2012 BMW 550i xDrive. And he needed the used car badly. So, he bought himself a used luxury sedan. Unfortunately for John, the first part of that iconic quote kicked over the following days and weeks. Mr. Pierce learned a hard lesson, and here’s what you can do to avoid being taught the same lesson in your BMW sedan.

One man’s cheap BMW sedan cost him $15k in repairs

Two men work on a BMW sedan in a shop
Working on a busted Beamer | Matt Cardy via Getty Images

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According to NJ.com, Pierce needed that Beamer sedan because he hit a deer while out with his son, totaling their Mercedes. Clearly having a penchant for used German (BMW) sedans, Pierce came across the BMW in question and bought it for $16,995 just about as soon as he could. Pierce said he did so on account of inventory shortages. NJ.com said the new Beamer sedan came with 30-day limited warranty coverage on the engine, transmission, and xDrive system.

Things go south from here. What was initially a good deal turned into a maintenance nightmare for Pierce. “In all, the car was in a repair center and out of service for 22 of the first 27 days of full ownership.” A persistent oil leak (fixed free thanks to a class-action suit), torn axle boots, radiator leaks, bald tires, a cracked wheel, and a driveshaft flex joint disk totaled around $15,000 in repairs, per Pierce.

Should you get a pre-purchase inspection?

A BMW dealership sign
A BMW dealer in Berlin | Reynaldo Paganelli via Getty Images

So what went wrong? Well, Pierce has gone back and forth with Baker Jeep (the dealer in question) who claims that they are not liable for any of the issues on Baker’s BMW. He’s filed complaints with the BBB (who closed the case) and taken to media outlets. The dealership put it best. Pierce “drove a long way to buy a low-priced, high-mileage luxury car from a Jeep dealer. It’s like buying a lobster dinner at a diner.” Not the most reliable BMW by any means.

In short, Pierce, in large part, got burned so badly because he did not (per NJ.com) do any legwork prior to buying the car. No pre-purchase inspection was made, and it cost him. Had any mechanic with two working eyes spent a few moments under that BMW 550i, they would’ve spotted something. Unfortunately for Pierce, they didn’t and he learned a hard lesson because of it. The lesson here is simple: a pre-purchase inspection is an absolute must.

How much should a used BMW sedan cost?

A BMW 550i sedan shot in a field
Your typical 5 Series should not need $15k in repairs | Tim Graham via Getty Images

As for the warranty, well, many of those parts are considered “driveline parts.” They’re things that should’ve been covered under the warranty of the xDrive system. But had Pierce taken the time to get a pre-purchase inspection, he’d have likely bought something else. It’s a cautionary tale, to say the least.

On average, a BMW sedan of similar year and model should cost about $25,000. Obviously, that should’ve raised some flags. Hopefully, you’re able to catch something like this before you end up fighting a dealer with an empty wallet.

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