Does a 2001 BMW for $5400 with 150,000 miles seem like a sound purchase for a 17 yr old as a first car purchase/ownership?


Asked by Jul 21, 2013 at 11:41 PM about the 2001 BMW 3 Series 330Ci Coupe RWD

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

My son is interested in buying a 2001 BMW from a private party, never met before this
time. 2001 BMW 330 ci series, has 150,000 miles.  Asking $5400.  First the guy tells
him he has 4 other offers so my son has to decide quickly. But he wants to sell it to
my son because he too was a young man buying his first car and so he has desire to
help my son out. My son scrambles to figure out how to get money.  In mean time,
the guy tells my son he has a buyer that will give him $6800 in two days.  Now, one
day later, on a Sunday mind you, miraculously that buyer has backed out. so the guy
called my son back.  I have many questions!
1. Does this sound like an honest guy?
2. is a used BMW with 150k mi. a wise purchase for a first time, teenager with a part
time job?

21 Answers


The Seller sounds VERY shady (like your WORST nightmare Used Car Salesman). Whoever offered him $6800 (if that's even true) probably saw that the car wasn't worth that and backed off. Also, it's a 12 year old car with high miles + an expensive to repair German car = Horrible 1st car choice for a 17 year old. YOU will get stuck paying for the monstrous repair bills. PLEASE avoid this Seller AND this car!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Thanks for the speedy reply! My son asks me to back him on the loan at the last minute and I'm doing my best to do research on a weekend and to be a supportive parent. You have expressed my thoughts to a tee. I will share with my son. BTW, this guy told my son at first that he was selling because they are having a baby and need to sell. I have come across that same comment two other used car sellers in the recent past. Is that some kind of a line that is supposed to touch a buyers sentiments?? or just a coincidence? if you don't mind my asking more.... thanks!


Do you and your son a favor--Go to the Toyota Dealership on a SUNDAY afternoon-Go look on the Podium and find out which salesman has not had a good week. Ask for him or her only! Before you go--do your homework and find out what the reasonable going price is for a 4 cylinder, 1/2 ton pickup, stick shift. The truck will not need to be touched for a very long period AND they hold their re-sale value. Pay close attention to the finance charges--if you are Military retired or belong to a Credit Union you may get a better rate there IF you choose to finance it. Also, your son can get odd jobs cleaning out peoples Garages or Attics--AND--sometimes there are real Treasures to be had!!

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

HILFC...I've seen a ton of car listings from Private Party Sellers that say "Love the car, but gotta sell because a baby is on the we have to buy a minivan"...This MAY be true in some cases, but I think it's largely BS. My advice to you is for you to make the choice on the car, NOT your 17 year old son. I know you want to be supportive and that you want your son to be happy with the car. However, at his age he can't afford repairs on a German car (Unless you're an uber rich stockbroker, in which case, disregard that..LOL!) and I'm sure you don't want calls from him in the middle of the night that his car broke down and needs your help! Do yourself and your son a HUGE favor, find a used and reliable Toyota, Honda, Mazda, or Nissan (A used Mazda 3 is sporty looking and reliable, for example). Avoid sportscars (i.e. Vette or 300ZX) or any car with too much horsepower...remember he's 17 and as such, not an experienced driver.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Thanks for the good recommendation! I have to laugh, I just bought a second car because I travel between to homes: got a 1996 Toyota Camry on the recommendation of nearly every person i spoke to! so far so good. Anyway, thanks again. Oh and i had forgotten to mention, my son is working part time at a sandwhich shop since April. First job ever applied for, got it on the first interview and was working within 4 days. He has good character. And he loves the job! Already getting a raise! That's why he thinks he will be able to afford this BMW's upkeep. Narrow sited, but his heart is in the right place. So much to learn! thanks again!


BTW, that "thanks" can be to both 55charlie8 and racer x!!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Glad to be of help! It sounds like your son has a good head on his shoulders, but what fun would it be to dump all of his $$ into BMW repairs and NOT have ANY money to take his GF to the movies or to dinner? Best of luck to you both on making a sound car buying decision...A used Camry would actually be 1000X better for him than the BMW, in my honest opinion :)

2 of 2 people found this helpful.


1 of 1 people found this helpful.

i gotta laugh- I just bought a 1996 Camry as a second car! Was wondering how odd that would be if my son bought a Beamer! (do they still call them that or did I just date myself?) At least I see that CarGurus are all on the same page. Each of you have hit on many of the same comments I have relayed to my son. In response to having money to spend on things other than his car, his reply was to save on gas he will put it in neutral and coast down hills. Gotta hand it to him, he is creative. I think he remembers when I tried to use less gas by coasting as much as possible, though not in neutral! We live in a hilly low populated area so it was not a bad idea, kinda fun actually. But when I figured out my savings, it wasn't worth the effort. He was a little kid, guess he was paying attention!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Hey HILFC...Yes, they still call them Beamers or Bimmers (I call them overpriced, expensive to repair money pits for people with deep pockets and big egos). I'm not implying your son has a big ego, by the way. I love the way some of them look and they have powerful engines...and I definitely appreciate power in a car (although I don't currently own a megafast car...yet...LOL!). It sounds like you are going to be able to talk your son OUT of the BMW...That's good since reliable transportation with low repair costs is what a 17 year kid should want...hard to make it to that sandwich shop with a broke down Beamer! LOL! Let us know what you/he ultimately get!

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Okay, thanks to you and all! The car buying matter is on hold for the time being. Will be in touch as more, sure to be interesting developments arise. Teens are fun!! Nice to have a network of objective views to refer to for both me and my son!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

i will look into the leasing idea. good thinking! My goal is to not make him suffer too much social humiliation.... haha. the good news is he has gone back to a more conservative car search. It was fun to dream so despite the slim pickins' in our relatively small area, back here on earth there is a 2001 Honda Civic EX 104,000 in one notch below excellent condition. Car has been well cared for and some cool add-ads. Water pump, timing belt, A/C compressor replaced. Selling for 5,000, my son has offered 4700 and has the guys attention. BTW nothing worth it in our area with less than 100,000 miles for under $5,000. Advice?

I've always wanted to drive a scion with their ad showing tighter and tighter turning circles...tiny, gets in and around easy...would definitely lease a scion you wouldn't have to worry so much about front end collisions if it were in the budget~

I mean sure you could stick him in a jalopy (like the one I learned on), but why not lease NEW...I always wanted a new car and what better way to teach discipline....having to keep it clean...etc~

1 of 1 people found this helpful. ----a decommisioned police car is around 5-6 thousand dollars~

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

he'd definitely carry some presence then...fellow motorists would slow down for him...~

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

got to hand it to you, you are a creative thinker! thanks for lightening up the mood!

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Wish that keeping me from "social humiliation" was top of mind when my parents got me a car as a college graduation present...But they are very old school AND have always been ultra-thrifty. Which is why I ended up with a odd looking 1980 Datsun B-210 hatchback in 1987. Having a car at 17 wasn't even close to being an option for me. Times most certainly have be brutally honest, I REALLY think that a safe and reliable car should be the deciding factor and something that he can "style and profile" in be a lesser consideration. I say forget the leasing idea (He can lease his OWN car when he gets older, graduates from college, gets a job, etc). You're on the right track with the used Civic...could get something a little nicer looking in a used Toyota Celica or maybe a used Nissan 240SX? I would say a used Volvo S40 or S60, but they are pricey used, even with well over 100k miles.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

REX. I loved the Japanese "toy cars" a '73 Celica was the first car I bought on my own...the "honey bee" was a fun little Japanese "space age" cruiser....don't remember, I think these had the F-series clutches that could be changed right out front the engine~ at any rate they certainly had tiny engines~

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Search is over! He got the civic. he loves it! I'm pleased with his choice also. Thanks again to all the CarGurus for your helpful answers and input. Until next time, Aloha!

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Whew!! I was a little worried there for a minute, but as ANY good parent does, you stepped up to the plate and helped to influence him to make the right choice! Hope the Civic runs for another 100k miles ..somehow I think for as long as he needs it to! :) I love happy endings!!

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

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