Advice on buying a 1995 BMW series 5 for daughter?


Asked by Apr 27, 2012 at 03:45 PM about the 1995 BMW 5 Series 525i

Question type: General

Our daughter will be a college senior next year and we want to help her get a car for the next 12
months. We are in California; she is in the midwest. She would only drive the car locally (at her school).

A friend at her school as a 1995 BMW series 5 with 118,000 miles for sale. We are having it checked
out by a mechanic this week.

But, in the meantime, what advice, tips, or warnings do you have? The car would not get driven a lot.
But we want it to provide reliable and safe service for our daughter this summer, when she is working
on campus, and next year.


7 Answers


Make sure the mechanic checks the timing belts. Older cars won't necessarily be safer than newer cars just because of how technology has advanced but if your only looking at cars in that time frame this is one of the better. I wouldn't recommend getting a 540i if that's what it is. The maintenance would be incredible. As far as reliability a 525i would be key, a family friend had one well maintained and lasted over 300,000 miles.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thanks; it's a 525i. I'll have them check the belt.


I absolutely agree with Dan. The inline 6 is a far more dependable and reliable, not to mention affordable option. If it is an automatic, check the fluid! Actually, have it changed anyway as well as the brake fluid to be on the safe side, since it is most often neglected. Otherwise, the car is exceptionally safe, for it's age. Also, check out Bavaian Autosport, , for parts and maintenance suggestions to get you started.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

overhaul the cooling system. the 2.5 is a great engine but some had real big issues with the water pumps, radiators, and expansion tanks.


Thanks! I'm taking notes.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

118.000 miles is kinda nothing for a 525i. Belts are nice to check, but they're not essential for the car to work - the belts you see drive the servo steering, alternator, AC compressor - if they do happen to fail they won't damage anything. Plus, a visual inspection is enough - you see cracks, you change them. It's easy - I changed mine in the driveway and it took half an hour. More important: check for leaks of any kind - oil, coolant, anything at all - it might prove costly to fix in the long run (however: don't worry if the servo steering reservoir is dirty and appears leaky - it's normal behavior for older beemers, not an issue, just messy). Check for oil leaks in the spark plug sockets - take out the induction coil, take out the spark plug and see if there's any oil there - all top gaskets must be replaced to solve this issue. Check the AC system - all of it. Check for rust - sort it out early to avoid further damage. Other than that, it's a great car. I'm sure she'll enjoy it very much.


Little late on the input but, the front end might have some issues, e34 might need suspension bits replaced about now (bearings, bushing, control arms, etc.) take a test drive and be aware of ANY sort of vibrations you feel in the steering wheel. Since it's for your daughter I supposed an auto's ok but if you were considering buying this for yourself, the difference between an auto and 5spd in these cars is night and day. Powerband doesn't even start until about 3500 and an auto trans will shift before then whereas the 5spd allows you to control that and is WAY more fun

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