Purchased a Lemon - 2004 BMW

My daughters partner purchased a second hand 2004 BMW in December from a car yard for $9000.

Problems started within 3 months and it’s been on going. He finally got them to agree on warranty cover that he paid $1000 extra for. They were 3 major oil leaks. They occurred a couple of weeks later along with something else (can’t remember what). They paid the oil leaks even though they said they weren’t covered as the other issue was covered so they fixed both however this was at a mechanics of their choice, not of his choice and it took weeks. Apparently They admitted in email that there were issues with the car when it was sold.

Now the electrics have gone. Another phone call made and they will cover as it’s included in the warranty.

However the problems have been one after the other. They clearly sold a dodgy car and he just waits for the next issue, which is completely unacceptable. The whole circle of waiting days to see if they’ll cover and then getting it fixed which also takes ages and the cost of hiring a car or Uber’s…

Is there anything he can do?

Any advice appreciated.


    • +2

      Depends on the car. 10k on a 2006 lexus IS250 and that thing will still run forever

      • Mine shit itself after 10 years.

        • That's bad luck. What happened to it? It's toyota parts so it's usually cheap to repair

  • +4

    Your daughter's partner just learnt a $9000 lesson. Best not to repeat.

    • Yes I agree.

      • Can he not sell it back to yard at possibly a discount as they are anyhow fixing the issues??

  • +4

    Partner is probably the type of person to spend their pay check on avocados

    • +4

      Smashed avocados! … Someone who drives a euro car doesn't touch whole avo's

    • Lemons are more expensive…

    • +1

      You're obviously not up to date with Avo prices.

      Tomatoes are now the luxury preventing home ownership.

    • +2

      Avocados are actually cheap atm - $1 each!

  • +8

    Paid $9k for an old BMW plus $1k for a warranty? Somebody saw him coming.

    He will need to read the fine print in the warranty (an insurance policy really). Get current problems fixed and sell it.

    The only person who should be buying a second hand BMW is someone who plans to do almost all repair work themself and know that if anything goes wrong it gonna cost big $ in parts.

  • +3

    $9000 for 2004 car ?

    • +2

      covid tax is real, my parents have an e46 and I had a look a couple of months ago and that was the cheaper end

      The only problem they have had is the sun roof had some issues but they never use it, they replaced a couple of coil packs and there was a rear door trim issue but thats about it. They have owned it for about 15 years

      • I have heard good stories about e36 and e46 that those don't need much maintenance like newer BMW. Is it true?

        • +2

          Despite the stereotypes here, E36 are reliable, more than local cars of that era, but the plastics, grommet, seals, hoses etc in a car that old will be brittle and falling apart.

          Unless you find one always garaged and owned by an enthusiast who maintained it, it is not worth looking at anymore.

  • +2

    Feel sorry - hope it works out.

    For me - I will sell and move on.

    • how much sell for?

    • +1

      Thank you for your kind words, that’s an issue though isn’t it…who would you sell the car too.

      Maybe trade it back to the car yard who saw him coming….for a newer more reliable car ?

      • The easiest way is to trade the BMW into the car dealership for another car. Hopefully, a newer Japanese/Korean model which has passed inspection (and given some sort of warranty for the engine, etc), usually free of charge for 3-6mths.

        I suggest that you approach a reputable dealership where you intend to buy your next car (eg. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia).

        Please don't go back to the place where you bought the BMW from - I don't think there are trustworthy - having already sold you a bad condition BMW, go somewhere else like a big brand dealership. Unfortunately, I think the BMW will not fetch a good price - so there will be some financial loss, sorry about that.

        Best wishes and hope it works out ok.

  • +2

    2004 BMW in December from a car yard for $9000.

    Three red flags and they managed to miss them all completely? Wow, with such great decision making, I am sure your daughter's partner will make an excellent husband.
    I would say get rid of the BMW as soon as possible in any way that is the most practicable for you and just make them buy a Toyota, either a Corolla or a Camry.

    • -1

      Because you are or have the perfect husband…… 🙄

  • 2004 BMW for $9000.

    This surely has to be a typo.

    EDIT: just had a look on carsales. I'm amazed but that isn't out of the ball park.

  • 2nd hand cars. Not sure of the history on this one. If they have too many owners it might be a problem. Sit on the yard for too long, might indicate a problem (someone must have done mechanical checks and walked away).

  • It sounds like the issues started 3 months after purchase and THEN he's paid them another $1000 to fix the pre-existing issues. This I'd say has made the problem worse. How long is the dealer warranty?

    If you've got an email admitting known issues that were undisclosed until after sale, maybe try contacting fair trading to see what they say:


    • Thank you. He purchased the warranty at point of sale.
      I’ll pass this comment on

  • +1

    The 1 series was well known for oil leaks and issues, a couple of googles would have got to the bottom of this.
    Let alone buying a 17 year old car for $9000?!?!
    The salesman took you to the covid tax cleaners unfortunately.

    Yes push for the warranty as far as possible, but unfortunately it's a euro turd.

    • Let alone buying a 17 year old car for $9000?!?!

      Standard price since covid for used puss boxes - thats what they are going for recently eh :(

      • +2

        I literally was eyeing one of these off about 8 years ago when i didn't know better and the secondhand dealer actively tore me away from it.

        I think a 2007 was running about $8,000 back then. He said he couldn't live with me driving away in one knowing i'd be in and out of the mechanics with oil leaks and electrical problems.

        Pushed me onto a Kia and quite frankly it's the best decision i ever made.
        Even if i still do want a Eurotrashwagon.

        • At least you understand that he clearly didn’t know better. 🙏
          Some of these comments are not warranted.

          • +4

            @Frangipani: To be fair, at 26 years old, he is not a kid. When you are spending that sort of money, it takes only a couple of minutes to type "BMW 118i problems" into Google, where you are met with page upon page upon page of problems.

    • I feel it could be the series 1…..I don’t know, but yes he was clearly taken to the cleaners. I think his father was helping him….so that probably pacified him.

  • +2

    For HOW MUCH??? Jeesus. That dealer saw you your daughter's boyfriend's uncle's neighbor's best friend's grandfather's nephew coming…

    Is there anything he can do?

    Yeah, hand in their OzBargain license.

  • +2

    Man the comments are on fire 🤣 what a great read !! kids these days buying badges to look cool should of just got a 2010-12 Lancer and still had change over, big lesson learned never buy from a dealer and never buy the warranty and just buy second hand

    • +2

      Yes he’s a kid that clearly wanted to look cool. Lesson learned and now needs to know what to do.

      Most of these on fire comments are not helpful. I don’t know why I thought posting in here would be helpful.

      • Hey i did exactly the same when I was 19 got a 35k 2006 WRX and my god the servicing and expenses that came with it 😂 as others have said either take the hit and trade it or sell it and just move on

  • +19

    He spend $9k on a 17yr old BMW??

    Is there anything he can do??

    More like is there anything you or your daughter can do BEFORE HE BECOMES YOUR SON IN LAW

  • +4

    purchased a 2nd hand 2004 BMW

    "it was a lemon"

    WOW! what a surprise.

    It would have been a bigger surprise if it wasnt a lemon

  • +15

    I look at this positively. The life lesson here about old BMWs / euro vehicles has been learned and the daughters partner won't be buying another one. If they are lucky they might be able to get some money back on it.

    My life lesson that I have learned is that you can't tell people these things… they have to experience them for themselves. No matter how much you tell folk to buy old Toyotas etc they are always going to go with the heart on the older more stylish euro until they have learned this lesson themselves.

    • +1

      I like your c’est la vie take on the situation

      Have a +1

    • What's he want for it?

    • The first decent comment I’ve read in this thread.
      I’m afraid you are right. 🙏

      • Welcome to ozbargain! Whenever it comes to road fine, car accidents, lack of car's insurance, European cars, you will receive toxic or mocking comments by default.

    • +1 especially with my sis that got a Astra TS didnt listen to the warning about Euro cars but Im the poor bugger that keeps on fixing it with great pain :P its reaching 21 years of age and the powersteering was shot years ago so I guess she doesnt need to visit a gym for pumping up the arms.

    • Yup, we've been through that in my family….

    • Yeah, solid advice. That way I get to enjoy older euro cars for peanuts, thanks to all those who are scared.

  • +5

    Nuke it from orbit. It is the only way to be sure.

  • +2

    It’s actually pretty good that they are fixing things as they break tbh

  • Got to wonder what the pervious car was.

  • +8

    2004 Euro?
    Should have gotten a Honda Accord Euro

  • +1

    2004 BMW.. gg
    burn it with fire, burn it before it lays eggs

  • +2

    Would recommend YouTube to look for maintenance advice. Quick search pulled up a video related to E60, e61 etc common electrical faults link One of the best things you can buy is a scan tool. Might need a BMW specific one. This let's you find faults just by plugging it in. There's other videos on how to do oil changes + clear codes without paying $200-$300+ for a BMW oil change.

    • +1

      This is good advice for anyone who has an old car - research the common faults and issues…. Or find a specialist mechanic who knows the model inside out.

    • All this, but I would still be asking them to fix these issues, AFAIC they should be having some relatively trouble free driving, and even parts that were close to worn out should have been replaced eg brake pads if they were low and any due servicing. This is the only advantage of buying from a dealer. Hold them accountable to the electrical issues but it also pays to do some basic investigation so you can try to minimise being taken for a further ride

      • +2

        You may want to look up what sort of stat warranty is given on old cars.

    • Thank you, that’s helpful, I’ll pass this on. 🙏

  • -1

    Best to just sell it, those old BMW/Merc's are bombs that people half assed fix for flipping

  • +1

    Could have been worse - he could have purchased a French or Italian brand ;)

  • Was it an e90 BMW? They're notorious for oil leaks and electrical gremlins.

  • +2

    17 year old car from a brand that is known to be troublesome in older cars. You didn't get a lemon you got the standard costs for car well past its sell by date. just sell it and cut your loses.

  • +3

    Mate, most of the guys have covered it above.

    Across the companies that I work, we have fleets of jap cars and some euro exec cars.

    The exec euro cars are discarded after 3 years, sometimes 5 if there's a 5 year warranty and they are in and out of the mechanics a ratio of 10:1.

    We have this joke with the mechanics, BMWs have big protective pans underneath the car to literally catch the oil.

    I have two BMWs in my garage, each with slow oil leaks from the hoses, luckily the pans catch the small drips. The X5 with a brand new battery resets the time every 3 startups, the lcd screen backlight won't work sometimes and you have to restart the car 3 times, the rear view came doesn't work sometimes, the cd drive never worked on and on and on.

    The problem here isn't the dealer, they did the honourable thing by even honouring the warranty on them. The problem is buying a super old BMW.

    Go buy a corolla.

    • Problem is who would you sell this too ?

  • -3

    Troll post?

    • +4

      Why would you say that ?
      Just another unhelpful post, thanks very much.
      I read Oz bargain every day, rarely post.
      Feel free to do a search, you may find something 🙄
      Won’t be posting again though, that’s for sure.

      • +1

        Well. There are some posts not well received on ozb and better off asking for opinion on whirlpool on ocau. No offence and not directed at you. Merely personal observation on ozb.

        - need advice, purchased a lemon - used european car
        - deal - $1500 rtx 3070
        - is MG/Haval a good car to buy
        - need advice, car crash without insurance purchased
        - need advice, what's the cheapst amg car to maintain and costs under $30k

        The list goes on and maybe others can add to the list.

  • +1

    When I was younger I used to have the upkeep of a Euro model. I realised she was costing me way too much with all her high maintenance needs and expense so I dumped her. Never again. Same with old euro cars.

    • What about your car though?

    • That’s the thing…he is young.
      Yes he’s learnt his lesson…I hope. But what to do is the issue now.

    • The model wear skirt?

  • To be fair older Toyota Landcruisers are asking much more


    9k isn't much in covid

    • Toyota's have a reputation for reliability and cheap easily available parts, hence old toyota's have value, an old BMW is a money pit where the purchase cost does not reflect the true cost.

    • And thats an LC80 - the best of the lot.

    • Not much in covid…..yes sadly this is true.

      • some months ago, i sold a 2017 Jazz for $13k with 35000km on the clock - could have asked for $14k (2nd verbal offer over the phone on the same day as the first that I have agreed to 13k), but sold at the agreed price anyway. Suspect $10k can get a relatively low mileage 2015 model. So, depends on car, but $10k is not not much.

  • They are called luxury cars for a reason and not for plebs

  • A 16yo car cannot be a lemon

  • -2

    2004 BMW, omg.

    It's mid 2021, don't buy an EU car that older than 2018.

  • It just occurred to me that BMW is also the preferred car for majority of criminals.

  • +2

    I'm not entirely sure the dealership is to blame here. If all the electrics went under their ownership, there's no way it would take 7 months to show itself.
    As for oil leaks, the car was manufactured in 2004, just about every car (that hasn't had work done) will be leaking by now and you should have seen evidence of this at the point of purchase.

    Just because it's had a wear and tear fault and an electrical issue doesn't mean it's going to be unreliable forever.
    And lastly in respect to the dealership, they've fixed absolutely everything so far even though they really didn't have to (especially the oil leaks). Your daughter's partner is doing surprisingly well in all this and should consider himself lucky, not the victim of a dodgy dealership.. Most would have told him to stick it by now.

    • +1

      Many of my mates with the same model Japanese car as me have over 200,000km with no leaking oil. One has a dodgy bolt-on supercharger and the engine is still alive. How common are oil leaks on old cars because I don't see it?

    • Agree with your general sentiment but what makes you say the dealer didn't have to? Used car dealerships have responsibilities to customers, they just don't generally fulfil them. In this case he even bought the additional warranty for 1k, they absolutely should have fixed the oil leaks esp if they were pre-existing, and even if they weren't it would have been because gaskets and seals weren't changed on time. That again is the dealers fault if they are adding a retail price to the car and a paid for extra warranty.

      He should try for a fix with the dealer on the electrical issue but if they don't come good I don't know how his options will be, will need to read the fine print of the warranty

      • Thank you and yes these were our thoughts.
        He contacted them yesterday and I think they are going to fix the electrical issue….however as I originally said, he’s now wondering how many more things will go wrong and then what to do about getting rid of it.

        I’m wondering if the sensible thing to do is trade it back to the dealers for a newer more reliable brand.

  • +1

    Was the car yard on Parramatta road? I can see it now…

    Tough lesson

    If your future son in law really loves this car and has reasonably deep pockets, the best thing he can do is find a mechanic who specialises in this exact model car… a specialist who knows the nuances and common faults of this model will save you hours of labour cost vs a generalist mechanic (who spends hours fault finding common issues). Same goes for any old car really…

    • +2

      Great advice, this is how I was able to maintain my love of Peugeot’s. (possibly the only cars more hated on Ozb than old BMWs)

      • +1

        Wow a neg, the Peugeot haters are hating me for loving Peugeot’s and their specialist mechanics. In truth though allot can be said for specialist mechanics. Even my boring Mazda went in for a service at the dealer, I mentioned a suspension clicking noise and they just nodded and said they knew what it was, a known issue of that model of that age, ordered the part and fixed with zero diagnostic time.

        • +1

          Not sure why you got negged. I gave at + to neutralise it

      • Haval is more hated, which I don't understand after testing one, they are nice cars to drive/sit in. Can only assume people worry about reliability.

    • +1

      Ha, no not there.
      He did take it to my daughters Kombi mechanic as he does German cars.
      He’s the one picking up these issues but the dealers insurance would not let him fix it under warranty, they had their own….normal mechanics.

      • +1

        Perhaps try going the dealer's 2nd-hand warranty conditions to get a clear picture of what the dealer is 'required' to support & be ready for them to refuse you for specific things. These extended warranties tend to only cover a fraction of what a normal new car dealer warranty would cover.
        I'd start taking the BMW to a proper specialist rather than the 2nd-hand dealer asap once things not in the warranty conditions are breaking (if you want want to try and keep the car longer).

        In NSW I believe the statutory warranty of 2nd hand vehicles is limited to cars less than 10 years old.

        I read through the dealer 2nd hand warranty that I got free as part of a promotion period (from a reputable Jap franchised dealer), and it doesn't cover anything useful -> I knew enough about cars to know the 'parts' they covered were highly-unlikely to break at all, or are stupidly cheap (like $10-30 parts) -> and the dealer warranty just forces you into getting the car serviced with them.

        My car was just under 10 years old and < 160,000km so statutory warranty applied - I complained about a clicking sound in the steering 2 days after picking it up, and because it was a big franchise, they dealt with statutory warranty repairs through an insurer. They just made a claim with them and they replaced my steering column (Not a cheap repair). After some googling, this turned out to be a recognised reliability-flaw that was rectified with a newer steering stem part (but not a recallable problem).

        I only buy used cars from big franchise new-car dealers now. Played around for many years with private sale for $3000-6000 cars, but in the $10K-$20K range, I didn't want the risk. New Car dealers only keep the trade-in cars they think are low risk, otherwise they send them to auctions where the 2nd hand car yards acquire some of their stock.

  • Second hand euro does not mean unreliable. I will make an exception for BMW though. No thanks.

    • Audi too….

  • You brought a 2nd hand 17 year old car….. what did he expect?

    I got no car advice for you but tell you daughter she can do better

  • Ok, first of all in great Nick and a 6 cylinder shouldn’t have paid more than half that. Ping the warranty on everything you can. Have an independent inspection done, especially focussing on suspension components and have the warranty replace them. Cooling system oil leaks and suspension are common failures on these cars. Otherwise they’re ok. Also check all window winders work well.

    Gotta have eyes wide open and be prepared to spend coin buying an e39

    • Thank you, I’ll pass this comment on.

      • Sadly whilst they’re nice driving cars, they are very maintenance heavy. Good luck!

  • A car like that is ALWAYS a risk.

    You don't buy an old car (euro, aussie, yank, jappa, anything) without being prepared to have to do work on it.

    I've actually just bought a similar vintage Mercedes for a similar price.

    You have to do your research on models first, what the common problem areas are and costs to fix. Then you get it checked by a qualified mechanic.

    In my case I reckon I spent over a grand just on mechanical checks on various candidate cars before settling on this one.

    Then, if you find one with problems (there will ALWAYS be problems) you gauge if your skills and interest levels are good enough to do the majority of work yourself.

    I made a mistake like the OP back in my youth. It ended up being the biggest piece of shit in automotive history. Cost me a mint, but it was a valuable lesson.

    Do your research
    Get expert assessment before buying
    Learn how to use a spanner
    Enjoy driving a car you have had a hand in restoring

    • Yes, my daughter has a Kombi…but also has a fabulous mechanic.

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