How damaged is the engine from not getting oil changed?

I’ll ask maybe more details on why BMW thinks this is happening now in 2008.When I was with BMW we saw the oil filters turn to mush before the 15,000 was up (this was in 2000) but I never saw a engine like that photo,and this sludge thing is being talked about on the BMW sites.Once the filter thing was handeled nothing external was obvious at 15,000 intervals.So the OP’s car got changed once at 13,500 now has 28,500 with no sludge.So my buddys saying drive to 32,500 and problems.I’ll run it by him.It does appear he’s saying go to 19,000 on the first is to long,if thats what your asking, May take 2 days for feedback,but I’ll bump the post

The “easily fixable things”: Someone drove the car into either a curb or a pothole, not sure which. Even though it sounded like it was at low speed, the right front tire popped (exploded?) and had to be replaced (no visible body damage other than some scratches below where one can see the right front bumper). We had the car checked out by our regular car mechanic (not a BMW dealership), when the car was lifted, we could see oil? grease? something dark leaking out, covering the right axle area, which the mechanic said meant the axle needs to be replaced (ka-ching! $645 for the axle + labor). Because the car has AWD, our mechanic also strongly recommended we buy four matching tires ( ka-ching!), since the original three will need replacing within a few months, and the seller had only replaced the one that had to be replaced. We haven’t spoken with the seller since we found out about the axle and tire situation (a ~$2k expense) since he’s on vacation. He said he had taken the car’s condition into account when he arrived at his asking price, which we are now surmising was the axle needing fixing. He said he was going to get the oil changed before he sold it (big whoop, he should’ve done it already). The car was his wife’s, who has since leased a Mercedes SUV. The oil is very dirty, but the oil idiot light doesn’t show up, so I’m thinking it’s somehow within the manufacturer’s specifications. The annoying thing is, he listed the car as in excellent condition and didn’t mention the axle problem to us up front.

Why would you want this car? I mean I could understand if it was something hard to find-but these cars are pouring off lease and are everywhere. Throw a tennis ball in a parking lot and you’ll probably hit a late model 3 series haha. Seriously just go on Autotrader and find a nicely maintained car, or head down to BMW and make them an offer-things are slow at car dealers right now.

An oil light would only come on if you’re low on oil-it doesn’t measure oil quality-no car can do that. At best a car can estimate when you need to change your oil, but forget that on a BMW. I say every 7500 miles on an E46, and 5000 miles on a E30/E36 when using synthetic.

I lean to bypassing this vehilcle. I’d drop the oil pan and see whats in it.

if they couldn’t get around to changing the oil they probably didn’t bother to check anything else out. you say it has a couple of other minor issues. a bmw 3 series with only 28,000 miles should not have ANY issues. it’s a buyers market out there, don’t know what part of the country but here in chicago area the auto trader has several 5 series 95’s for under 30k. bmw probably made 200,000 3 series in 95, it should be easy enough to find one that was cared for by the owner.

OP’s car is 2005 not 95. E-36 vrs E-46. Watch those 540’s with the bad blocks.Current 3 series is E-90 new in what 2007? I have done E-46 window regulators,thermostats,lower control arms,final stages,door gaskets,evap work,electric cooling fans,wiring gremlins all before 28,000.But they are the standard that all in there class are judged by.Great cars,oh yeah side curtain air bags

This pothole/axle thing worries me much more than the oil. Like Dave said, RUN AWAY. These are not hard to find.

This pothole/axle thing worries me much more than the oil. Like Dave said, RUN AWAY. These are not hard to find.

My thoughts pretty much exactly, except that the AWD versions aren’t anywhere as common as the RWD.

oops i meant 2005, i’m just stuck in the 90’s (senior moment)

I’d run not walk from this car, but if it really cheep enough, take the car to a BMW dealer and have them check the car out completely, top to bottom and let them tell you what shape the car is in. Don’t tell them anything about the car, let them check it out. Yes it will cost a few dollars, but a few dollars now is better then big dollars later. Don’t give the owner the report unless he pay for at least half.

Just so you know I had my Ford check out just before the warranty ran out, it cost me $200 but the dealer ended up replacing the driver seat, and a few other items on Ford’s dime.