CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Should I sell my car for an older car

I’m currently 17 and I drive a 2006 BMW 525i. The car was driven by my mom then my sister so it has a few issues. While the car does still run, I was wondering if it would be worth it to sell the car for a cheaper yet more reliable car that I can have fun in. I was thinking about maybe a Miata or something similar to that so I could get my hands dirty learning about cars. Would trading in the BMW for an older car be worth it?

You could learn a lot about cars with this one and they are pretty good at handling. Right now you have a known. If you sell it and buy another vehicle, you will have an unknown. It is very rare that anyone sells their vehicle if it truly is running perfectly. There is always something wrong or about to go wrong.

3 Likes

One rule of thumb I always roll with is that your next vehicle should always be newer than the one you are coming out of… Unless the vehicle is a specialty item… Hot Rod, Classic, Motorcycle etc… You get the idea.

I agree with @keith keep the known quantity you currently have and learn to repair and co exist with that vehicle… Nothing wrong with that and you are already off to a good start. No need to downgrade yourself… uh, pretty much… ever.

2 Likes

If the Bimmer has a few issues, you can learn by fixing them. A friend that has owned a several of BMW 5-Series sedans says that all the plastic parts should be replaced every few years, including the overflow tank and oil pump. He replaces the plastic oil pump with a racing pump, which is metal. That should be the last oil pump you need.

1 Like

@jtsanders - Did you mean water pump?

I agree with the others, lots of ways to work on, fix, and fix up that 525i.

3 Likes

I think you should sell it. BMW’s are great cars. But they’re performance cars, not run-a-bouts. Pretty much everything is gonna be more expensive to fix, even just for the parts. For example, replacing the water pump

For the BMW, $350 and 2.7 hours
For the Miata (same vintage), $140, and 1.6 hours

Also note that a job that’s spec’d for 2.7 hours in the manufacture’s service data, the allotted time for the job assumes an experienced mechanic having access to all the needed tools and equipment. For a first time diyer, it’s gonna be more like 6-8 hours. And another thing, servicing the BMW may require specialty tools, tools that you won’t be able to obtain by renting on the cheap from an auto-parts store like you could for a car like a Mazda.

Given what you say, sell the BMW and buy a Miata of similar vintage or newer is my suggestion.

4 Likes

When you say trade it in, that implys going to a dealer that has a Miata and expecting to get good value for your BMW. That is not how it works, The dealer is going to want a couple of thousand on the Miata and as much or more for the BMW. Sell the BMW privately/

3 Likes

How about keeping things simple . . .

take care of the car you have right now and forget about those hypothetical situations requiring special tools until they happen

Performing oil changes and brake jobs will be the same as for any other car

2 Likes

17? Who pays for insurance?
Full coverage?
They say bmw’s are tight. Well built.
But expensive to fix? Reliable? Don’t know
You might not like driving a lower class car.

Search Google for Nathan’s BMW garage. He is a professional mechanic focused on DIY BMW repair.

What if the replacement car was driven by people like your Mom and your sister, and has even more issues than your current car?

Since you may be looking at a car that is at least 13 years old, consider how many unknown people drove–and possibly abused–that vehicle over the years.

Consider this old saying:
‘Better the devil you know, rather than the devil you don’t know.’
:thinking:

1 Like

At 17 you can’t have a checking account in your name only . You can’t get a loan in your name only . This BMW is probably registered to your parents and on their insurance . So basically all of your questions should be to your parents . Also the days of a person just learning about vehicles without expensive tools and a knowledgeable person to help are almost gone.
Just start saving as much money as you can and drive this thing as long as you can and be grateful that you have a vehicle.

Keep the BMW.

I could be wrong here but since you’re 17 and the BMW is a 4 door while you have the urge for a Miata, should I take this to mean you’re just a bit antsy for something more sporty than a sedan?

I gotta say I’m with the minority here. The BMW is a complex machine, challenging to maintain and repair for any home mechanic. Sure, it’s a very highly desired machine for some good reasons, but still in your situation it’s just not a great fit. If the family checkbook is ready to pay for all those large costs, fine, it’s fun and practical transportation, but if you have the itch to get in the garage and mess around with the machine, not so great at all.

I’v been getting my fingers into cars and motorcycles for 60 years at this point, and I’ve messed around with simple and complex machines in my own garage, at lot. After all those years what do I drive? Lots of old motor scooters and a 2002 Miata. To me there’s more fun in actually being able to do my own work, and with the much more complex cars and bikes I’ve owned I had to take them to shops - no fun at all.

1 Like

changing oil and brake pads is a challenge for a home mechanic . . . ?!

1 Like

If you truly want to learn about cars there are several other options for you. One would be to find an all out repair manual for the car you have now and read it cover to cover. Or you could go to an automotive tech school such as MTI, or if it’s offered in your area, a lot of junior colleges have an automotive program. Finally, since a 2006 Miata is going to be almost as complex as a 2006 BMW (although much less expensive to repair) you might be able to locate a '60s car or truck (not something like a Hemi-Cuda, which would set you back about $500,000.00) that’s in running condition and doesn’t have all the modern technology that newer cars have and start from the ground up.