Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used BMW 3 Series estate?
The Touring is a popular and hard-working estate car that might well have been used for long-distance journeys, so always check that mileages add up in the service book or check them against the MOT history, provided the car is old enough to have one. Check the interior and exterior for obvious signs of wear, too.
All of the diesel engines in this generation of the 3 Series Touring use a timing chain rather than a belt, but it’s still worth listening out for any ticking metallic sounds which might stem from a faulty tensioner because this can be an issue on earlier examples with infrequent servicing. Better yet, opt for a post-2015 example because that has a revised diesel engine that suffers less from this issue.
A problem with the crankshaft sensor of some examples built from 16 May 2018 and 7 June 2018 could lead to the engine going into an emergency reduced power mode, limiting performance. A BMW dealer will be able to confirm if your 3 Series is affected by this and arrange to have the sensor replaced.
There is a possibility that some examples manufactured between 1 September 2014 and 31 March 2015 could have a faulty Driver's side seatbelt mechanism that makes it difficult to use in cold weather. Find out from a BMW dealer if your car is affected since it will need to have the mechanism replaced.
A potential issue with the power steering on cars manufactured from the start of production up to 8 December 2015, and the driver may notice heavier steering than usual if it does fail. Affected examples will need to have a new power steering system fitted to fix the fault.
Rear axle bolts
Additionally, the rear axle bolts on cars produced between 1 January 2015 and 1 September 2016 can fail when reused, so if any work has been carried out on the rear axle (for example as a result of an accident repair), you need to be certain that new bolts have also been fitted.
Loss of drive
If you’re looking at a 2013 3 Series with a manual gearbox and you find it difficult to engage gears, it might be that the bolts securing the pressure plate are loose. There was a recall issued for cars made between 1 February 2013 and 30 June 2013 to have these bolts replaced in order to fix the problem.
Central rear headrest
Poor welds might mean the foldable central rear headrest might not work correctly on 3 Series models made from 5 - 31 July 2019, and will need to be inspected by a technician BMW dealer to determine if it needs to be replaced.