- Take the vehicle to an independent shop and ask them to inspect it for you. A thorough inspection should cost between $100 and $200, and is money well spent. If possible, ask the shop to conduct a service history check for you - it will give you an idea if the car has been spending a lot of time in the service department.
- If you suspect the vehicle might have been in an accident, take it to a quality body shop and have them check the paint thickness. Often, cars that have been repainted will have a thicker layer of paint than what the factory would apply. Factory paint thickness on most modern BMW vehicles is between 4-7 "mils."
- Get a vehicle history report on the vehicle. While it won't tell you everything about the car, it is helpful.
- Ask the selling dealership for copies of the CPO paperwork, including inspection and service records. A reputable dealer will not be afraid to share this information with you. We've heard stories of some dealerships claiming that the service information is "confidential," which isn't exactly true. If the dealership wavers on this, consider walking away, as the history is most likely not favorable.
- Compare the CPO vehicle to a non-CPO vehicle with similar options. Ask yourself if the additional price for the CPO vehicle warrants the purchase. Many times, a consumer can purchase an aftermarket warranty that would cover most repairs for less than the additional cost of the CPO vehicle. It's an option to consider.
Buying a car can be a very rewarding experience, and it can be a very disappointing experience. When car shopping, take your time - don't be in a rush to buy, and most importantly, don't "fall in love" with a certain vehicle. Car manufacturers build thousands of vehicles each month, and you can be assured that there are plenty to choose from. If anything about a particular vehicle causes you to raise an eyebrow, be prepared to walk away and consider another vehicle, regardless of whether it's a CPO vehicle or not.
If you'd like to learn more about CPO vehicles and owner experiences, visit our message boards and use the search feature to find information and discussion about other people's "CPO" experiences.
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