Everything about Buying a Z3 updated September 29,
Reports April 2006:
"CR’s lists of Reliable Used Cars and Used Cars to Avoid include
all models that showed above- or below-average overall reliability in our 2005
Annual Car Reliability Survey, in which subscribers to CR and ConsumerReports.org
tell us about the experiences they’ve had with their vehicles from April
1, 2004 through March 31, 2005.
CR Good Bets and CR Bad Bets, derived from the longer lists, are models for
which we have sufficient data for at least three years. CR Good Bets have consistently
performed well in CR’s road tests over the years and prove to have several
or more years of better-than-average reliability. CR Bad Bets have shown multiple
years of much-worse-than-average reliability. CR weights problems with the engine,
engine cooling, transmission, and drive system more heavily than other areas.
There are 12 new entries on the list of 62 CR Good Bets. New entries include
the BMW Z3 and Z4"
Z3 Fixit Page on Z3ers.com for
typical repair issues
Rick Zino posted on Z3Rides
9/27/07: I just finished the search myself. I've owned the beast for over a
month now and that smile isn't fading. Here is/are a bunch of links I
used--hope they help,
-Rick Good regularly updated listings:
For Canadian purchases:
Dwayne Eadie posted on Z3Rides
September 29, 2007: I live in Calgary, Alberta. My 96 z3 came
from the US. The prices are more reasonable in the US, especially with the
recent strength of the Canadian Dollar.
A good website to check on importing cars from the US is www.riv.ca
- the registrar of imported vehicles. With most cars,
there is an import duty, as the cars are not made in North America. The Z3
is made in South Carolina, and qualifies as duty free as a NAFTA product.
The registrar (above) charges a nominal fee ($200 + GST) to import the
vehicle as well as GST on the purchase price. For my Z3, the only
modification required provincially was to install daytime running lights and
to have an out-of-province safety inspection. The US customs requires 72
hour notice of the vehicle sale before you arrive at the border to check
that the vehicle can leave the US (not stolen..). There are services that will
pick up the vehicle, clear both US and Canadian customs, and deliver the car
to your home.
The process is pretty straight forward, and you can save thousands on your
In Reply to: Finally Bought a Z3...Suggestions Please? posted by LenD on December
12, 2000 at 20:15:26:
Posted by PerryinVA on December
13, 2000 at 09:07:06: updated June 23, 2007
First off thats a good price, for a CPO car. Congrats, you'll love it. Now for
the nitty gritty. Make yourself a check list to take with you. In the excitement
to get your hands on the car, you will NOT remember to check everything. I regret
not doing this:
~Run a CARFAX check on the VIN. That would avoid some of the potential surprises,
though it's not fool proof.
~At 39k, Inspec 2 should have been done, If not, get it done on the dealers
ticket, make sure they flushed & bled brakes, and replaced anitfreeze. Its included.
~Obviously, recent oil change, (check level) and new air filter
~Was alignment checked, how is wear on tires. At 39k they should be recently
replaced. Most don't get more than 25k out of OEM. Check em good, look for new
weights, marks from old ones, to prove a new rebalance. ~Air
~Condition of radiator, fittings and hoses (See Bimmer
Z3 Buyers Guide, December 2006)
~ Check radio antennae for damage or loose fitting, easy for them,
pain for you.
~ Run the windows up & down several times each. Watch how/when they auto shutoff,
there have been a # of
regulator problems. If you hear the motor fighting to get the
window down the last 1/2", that's the reason. Should be smooth and effortless.
~Check the top for leakage with a hose at dealer. INSIST on it. Check esp. where
the top meets the a-pillars. (Usually
all you need to fix the leak at the A pillars is some
rocking seat rails. Some dealers don't bat an eye at replacing
them, others give you "they all do that". My replacements (by dealer) are rock
solid...no seat movement either braking or accelerating...big difference.
~ CPO should cover broken parts, including body damage. The front spoiler is
friction riveted to the plastic engine spash guard. One really good hit on a
curb and the mounting points are broken. Check under the spoiler, there are
about 5 of them across the rear most edge.
~ Check the battery well for water in the well, if you have trunk seal, or trunk
brake light leak, the water will collect there.
~ Make sure there is enough water IN the battery. Dealers rarely ever check
~ Check to make sure you have all your tools. There is normally one empty placeholder,
for a wheel lock.
~ Window blanket.
~ Owners manual.
~ All four keys, (main, spare, valet, wallet). Keys are expensive.
~ Boot cover. Check inside boot cover snaps. If they are the old type, (brass
clips) they will most likely be bent inside the hole, unless the previous owner
never used it. My dealer gave me the new boot design with slotted mounts & spring
steel clips. However, there is nothing really wrong with the old design, if
you don't force the snaps on.
~ Raise and lower the top a few times, especially if a power top.
~ Check Rachels Esmerelda Z3 page for the missing
"U" clips. Mine is a 99 (bought used) and had 2 missing.
~ Check carefully around the rear window seal, inside & out.
~ When top is DOWN, check where canvas meets the body for tears or wear.
~ Raise and lower both seats & front to back.
~ Check glovebox for solid mounting.
~ Check heated seats, both mirror motors.
~ Everything on the stereo, each channel individual.
~ Look carefully at the underbody of the car. Mine had BOTH of the rear tire
air dams (8"x2" plastic pieces about 12" in front of each tire) broken off.
They were $25 a piece to replace, and DO reduce tire noise. ~Also under the car
you want to look for cracks in the sub frame- rear floor failure
Even though you're not a mechanic, you can go over this list with one at the
dealer, he should know about all of them. I'm sure there are others, yada, yada,
yada, YMMV, etc.