Check Out This Conversation With a BMW Dealer Who Really Didn't Want to Sell a Used M3

Image: BMW
Image: BMW

When it comes to buying pre-owned cars, I always stress the importance of a pre-purchase inspection. Getting a second opinion is more crucial for some cars than others. It’s especially important if it’s a performance-oriented car without a warranty. That is why you should always be suspicious of a dealer, like the one below, who denies the request for an inspection.


Recently, I had a customer in Texas hunting for an E92 BMW M3. The market for these cars is creeping up, as these are the last M3s BMW made with a naturally aspirated engine. Of course, you will want to get a well-sorted example of one of these BMWs or this value could cost you down the road.

Normally any legit dealer will allow a buyer to get a car inspected at an independent shop. Needless to say, I was a little surprised when a BMW store in Texas basically refused a pre-purchase inspection because their car was “value direct.”

Illustration for article titled Check Out This Conversation With a BMW Dealer Who Really Didn't Want to Sell a Used M3

They keep using that word “value” but I’m not sure they know what it really means. This particular M3 wasn’t priced dramatically lower than similar cars with similar miles. What I found most odd about this interaction is that this approach to selling a used performance car is what I would expect from a dicey used car dealer, not franchised dealership of a major automaker.

So why would a dealer not want a customer to get a car inspected, even if the buyer is covering the cost? The likely explanation is the dealer knows there are some flaws with this car that will be revealed in the inspection and result in a lost sale. They probably don’t want to waste their time taking a car somewhere and waiting on a buyer that will likely walk away anyway.


If you find yourself in the market for a used performance car, even before you discuss price, one of the first questions you should ask the dealership is “Can I take this car to an independent shop for an inspection?” If the answer is no, just move on. That’s probably a car you don’t want.

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (



Preface this by saying that I love the stuff you write and the value it brings to this blog Tom. But I have to ask - is that tone how you always interact with dealers? While you’re demonstrably much more intelligent than the average salesperson, you come across a bit, shall we say, unprofessional in the exchange.

Is that what sales folks respond best to? Or just a natural byproduct of having to deal with incompetence all day? It seems like you could get your last point across saying something like “Thanks for your time, but my client isn’t willing to write a check for 40k on a used performance sedan that has not passed any sort of inspection.” You can even keep a little bit of passive agression in there if you want :)