To all those in the proud BMW family, here is an ametuer guide to buying parts for your beloved Bimmers.
I once heard a joke that went something like this: What is the difference between BMWs and Porcupines? Answer: With BMWs the pricks are inside.
Hardy Har Har... Either the individual has encountered a jaded motorist (and then it doesn't matter what they drive), or they dont understand Bimmers and their market. Let me continue...Bimmers are complicated beasts!! Whether it's buying them, financing them, maintaining them, trading them, selling them, fixing them or tuning them, they remain one of the most notoriously know high maintanence cars ever. In this guide I will attempt to shed light on the process of buying parts for your BMW.
First things first: Be Educated. This is not as easy as it sounds. Start by familiarizing yourself with your Bimmer's model #, Chassis Code, and Engine Type. For example and reference I will use a 1986 E28 535i. First stated is the year, which IS relevant becase car models are made over a number of years. Next is the Chassis Code: BMW has a system by which all their modern (70's on) models have a chassis code that begins with the letter E, and is followed by a number. The 1982-1988 5 series models are chassis code E28. The 3 series models made around that time is the E30, 6 series E24 etc... Lastly is the Model #. 535i means that it is a: 1.) a 5 series (duh), and: 2.) it has a 3.5 litre engine (or very close i.e 3.4 litres).
With this vital information you can begin to search for parts, upgrades, and services. Unlike popular opinion it is quite possible to be price efficient when owning and maintaining a BMW. I may get in trouble here but I have no problem saying this. "eBay is without a doubt the premier on-line discount auto parts store on the planet." Knowing how to use eBay to search for BMW parts will save you money and time, guaranteed. Below are some helpful tips when buying and selling your BMW parts on eBay.
1) Look for other educated buyers. Things like many feedbacks, high feedback percentage, eBay stores, and clear auction descriptions are vital!! Look for auctions wich include specific information that is correct for your application. Something like BMW E12 E28 E30 E32 E34 E39 DOME LIGHTS LED is probably not a good auction to bid on if you're looking for light bulbs. Look for something that has specifics like your model # or chassis code in the item description. Personal Sellers (individuals) are HIGHLY recommended because they can list multiple "actual" photos and answer questions though eBay's mail system.
2) You get what you pay for, but that doesnt mean that you have to pay too much. I have saved as much as 40% on such items as shocks, control arms, bushings, couplings, trim, wheels, tires, brakes, and interior accessories. I have found it best to ask lots of questions. It may annoy sellers to death, but in the end you have assurance that the part is satisfactory and will fit.
3) When selling an item, be honest! Most educated buyers will NOT be fooled by imitation parts or aftermarket goodies. If it is an BMW OEM part, give the part #, if it is scratched, take a picture, if it is lightly used, say so. BMWs deserve good parts, and though many aftermarket parts will fit, even more WON'T! And some parts may void warranties or hurt performance. Buyers appreciate honesty just as much as reliability. If a buyer can see that you are accurately describing your parts they will be confident and bid higher.
4) Finally, be speedy. It is the single most important thing to eBay transactions. Just like you want your BMW to be fast, you also crave fast service! Expedite your transactions buy doing things like: 1) having a shiping calculator availible so that the final invoice includes any applicable fees 2) Answering all questions QUICKLY and accurately 3) Demand payment through either paypal or cashiers check (any other method is foolish). 4) Have your contact info and feedbacks readliy availible 5) Pay quickly (withing 2 days) to avoid sellers questioning your integrity 6) E-Mail sellers after payment has been sent with instructions or shipping info 7) E-Mail buyers and congratulate them on their winning bids.
BMWs are excellent cars, but can be VERY expensive to maintain. As a college student and a family man, I have found it extremely beneficial to utilize every aspect of smart shopping when buying parts for my bimmer. eBay has exeeded my expectations time and time again while selling / searching for BMW parts. I hope my guide will help any and all of those who are interested in saving $ or making extra $ by using eBay's excellent services.
eBay Member ID : LLMcCauley
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