Don't know if you can check a cars history with the police
or an independant company (as you can in the UK)
Here's a list of check points...(which i'm sure everyone will add to!)
1) verify chassis number with paperwork
2) then against body number (on panel below wipers)
3) run test on the instruments (press right hand button,turn on ignition, lights will illuminate,tests will scroll, end of chassis number will appear. (ie GE 000**)
4) Check coolant level from cold & oil too, do the usual engine
checks, start from cold, oil light should extinguish max 2 secs &
unit should quieten down.
5) check for visible smoke, & any undue mechanical noises,
slight tappet noise is normal, too much could mean poor maintenance, be suspicious of too little (try & listen to more than
one car to gain experience)
6) that strange noise on start up is the air pump, it kicks in from
cold and should last 90 seconds max.
7) Drive car, listen for the usual strange noises, gearboxes can
be stiff when cold, but syncros should never balk, shift should
loosen up when hot. A small amount of bearing rattle is acceptable when the box is warm & idling, dip the clutch to get
an idea how loud it is (or isnt !)
8) Clutches are fairly firm on pre '93 cars, but should still be smooth & not stiff, check for slip, a small amount of initial judder
on the 1st start off from cold is acceptable, but a high biting point,
slip or judder on the move indicates wear.
9) Listen to the rest of the drive train for strange noises,
differentials tend to groan on full lock turns, come on & off the gas
and listen for drivetrain clonks which could be expensive.
10) Steering usually has a small amount of play around centre but
should feel precise elsewhere, wandering or "tramlining" is caused by worn from tyres, steering box play, worn front suspension arms, steering rods, or rear axle bushes.
11) Vary braking force, & gently slow down from around 120kmh
any vibration through the wheel indicates disc run out, (if not caused by wheel balancing).
12) M5's are hard on their brakes & shocks so check the struts
especially the rears, as they contain self levellers that can leak.
13) ensure the ABS, trip computer & check control all works,
pull the handbrake up a notch on the move & listen for a "GONG"
14) Run the air conditioning, check it works, don't accept it "just needs a charge", as it probably needs more, has the owner
run the A/C every month ? If the car's advertised with AC but it
doesnt work, get the owner to charge it up (unless you wanna
live without it)
15) OK, so it's genuine, drives ok, feels ok, and everything works.
16) Well, check everything else !!....electrics, windows,roof,mirrors,locking (from both doors & boot) Electric
seats (if fitted) etc etc.
17) bodywork & major fittings are standard 5 series, non standard
M5 items include....
gear stick (illuminated)
Insturments (bespoke, oil gauge etc)
Front lower bumper (check photos to see the differences)
18) various other items.....
temp gauge should sit at midway & not move,
oil temp should run below halfway on cool days when gently driven...it will eventually reach half way, if you drive hard it may
rise a notch over, but should fall back when you slow down.
Get a feel for the owner, is he an enthusiast ?
Let him drive the car...does he wait till the oil is warm or just cain it to impress you ?
History, history, history.....mileage is nothing without history
and receipts, and paperwork......
A fully stamped up 100k car is worth more that a 60K car with no papers......
Im sure everyone will chip in with more helpful stuff...
Oh....Exhaust, bespoke, check for corrosion !
Emissions..do the cats work (if it has them '89)