Junior Member, warming up (<31 posts)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
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If it doesn't have a service history don't buy it. If it does have a service history then take the liberty of calling the workshop and investigating the history. If you suspect the history is from someone affiliated with the dealer, or not a specialist mechanic, don't buy it.
Check EVERYTHING works as it should (it's an indication of owner care that anything fault be fixed). Check for even tyrewear, hard braking performance (no pull).
Check dash for any alerts at start up.
Don't let dealer 'warm it up' before you get there to view it. E60 M5's sound pretty awful cold and at tick over but if the dealer does that he might be trying to hide a rattle.
But above all else get a trusted, independent, specialist mechanic to spend enough time with the car, and with professional diagnostic tools. It'll cost you a could of hundred bucks but could save you thousands.
And is the dealer isn't comfortable with that scenario, don't buy it.
I'm no expert (at all) but a happy owner who bought the right car by getting an expert to confirm my purchase was sound (and identifying where I should spend a small amount of money after purchase - brake pads, oil level sensor, control arm bushes).