Hooptie or Honest Car

Welcome to the premiere (and possibly only) installment of Hooptie or Honest Car, where we take a random old car and decide what is worth fixing before trying to sell it.

Our first subject is this 2000 BMW 528i automatic...

If you’re still reading, good for you. Don’t let the mob tell you what you can and can’t like. This particular 528i has about 172k on the clock. It is fully loaded, and complete with such period features as an in-car Motorola Startac phone, 6-disc CD changer, Homelink and power everything.


At first glance, the body is in pretty good shape; some stone chips but no rust. The wheels are clean, with no curb damage. The leather looks pretty clean. I drove the car about 40 miles from where it was parked to my house. During that drive, I noticed:

- A slight shimmy over 50 MPH, which I’ll assume a balance and rotation will address.

- The Service Engine Soon light is on. I don’t yet know why.

- The heater fan does not work.

- The radio does not work.

- Tge cam cover (or some part of it) leaks oil.

- The driver side mirror cap is missing.

The car belongs to my mother-in-law, and we are selling it for her. Looking around on Craig’s List, similar cars in my area are priced anywhere from $1,500 to $3,495. I don’t know how much they paid for the car (according to the window sticker in the glove box, this car new in 2000 cost $46,120). What, if anything, is worth fixing if I have any hope of getting a good price? Or should I skip the repairs and see what I can get for it, as-is?

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