Car Clinic: Tricky Decisions

Car Clinic: Tricky Decisions


I am  on the brink of buying a good second-hand car, and I have a BMW 320i, Audi A3 or Mini Cooper in mind. Which of these cars will have the lowest service cost, especially for major services?



Sizwe, I wish I could give you a clear-cut answer, but I’m afraid I cannot. There are simply too many imponderables here. The condition of the particular car you settle on will probably outweigh all other considerations.

However, on the basis of my inquiries at dealerships of the three brands on your shortlist, I will stick my toe in the water and say that, all things being equal, a good petrol-engine BMW 320i with relatively low mileage will have the lowest major service cost.

We all know, though, that all things are never equal and, furthermore, how are you supposed to know that a particular car you are looking at is good, without the benefit of X-ray eyes?

It is a fact that of the three cars mentioned, the BMW is the only one with rear-wheel drive (which makes for simplicity and lower maintenance costs), and I’m told that already in 1990 BMW decided to move away from cambelts on its engines in favour of timing chains, something for which it should be applauded.

Apart from that, it’s a case of Russian roulette. Try to take along a friend with X-ray eyes when you view the cars!

Gerrit Burger