Reader Question: Hi,
I am really impressed with your site. It is the best I have been on but I have not been able to find my answer in your archive so please can you help?
I am about to buy a 1997 BMW 328i. I took it for a test drive but when I turned the engine off afterwards I noticed grayish smoke still seeping out of the exhaust. I have been told that this may relate to a cylinder fault.
Is this right? I would really appreciate your advice.
Thank you from Alison in England.
Thanks for your kind words.
Let me just say ANY smoke coming from the exhaust would be enough to deter me from buying a used car! It could be just from normal condensation that accumulates in the exhaust system and takes some driving time to fully burn off…but then again, it could be signs of trouble.
To really feel safe about this vehicle I would get a cooling system pressure test and a compression test of the cylinders before I handed over any money.
Those two tests would determine if there was antifreeze getting into the cylinders or if the engine had permanent internal wear.
I am NOT a big fan of BMW, just because they are complicated to work on and require a mechanic that has the right tools and knowledge to do even the most simple repairs.
A 10-year-old BMW…I personally would not buy it, since you mentioned seeing ANY sign of smoke out the muffler I would definitely not buy it.
I have a great used car checklist you can print out from my site.