LebGeeks

A community for technology geeks in Lebanon.

You are not logged in.

#1 April 20

purpleradish
Member

Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

Hi all,

Soon my family and I will be relocating to Beirut for work for a couple of years. I will be getting a secondhand car for weekend and occasional weekday use.

I have been looking at used cars on OLX Lebanon. There seems to be an unusually high number of BMWs listed, More than other popular brands such as Kia or Toyota.

I am just wondering if it is a wise decision to get a BMW 3 series that is 8 or 9 years old, as opposed to a Kia that is half the age for the same money?

Please comment if you know anything about BMW ownership in Lebanon and the availability/prices of parts and servicing.

I wonder how BMW has managed to sell more cars than Toyota over the years over there (as reflected by the number of second hand cars on the market)?! Or have they been imported as secondhand cars from elsewhere?

I can see a lot of cars have both MPH and KPH markings on the speedometers, does it mean they were imported into Lebanon as secondhand cars from the US?

Many thanks in advance!

Offline

#2 April 21

rolf
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

Hello,

AFAIK, it is common to import cars from Europe or USA. Lebanese want fancy cars but don't want to pay, so this is what you get.
Something to be particularly weary of, is that there is a practice to import "half cars" (severely damaged cars as "parts only") to avoid paying any custom taxes, then assembling them into full cars here.

Hyundai / Kia, and generally smaller, cheaper cars are usually imported new, so this practice affects them much less.

In general, I think that Toyota are very reliable cars.

There are a few threads about buying used cars, checking the history (Carfax, etc.) on this forums, with posts from persons who know more then me.

My question is: why do you want to buy a BMW?

I would advise not to let yourself be too influenced by the market trends in Lebanon. The market gets flooded by a few brands (I suspect it is an oligopoly thing) which have high appeal to troglodites. If you want anything niche you will have to spend lots of time and suffer.

However it is possible to get something that you like especially when it comes to cars and cell phones.

As a general guideline, I suggest you compile a short list of car model that you are generally interested in, and watch the market in Lebanon and wait - when one of the cars on the shortlist comes up for sale check it out.

With a bit of time and patience you can find something you like.

Last edited by rolf (April 21)

Offline

#3 April 21

Anthony2000
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

the reason there are more used bmw cars on the market is because their owners cant wait to get rid of them, they are a great way to keep your pocket empty with repairs
buying an 9 yr old bmw 3 series instead of something like a 4 year old kia is trading reliability and lower repair costs with fun.
look into a 2013 toyota gt86 for a fun but reliable japanese quality car

Offline

#4 April 21

purpleradish
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

rolf wrote:

there is a practice to import "half cars" (severely damaged cars as "parts only") to avoid paying any custom taxes, then assembling them into full cars here.

This is good to know, I have always like the front end of the 5 series and the rear end of the 3 series. Maybe I can commission a BMW 5.3 Series to be custom built for me? =D

On a more serious note, many thanks for the heads up, certainly wouldn't want to fall for this kind of 'vehicle'.

Anthony2000 wrote:

the reason there are more used bmw cars on the market is because their owners cant wait to get rid of them, they are a great way to keep your pocket empty with repairs
buying an 9 yr old bmw 3 series instead of something like a 4 year old kia is trading reliability and lower repair costs with fun.
look into a 2013 toyota gt86 for a fun but reliable japanese quality car

I initially wanted to get a used BMW because I thought parts and servicing of BMWs must be cheap in Lebanon, hence the reason why the market is flooded with used examples. But it now looks like there is another (bad) reason for this. I guess people just import cheap second hand examples from the US/Europe, drive them around until something breaks, then offload them on OLX... hmmm....

Cannot get an 86 (as much as I would like to), have a baby to carry around. The same reason why I had to get rid of my Ford Fiesta ST (awesome pocket rocket) :/    She Who Must Be Obeyed has also decreed that the next car must be an auto (boring!!!)

Thanks guys for the advice, I will probably focus on getting a Toyota/Kia/Hyundai. Any model in particular that has a good market share in Lebanon (i.e. more parts and mechanical expertise available)? Kia Cerato seems to be selling pretty well?

Honda doesn't seem to be that popular in Lebanon?

Offline

#5 April 21

Elitism Guru
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

I would consider an ol' trusty MX-5 over any (Subaru) GT86.
Boxer engine torque suck, and Subaru has QC issues depending on your luck, not to mention the horrible plastic interior that is worse than a vinyl-full Picanto.

Last edited by Elitism Guru (April 21)

Offline

#6 April 21

rolf
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

purpleradish wrote:
rolf wrote:

there is a practice to import "half cars" (severely damaged cars as "parts only") to avoid paying any custom taxes, then assembling them into full cars here.

This is good to know, I have always like the front end of the 5 series and the rear end of the 3 series. Maybe I can commission a BMW 5.3 Series to be custom built for me? =D

The motivation behind this practice is making more money (by reducing import duties). Therefore you can surely find someone willing to do it if you pay for it! But how fast would you be willing to go in such a car?

I will keep an open mind and say that it could actually be a fun project.

purpleradish wrote:

On a more serious note, many thanks for the heads up, certainly wouldn't want to fall for this kind of 'vehicle'.

You are welcome. I do not know how how common this is, nowadays, however it is worth being careful.

Last edited by rolf (April 21)

Offline

#7 April 21

Aly
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

I own a BMW 3 series E90 and my brother an E46, i wouldn't recommend both of them, since the maintenance costs are high compared to other cars, however the performance and driving experience are great.
I would get a Toyota (Corolla or Yaris) or any Japanese popular car like Honda Civic, Mazda etc ...

Last edited by Aly (April 21)

Offline

#8 April 22

purpleradish
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

Aly wrote:

I own a BMW 3 series E90 and my brother an E46, i wouldn't recommend both of them, since the maintenance costs are high compared to other cars, however the performance and driving experience are great.
I would get a Toyota (Corolla or Yaris) or any Japanese popular car like Honda Civic, Mazda etc ...

Interesting that you mentioned this, I was thinking about getting an E90 330i. I don't mind paying a bit extra for fuel and other routine consumables like better oil and spark plugs, but the prospect of having to replace expensive broken parts puts me off.

Currently quite interested in getting either a Kia Cerato or Mazda 3.

Is it a common practice for secondhand car dealers to wind back the odometer? I have encountered this in other places.

Offline

#9 April 22

Draguen
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

What's your budget?

Also keep in mind that you're going to drive on seriously abused roads with potholes and no concept of flatness. if you're looking for absolute reliability, get a second hand nissan juke for 10 000 - 15 000$, they are super reliable and well equipped to drive over potholes and sidewalks without having to pay for the maintenance of a fully fledge 4x4. However say your goodbyes to the driving fun.

Offline

#10 April 22

purpleradish
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

Draguen wrote:

get a second hand nissan juke.... However say your goodbyes to the driving fun.

And also goodbyes to my dignity, IMHO, the Juke's front end looks like a frog's face that has been smashed in, with its eyes dangling out. It must have been an April fools joke that somehow made it into production ??

Budget is around $10k. Will be mostly driving within Beirut.

Offline

#11 April 22

beezer
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

IMO a Yaris is really good for Beirut and takes a good beating as well.
I'd look for a small car that can park anywhere.

Offline

#12 April 22

xazbrat
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

beezer wrote:

IMO a Yaris is really good for Beirut and takes a good beating as well.
I'd look for a small car that can park anywhere.

And I second this--you could also try something like a Hyundai i20 too, but in general, you  want something small that you can park and wind your way through tight roads.  Also, the upkeep of the roads isn't stellar, so you will want front (or all wheel) drive especially on the hilly sections of the city especially when it is raining..  With rear wheel drive, you might end up spinning in place for a while.

Offline

#13 April 22

Elitism Guru
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

Avoid 4 speed automatic transmissions like cancer, unless its a diesel engine car with torque (which isn't legal here) or a big V8, Lebanon landscape is mostly mountains. Huge regret going with a Kia Rio which is equivalent to i20, in fact they both use the same parts except body. My 6 speed 80's Merc with around 70hp is more consistent in hilly areas, ~30hp less than my Rio;  unless I red line it all the time its pretty dead feeling and keeps racing the transmission up and down. Not to mention the G engine series still uses valve stems with springs!, not hydraulic, if they get out of whack its a big issue for electronic injection vehicles. needs check every 30k KM else you will lose low end RPM torque or gain on top, waste more fuel; my intake stem keeps moving 0.5+mm every ~20k KM. Not to mention that these engines have crankshaft issues at around 120k Km. Some reference: http://www.motorreviewer.com/engine.php?engine_id=18
To add, if you live in hot areas during summer, its pretty bad for cooling as it doesn't even have a proper firewall, in fact I don't even turn on the heater and I'm living at around 1500m ASL. Same goes with the exhaust thermal shielding, no insulation, expect your beverage to boil (exaggeration ) or worse overheating your phone (near the transmission). Door handle/cup area is spray rubber vinyl, wears out within 3 years and leaves you a sticky surface, I vinyl wrapped mine though it doesn't handle consistent use, planning on sanding it and spray plain color. ECU on used Kia models and i20 before 2014 have timing issue known as ping sound, which only happens on high octane/98 unleaded fuel.

Last edited by Elitism Guru (April 22)

Offline

#14 April 22

infiniteloop
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

Never ever buy a used card from US, they most probably were crashed or got water in the engine in a huge storm, you will get more problems than pleasure.
For second hand go to the Lebanese car companies like Bassoul Hneine, Mazda,dodge, Jeep...they will sell you a used but Lebanese car + a real warranty not a BS of ''ma3rad''
If your budget is in 15000-18000$ you can get a brand new Citroen or Peugeot that are vastly under-rated by Lebanese ''talks'' , I got a Citroen C3 Aircross with the 6 speed Auto and it's a pure pleasure, their gears are now made in Japan by the same company that produces for Mitsubishi, my car is 25000$ but they use the same gear on all their new 2019 Automatic cars. I drove to Faraya and other mountains with this car, and even with 110hp this car flies on mountain roads, sometimes i am surprised to see I am at 90km/s without any effort, it totally destroys my ex-DS3 4 gears Auto 120hp I had before

Last edited by infiniteloop (April 22)

Offline

#15 April 22

Elitism Guru
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

infiniteloop wrote:

Never ever buy a used card from US, they most probably were crashed or got water in the engine in a huge storm, you will get more problems than pleasure.
For second hand go to the Lebanese car companies like Bassoul Hneine, Mazda,dodge, Jeep...they will sell you a used but Lebanese car + a real warranty not a BS of ''ma3rad''
If your budget is in 15000-18000$ you can get a brand new Citroen or Peugeot that are vastly under-rated by Lebanese ''talks'' , I got a Citroen C3 Aircross with the 6 speed Auto and it's a pure pleasure, their gears are now made in Japan by the same company that produces for Mitsubishi, my car is 25000$ but they use the same gear on all their new 2019 Automatic cars

Any issues with insurance when it comes to spare parts? Especially new parts after a car accident?

Offline

#16 April 22

infiniteloop
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

It all depends on your insurance, I always take Tous risques with a covering of original parts 100% the first 4 years, but you can get better at Citroen Lebanon they have a deal with an insurance for the first 5 years.
BTW warranty is on 5 years now

Offline

#17 April 22

Elitism Guru
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

infiniteloop wrote:

It all depends on your insurance, I always take Tous risques with a covering of original parts 100% the first 4 years, but you can get better at Citroen Lebanon they have a deal with an insurance for the first 5 years.
BTW warranty is on 5 years now

AROPE insurance couldn't get me an brand new front bumper, all-risk insurance, changed to "Bankers" now. Mind you that Korean cars "mzableen" everywhere, I was shocked especially since it took a week. (with no rebate for rental services)
And yeah, transmissions are underrated in Lebanon, 4 speed auto is very smooth and predictable on high ways and flat areas.

Last edited by Elitism Guru (April 22)

Offline

#18 April 22

rolf
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

xazbrat wrote:

in general, you  want something small that you can park and wind your way through tight roads.

He mentioned in his first post that the car would be for weekend use (roadtrips?) and occasional city use, and he has a family, so maybe not something too tiny!

Elitism Guru wrote:

Avoid 4 speed automatic transmissions like cancer

Totally.

You will often find yourself driving between 20 and 40 KM/h which is the worst spot for such a gearbox - too high RPM in 1st and too low in 2nd.

Last edited by rolf (April 23)

Offline

#19 April 23

Aly
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

purpleradish wrote:
Aly wrote:

I own a BMW 3 series E90 and my brother an E46, i wouldn't recommend both of them, since the maintenance costs are high compared to other cars, however the performance and driving experience are great.
I would get a Toyota (Corolla or Yaris) or any Japanese popular car like Honda Civic, Mazda etc ...

Interesting that you mentioned this, I was thinking about getting an E90 330i. I don't mind paying a bit extra for fuel and other routine consumables like better oil and spark plugs, but the prospect of having to replace expensive broken parts puts me off.

Currently quite interested in getting either a Kia Cerato or Mazda 3.

Is it a common practice for secondhand car dealers to wind back the odometer? I have encountered this in other places.

My E90 is a 2006 330i, fuel consumption is fine to be honest, but again you get some parts failing sometimes, like the water pump is a common issue, each couple of years (should be changed with the thermostat that's like 300$ total), some small things here and there.
Not to mention the 330i (sport package) has 18 inches rims, which means kind of expensive tires to replace and our roads are full of pot holes so one mistake will cost you a tire or two and guess what ? as of 2006 BMW does not include a spare tire in the trunk and there is no place for you to put one, unless you dedicate your trunk fully for a spare tire .. as of 2006 all BMW ship with Run Flat tires, and the price of ONE good quality RFT tire like Bridgestone is around 400-450$ so this is totally ridiculous. I wouldn't really blame BMW for this one, since this more like a country problems with bad roads but this is a major thing to consider.
As for the Odometer rollback yes it happens here sometimes, you cant be sure 100% though, if the car is from US origin and was never registered in Lebanon, you can check the carfax to make sure they didn't mess with the odometer.

Last edited by Aly (April 23)

Offline

#20 April 23

purpleradish
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

Thanks guys for all the useful information.

Based on your suggestions, I will stay away from used BMW's, due to their dubious origin and potentially high maintenance costs.

Toyota Yaris looks pretty good, I like its looks and the fact that it uses a CVT, either sedan or hatch would do (but I prefer hatch, it looks better).

The Yaris is just big enough for my needs, the engine (1.5L version) should provide just enough power for the occasional excursions out of Beirut. The interior looks a bit spartan and stripped out (even compared to Yaris from other markets). But it should be easy to drive around in the city. The CVT probably isn't going to provide the most sporty driving experience, but it should extract what little power the little 1.5L engine has. Being a Toyota, it should go on and go without breaking. I can find some 2015 examples for about $11k.

The C4 by comparison appears to be better value, it is a lot more car for the money, and a class bigger. Not to sure about long-term reliability and resale value though. There aren't that many advertisements for used C4's, so I presume it isn't that popular of a car over there? There is a 2016 one for $12k, pretty tempting.

What does it mean when sellers state 'company source' in their advertisements? Does it mean the car has been sourced through official dealership in Lebanon (i.e. not a private import), or an ex-company vehicle?

Offline

#21 April 23

kareem_nasser
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

purpleradish wrote:

Thanks guys for all the useful information.

Based on your suggestions, I will stay away from used BMW's, due to their dubious origin and potentially high maintenance costs.

Toyota Yaris looks pretty good, I like its looks and the fact that it uses a CVT, either sedan or hatch would do (but I prefer hatch, it looks better).

The Yaris is just big enough for my needs, the engine (1.5L version) should provide just enough power for the occasional excursions out of Beirut. The interior looks a bit spartan and stripped out (even compared to Yaris from other markets). But it should be easy to drive around in the city. The CVT probably isn't going to provide the most sporty driving experience, but it should extract what little power the little 1.5L engine has. Being a Toyota, it should go on and go without breaking. I can find some 2015 examples for about $11k.

The C4 by comparison appears to be better value, it is a lot more car for the money, and a class bigger. Not to sure about long-term reliability and resale value though. There aren't that many advertisements for used C4's, so I presume it isn't that popular of a car over there? There is a 2016 one for $12k, pretty tempting.

What does it mean when sellers state 'company source' in their advertisements? Does it mean the car has been sourced through official dealership in Lebanon (i.e. not a private import), or an ex-company vehicle?

If you decided to go with a Japanese manufacturer, why don you check Mitsubishi Lancer?

Offline

#22 April 23

purpleradish
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

kareem_nasser wrote:

If you decided to go with a Japanese manufacturer, why don you check Mitsubishi Lancer?

Yeah, good suggestion, will keep an eye out for any good Lancers that turn up

Offline

#23 April 23

Aly
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

purpleradish wrote:

What does it mean when sellers state 'company source' in their advertisements? Does it mean the car has been sourced through official dealership in Lebanon (i.e. not a private import), or an ex-company vehicle?

Exactly, this car was not used in another country and imported to Lebanon, it was bought from BUMC the official Toyota dealer and only driven in Lebanon.

Offline

#24 April 23

Draguen
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

Aly wrote:
purpleradish wrote:

What does it mean when sellers state 'company source' in their advertisements? Does it mean the car has been sourced through official dealership in Lebanon (i.e. not a private import), or an ex-company vehicle?

Exactly, this car was not used in another country and imported to Lebanon, it was bought from BUMC the official Toyota dealer and only driven in Lebanon.

which means that it probably wasn't totaled and imported as spare parts here then rebuild. it could however have been totaled locally and repaired, because F logic.

Also, someone mentioned buying second hand from official dealerships, which in my opinion is B.S as i have been firsthand victim of a car that developed major issues 2 weeks after being bought from the official dealership, and who refused to do a single shit about it. it ended up costing me 3K + in repairs

your best bet is to find a good mechanic, i'm sure geeks here could recommend one, and take him with you whenever you are seriously considering a car, or take the car to him, also don't be cheap and pay him for his service, and absolutely do not go to a mechanic recommended by the seller.

Also, learn the basics on youtube on how to recognise a car that had major repairs.

Last edited by Draguen (April 23)

Offline

#25 April 23

rolf
Member

Re: Moving to Beirut, getting a secondhand car

purpleradish wrote:

The C4 by comparison appears to be better value, it is a lot more car for the money, and a class bigger. Not to sure about long-term reliability and resale value though. There aren't that many advertisements for used C4's, so I presume it isn't that popular of a car over there? There is a 2016 one for $12k, pretty tempting.

I drive a 10 year old C4.

Amazingly the 4 speed auto gearbox has held up so far. Outside of the gearbox being abnormally sluggish, it has only caused minor occasional trouble, as expected considering the age.

But it does show signs of wanting to fall apart and disintegrate.
Some plastic parts are brittle. I had a surprize the other day, big chunks of rubber started falling off the gearbox knob. Hot conditions in Lebanon do that. It is a French car (France being mostly a cool and flat country) and mostly made of cheap plastic.

Some say they made progress. Anyway I believe that for up to 5 years of age and even more you should be OK. If you pick a good engine/gearbox combo, it is quite enjoyable.
However the resale value will not be terrific I am sure.

Last edited by rolf (April 23)

Offline

Board footer