Test drive gone wrong! Should I still be considering this vehicle?????

Asked by Dec 23, 2014 at 08:46 PM about the 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5 i Limited Wagon

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

Test drove a 2005 Subaru Outback with 105,000 miles on it today and ten blocks down
the road it died and wouldn't restart. Turns out the alternator had gone out. The dealer
said they would be putting a new alternator in it and the salesman basically acted as
though we would be totally uninterested after what had happened and moved on to
show us another vehicle..... my question is whether or not I should still be considering
this vehicle at all? They have had the vehicle for almost four months now (it is a stick)
and with the alternator going bad during a test drive (it was sort of a big deal as the
salesman had to come pick us up) so it seems to me like a bargain waiting to happen...
should I low ball him and see how low a price I can get or should I just move on to look
at other vehicles?

4 Answers


IMO... Can you get the dealer to give you the complete vehicle history report? Get it on paper, not their word, then low ball them if you want it..... They've had it that long for a reason, whether it's the price or something sinister....

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

"and the salesman basically acted as though we would be totally uninterested after what had happened and moved on to show us another vehicle" ------> Not only would I NOT reconsider that Subaru Outback, I would RUN as fast as you can AWAY from that Dealer!! Is this a Buy-Here, Pay Here place or something?? In any event, find a reputable Dealer as the mere fact that they did NOT do a proper inspection on the car BEFORE putting on the lot for sale is a HUGE red flag in my honest opinion!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Simply having the alternator fail would not cause the engine to die. The engine would run off the battery until the battery was dead. Did they have to jump start it for you when you went on the test drive? If so, then I suspect that the alternator failed because it was trying to charge the dead battery in addition to running the vehicle plus the accessories. So, if the battery was dead to begin with I'd say get the dealer to install a new battery and alternator and consider buying the vehicle if all else was good on your test drive. BUT if the battery wasn't dead to begin with I suspect other issues. Electrical problems with a vehicle can quickly become a nightmare!! Automobile batteries have a reserve capacity, usually 90 minutes. This is how long, after the alternator fails, you can drive the vehicle, at night, with all the accessories (radio, heater, etc.) off, before the engine dies. I doubt that your test drive was 90+ minutes. So if the battery was good at the start of the test drive but quickly died, move on. You just found out why the previous owner got rid of this vehicle!! HTH. -Jim

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful

Those things happen all the time so I wouldn't lose sleep over it... depending on where you live, you may have a lemon law, etc that will help cover you... or negotiate they through in a warranty if you feel more comfortable about it... but you are right, it is a bargain waiting to happen and that is why the sales guy would like to steer you elsewhere... they get commissions and want to sell the more profitable cars (and profitable is not tied to sale price) so there may be minimal commission they guy would make on the car you like but if he shows you something else, he can make more $... also if you have a mechanic that you trust, tell them before you take it, you'll have to have him look at it...

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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