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 out of 1 people think this is 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 out of 1 people think this is 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 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

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 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

  • Should you purchase a pre-owned certified car as your next vehicle? 13 answers

    My experience with purchasing a certified pre-owned car has been very good, and I believe that you can save a lot of money on depreciation especially in the first three years. And, you can purchase...

    2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited


    Shopping & Pricing

  • Pre-owned Outback 103 answers

    I am looking for a pre-owned Outback for my wife and have $10,000.00 dollars cash to spend. I am a little limited in choices since she insists on the large "double" moonroof. I believe these are a...

    2008 Subaru Outback 3.0 R L.L. Bean Edition


    Shopping & Pricing

  • What is an American car? 15 answers

    Although Subaru hails from Japan, several of their models, including the Subaru Legacy and Outback are built in the USA in Lafayette, Indiana. While there are still some "American cars" still ...

    2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited


    Shopping & Pricing

  • Anything I can do about Bait and Switch 2 answers

    I went to a dealer that advertised a 2014 Subaru Outback Limited(My Auto Imports in Muskegon Michiga0 they advertised the price on your sight at $26500 but when I got there after contacting them the...

    2014 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited


    Shopping & Pricing

  • What should I try next 46 answers

    I have a 2001 Subaru Outback and it is overheating only when it's drive hard. I've changed the thermostat and water pump. I don't believe it's the head gasket because I've done a exhaust gas test...

    2001 Subaru Outback Base Wagon


    Maintenance & Repair


Looking for a Used Outback in your area?

CarGurus has 30,431 nationwide Outback listings starting at $1,295.


Search Subaru Outback Questions

Subaru Outback Experts

#1 Markw1952
Reputation 4,260
#2 FordNut
Reputation 1,470
#3 TheSubaruGuruBoston
Reputation 1,100
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Subaru Forester"
359 Great Deals out of 19,905 listings starting at $1,099
Used Subaru Legacy"
246 Great Deals out of 18,022 listings starting at $1,300
Used Subaru Impreza"
242 Great Deals out of 8,290 listings starting at $1,995
Used Honda CR-V"
1,597 Great Deals out of 81,716 listings starting at $1,695
Used Toyota RAV4"
1,226 Great Deals out of 49,367 listings starting at $2,495
Used Toyota 4Runner"
360 Great Deals out of 18,966 listings starting at $2,400
Used Toyota Highlander"
653 Great Deals out of 31,070 listings starting at $1,990
Used Toyota Tacoma"
636 Great Deals out of 30,606 listings starting at $2,850
Used Jeep Grand Cherokee"
1,201 Great Deals out of 74,210 listings starting at $1,500
Used Honda Accord"
1,309 Great Deals out of 78,750 listings starting at $1,395
Used Subaru Impreza WRX"
43 Great Deals out of 1,348 listings starting at $2,500
Used Toyota Camry"
1,651 Great Deals out of 98,959 listings starting at $895
Used Honda Pilot"
573 Great Deals out of 19,669 listings starting at $1,800

Used Cars For Sale

2017 Subaru Outback For Sale
20,115 listings starting at $23,920
2016 Subaru Outback For Sale
24 Great Deals out of 917 listings starting at $23,626
2015 Subaru Outback For Sale
86 Great Deals out of 1,500 listings starting at $16,595
2014 Subaru Outback For Sale
75 Great Deals out of 1,925 listings starting at $10,900
2013 Subaru Outback For Sale
65 Great Deals out of 1,256 listings starting at $9,753