CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Buying a certifiee used Forester: source

In shopping for a used Forester, I am not finding any that were one owner previously. They all appear to come from out of state sources, rentals mostly listed. Since the rental agency isn’t listed, can I trust the vehicle to be in good shape?

Have the car checked by a mechanic you trust.

Key item to check is whether the tires are all the same; treadwear the same. Some people will “cheap out” on the tire replacement recommendations by Subaru, and tire status is a flag for inattention. As for rental agencies, not so sure every mechanic and manager at the agency is fully aware of Subaru recommendations (including tires) to keep the drive line going without major repair.

A lot depends on mileage. If the car has 30+K miles, then a 30K service should have been done and there should be proof.

Based on the relative lack of information many sellers offer, I have concluded I will not buy a used Subaru from someone I don’t know, and stick with the new ones, where I can control the maintenance and what happens to it.

Have any car checked by a mechanic you trust. before you buy it.

The word “certified” is more of a sales aid than anything else.
Any used car (certifed, dealer, private sale, rental agency, etc.) should be thoroughly inspected before buying it.

Some years ago I worked for a large Subaru dealer who provided cars to an unnamed (ahem, NxxxxxxL) rental agency and these cars were a source of frustration for me as a tech. Rather than waste manpower hours bringing the cars back for warranty repairs they would have their guys try to wade through them. When they hit a wall THEN they would bring them in for repair.
The frustration was having to deal with broken parts, cross-threaded screws, and a general butchering of even the simplest things.
(You should have seen the Subaru in which they overhauled the engine - at a measly 4k miles. This begs the question, WHY?)

All rental agency vehicles may not wind up like these, but my view of the ones from this particular agency is not good to put it mildly.

Is this Forster certified by Subaru? If so, and you trust the dealer’s mechanics, it could be a fine car. They do 152 different checks; here’s the info if you don’t have it already:

If you don’t trust the dealer’s mechanics, CPO is a waste of money. You will spend 6% (~$1100) more for a 2007 Forester, assuming that either the CPO or non-CPO are in outstanding condition. Add to that a couple hundred to have another mechanic check it, even though Subaru already did it.