CarFax Decision. Need your input

I’m looking at two KIA Sorento’s -2013. Pre-Owned Certified.

Would love the input on the following as I’m a bit stuck.

The two Sorento’s are practically identical (Color/Price/Milage (White/$19.9K/38K)

Only difference is one has a roof rack and also a V6 3.5L (vs. the other which is 2.4L 4 cylinder). Seems like a no brainer, but the V6 has 4 previous owners on the car fax vs. the 2.4L has 1.

Is that such a big issue? One of the four owners (the first) was listed as a rental, the rest personal. A bit of a red flag, however if both have the KIA Pre-Owned Certification should I feel okay?

What are your thoughts? I appreciate any insight.

Carfax is a tool but should not be considered the final word on a car transaction.

The one with 4 owners would bother me quite a bit. That’s a bit much for a 2013 model car that appears to have been playing musical chairs. A very clear explanation and service history would have to be presented about why this car has been through so many hands already.

As to Pre-Owned Certification, that can vary quite a bit also. While some dealers may have their cars thoroughly checked out per the CPO form (and this applies to all dealers) not all of them actually do that and in some cases the cars may be checked out by someone who has little mechanical proficiency.

I’m not saying the dealer holding these cars is guilty of it but I am aware of the process. One dealer I worked for sold CPO vehicles and not one of them ever came into the service department for an inspection. Who was doing the inspecting? No one knows… :frowning:

Hope that helps in some way and good luck.

I’d be somewhat concerned about the 4 owner car

Assuming the rental agency owned the car for at least a year, that means the other 3 guys only owned the car a short time

You might ask if this car was a buyback/lemon

Since the car is at a Kia dealer, they should have access to such information

If they refuse to even look into it, I’d be tempted to look elsewhere

If you make it clear you’re seriously interested in the vehicle, but you want to know why there are so many owners, I think they may get you your answers

However, the answers may be vague or not to your liking

On another note, it seems to me the 4 banger Sorento might be a bit underpowered

I am assuming there’s something about the 4 owner vehicle, that caused the guys to not want to hang onto it. It might be something minor, or it could be something serious

If four owners hated it, so will you. It probably has a driveability problem related to goofed up electronics. Drivers hate it when they hit the gas and get nothing. That one is just not worth the worry. In this case carfax was perfect. It gave information. You should not believe that certified means anything at all. I can certify what I just wrote all day long and it still means “whatever”.

The certification doesn’t necessarily mean much. We’ve had stories on this forum of cars with serious problems being sold as certified, with dealers missing some obvious problems. Certification is a way of selling used cars to people who are uncomfortable buying used cars, no more nor less. As for the CarFax report, they aren’t necessarily highly reliable, so I wouldn’t put a lot of weight on that info.

My main concern with a car with so many owners in such a short time is whether there is some reason it kept changing hands. If you can have a mechanic inspect it you may be able to rule out some of the more major issues, like it having been involved in a significant accident. If I had two to choose from that were otherwise comparable, I’d slightly prefer the one-owner vehicle, but only if there were maintenance records suggesting it had been properly cared for.

I’m also surprised that the V6 was a previous rental, as rentals almost always are basic models with the cheapest engine. Are you sure it wasn’t a lease return, instead? It concerns me a bit that the V6 is priced the same as the four, as it would normally command a premium, and had to cost more when new.

Thanks for all the replies - Here is the car fax - hope i’m reading it right:

“Only difference is one has a roof rack and also a V6 3.5L (vs. the other which is 2.4L 4 cylinder). Seems like a no brainer.”

No-brainer which way?

I simply won’t own a sideways V-anything. Unbelievably complicated to work on (if you do that) or unbelievably expensive (if you don’t). Add to that the V6’s inability to remain in a stable relationship…and my decision’s made.

It seems no one wanted to hold onto that car very long and there’s even a reference to Tulsa, OK; maybe a dealer transfer car?

Something that stands out to me is this.
Note that at a shade under 38k miles there was an alignment performed and ONE tire replaced.
The car was sold a month later
The next month it’s back for a suspension check.
The car is sold again.

My feeling is that this one is to be avoided. It could be that at some point the car got whacked on one front corner in a collision with another car, curb, large pothole, etc and possibly cut a tire which could explain the replacement of one tire only.
If so, that can lead to tweaked suspension components and possibly be the reason it was back again.

I have a strict rule for used car buying and that is ANY doubt and I move on. I was test driving used Sonata’s a few weeks ago to buy one. One was making a noise over small bumps, I told the salesperson about it. He said “I can’t hear it”. I told him to go have his ears checked after they have the car checked. He asked if I will come back, I told him no. I am sure it was the sway bar links or bushings, but even if they fixed it, I am not happy with a car that has been driven such that after 20K miles it needs some suspension work. It might had been a fluke and the car might turn out to be just fine, but I wasn’t going to loose sleep or dimes on that.

Two owner’s in 2-3 years and the car is out.

The 4 cylinder Sorento is very under powered IMHO. I have test driven them back to back and would not want to have the I4 with 4 passengers on the merging lane. i also believe the 3.5 V6 had some issues and they moved on to a 3.3 probably in 2014. Look for one of those.

At that price I would consider buying a new 2015 Sorento, the truecar price on the base model is $24,900 and you would likely get a better financing rate on a new car. If you are willing to consider a used rental car, why not buy one directly from the rental car company?

When I rented a Kia last year, I was talking with the employee who was showing me the car. We had time to chat, so I asked him how long they hold on to rentals and the types of vehicles they rent.

He said they keep rentals for 30K miles, and that Kia’s were his least favorite as they give them the most mechanical troubles.

The way I interrupt the report the car has had 2 owner’s and the 3 and 4 owner is a dealer in CT who has the car up for sale. 35k miles for owner 1and 2. A dealer employee may have driven the car or it might have been a service loaner but only 4k miles.

IMHO four owners in a two year old car is an enormous red flag. Enter at your own risk.
Even just the fact of being back up for sale after only two years makes me wonder.

Keep in mind that the rental unit may have had hundreds of drivers who didn’t own it and didn’t care a bit about its longevity. It might be a 300 “owner” car. That said, I have owned former rental cars, and they have been OK.

How much difference will there be in the cost and number of higher payments you’d have to make on the one owner car versus a brand new one with a 100K factory warranty?

Why would the OP even consider a vehicle that has apparently had 4 owners in 2 years?
There must be something…very much wrong…with that vehicle if 4 people dropped it like a bad habit.

Lots of good comments, and I agree with them. But why bother? for that price you have a choice of many different NEW cars.

2013…but the V6 has 4 previous owners…A bit of a red flag

Ya think?
Only one thing for sure, I wouldn’t be the 5th owner…

I can easily imagine situations where this had four owners and it didn’t mean much, especially since some seem to be dealers. I worry at least as much about the price. The V6 version cost quite a bit more new, so why is it priced like the four now? That alone makes me suspicious.

Maybe you could over-look the four owners but the alignment issue and the electrical issue are two that scream a problem vehicle that can’t or hasn’t been fixed. I wouldn’t touch it.

Know this about CarFax…
they are a supscription service only.
they do not do any data mining.
they only get the information which is given to them by member shops.

  • which is conveniently slid by the listener in the commercials…’'car fax knows EVERYTHING (( that’s reported to us ))…so as to seem that they know everything about the history of the cars.
    – BUT –
    how much is NOT on that report ?
    non member shops and d.i.y. for two.