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Hello! I purchased my first car, a certified pre-owned Subaru Impreza hatchback from the dealership. I have only had it for 2.5 weeks, and yesterday morning I could not start it. I tried again in the evening, and it just made clicking noises when I turned the key. I knew that the car battery had died once with the first owner, and discovered that they did not replace that battery as it did not concern them during the certification. It had also been slow to start a few mornings earlier, but then was okay the next day. On one hand, it's just a bad battery that I should get replaced. On the other hand I have been wondering: if they didn't catch this in their "certified" process, what else did they not catch? Was I given a bad deal? Should I have gone with a Honda instead since their reliability ratings are way better? I was contemplating selling the car back (it would be a loss of ~$1,000 + license and registration fees), but decided to lean into the warranty to have it towed and repaired. The experience I had with my sales rep, though, was super frustrating. He said it was just the Minnesota weather and that it did funny things to car batteries, which felt condescending as I am aware of that and our 2005 Toyota Highlander started without any issues that same morning. He also implied that I had probably left the door ajar or that I had done something else to drain the battery. I am sure he would not have said that to a man, and I am also very careful and am 100% sure that was not the cause. So: should I stay with this car? Or should I cut my losses and go with a Honda HR-V? I would really like an affordable AWD vehicle and the Impreza is the cheapest. However, I am wondering if it's going to be, long-term, worth the hassle with Subaru. My last car was a 2004 Toyota Corolla. I drove it for 14 years and didn't have any problems with it until two years ago, so having car problems is something unfamiliar to me. Thanks so much for any and all of your thoughts!

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jessica Howe, Automotive Expert & Coach at AskPatty.com

Hello, 

Thank you for writing in. To begin, the cold weather definitely impacts car batteries (as does extreme heat). It has less to do with the car, and more to do with the condition of the battery. You made the right choice by having them replace it under warranty. If ANYTHING else goes wrong that is covered, have them replace it immediately, and make sure you hold them responsible for any bills. I cannot say for sure if they are "pulling something", but be confident and firm when dealing with people who are less than honorable. If the vehicle is running fine after installing a new battery, you likely have nothing to be seriously concerned about. 

As far as dealing with your salesman, you may want to contact his boss. Let them know, very casually, that you did not appreciate your experience with them, and you want to deal with someone else with more respect from here on out. The dealership should honor that, and if they do not, you need to take your business elsewhere. Establishing a relationship with an honest dealership and one of their best salesperson proves to be beneficial over time.

Subaru has a great reputation for durability and reliability. While other companies have good records too, if you are content with the vehicle, stick it out until you have a reason to want or need to trade it out for something else. With time, you can likely avoid taking a $1,000 hit so suddenly. 

Good luck, and enjoy the new car. 


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