I am returning to the US in November after three years in Germany, and I am already looking for a car. Of course I am prowling the Carmax website, not only because they have lots of pictures of their cars but because they have that extended warranty that really makes sense for pricier cars.

This is one of them, and at a great price: a 2008 Porsche Cayman for just $30,097. The car is a former dealership car, so I imagine it had a few dozen (or hundred) drivers in its 47,000 mile life, and also has a more alarming "accident or vehicle damage" in its Auto Check vehicle report. The report states that "accidents or damage events are a result of vehicle collisions or other non-collision incidents such as vandalism or theft".

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A vehicle like this I would only buy after an extensive test drive to ascertain that the car either was not in a crash, or that the accident was a mild one, to make sure the frame is straight. Does Carmax even allow you to drive one of their cars to a third party inspector, say a Porsche specialist, to get an independent evaluation of the car? If they do, I would get the car seen by someone other than Carmax before purchase. I would also buy the approximately $3,000 extended warranty for peace of mind, and enjoy a Cayman for less than $35,000.

Alternatively I could get this other 2008 Cayman for $30,988 from Porsche of Arlington, with 34,000 miles, with no accidents, then buy an extended warranty from a place like Extended Warranty Direct, or from my bank, USAA, and hope that they cover every thing like the Carmax one does. (Well, I wouldn't really hope they do: I would ask questions and read fine prints before buying the warranty)

Edit: how about this Cayman S for five bucks less than 27 grand?

Seems like there are a lot of Caymans around the $30,000 price point. The crashed car from Carmax might be a gamble, but I would never buy a crashed car just for the Carmax extended warranty. A quick search of Auto Trader shows a lot of these cars around the 30 grand mark: