Most people believe that there are basically two choices when it comes to buying a car – new or used. There is a third option, however: Certified Pre Owned (CPO). The term should sound somewhat familiar. Many automakers advertise their CPO programs and you’ve likely seen dealers do their fair share of marketing as well. CPO vehicles are typically newer and fresher than their used counterparts and have the stamp of approval from their manufacturer. When looking for a used vehicle, be sure to check out Chevy Certified Pre Owned. Although not new, Certified Pre Owned is as good as a used car can be.
What is Certified Pre Owned?
A lot of the confusion around CPO vehicles stems from the fact that nearly every major automaker offers the certification with different parameters. Among all manufacturers, there are five basic ingredients in the Certified Pre Owned sauce. All programs contain the following criteria:
- Vehicle must be under or up to a certain year limit
- Vehicle must be under or up to a certain mileage limit
- Vehicle must have a clean title and Carfax report
- Vehicle must pass a 100+ point inspection
- Vehicle comes with a warranty or service package
In any CPO program, you know you’re getting a car that that still has years of life in front of it, both in age and mileage. Through the inspection and Carfax report, you know that your vehicle is not only road-worthy now but has also never been seriously compromised. And finally, you get the peace of mind that comes from a warranty or service package.
As you begin your search for a used vehicle, always make sure that the car has been certified by the automaker itself. Certified Pre Owned, although recognized industry-wide, does not apply to just the manufacturers. Dealers can apply the CPO tag to any car on their lot if it passes the dealership’s standards. If the vehicle is certified by a well-known dealer with a good reputation, you can probably trust that the certification is fairly high-level. Be wary of seedy used-car lots that tout a CPO tag – it may be a marketing gimmick with no real benefits.
Chevy Certified Pre Owned
Chevy, under the GM umbrella, offers one of the best CPO programs in the industry. Here are the basics:
- Must be less than six model years old
- Must have fewer than 75,000 vehicle miles
- Must have a clean title
- Must pass GM’s 172-point vehicle inspection and reconditioning process (including fixes for any open recalls)
Notice something missing? It’s the warranty or service package listed in the above prerequisites. Chevy has one, it’s just too long to list out in bullet form. On the warranty side of things, you get two – a 6-year/100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty and a 12-month/10,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. Both come with a fantastic $0 deductible. On the maintenance side of things, there are four great benefits: An exclusive CPO scheduled maintenance package, courtesy transportation when using that package, roadside assistance, and a vehicle history report. On the more fun side of things, you’ll get an up to a three-month trial of both OnStar and SiriusXM radio. Finally, if you find that your new ride doesn’t quite fit your lifestyle, you have 3 days/150 miles to come back and exchange it for another CPO model.
Certified Pre Owned vs New and Used
Certified Pre Owned vehicles sit right in the middle of new cars and used cars. In the purest sense of the word, they are used because they’ve had previous owners and a few thousand miles on the odometer. On the other hand, they offer many of the same protections we typically associate with new cars.
CPO vs. New
The depreciation curve describes what happens to a new car as soon as it leaves the lot. Your brand-new purchase immediately plummets in value as soon as you get the keys. As time wears on, the car continues to lose value, but at a much slower pace. By buying Certified Pre Owned, you let someone else take the biggest depreciation hit. Your CPO vehicle will still lose value over time, but you’ll have the avoided the biggest drop, both in amount and percentage.
When you buy a new car, you’re putting a lot of faith in the auto manufacturer. With so few miles on the clock, you don’t know what potential issues await and must rely on the brand’s reputation. The 172-point inspection and vehicle history report you get with a Certified Pre Owned give you a clear picture of the car itself. If the previous owner has had a couple of issues with the exhaust system or wiring, you can go in knowing what potential trouble spots the vehicle may have. It’s like reading restaurant reviews before you head out to dinner.
Some customers want to be the first owner. There’s something to be said to picking up a car with sub-50 miles on the odometer. New car people will tell you that there’s something about knowing exactly where their car has been. And we can’t forget that fabled new-car smell.
Also, wear and tear are real, even in a well-cared for car. Every time you start up, your car is putting a little bit of strain on the components that make up your vehicle. A belt or piston is more likely to break at 50,000 miles than 10,000. Luckily, your CPO warranty should cover almost any issue that pops up. There is also the fact that your Certified Pre Owned model will be a used model in the sense that new versions of the vehicle have been produced. When you want the latest and greatest in technology, a new car is your best bet.
CPO vs Used
If there’s an argument to be made in favor of used cars, it would probably come down to pricing. You pay more for the perks that come with a Certified Pre Owned vehicle. The 172-point inspection and owner care package are worth the money to most people, especially when you consider the generous warranty. True bargain shoppers will probably get more for their money buying used, and that’s their prerogative.
For those who have a very specific car in mind, used might be a better choice as well. Your perfect car could be outside of the mileage or age limits or could have been involved in an accident before. It could be a perfectly good car but just didn’t fit into the tight CPO regulations. Most dealerships carry a handful of Certified Pre Owned vehicles compared to hundreds of used cars, so it may come down to selection.
The pros are overwhelmingly in the favor of a CPO vehicle, however. Any dealer worth its salt will perform a thorough inspection before selling a used car, but there is certainly an extra peace of mind that comes from the manufacturer’s stamp. The warranties that come with a Certified Pre Owned car also eliminate any maintenance worries you may have with buying a used car. Add in roadside assistance and you now have protection even if things go sideways. Why buy used when you can buy a car that is basically used+?