Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews


How to Buy Smart with Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles


When you are in the market for a car, truck, SUV, or other vehicle and are looking to get the most value for your dollar but still want to be sure you are getting a quality vehicle; a certified pre-owned vehicle may be the best choice. So what exactly is a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle? Here are a few things define a CPO:

A certified pre-owned car differs from a regular used vehicle in several ways. Most often, they differ from other used vehicles as they have been inspected, refurbished and/or repaired if necessary, and certified by a manufacturer or dealership that is backed by a manufacturer.

CPO vehicles usually include an extended warranty and have options for special financing. They also may include roadside assistance, a trial period with Sirius XM satellite radio, and coverage for periodic maintenance.

Additional benefits of purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle are getting more car for your money, being able to choose from a wider selection of high-quality pre-owned vehicles, and much more.


What to Look For in a Certified Pre-Owned Program

During your shopping process, there are some key things that you can look for to help you get the very best car at a great price. While certified pre-owned vehicles usually come with a good warranty and an extensive checklist of parts and wear, CPO’s are still used vehicles, and a wise buyer will pay attention to all of the details before driving one home. If you do your research and consider all of the factors of the vehicle, warranty, and manufacturer that is backing your dealers certified pre-owned program, you will most likely find that a CPO car, truck, or SUV is a better purchase than a regular used car that is not CPO backed warranty included in your vehicle

Here’s a list of the top five things to keep in mind when buying a certified pre-owned vehicle:

  1. Not All Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Programs Are The Same. Be sure to check that the manufacturer of the vehicle you are considering backs the certified program of the dealership you are buying your vehicle from. Without that verification, there is nothing stopping a dealer from simply cleaning up a regular used vehicle and selling it to you under the guise of being “Certified Pre-Owned.”  When you buy from a certified pre-owned program that is backed by a manufacturer, that manufacturer will require that vehicles the inspection of 125 or more features and then the parent company will back the warranty to you with your CPO vehicle.
  2. Check The Details. Specifics can vary between manufacturer’s certified program. Take a look at warranty mileage coverage. Does it start from the time you purchase it or from the original time of purchase? This will greatly affect how long your vehicle is protected. You will also want to check the deductible on repairs. Some manufacturers will require a deductible if your vehicle under warranty needs repairs.
  3. Certified Does Not Guarantee a Problem-Free Vehicle. This is important to remember while you are shopping for a CPO vehicle.  A new car, a used car, as well as a certified pre-owned vehicle can all give you problems after purchase. Luckily, a CPO vehicle that is backed by a manufacturer has the benefit of an extensive check before it comes to market. Just be sure to pay attention to all of the parts of your purchase regardless of whether you are buying new, used, or certified pre-owned
  4. Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles May Cost A Lot Less Than You Think.  Many people think that buying CPO vehicles will add a lot of money to your price tag. In fact, manufacturer-backed certified pre-owned status usually adds less than $1,000 to your vehicle purchase.  Of course, the price differs by brand.  For example, if you are shopping a luxury brand and/or one that advertises their certified pre-owned inventory you will probably pay a bit more. However, certified pre-owned still appears to pay off over a non-backed used vehicle in market studies.

Three Important Things to Remember. There are a few key things that stand out when you are considering purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle. Be aware that CPO vehicles are often the most roadworthy used cars on a dealership’s lot. Remember that certification adds some cost to your purchase price, but it provides quite a few new-car-like benefits to your vehicle. Finally, one of the greatest advantages and values of a CPO  vehicle is its manufacturer backed warranty.


Shopping for a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle With Confidence

Certified pre-owned vehicles are a great choice if you are looking for the security that comes with making a vehicle purchase that is backed by an extensive front to back inspection and a warranty. Certified pre-owned vehicles usually come with low mileage, are well-maintained, have had only one owner, have not been in a major collision, have been through an extensive, manufacturer-backed inspection, and are refurbished and improved to a CPO program’s standards. Just like with any car purchase you should be sure to look at all of your options and work with a dealership that is there to help answer all of your questions about models, manufacturer’s backing of a certified pre-owned sales, as well as finance options that makes sense for you and your needs.