Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips and Reviews

Managing Your Expectations of a Certified Pre-Owned Chevrolet

In the Chris Farley movie Tommy Boy, Brian Dennehy’s character was asked why there was no written guarantee on the boxes of brake pads manufactured by his company. While we’ll refrain from sharing his colorful response, you may remember his reply (or even better, Farley’s hilarious attempts to repeat it throughout the film).

In case you’re not familiar with the scene in question, the response spoke to the value of a guarantee and the fact that there may be a significant difference between the expectations of someone who is provided with a guarantee, and the intentions of those who have provided it to them.

(FYI: One of many universal truths in the film, it ranks right up there with (1) many grown men will immediately imitate Darth Vader if given the opportunity to speak into a fan, and (2) that the larger the roadkill, the less prudent it is to move the carcass into the backseat of your car.

That said, disparity between opposing expectations proves relevant when speaking about Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles. In many cases, the general consumer’s lack of understanding compounded by differences in programs and practices at both the manufacturer and dealer levels, make for easy confusion.

So, let’s clear it up and determine if a Certified Pre-Owned Chevy will meet your expectations.

CPO DEFINED

What does it mean if you’re in the market for a Certified Pre-Owned Chevy?

The bottom-line is that you’re planning to purchase a used car, but are looking for a guarantee from the dealer and/or manufacturer assuring you of the vehicle’s reliability. Part of that guarantee would include an extended warranty covering any major issues arising after your purchase. Simple enough? Sure it is.

As with any CPO program, the parameters originate from the manufacturer and are facilitated through franchised dealers only. First, this means that criteria a vehicle must meet in order to receive CPO status will differ between manufacturers. For example, the requirements of a CPO Chevy will differ from those of a Ford, and should be researched thoroughly beforehand. It also means that only a franchised Chevrolet dealership has the ability to offer you a CPO Chevy. While other used car dealers could list a used Chevy as “certified” and offer a 3rd party extended warranty, there is no assurance that the vehicle will meet Chevrolet’s approved criteria. In addition, the warranty will not mirror that offered for a CPO.

To qualify for approved CPO status, Chevrolet requires all vehicles to meet the following criteria:

Must be manufactured within the last 6 model years.

Must have been driven less than 75,000 miles.

Must pass a thorough 172-Point Dealer Inspection.

Must possess a clean Vehicle History Report.

If approved, the vehicle will be assigned an extended warranty backed by Chevrolet which includes:

Limited Warranty for 12 months / 12,000 miles (whichever comes first) from purchase date of CPO.

Powertrain Warranty for 6 years / 100,000 miles (whichever comes first) from original in- service date.

$0 Deductible

24-hour roadside assistance.

Copy of Vehicle History Report.

24 months / 24,000 miles (whichever comes first) CPO Scheduled Maintenance Plan.

Vehicle Exchange within 3 months / 150 miles (whichever comes first) from purchase date of CPO in the event that the new owner is not satisfied with their purchase.

The opportunity to drive a low-mileage, late model used car off the lot with the assurance that it has been inspected by a qualified mechanic and confirmed to meet manufacturer standards is a firm foundation for any satisfied customer.

Chevy’s inclusion of a $0 deductible adds further appeal, as does the option of Vehicle Exchange. At the risk of stating the obvious, the exchange should not be interpreted as guarantee of a “free swap.” Although a cost differential may apply, Chevy does reward its CPO customers with empowerment to determine if the vehicle purchased is truly right for them.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

In comparison to an identical make and model, a CPO vehicle will come with a higher price tag. While some would argue that you are buying the extended warranty, what you are truly purchasing is peace of mind. After all, isn’t some assurance of vehicle reliability and dealer support worth what equates, in most cases, to an overall increase of 3-7%?

To that point, it’s worth noting that many buyers will qualify for lower-interest financing attached to CPO vehicles (comparable to that offered on a new models) making the monthly payment far more palatable.

Let’s just put it out there: cars do not have a factory reset. Regardless of how stringent the criteria, or how thorough the inspection, every vehicle remains a product of its model year, use-to-date, and extent of prior maintenance. Keep this in mind as, regardless of warranty, you are still buying a used vehicle.

As the buyer, you have the right and responsibility to inspect the vehicle prior to purchase. Not only does this empower you to ensure that it meets your expectations, but you may find an issue that post-dates (or was missed during) the inspection.

All properly certified vehicles should have the manufacturer CPO sticker on its window. A car presented as CPO without a sticker is a “Red Flag” and should be questioned.

To reiterate, CPO programs differ between manufacturers and should be researched. For easy reference, you can find detailed breakdowns comparing manufacturer offerings on both edmunds.com and Kelly Blue Book (kbb.com) or visit the appropriate manufacturer website.

Taking all of this into consideration, it’s reasonable to say that any remaining concerns about purchasing a CPO Chevy would most likely be present if you were buying a used model that was not certified. The key difference is the peace of mind that you receive in return. The extended warranty package, as well as scheduled maintenance and buyer satisfaction are excellent motivators to consider Certified Pre-Owned when shopping for your next vehicle.