Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2020 Chevy Blazer RS is shown from the front driving on an open road.

Why Would You Sell A Car You Just Bought a Year or Two Ago?

Most of you will remember a simpler time when there were only two choices when in the market for a car. You would either go to a dealership and buy a brand new car right off of the lot, or you would take your chances and pore through newspapers and trading magazines in search of a used car. There was really nothing in-between. But now drivers have a third choice; they can head to the dealership and shop for certified used cars, like a certified pre-owned Chevy, for example. Certified pre-owned vehicles are a good choice for those who desire a car with low miles and the warranty still intact over a used car with a questionable past. It is also a good alternative for those who don’t want to invest in a new vehicle due to the price or the fact it will quickly lose much of its value. So if you are in the market for a car, truck, or SUV, the best move might be to check out what certified pre-owned cars are on the lot at your local dealership.

What Is Certified Pre-Owned?

A certified pre-owned vehicle is a previously owned car, truck, or SUV that must meet specific criteria to be labeled as such. In most cases, the vehicle must have fewer than 60,000 miles on it, and it cannot be more than five model years old. Of course, the miles and age of the car will vary depending on the manufacturer. Before any vehicle can be labeled as certified pre-owned, it must undergo a complete and comprehensive inspection.

The inspection isn’t your typical slam the car doors and kick the tires inspection; the vehicle in question will be inspected from bumper to bumper, looking for any worn parts or other defects. Before the vehicle can be sold, any problems discovered during the inspection must be adequately addressed.

A certified pre-owned car will also include an extended warranty and a limited bumper-to-bumper warranty, other services, such as 24-hour roadside assistance, might also be included. In most cases, the remainder of the factory warranty is still in effect and will be fully transferable.

The bottom line is with a certified pre-owned vehicle, you get a car, truck, or SUV that is in excellent condition and cosmetically and mechanically sound. In short, you are getting a previously owned vehicle that is of the highest quality at a used car price, which is a tough deal to beat.

A popular Certified pre-owned Chevy, a blue 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 is shown from the side driving on an open road.

Why Are There So Many Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles?

That is a totally valid question. What are the reasons why someone would buy a brand new car only to sell it back to the dealership after such a short period of time? Some of you might think that there is something wrong with the model and the owner wanted to dump the car rather than deal with it. While this could be a remote possibility (though a certified pre-owned vehicle will undergo an inspection to rule any issues out), it is likely a totally different reason the owner wanted to sell back the car in question.

One source of certified pre-owned cars comes from dealerships/manufacturers. Many automakers or dealerships offer heavily discounted vehicles to employees. The employees drive the cars for a year or two and trade them in for another great deal on another new car. The cars that are traded in are then placed on the lot as certified pre-owned.

Have you ever made a rather significant purchase from a store only to get home and discover it just doesn’t feel right? Well, the same holds true for thousands of new car owners all of the time. A consumer buys a car, drives it home, and discovers the seats aren’t as comfortable as they first thought, or the car just looks weird in their garage. There are also issues that creep up on people like maybe they don’t like the way the stereo buttons feel or they can’t see out the rear window through the mirror very well. If a problem eats at you long enough, you may take the vehicle back to the dealership for a change-up.

And then there are those who are constantly changing up what they drive or upgrading. Yes, these types of people usually have some disposable income and are always on the lookout for the next great thing. So when they learn that a manufacturer has upgraded the infotainment system or added a cool new feature, they are determined to trade in their two-year-old car for the latest model.

Unfortunately, people sometimes get into financial problems that force them to give up their newer car. Many of us have been there before in one way or another; you wind up losing a job or suffering some other financial hiccup and can no longer afford a high payment. In many cases, the best decision is to return the car to the dealership for something more affordable.

Life is unscripted, and things can change very quickly. For example, you can go out and buy the car of your dreams and live a happy and carefree life. But within a year of buying your new car, you meet someone and wind up getting married. And within a year of being a happy couple, you discover that there will be an addition to the family. That’s great news, and you are so ready to be a parent, but having a baby and driving a sports car or big pickup isn’t going to cut it. So you then decide it is time to trade in the sports car or big truck for a practical SUV.

You also might find yourself in a situation in which you will be parting ways with your spouse; it’s sad to be sure, but it happens in life. And while the break-up is a tragic affair, it also means that perhaps it’s time to get rid of the practical sedan in favor of something that better reflects your personality and lifestyle.

A red 2020 Chevy Equinox is shown from the side parked with a view of a mountain.

Is Certified Pre-Owned a Smart Buy?

There are several benefits in buying a certified pre-owned car, just as there are also a few cons. One of the most significant benefits is cost; a certified pre-owned vehicle will cost significantly less than a new model. A certified pre-owned vehicle is also a very low-risk investment. In addition to a comprehensive inspection, a CPO vehicle comes with a warranty in case something does go wrong. These are benefits you just don’t see when shopping for a used car.

With a CPO car, you are getting a newer model with all of the latest technologies. And since manufacturers wait several years to introduce new generations, a vehicle that is four or even five years old will still be relatively current. Lastly, you are getting a car, truck, or SUV that is in the best possible condition; in many cases, you can’t even tell that it was pre-owned.

There are a few downsides to buying a CPO car. For example, due to the tough inspections and other requirements, only the best of the best are labeled as CPO, which means you might not have a lot of choices at some dealerships. And CPO cars are in high demand, so it might take a while for you to find just what you are looking for. Another downside is that a CPO car will be more expensive than a used car.

There are several things to consider when in the market for a certified pre-owned car. There are a few cons, but for the most part, it is a wise investment. But it is still in your best interest to do some research and find the best route to take in your search for a vehicle.