Is Certified Pre-Owned Worth It?

Written by: Christy Rakoczy

Certified pre-owned cars are vehicles that meet certain criteria in order to be certified by a dealer or by a car manufacturer. While the specific criteria differs, typically a car can become certified only if it meets basic mileage requirements and basic requirements regarding the vehicle’s condition.  Cars can be certified by either manufacturers or by a dealer, but there are important differences depending upon who certifies a car.

Certified pre-owned vehicles tend to be more expensive than other used cars, but are of course cheaper than buying a new vehicle. Because they come with a higher cost, it is important to consider whether paying this premium is actually worth it or not.

Is Buying Certified Pre-Owned Worth It?

Whether buying a certified pre-owned car is worth the extra money or not is a question that experts and car buyers disagree on.  Most experts suggest that buying a certified pre-owned car can be worth the extra money if you want to have added peace-of-mind, a car warranty on a used car and few hassles associated with thoroughly checking out the mechanics of a used vehicle. However, certified pre-owned cars may not actually be all that much better than other similar late-model low mileage used cars that do not have the certification label.

In order to determine if a certified pre-owned car is worth the extra money, you also need to know exactly what certified means in that particular case. For example:

  • A manufacturer certified pre-owned car is usually more likely to be worth the extra money than a dealer certified pre-owned car. This is because manufacturers typically have a specific multi-point inspection program and clear criteria for what it takes to become certified that is used throughout the United States. Dealers all may have different criteria and standards and they may not be as rigorous as manufacturer requirements. Furthermore, a certified pre-owned car from a car manufacturer comes with a warranty from that manufacturer so the car can be repaired anywhere in the U.S. where that type of car is sold. You won’t have to worry about a particular dealer staying in business and honoring the warranty when you opt for a manufacturer certified pre-owned car.
  • Different certified pre-owned cars have different warranty periods. Some dealers and manufacturers will warranty their certified pre-owned cars for several years and will provide comprehensive warranties for many different things that could go wrong. In other cases, the CPO warranty will be for around a year and will be for only limited repairs and problems. Be sure to read the fine print on the warranty. The longer the warranty is good for and the more comprehensive it is, the better a deal the certified pre-owned car is.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed choice about whether a certified pre-owned car is the right choice for your circumstances. If you want a car that has been thoroughly inspected and that has a warranty behind it, a certified pre-owned can be a more affordable way to get that then buying a brand new car. However, you will need to decide if the premium added to the price for the certification is justified by the warranty and guarantee


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Is Certified Pre-Owned Worth It?

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