Should You Buy a Certified Pre-Owned Car?



Should You Buy a Certified Pre-Owned Car?

You may have come across the term “certified pre-owned car” or “CPO” when searching for used cars online. These cars are more expensive compared to other used cars. However, they are considered a smarter buying option for buyers looking for the best buying options. Generally, these are vehicles that are comprehensively inspected by the dealership and covered under warranties.

What Are Certified Pre-Owned Cars?

Commonly, certified pre-owned cars are leased vehicles that have voided or expired contracts. They are maintained in good condition by the owners to prevent wear and tear charges at the end of their lease. They also offer added protection and more features to the buyers.

As explained above, these are vehicles that have been checked and refurbished to meet set standards. They are in much better condition than their counterparts of the same make, model and year. Along with an extended warranty and a well-defined service contract, they typically cost a few thousand dollars more than non-certified vehicles, but the price is worth it. The inspection ensures that there are no major issues with the vehicle. Most importantly, they are sold through licensed dealers.

Pros of Buying Certified Used Cars

The risks are reduced to a bare minimum with certified used cars. They are backed by a multipoint inspection and service warranty applicable for two years or more. Like the original factory warranty, it also covers many major and minor repairs. If a car fails in an inspection, it is not certified.

They offer comparable cost savings compared to a brand new car of the same model and make. You can save up to 25 percent with a two-year-old certified pre-owned car.

There is an upfront depreciation calculated in the new cars. This depreciation costs at least 20-40 percent of the vehicle’s total value in the first two to three years after purchase. If you want a vehicle for the short-term, this can largely affect the value of your investment. In the case of certified pre-owned cars, this value has already been factored into their prices. This is a big saving for buyers.

Cons of Buying Certified Pre-Owned Cars

Certified pre-owned cars are pricier than regular used cars. The inspection of the vehicle and any needed repairs are not cheap for the dealers selling them. Also, they pay extra to become a licensed dealer for a manufacturer’s CPO program.

Certifications mean different things if offered by different sellers. You should never buy from a dealer offering certified used cars without any backing by the manufacturer. Some dealers may get the cars certified by third-party providers while others certify the vehicles on their own. Always check the documents clearly to understand the terms and conditions of certifications. You can’t guarantee a longer life in a used car.

The Bottom Line

You need to assess the pros and cons of certified pre-owned cars on all the factors. It is costlier but the benefits offered with these vehicles make them a viable choice. You should buy as per your priorities and choose a reliable model approved by a trusted mechanic.


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