Certified Pre-Owned Car
Dec 29, 2023 By Susan Kelly

Certified pre-owned vehicles, often known as CPO vehicles, are offered by new-car dealerships that have a franchise. For instance, Ford dealers offer Certified Pre-Owned Ford, while Toyota dealers sell Certified Pre-Owned Toyotas. Because they have been examined by technicians who the manufacturer has educated and because they are provided with a guarantee, these used automobiles are the best of the best. The examination eliminates a significant barrier associated with purchasing a used car, which is determining if the vehicle is in excellent mechanical condition, and the guarantee gives confidence that you will not go bankrupt due to unanticipated car repairs.

The trade-off is that you will spend several hundred or several thousand dollars more than you would for a standard used car, but you will escape the hefty depreciation hit that comes with purchasing a new car. In a normal market, Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles may provide the sense of security that comes with purchasing a new car while also allowing you to save the car. But in the present market, where new vehicles are often in limited supply owing to the lack of semiconductor chips, it is common to discover CPO automobiles that cost more than their new analogs. This is because the market is now experiencing a shortage of semiconductor chips.

Key Components of a CPO Program

Nearly all automakers provide a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program, but the specifics of each one are different. What you'll discover is as follows:

Age and mileage limits

Most CPO programs offered by automakers sell vehicles no more than six years old and have been driven less than 85,000 miles.

Number of inspection points

Most car manufacturers take pride in the fact that factory-trained technicians carry out at least one hundred inspection points. Factory-trained technicians are mechanics who have been trained by a certain automobile manufacturer and who specialize in that brand of vehicle. However, you should place only a little stock in high inspection-point numbers: It is not as important how many different things are examined as how thoroughly they are examined. The engine, the gearbox, the suspension, the tread depth of the tires, and the wear on the brake pads are the most crucial items to get examined.

Vehicle history report

You may utilize the free vehicle history report that CPO programs often provide with its autos to verify that all of the inspection requirements were met.

Discounted financing

Several programs will give financing arrangements on certain models at cheap interest rates.

Bonus goodies

The best CPO packages include complimentary maintenance and repairs, roadside assistance, loaner vehicles, and protection against trip interruptions.

Are Certified Pre-Owned Cars Worth It?

The fact that these automobiles are the best of the best and come with a guarantee provides the customer with both convenience and value when purchasing a car. However, these advantages come with a price. You may determine how much extra you are paying for a certified pre-owned car by comparing the data from the main pricing guides with the usual retail price the dealer charges.

How to Buy a Certified Pre-Owned Car

The process of purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle is quite similar to the process of purchasing a new vehicle; however, there are a few key differences. If you want the greatest bargain on a certified pre-owned car, you should follow the standard instructions for purchasing a car and do these extra procedures.

Finding a CPO car

Be aware of the warranty: not all CPO programs provide the same level of protection. Ask questions regarding the duration of the warranty as well as what it covers, such as whether the warranty coverage period starts from the day you acquire the car or from the date it was sold to the buyer who bought it originally.

If you already know what car you want, you may use the internet to browse for certified pre-owned vehicles in your region after you've made your decision. On many of the best car-buying applications, you also have the car to narrow your search to include CPO vehicles.

Verifying its condition

Drive the vehicle and do a thorough physical inspection of it: Remember that certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles are still used automobiles and might have some signs of wear and tear. The dings, dents, scratches, and interior damage should be the primary focus of your examination. Although the prices of two certified pre-owned vehicles (CPO) may be the same, one may be in better condition than the other. The car can be examined by someone other than a technician since it has already been completed for you. This will save you time and money.

Making the purchase

Check with the professionals: CPO vehicle cost information may be found in the main price guides, including Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and the National Automobile Dealers Association. Look for a car using the same process as if you were obtaining the dealer's retail pricing, and then look for the category labeled "certified."