Dealer's Journal Used Used Cars vs. Certified Pre-Owned

Used Cars vs. Certified Pre-Owned

Used Cars vs. Certified Pre-Owned

Drivers looking for used cars have a lot of options. Whether to buy a used car or a certified pre-owned vehicle may be one of the most essential things to address.

How to Figure Out Which Is the Better Fit

At first glance, there may be little difference between used and certified pre-owned vehicles. Both types of vehicles are available from used car dealers and most regular dealerships, and they both come, well, used.

There are, however, some essential differences drivers should know about before they decide which type of vehicles to look at. This article will offer insight into the pros and cons of each and who should buy CPO vs. used cars.

What Are Certified Pre-Owned Cars?

Certified pre-owned (CPO) cars are used vehicles that have undergone stringent multi-point inspections. Factory-trained technicians often perform these inspections and check every component from top to bottom to ensure the cars are in excellent condition.

Certified pre-owned cars also come with manufacturer’s warranties. Every automaker has different requirements regarding what components mechanics must inspect and how extensive its warranty coverage will be. CPO cars are available only from dealerships of the same brand.

Who Should Buy CPO Cars?

CPO cars are great for drivers who want to save money but don’t like the uncertainty of wondering whether used cars are in good shape. These cars are also almost always relatively recent models, which means they’ll have extra amenities not found in older vehicles.

The potential downside is that CPO cars cost more than non-certified alternatives out the door. They often make up for the price difference in the long-term cost of ownership.

What Are Non-Certified Used Cars?

Technically, all cars, including CPO vehicles, are used cars if they’re not new from the factory. However, when dealers talk about used cars, they almost always refer to non-certified models.

Car dealers sometimes inspect non-certified used vehicles and may offer warranties. However, the inspections and warranty programs are not controlled by the original manufacturer and won’t necessarily be as rigorous.

Who Should Buy Used Cars?

Non-certified used cars are typically cheaper than CPO vehicles. Drivers working with very tight budgets might find that it’s worth taking on the extra risk of potential mechanical failures to get a lower initial purchase price.

Some drivers buy used instead of CPO cars because they can’t find what they want at dealerships. A Hyundai dealer will only cell CPO Hyundais, but they may have used vehicles from other brands that better fit a buyer’s needs.

The Importance of Buying From a Reputable Dealership

The only place to buy authentic CPO vehicles is from their brand’s dealership. If drivers want to purchase non-certified used cars, they should still visit reputable dealers rather than independent sellers. It’s the best way to reduce risk.

Private sellers often try to hide imperfections or lie about vehicle maintenance histories. Dealerships won’t use these underhanded tactics and are always happy to provide any available paperwork regarding the vehicle’s history.


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