A Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) car is a used car that has been inspected and certified, often by the manufacturer. This process offers the buyer peace of mind regarding the history and condition of their vehicle, and allows manufacturers and dealers to maximize profit and build brand loyalty. However, not all certification programs are created equal. If you’re considering purchasing a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting. While vehicles certified by the factory afford the most protection, there are several other types of certification that offer varying levels of guarantees.
Factory CPO vehicles are inspected and certified by the manufacturer. These vehicles are generally five years old or newer, and have less than 80,000 miles. They are typically sold at authorized franchised dealerships at a higher price than non-certified and independently certified vehicles.
Independent certification programs like the National Vehicle Certification Program inspect used vehicles not certified by the manufacturer. These are often offered at a lower cost than Factory CPOs and offer the same benefits, like an extended warrantee and special financing options. One drawback of an independent CPO is the consumer is often responsible for upfront payment on repairs, then wait for reimbursement.
Dealer-certified CPOs are often not actually inspected by a certifying authority, but are still promoted as certified. These vehicles often undergo inspection by dealership employees and come with an extended warrantee or service contract to protect the buyer. The buyer can have these vehicles inspected and certified at their own cost.
Is CPO For You
Many people choose CPO vehicles to take the uncertainty out of buying a used car. While these vehicles are a bit pricier than traditional used cars, they come with reassuring warranties and guarantees. So are CPOs for you?
If you are most interested in getting the best deal possible on your car, CPO may not be for you. Traditional used cars are always going to be a little cheaper than CPOs, so if you’re going into a dealership looking for a bargain on a CPO vehicle, you’ll walk away frustrated. CPO may hold less value if you are buying from a dealer you trust or you can handle a little more risk in your buying decision.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a car that is almost new, CPO may be for you. CPO vehicles are more affordable than brand new cars, yet they are often just as dependable. Just like new vehicles, CPO cars also often offer perks like loan cars, roadside assistance and free maintenance.