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Certified Pre-Owned Cars: Everything You Need to Know

If you are looking to buy a new vehicle but are on a tight budget, a certified pre-owned (CPO) car can be a good idea. It could save you some money and will afford you the luxury of having the extension of the manufacturer’s warranty.

Some automakers introduced the CPO program in the early 1990s. Many vehicles were returning to dealerships in excellent condition, so manufacturers decided to resell the cars with detailed inspections, reconditioning, extended warranties, extra perks, and added peace of mind instead for perspective buyers.

What Is a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle?

Unlike a used vehicle, a certified pre-owned car undergoes a mandatory inspection and should be refurbished to factory standards by technicians. Different dealerships have different conditions for their quality inspection but generally make sure that the car is in top-notch condition before putting it on sale. They also give you an extension of the manufacturer warranty coverage and piece of mind of the car’s new-like condition.

How Much Does a Certified Pre-owned Vehicle Cost?

CPO vehicles generally cost more than used vehicles as they undergo a thorough inspection and refurbishing process. They also come with a manufacturer-backed warranty that may include extra perks like free maintenance, free roadside assistance, and a complimentary loaner vehicle.

Right now, we are seeing a hike in used car pricing compared to last year and it’s hard to get an affordable used car of any kind. So do good research before investing in a vehicle.

Is There Value in A Certified Pre-owned Vehicle? 

The present car market is growing like the housing market. We are already seeing 10% higher pricing than last year. Looking at the raw figures, people are investing more in used cars than new ones. 

The used car market is huge and CPO cars are a small part of it. For now, the used-vehicle market has a 48-day supply and average prices are nearly $20,000 less than a new car. Certified pre-owned cars have mileage limits and look attractive with good enough shape and extended warranty. These cars are usually late models off-lease cars with less than 40,000 miles. Let’s see some CPO practices these days:

Older, High-Mileage Vehicles

We are seeing older and high mileage cars being labeled as certified pre-owned cars these days. In the coming months, Nissan will certify non-Nissan vehicles with a six-year/60000-mile warranty than the seven-year/100,000-mile warranty that Nissan vehicles get. General Motors is launching Car Bravo, a new consumer CPO service to certify any brand’s vehicle. 

Ford is selling all brand vehicles under its Blue Advantage program for up to 120,000 miles and offers a 14-day/1000-mile return policy. Honda is certifying 10-year-old cars with no mileage limits under its Honda True Used program. More manufacturers will soon start selling old, high mileage vehicles to cash in on the present demand.

Fewer Quality Checks, Potentially Higher Risk

Certified Pre-owned vehicles are supposed to undergo a thorough quality inspection where the dealership will check off nearly 200 items on the paper. The automaker sets the audit rules and practices, but CPO vehicles don’t get inspected by factory employees. 

Depending on dealership diligence, a CPO vehicle still could have underlying issues that were present at the time of trade in so it still may be worth your while to bring to a mechanic to diagnosis prior to purchase. Manufacturers are introducing high-mileage CPO programs in multiple tiers of CPO cars with separate names—and they each have wildly varying certification requirements. Not all CPO’s are created equal.

For example, Honda now has three CPO labels (Honda True Used, Honda True Certified, Honda True Certified+) all with different warranty coverages and age limitations. Ford has a 139-point inspection on Blue Certified vehicles vs the 172 points on Gold Certified vehicles.

So not all are right for every buyer, and you may be better off with a brand new car than a used car. It’s the most discouraging buyer’s market in decades so if you’re going for a certified pre-owned car, make sure to check everything thoroughly.

Have A Lemon Vehicle? Talk With Us Now

If you are an automobile owner and have manufacturing issues, you can contact us regarding your involvement in this or any potential class-action lawsuit. Serious vehicle problems require serious legal representation, especially when you are bringing a claim against a major automaker. 

At the Lemon Firm, our experienced Attorneys have been able to successfully recover compensation for our clients who were sold a vehicle with manufacturer defects, and we can do the same for you. Call (833) Lemon-Firm to speak with a Lemon law expert today.