If you are in the market for a second-hand vehicle, there are two basic options to consider, the first is buying from a private seller. While the former can gives you more leeway for negotiations, the latter gives you better insurance as to what you are getting into. For this article, we will be focusing on certified pre-owned (CPO) cars, as these are one of the safer options out there when it comes to getting a used vehicle. We will help you figure out the pros and cons and show you what you can expect when you buy a certified pre-owned vehicle. It is important to note that, these kinds of vehicles and regular used cars are still second-hand vehicles, as such neither option will be “brand new”, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
What does Certified Pre-Owned mean?
A certified pre-owned car means that it is a vehicle that has relatively low mileage and hasn’t suffered from any major accidents or mechanical issues. These cars undergo a series of stringent series of checks by the dealers and go through a multi-point inspection process. Through this process, any parts that need to be fixed or replaced will be taken care of and will be replaced with new components. Essentially this means that the vehicle has been refurbished under the guidance of the dealership and manufacturer.
How are Certified Pre-Owned cars selected?
Depending on the brand, Certified Pre-Owned cars are selected based on different metrics. However, these typically revolve around the year model of the vehicle as well as its mileage. These vehicles typically come with complete service history and are only a few years old. More often than not, these vehicles may still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty which is an advantage to buyers.
CPO vehicles are often leased cars wherein the previous owner has gotten tired of it and has chosen to get a much newer vehicle instead. That being said, the older vehicle goes under strict reconditioning in order to be sold off as a CPO vehicle. At times, cars that are demo units or service vehicles for the dealership will also be sold off and will be relegated as CPO cars. In the eyes of the dealership, these leased or repossessed vehicles still hold value and as such, the chance to make them as attractive as possible to prospective second-hand buyers is an opportunity that is too good to pass up.
What are the benefits of Certified Pre-Owned vehicles?
The most obvious advantage that CPO cars have over regular second-hand vehicles is that there’s additional peace of mind with your purchase. The dealerships throw in an extended warranty, and sometimes a few extras such as maintenance vouchers, and free roadside assistance. This is all on top of the inspection and part replacement process that the car went through before being put up for sale, plus a complete set of service records and car history. Also, dealers can give low financing rates and special deals on CPO cars, allowing you to drive off with that nicely specced car with ease.
What are the disadvantages of the Certified Pre-Owned vehicles?
Unlike second-hand vehicles being sold by a private seller, Certified Pre-Owned vehicles are always more expensive. You will end up paying more upfront for the vehicle because it has been thoroughly inspected, still has a warranty/ extended warranty, and various extra add ons in the hopes that you won’t have to spend money on fixing the car down the road. Some dealerships and even dealership groups offer their own certified used cars programs, however, these are not to be confused with manufacturer-backed programs such as the ones that Toyota and BMW have. Different dealers may vary in parameters about what cars qualify and as such their inspections may be more or less rigorous than the manufacturer-sponsored CPO programs.
So is a Certified Pre-Owned car worth it?
Remember, whether it’s a certified pre-owned or second-hand car from a private seller, you still take a risk by purchasing it. Make sure you bring a trusted mechanic when you inspect the vehicle to ensure that what you’re getting is in proper shape for the price. If you really want to go with a CPO vehicle, remember that it will cost more than a used car from a private seller, however, it will come with a lot of benefits that will help you in your car ownership journey later on. So, if you don’t mind paying a little more upfront for peace of mind later on, then getting a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle is worth it.