All About Certified Pre-Owned Cars

We have all driven along those long stretches of dealership road and read a sign that says, “Buy a Certified Pre-Owned Car Today!” Contrary to popular belief, a certified pre-owned (CPO) car is not just a fancy way of saying, “used”. Vehicles must meet specific criteria in order to be deemed CPO. CPO programs vary by manufacturers and dealers. Buyers should be attentive to these distinctions as they involve differing warranties, financing, and other incentives.


Here is everything you need to know about Certified Pre-Owned vehicles:

The Low Down onCertified Pre-Owned Cars

Certified Pre-Owned programs are said to have started in the early 90s when an influx of customers began returning leased cars that were in pretty good condition. The cars were running mechanically well and had less than 40,000 miles. Instead of selling the cars at discounted rates or sending them to auction, dealers created a market for cars that fell somewhere between “brand new” and “used”.

Manufacturer Certified vs. Dealer Certified

Who “certifies” the vehicle? There are two types of certification: manufacturer certified and dealer certified. One of the biggest differences between the two are the when each warranty begins. Some warranties begin once the new car warranty expires and others begin when the leased or traded-in car is delivered from the primary owner.

The basics:

Manufacturer certified vehicles– carmakers have their own standards on what qualifies as certified. Most vehicles are certified through their manufacturer, which is good news because any dealership of the vehicle brand must honor that level of certification. Designated technicians make sure cars meet the manufacturer’s standards.

Dealership certified vehicles– dealers publicize that they put pre-owned vehicles through a multi-point inspection (usually 150-point) and offer extended warranty programs. In some cases, you can choose a dealer-certified program that best suits your needs (i.e. comprehensive coverage versus a program for other secondary components).

Overall, when you purchase a new car you are comforted by having the protection of your manufacturer’s warranty for X number of years. When you buy a certified pre-owned car, you may not always get the same level of warranty coverage. Don’t worry though, if the car has gone through an official inspection by a mechanic, you will save long-term! Familiarize yourself with what the manufacturer’s CPO inspection and warranty covers so you can make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.


What are the Top CPO Programs?

Many car sites and blogs have created their own ranks of the top manufacturer CPO programs based on the following criteria: comprehensiveness of coverage, warranty coverage, transferability and whether a deductible is required when getting warrantied service. These are the most current:

Top 10 Manufacturer CPO Programs of 2015

10 Best Non-Luxury CPO Programs for 2016

10 Best Luxury CPO Programs for 2016

Interactive Comparison of Manufacturer CPO Programs

Who consistently makes the mark? Lexus, Mercedes- Benz, Audi, Porsche, Hyundai and Kia. This is not surprising as they were some of the first companies to start CPO programs.

All About Certified Pre-Owned Cars

When you sell with TRED, you receive assurance such as a 150-point buyer’s inspection, a Carfax vehicle history, financing, warranties and GAP insurance. When you register your vehicle for sale, you will choose three preferred times and a location to have your vehicle inspected by one of our certified mechanics for free. Our team of mechanics will follow up to confirm your choice of time and location, and we will send a mechanic out to inspect your vehicle. Inspections take about an hour.

Get more answers to all your TRED-related questions here. 

Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle offers an awesome alternative to buying a brand new car when you’re on a tighter budget. Better yet, it eliminates the stress of buying a used car whose condition is somewhat unknown (unless you pay for Carfax or hire a mechanic to check it out). To summarize, CPO vehicles are inspected by mechanics that ensure it meets requirements of the manufacturer’s program. Dealer-specific CPO programs are limiting because the warranties are only accepted at that dealership. There are tons of different CPO programs, so do your research to make sure it’s the perfect one for you!

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