After ten years and over 100,000 miles, the time had come to replace my beloved old car. Since I'm always on the prowl for a deal, a friend of mine suggested that I look into buying a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle. Not only would I save money, he said, but I would also be able to get a lot more car for my money. So I did my research, and what I discovered thrilled me.
Turns out that buying a CPO vehicle offers all of the financial benefits of buying a used car. However, it also comes with a manufacturer's warranty and has passed a rigorous 100+ point inspection. So I would be able to avoid the uncertainty that can sometimes accompany buying a used car, and still get a relatively new car with low mileage. My friend also pointed out that I would be able to deflect a large chunk of the depreciation costs that force new cars to lose their value so quickly.
I wondered how this was possible. He explained that once a car is returned from a lease or offered as a trade-in, the dealership evaluates its potential through a set of its own standards and conditions. If these conditions are met, the car is put through a detailed series of manufacturer-specified service checks. By the time we see a CPO vehicle, it has been completely examined and fixed up by qualified technicians, and covered with a manufacturer's warranty.
At first, buying a certified pre-owned vehicle seemed like it might be more expensive than purchasing its used counterpart. But the more I thought about it, I realized that I would actually save money through significantly lower service bills. Since a CPO vehicle is already in excellent condition, I wouldn't have to worry about paying to get it up to speed or fixing a defect that the seller failed to mention. Plus, I'd be getting a manufacturer's warranty that I just couldn't get if I bought a regular used car.
Speaking of warranties, I learned that the ones offered by a manufacturer and dealerships are not always equal. Since a manufacturer's corporate reputation is on the line, the standards it sets for vehicle inspection can sometimes be higher than those of a dealer. Plus, with a manufacturer's warranty, I wouldn't be tied to having to use a specific dealership in the event that I moved or had to relocate for business. I made sure to carefully evaluate each warranty that I read.
I also learned to be very cautious about "certified" used cars that come with a third-party warranty. These warranties are simply extended service contracts without the stamp of approval of the manufacturer. Aside from requiring varying deductibles, some third-party warranties would have required me to pay for services up front and wait for reimbursement. This works great for some, but I really like the security that comes with a warranty from a manufacturer or dealership.
Price and security are not the only advantages that come with buying a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle. As I did more research, I noticed that some dealerships were offering new car financing rates as incentives to buy their CPO vehicles. This had the potential to save me hundreds-even thousands-of dollars in interest over the life of the car.
Plus, some dealerships said I would be eligible for many of the perks enjoyed by new car customers. These include service loan cars, shuttle services, roadside assistance, and free maintenance. Once I found this out, I always made sure to ask if these features were included in the manufacturer's warranty.
So if you're in the market to buy a new or used car, do yourself a favor and explore the possibilities of a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle. I found that I could save a significant amount of money compared to buying an equivalent new car. Plus, I could enjoy the security of a manufacturer's warranty that I just wouldn't be able to find with a used car.
But best of all, I was able to get more car for my cash. And since my CPO vehicle has been inspected to meet the manufacturer's specifications, I feel much more secure and confident that there will be no surprises down the road.^ Back to Top of article | < Back to Certified Pre-owned Cars