Certified Pre Owned Used Cars vs Used Cars

Certified Pre Owned Used Cars vs Used Cars

Protecting your Investment

So, you’re in the market for a car.  But because of your budget, purchasing a new, right off the showroom floor model is not an option.  This leaves you with one option…Certified used car. And while you can pick up a used car at nearly every auto dealership in the country, not knowing the previous owner, purchasing a car with a mysterious past means you could be buying someone else’s problems.  So what should you do?  To make your purchase as stress-free and to protect your investment, you only be looking at vehicles that come with the manufacturer’s “certified pre-owned” seal.

What does Certified Pre-Owned Used Cars mean and how does it differ from Used Car?

Unlike “any” Used Cars for Sale, a Certified Pre-Owned (or CPO for short) are held to a much higher standard.  Certified Pre-owned used car must have a newer model year with lower miles, service records, and a clean history.

Many of these Certified Pre-Owned Used Cars were formerly leased vehicles, dealership service/courtesy vehicles or purchased through their financial institutions closed auction sales offer for sale ONLY to authorized manufacturer dealerships.

Used cars, on the other hand, have a more mysterious past.  While some arrive at dealerships traditionally as trade-ins for newer cars, others can be purchased at open auctions, sometimes sight unseen until they arrive at the dealership.


How are Certified Pre-Owned Used Cars and Used Vehicles inspected before sale?

Because Certified Pre-Owned Used Cars are backed by the highest requirements from original manufacturer, the first requirement is the age and mileage of the vehicle limit.  Vehicles that are older or have more miles on the odometer can NOT go through the process even if they fit all the other criteria. Next, a CarFax report will be pulled on the Certified Used Car.  This will give the dealership a snapshot of the accident and service history of the Certified Used car.  If the history is clean and accident-free, then the vehicle is put through a rigorous, multi-point inspection/reconditioning process, dealership will cherry-pick the best vehicles in their inventory to put through the process.  First, and come with an extended warranty from the original in-service date and/or overall mileage that can be honored at any authorized dealer service center in the country.

And while most dealers who sell used cars will be able to provide a prospective buyer with a used car CarFax report, they do not necessarily have to put the vehicle through the same demanding inspection and reconditioning process.  This is even tougher when you are involved in a private-part used car sales. No only will you not most likely get a Used Car CarFax report, you may even be mislead about the true service history and condition of the vehicle.

Warranty Coverage Certified Used Cars vs Used C ars

Probably the best part of the Certified Used Car is the additional manufacturer-backed warranty coverage.   While Certified Pre-Owned coverage varies from one manufacturer to another, they all extend some coverage to the buyer that would insure protection to the drive train, engine and transmission.  Some of these warranties are based strictly on the age of the vehicle (based on the original in-service date when it was new) and others a combination of age and the number of miles it is driven.  In some cases, Certified Pre-Owned Used cars are also eligible for extended bumper-to-bumper warranty plans that can extend the limited CPO warranty to cover much more of the vehicle.

Depending on what state you live in, you may have laws that require your used car dealers to offer at least a minimum warranty on your used car purchase.  For example, New Jersey’s Used Car Lemon Law requires that a dealer provide a “limited warranty on all vehicles that are no more than seven (7) years old; has less than 100,000 miles; the price is over $3,000; and/or the car has not been declared a total loss by an insurance company” (https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov).  Depending on these conditions, you can have as much as 90 days or 3,000 miles of coverage or as little as 30 days and 1,000 miles.  But beyond that, the dealership is NOT required to offer any additional warranty protection.  Once you drive the vehicle off the lot, all mechanical issues become your financial responsibility.

Cost Difference between a Certified Pre-Owned Used Car and a Used Car

While historically when you buy Certified Pre-Owned Used cars, you are paying more than your regular Used Cars, you are also getting more for your money.  First, you are saving on all the reconditioning that the dealership completed before putting the Certified Used Car into their inventory.  Then, you have the warranty that protects the most expensive components get covered should they need repair.  Even the cheapest Certified Used cars will come with the same parts coverage as the luxury car dealership Certified Pre-Owned inventory within the manufacturer’s line up.

Used car prices will most likely be lower, but that also reflects the lack of work done on the vehicle to recondition it.  In many cases, when you search “used cars near me” you will find they are all about appearing to have the lowest price and the profit margin they will make.  As for reconditioning, you may find that they have done the bare minimum in an attempt to get the vehicle past the initial test drive and cursory inspection under the hood.

So, while you will pay more upfront for your CPO vehicle, in the long run the best Certified Pre-Owned Used car will still cost you less than the cheapest used car deal you can get.

Where to Buy Certified Pre-Owned Used Cars

While any dealership can offer a dealer “certified warranty” for their used inventory, not every one can offer a Certified Pre-Owned Used Car Warranty that is back by the manufacturer.  Only dealerships that are authorized to sell the NEW version of the same manufacturer can offer CPO warranties on their same manufacturer used models.  Let’s take Honda CPO cars for example.  You find Honda used cars for sale by owner, used cars Carvana listings and even at competing dealerships, but only Honda authorized dealerships can certify their pre-owned Honda inventory.  If you see “certified ” on a used Car Honda in a Lexus lot, it is a dealership warranty and not a factory-backed warranty. This same principle works for EVERY brand sold in the United States.

As a dealership group that carries 15 different brands, Flemington Car & Truck Country has one of the largest inventories of Certified Used cars for sale in Central New Jersey.  Whether you are looking for a Certified Pre-Owned cars under 10k or have a budget that allows you to look for the best Certified Pre-Owned Used cars under 20k, our Flemington car dealers have a wide selection of models that will work for you.