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What You Need to Know About Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

» Posted February 14, 2018Resources | Share This Post

If you are considering the purchase of a certified pre-owned car, US News & World Reports provides some details about exactly what certified pre-owned status means to you. Understanding how certified pre-owned vehicles work, and carefully considering the pros and cons of these types of vehicles, can help you to make a fully informed buying choice.

What to Know About Certified Pre-Owned Cars

According to US News & World Reports, there are some big potential advantages to buying certified pre-owned cars under the right circumstances.

Buying a late model used car can allow you to avoid loss due to deprecation of brand new vehicles. Car manufacturers have had programs since the 1990s that involve taking some of these late-model used cars, inspecting them carefully and certifying them.  Most certified pre-owned cars are low-mileage trade-ins and returns from leases that are in excellent condition. Manufacturers will recondition the vehicles, offer extended warranties on them, and often throw in other added perks.

Almost every vehicle manufacturer offers some type of certified pre-owned, or CPO, program, although the programs differ among brands.  There are also differences between standard certified pre-owned programs and luxury certified pre-owned programs.

Both luxury CPO programs and non-luxury CPO programs typically restrict what cars can be certified. The vehicle must have no record of significant damage and must be a low mileage vehicle. There must be a multi-point inspection and the car must go through a reconditioning process. Some CPO programs also come with roadside assistance, complimentary loaner vehicles if repairs must be made, and low financing offers.

Luxury CPO programs may have more restrictions on which cars can qualify, including stricter requirements on the age of the vehicle compared with non luxury CPO programs. Luxury CPO programs are also more likely to offer extras such as roadside assistance and the warranties offered may be longer.

While borrowers get protection in the form of a warranty and the knowledge the CPO car is inspected, it is still important to do their due diligence carefully. For example, buyers should determine if the CPO program is manufacturer-sponsored or dealer sponsored. If the program is dealer sponsored, the warranty is not manufacturer-backed and the dealer may have lower standards than manufacturer standards.  The buyer may also be more limited in when repairs can be made, compared with in situations where the buyer has purchased a CPO car that is backed by a manufacturer's warranty.

Further, while certified pre-owned cars can offer you a lot of peace of mind, you still do not necessarily get all of the same protections and benefits you would get with a brand new car. If you experience problems with new cars, for example, an Orange County lemon law attorney can help you to take action to pursue legal remedies to protect yourself from loss. You should contact an attorney to learn more about how lemon laws work if you're having trouble with your new vehicle.


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