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Certified Pre Owned vs Used Cars: What’s the Difference?

Coupes, Hatchbacks, SUVs— there are so many different car body styles to choose from!

Choosing your preferred body style is only the beginning though. You’ll also need to decide what make, model, and condition you want your car to be in.

Do you want a new car? How about a used one? What color car will reflect your personality?

If you want to narrow down your search, and save money, then you should learn about certified pre owned vs used vehicles. Both vehicles come with miles already on them, but that’s about the only similarity they share.

Should you get a used car, or pay extra for a certified pre-owned vehicle? Read on to find out.

Standards for a Certified Pre Owned vs Used Car

What are the biggest differences between a certified pre owned vs used car? It all has to do with the standards the vehicle’s held up to.

When you buy a car that’s certified pre-owned (CPO-approved), it has to abide by strict standards. For instance, most dealerships will require the vehicle to be thoroughly cleaned.

Not just a regular clean, though. This will be a deep dive type of clean that can help restore your vehicle back to its original shine. A CPO vehicle also has to adhere to strict standards as far as the vehicle’s engine and body are concerned.

If the car shows any type of damage or has mechanical problems, it will not qualify for a CPO program. Another thing to consider is that all CPO cars have to undergo a comprehensive inspection process.

These inspection processes have over 100 different points that the car has to be able to check off. For instance, the vehicle will have already have gone through any type of reconditioning necessary.

Reconditioning includes repairing the paint, fixing mechanical parts, and sprucing up the interior. If the car needs a brake job or new tires, this will also have to be complete before the vehicle is considered certified pre-owned.

Buying a Used Car

When you’re buying a used car, it doesn’t come with the same satisfaction guarantee as a certified pre-owned vehicle. Whether you’re buying a used vehicle from a dealership or a private owner, you could purchase a problem.

The car may have some type of engine problem or cosmetic problems such as dents or scratches. Once you agree to purchase the used vehicle, it’ll be up to you to pay for restoring the car. On the plus side, you will pay a lot less for a used car than you will for a CPO vehicle.

If you’re going forward with getting a used car, you’ll want to learn how to inspect it thoroughly first. Here are a few tips for performing car inspections. The more comfortable you are inspecting a vehicle, the easier it’ll be for you to spot potential problems.

What Is a Certified Pre-owned Car Warranty?

What is a certified pre-owned car warranty? The certified pre-owned vehicle will have a contract that goes above and beyond.

For instance, a CPO car usually extends the factory warranty while also offering a variety of perks. You might be able to enjoy benefits such as loaner cars, rental car reimbursement, and the best roadside assistance.

Many warranties will also include typical maintenance tasks, such as oil changes. You’ll have to do a bit of shopping around to get the best certified pre-owned extended warranty deal.

Make sure that the car has more than just a manufacturer’s warranty. Manufacturers only tend to offer extended warranties when purchasing a brand new car.

You might be wondering, “Should I buy a used car with a warranty?”. Unfortunately, it’s not likely you can. If you’re buying a used car, you’re probably not going to be able to get any type of warranty on it.

Checking Dealership Inventories

You shouldn’t just rush out to buy the first CPO car you can find. Instead, you should do a bit of shopping around.

If you’re going to the dealerships in person, you will see the CPO cars in a separate area from the new ones. The dealership should also have a specific section just for CPO cars if you’re shopping online.

By filtering your search to only include vehicles that have passed the CPO program, you’ll be able to get some of the best deals. Once you find a car you like, call the dealership to determine if the vehicle is in the manufacturer’s CPO program.

Review the Inspection Report

You should definitely get a Carfax report if you’re buying a used vehicle. If the vehicle’s been in multiple accidents, don’t buy it. But if the used car is only in one minor car accident and the price is nice, it could still be a safe buy.

As far as a certified pre-owned vehicle goes, you’re going to want to ask to review the CPO report. The CPO report will help you see all of the nitty-gritty details about what your potential new car offers.

You’ll be able to evaluate the thickness of the brake pads, the quality of the tire tread, and any other inspected items. Places like Gates dealership will be happy to provide you with the vehicle history report. They should also include the details of the CPO program.

When reviewing the information, double-check that it’s up to date. An inspection for the vehicle that took place a year ago isn’t going to cut it. It needs to be a recent inspection that’s taken place within the last 6 months.

Getting the Best Deal on a Used or CPO Car

CPO cars are considered the cream of the crop, and they’re going to provide you with more value than a used car. As a result, you can expect to pay a lot more.

However, you can use tips and tricks whether you’re buying a CPO car or a used car to help drive down the price. For starters, don’t let the dealership know why you’re purchasing the vehicle. If they find out that your primary vehicle is out of commission, they’ll see that they have more leverage when making the sale.

Instead, act like a casual car shopper. Pretend that you aren’t in a rush to get a new car.

Why put on a front? It’ll be a lot easier for you to give an impression that you’re comfortable walking away if the price isn’t right.

Get the Right Deal for You

Now you know certified pre owned vs used cars. At the end of the day, buying a certified pre-owned vehicle will give you the best peace of mind. Whereas buying a used car could mean purchasing an engine on its deathbed.

Ready to start car hunting? Price shopping is the game’s name when it comes to buying a car.

Start comparing the prices for used and certified pre-owned vehicles in your area. Then request a test drive so you can see the car in action.

Want more advice for making big purchases? Check out the rest of our site.

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