Is a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Worth Getting?

Get Car Financing
Even with poor credit.

By

Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, - June 16, 2020

When it comes right down to it, there are two types of vehicles you can buy: new and used. New cars can be a luxury not everyone can afford, especially with today's rising vehicle prices and poor credit. Used cars can be a more affordable option for many, but may leave you feeling uneasy when it comes to reliability.

There's a third option available between new and used: certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles. These gently-used cars are often a good alternative for borrowers with less than perfect credit.

What Is a Certified Pre-Owned Car?

A CPO vehicle is a used car that meets age, mileage, and condition guidelines set by the automaker. This generally means they're in better shape, are newer, and have fewer miles on them than standard used vehicles. But there's more to a CPO car than being a used vehicle in great condition.

Manufacturer-certified CPO cars typically must meet certain standards before they can even be considered. These include:

  • Usually no more than five to seven years old. Manufacturers have their own age limits, but many CPO vehicles are often just coming off-lease, which means they're only two or three years old.
  • Usually fewer than 85,000 miles. The limit varies by brand, but mileage is typically lower than you're likely to find on many standard used cars.
  • Usually one owner.

When a vehicle is certified through a manufacturer, it means it's met certain quality standards, been inspected and refurbished by a manufacturer-certified technician, and carries some kind of manufacturer-backed warranty. All this means peace of mind for consumers.

However, the quality of a CPO car comes at a bit more in cost than a standard used vehicle. It's worth the price to many people, but whether or not it's worth it to spend extra on a CPO car is up to you and what you need from a vehicle.

Manufacturer-Certified Cars vs. Dealer-Certified Cars

Not all CPO vehicles come with the same manufacturer warranty, so it's important to know the differences between a manufacturer-certified and a dealer-certified used car. A dealer-certified vehicle is one that meets standards set by one specific dealership, and have nothing to do with the automaker of that particular car like manufacturer-certified ones do.

Both manufacturer- and dealer-certified vehicles include some type of warranty – that's the biggest perk of getting a CPO car. Manufacturer CPO vehicles typically carry a warranty that allows you to have your car serviced at any franchised brand dealership across the country. Dealer-certified vehicles usually can only be serviced under warranty at the dealership where you purchased the car.

It's important to know what's covered by your warranty no matter if your CPO vehicle is manufacturer- or dealer-certified, because not all warranties are created equal. Some manufacturer-backed CPO cars can carry the remainder of an original new vehicle warranty until it reaches a certain age or mileage, others may have warranties that provide limited coverage.

Most manufacturer-certified cars have two types of warranties that provide coverage: a limited powertrain warranty and a limited bumper-to-bumper warranty. Powertrain warranties cover mechanical issues to do with the engine or transmission. Bumper-to-bumper warranties cover things like heating, air conditioning, and infotainment systems. The exact coverage in a manufacturer-backed warranty depends on the brand, since not all warranties cover the same items.

Dealer-backed warranties vary greatly, and may not include the coverage you're expecting, so be sure you know exactly what types of coverage come with your CPO vehicle before you sign on the dotted line.

Looking for a CPO Car?

If a CPO vehicle sounds like just what you need for your next car, we want to find a dealer to help you out. Here at CarsDirect, we work with special finance dealerships across the nation and get you connected to a local dealer.

These dealerships are contracted with lenders that help people in many different situations, regardless of if they have good credit or not. To get the process started right now, simply fill out our fast, free, and easy auto loan request form.

Free Credit Score

Get your free credit score now! Get a copy of your most recent credit score.

Get Your Free Score

Auto Insurance

Get competitive quotes on insurance in your area.

Sell Your Car

We will buy any car, running or not, with or (in most cases) without the title.

Get My Price

Need a Car Loan?

It only takes a minute.

Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


Search New Cars by Loan Payment »

View estimated loan payments based on local rebates and financing offers.

Loan approval is not guaranteed and is subject to credit application and approval of the lender. Individual loan terms may vary. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of CarsDirect.com's Terms of Use, Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

Privacy Policy|Do Not Sell My Personal Information|Terms of Use|Cookie Policy|Disclaimer
COPYRIGHT 1999-2020 MH Sub I, LLC dba CarsDirect.com