What to Know Before Purchasing a Certified Used Car

Purchasing a used vehicle can save drivers a lot of money and are often a much better investment.  However many people are worried about the quality of used vehicles.  This is where buying a certified pre-owned car comes into play and can provide added peace of mind.  Unfortunately, not all “certified” cars are created equal.  CNN Money recently discussed five items every buyer should know before purchasing a certified used car.

1. Certification can offer peace of mind

Since 2002, sales of certified pre-owned cars have increased 35% whereas overall used car sales have decreased 10% according to Edmunds.com. Certified pre-owned, or CPO, vehicles are 1 – 5 years old and have been inspected for issues, repaired if necessary, and offer new warranties.  Although they are generally priced higher than non-certified models, buyers do not have to deal with the hassle of repairs.

2. But not all programs offer the same protection

For example, vehicles marked “factory-certified” are backed by the manufacturer and undergo a 100-plus point inspection. While those marked “dealer-certified” are usually are not as rigorously inspected and must be taken to that particular dealership for repairs. Certification from the factory may cost you a couple hundred dollars more, but it is a better deal in the long run.

3. Doing some of your own homework can pay off

 Even factory-certified cars can have issues.  Accident repairs paid for without insurance do not always show up on vehicle history reports, so it is recommended that buyers get an independent inspection themselves and review service records carefully.

4. The savings over a new car may not be as large as you expect

Currently used cars are retaining more value due to high demand.  CNN suggests buyers use an online calculator to see how much payments really should be before heading to the dealership.

5. Dealers won’t start with their best rate

In order to get the best deal possible, buyers should get pre-approved to determine what APR they qualify for.  Then see if the dealer can beat it or will offer a better price on the vehicle for using their financing. 

Buyers who stay cautious, follow these tips, and do their homework will certainly have no trouble finding the perfect pre-owned vehicle to fit their needs and budget.

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