When shopping for a used car, you will often see the phrase “Certified Pre-Owned” or the like describing a car. So, what exactly does this mean?
In most instances, Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) means that the manufacturer is offering a warranty on the used car past the original “new” warranty. It also means that the car has undergone a thorough inspection process and any known problems have been repaired. Buying a CPO can be a great alternative to purchasing new. It will save you from the up-front depreciation, while still giving you a high-quality car.
If you are truly looking for a CPO car, you want to be sure it is factory-certified and not just dealer-certified, which usually implies an extended service contract that you will be paying extra for. Factory warranties are covered in the original purchase price.
Factory-certified also gives you the peace of mind knowing that both problems you can see and ones you can’t have been resolved; however, just like any car purchase, being a CPO car does not guarantee a problem-free driving experience.
Different auto makers will have different CPO warranties. We’ll take a look at General Motors’ policy. GM calls their CPO program Owner Care. This includes a 2-year/30,000-mile maintenance plan, which includes oil changes, tire rotations and a multi-point inspection. It also gives you a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-bumper limited warranty with a $0 deductible along with a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, again with no deductible. They even offer a 3-day/150-mile exchange policy.
Most manufacturers offer warranties on a similar scale. When you’ve decided which CPO car you want, request explicit warranty information written out from the dealership so you know exactly what is covered, for how long, who will do the repairs, and who will pay for it.
Have you ever purchased a Certified Pre-owned car? Did the warranty come in handy? Share your experience with us in the comments below.