If you plan to invest your hard-earned cash in buying a new or used car, think twice. Cars, just like any machine, aren’t perfect as they may break and sometimes need repair. That’s why the words “certified pre-owned” in respect to vehicles should be taken into consideration before you make your purchase. But what are certified pre-owned cars and when are they considered a good deal?

Usually, when you purchase a new car, you are protected by the manufacturer’s warranty for a certain period in case you experience some problems with it. While previously owned cars can save you a lot of money, you don’t always receive the same protection level as compared to what you get when you purchase a new car. This is where certified pre-owned cars come in. They are not just ordinary used cars, but a different class of used cars with a ‘certification’ tag. Read ahead to get more insights about CPO cars.

Types of vehicle certification

The idea behind certification is to offer consumers peace of mind when they buy previously owned vehicles. There are two types of certifications: dealer certified and manufacturer certified. Most of the certified pre-owned vehicles that you will come across will come from manufacturer-backed programs. Each manufacturer has its policy that determines what vehicle qualifies as “certified.” It is important to note the beginning time of the warranty of each car. For example, the warranty for some car models starts at the original time of delivery from the primary owner, while others begin when a new car warranty expires.
The second certification we mentioned above is the dealership certification. Some dealerships put their used vehicles through rigorous inspections and may also offer additional warranties after the expiration of factory-backed programs.

The primary difference between a dealer backed warranty, and a manufacturer backed warranty is that the latter must be honored by any dealership that sells that brand.

Is a certified pre-owned car accident-free?

A certified pre-owned car has to pass inspection, but that does not mean they are accident-free. There have been a few cases where a previously owned car with documented history of accident damage slipped through the cracks. Remember, just because accident damage is not revealed in the certification documents, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. That is the reason you need to hire an independent car inspection expert to inspect any pre-owned car before purchase.

What is covered?

What is covered or at what point the warranty ends for any pre-owned car depends on the brand. For example, Hyundai has a 5 year certified pre-owned car warranty that begins at the time of original purchase, whereas Lexus has a 3 year warranty that begins at the time of certified pre-owned car purchase. In the case of dealership certified programs, the dealer decides which coverage to offer and their terms. One good thing about dealership certified pre-owned car programs is that you can choose which type of coverage package you want.