Tips, Tricks & Trends

Buying Certified Pre-Owned Cars Isn’t a Bad Idea

If you’ve ever walked around a dealership lot and seen used cars with that little tag saying it’s a “certified pre-owned” vehicle chances are you wondered if that actually meant anything. Sure, it sounds like a total sales scam that people slap on used cars to make them more enticing, but there are some benefits to picking these options over your standard used car. In fact, for the right buyer, buying a certified pre-owned car might just be as good as buying a car brand new.

What makes a car certified pre-owned

There are certain standards that we expect from a car that is considered a certified pre-owned vehicle. It must be in good, running condition, and the dealership selling the vehicle must have completed an inspection to make sure that the car is good — which can save you time and money getting your own mechanic to inspect the car before purchasing.

Dealerships can’t just boast that their used cars are of certified pre-owned quality, it is a title that is backed by the manufacturer themselves, which is something that gives customers a little bit more confidence in.

Toyota certified used Vehicles loan advertisment at Roger Toyota car dealer | Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images

Benefits of buying these over regular used cars

Buying a car that is certified pre-owned comes with its own benefits. For one, they usually come with some type of warranty. While that isn’t always the case, it can be a major plus for buyers who take comfort in buying a car brand new because of the warranty, but don’t want to spend new-car money. They also come with free vehicle history reports, which means you don’t have to spend time and money researching each specific car to make sure you aren’t buying a total lemon.

A used Honda car dealership with cars on display
A Honda car dealership | Getty Images

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If you’re still questioning if it’s worth it

If you are bordering on whether buying a certified pre-owned car is right for you, the answer is simple. There is no harm in buying a car this has that little sticker that’s attached to it. While you might end up not caring that is it certified in the long run, the process doesn’t hurt the car at all, and really there aren’t a lot of reasons not to. While the price of these cars is typically higher than their non-certified counterparts, that’s a difference some people are willing to pay for peace of mind.

A sign for a used car dealership
A sign for a used car dealership | SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

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Unfortunately, buying a certified pre-owned vehicle usually means you’re paying a little bit more — but, you’re still paying less than what the vehicle costed new. To some buyers, the warranty is enough to justify the difference in cost. For others, the peace of mind in knowing that the car has a clean history and has been inspected makes it well worth it.