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Can you trust a certified pre-owned car?

woman buying car

A certified pre-owned car certification can provide peace of mind and assurance when buying a car.

A vehicle service contract (also known as an extended car warranty) can make you feel more secure about your used car purchase as well since you know future repairs will be covered.

A used car that’s gone through the certification inspection process has to meet certain requirements. Here are the things you need to know about this type of vehicle that’s up for sale.

What are the requirements of a certified pre-owned car?

A certified pre-owned (CPO) is a type of used car sold through a dealership that comes with a certification. The CPO car must generally meet the following requirements:

  • The car has fewer than 80,000 miles.
  • The car isn’t older than five to seven years.
  • The car has a clean vehicle history report.
  • The car has gone through a multi-point inspection.
  • The car is backed by the manufacturer (for example, Toyota, Ford, etc.)
  • The car comes with an extended car warranty.

Who checks that the car meets the requirements for certification?

The dealership will follow the manufacturer’s requirements for a CPO car. They will be the ones administering the inspection and fixing anything that needs repairs. The manufacturer approves the certification and in some ways backs the vehicle as if it were new.

What are the differences between a used car and a certified pre-owned car?

A used car is normally sold as it is. It doesn’t normally come with extra services like an inspection with a factory-certified mechanic (who can subsequently repair anything that’s damaged). You can pay for an inspection on your own prior to purchasing any used car. In fact, it’s recommended..

Read our recent blog Should you always get a pre-purchase inspection before buying a used car?

When you buy a used car, you will get the remainder of the original manufacturer’s warranty (if the car is still under the warranty and it’s transferable). Once the manufacturer’s warranty ends (or if the car is no longer under warranty), you have the option to sign up for coverage through an extended car warranty.

A CPO car, on the other hand, will have gone through an inspection paid for by the dealership and will come with its own extended warranty. 

It will also be a car with low mileage and will have a much higher price than a used car due to the certification.

Is a certified pre-owned car worth it?

For most CPO cars, there are huge markups on the extended warranty offered by the dealership. Because of this, the CPO car could end up costing you between $3,000 and $9,000 more than if you were just buying it as a regular used car. 

In general, the huge price hike doesn’t make it worth it for most people, especially if there’s better and less expensive coverage available through third parties.

A better option for vehicle breakdown coverage on a new or used car

New cars come with manufacturer’s warranties that offer comprehensive coverage for about 3 years or 36,000 miles. When the manufacturer’s warranty ends, you can buy comprehensive coverage to make sure you don’t have to pay a big bill for a repair. If you’d like to have coverage, plans available through third parties on a month-to-month subscription that are ⅓ the cost of what dealerships charge for similar protection. has created vehicle breakdown coverage that is simple, trustworthy and affordable. Transforming the extended car warranty marketplace through technology and transparency, offers a full suite of worry-free, no haggle car care plans through low-cost, 100% online, monthly subscriptions that drivers can sign up for in less than five minutes. Get an instant quote today!