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Are Certified Pre-Owned Cars a Good Deal?

Posted in Buying a Car
October 26th 2016 by

You’re going car shopping, and you’ve decided you’re getting a used car. It makes sense: you don’t want to worry about depreciation just by driving off the lot, and there are plenty of like-new vehicles for sale.

But you notice something as you’re shopping, and that’s the choice between a certified pre-owned vehicle, or one without that stamp of approval. Oftentimes the former comes with a bigger price tag, which makes you wonder if it’s worth it.

Here are some things to consider to determine if it’s worth it for you.

The Warranty

Obviously the biggest pro the pre-certified car has going for it is the warranty. It’s sort of like insurance: you hope you won’t need it, but it’s comforting to know it’s there.

That being said, it’s more likely you won’t need the warranty. A recent Consumer Reports article found that a little over half of people surveyed never used their warranty. Plus, late-model cars typically don’t have a lot of issues.


The pre-certified car makes sure you know this vehicle was thoroughly inspected in order to get that certification. However, that inspection isn’t as great as it’s made out to be. All used vehicles on that dealer’s lot were inspected, and most likely with no difference between the certified and non-certified vehicles.

It’s more a guarantee the car doesn’t have a history of issues, but a CarFax report could tell you the same thing. It’s also no guarantee the vehicle was maintained properly with its previous owner.

Bottom Line


It really all comes down to what YOU are comfortable with. Paying for the added peace of mind may be important to you. It is a roll of the dice whether or not you will need the warranty, with odds more in your favor than not, but it’s still a gamble.

A lot of people benefit financially from the certified pre-owned business: the dealer, the manufacturer, the inspection company, etc. It’s not guaranteed you’ll also benefit, but it’s worth considering.

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