How It Works
Most of these used cars are certified either by the dealer using the specifications listed by the automaker. In some cases, the dealers certify these vehicles on their own.
Certified vehicles are often handpicked. They have lower miles and are well-maintained with a clean history.
These vehicles come with a handful of incentives like roadside assistance, discounted rates on financing, detailed inspections, multipoint inspections, extended warranties, and more.
Usually, the dealers pick used cars that are no older than 5 to 7 years. The average miles on these vehicles range between 60,000 to 80,000 miles.
A majority of these vehicles are acquired either via trade-ins or lease returns. The cars undergo rigorous testing and are certified by factory-approved mechanics.
If the car meets all required specifications, it’s listed as a CPO car for sale.
How Much Does A CPO Vehicle Cost?
To place a certification on a previously owned vehicle, the dealership has to pay a certain fee to the manufacturer for handling the certification process.
In most cases, this fee gets passed on to the buyer; hence the price of a CPO vehicle will be higher than a normal pre-owned vehicle.
- The reason for the extra cost is the multipoint and detailed inspection. Moreover, the manufacturer also charges the dealership for the reconditioning process, if any.
- You can always negotiate on the sticker price of the vehicle to ensure that you can get good deals.
- The rates vary by the model of the car. On an average, you’ll find rates between 0.9% to 3.99%.
CPO Vehicles Vs Used Cars
There are visible differences between used cars and CPO cars:
- While certified cars come with an extended manufacturer warranty, used cars aren’t covered by the manufacturer.
- Dealerships cherry-pick the best available cars when it comes to certifying them for sale. Used cars aren’t handpicked.
- CPO vehicles go through multiple testing and checks before getting certified. Used cars aren’t tested or certified.
- Most certified vehicles have strict capping on the miles and manufacture date. Dealerships only certify cars that are between 5-7 years of age and have been driven between 60,000 to 80,000 miles. Used cars have no capping whatsoever.
- You’ll get better rates, lots of perks, and well-maintained vehicles when you buy certified cars. There’s nothing additional when it comes to non-certified cars.
All About CPO Programs
CPO programs are of two types - the non-luxury program and the luxury program. For instance, Toyota is a non-luxury program.
The car needs to be driven less than 85,000 miles and must be no more than 7 years in age. All Toyota models that qualify on these parameters will then go through a 160-point inspection.
Buyers are entitled to a 7-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 12-month or 12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.
Luxury programs vary by manufacturers. For instance, Mercedes offers this program.
For a vehicle to qualify as a Mercedes CPO, the car shouldn’t be driven for more than 75,000 miles. It must also be less than or equal to 6 years in age. All eligible vehicles go through a 164-point inspection.
Buyers get the remaining warranty transferred to their name. Once it expires, they receive an extended one-year warranty with no mileage capping.
When Is It Really Worthwhile?
Although buying a certified car makes sense, it isn’t for everyone.
Here are some scenarios where it makes the best choice:
- Certified cars are worth the cost when you’re interested in buying luxury models. They have high running costs and extended warranties cover it.
- You want to buy a pre-owned car while ensuring that it’s in top-notch condition.
- You want to enjoy the benefits of additional perks and offers on your purchases.
- You have a limited budget and want to get the most value out of your car purchase.
Buying a CPO car isn’t a bad idea if you have limited funds.
You’ll get the benefits of extended warranties, coverage, roadside assistance, and many other perks.
Still, make sure to negotiate on the sticker price of the vehicle before you make the purchase.
Review the certification details on CarFax or other similar platforms and compare dealerships before you sign on the dotted line.