What is a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle?

If you’re in the market for a vehicle, chances are you’ve run across the words “certified pre-owned” before. It sounds like just a fancy way of saying “used”, right? Wrong! While all certified pre-owned vehicles are indeed used, not all used cars are certified pre-owned. 

But what makes a car certified pre-owned, and should you care as a buyer? We’ve got the answers for you.

What Makes a Car Certified Pre-Owned?

A certified pre-owned vehicle is a car that has been inspected by a trained mechanic from the manufacturer of the vehicle. This mechanic checks to see if the vehicle is up to the standards provided by the manufacturer; if they vehicle is, it is branded as certified pre-owned.

Does this Mean that Used Cars are Not Up to these Standards?

The answer to this is easy: no! Just because a car isn’t certified pre-owned, doesn’t mean it isn’t up to the same standards of quality. The certified pre-owned label is only given by factory mechanics, which means you’ll only find these cars from dealerships.

Used cars from independent dealers or owners can be of the same quality (or higher quality), even if they don’t have the label. 

What Does This Mean for a Car Buyer? 

Some people will always prefer the label of certified pre-owned, which is understandable: labels can be comforting! But in reality, a vehicle that is certified pre-owned is mostly just an opportunity for dealerships to charge dramatically higher prices for their used vehicles, because they can offer you the comfort of the car reaching a certain standard.

If you’re buying a car from a reputable used car dealer or marketplace, you can either be assured that the vehicle is high quality, or you can likely get all the information you need to determine the state of the car. You can even hire a mobile mechanic to perform a pre-sale inspection on the car, and still end up with a smaller price tag than you would have if you opted for the fancy label of certified pre-owned.

Ultimately, a certified pre-owned vehicle provides a little extra comfort to many buyers, but it comes at a pricy cost. If you do your homework, and operate through a reputable marketplace, you can get a used car of the same quality, for a much smaller price tag.

About The Author

Brady Klopfer

Brady Klopfer is a freelance writer and editor from Los Angeles. You can read more of his work here https://medium.com/@BradyKlopfer.