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What are the Benefits of Certified Pre-Owned?

If you’re not sure whether a certified pre-owned (CPO) car is right for you, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of a few of the major benefits of a CPO program to help shoppers understand what sets apart a certified pre-owned vehicle from a traditional used car.

One Word: Warranty

The biggest benefit of choosing a certified pre-owned car over a standard used car is definitely the warranty coverage. It’s true that some used cars might have some of their factory warranty remaining, and that means you’re already covered by a warranty, even if something breaks. But certified pre-owned programs extend existing warranties, which gives you coverage for a longer term.

As an example, say you’re considering two different 2011 Ford Fusion models with 30,000 miles on the odometer: one at a Ford dealer with a CPO warranty, and the other at a different dealership without a certified pre-owned warranty.

If you buy the certified pre-owned Fusion, you’ll have 1 year/12,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage as a part of Ford’s CPO warranty program. Meanwhile, the “regular” used Fusion’s warranty period is already over, which means the bumper-to-bumper coverage has expired.

If you buy the certified pre-owned Fusion, you’ll have up to 7 years/100,000 miles of powertrain coverage, and that means your powertrain warranty won’t expire until 2018 or until you’ve driven the extra 70,000 miles. The standard powertrain warranty is 5 years/60,000 miles, which means the used Fusion’s powertrain warranty expires in 2016 and only lasts another 30,000 miles. As a result, the certified pre-owned car offers more warranty coverage.

Top Quality Vehicles

Another benefit of buying a certified pre-owned vehicle is that they tend to be better quality than a run-of-the-mill used car is. Dealers only issue certified pre-owned warranties after a comprehensive inspection that makes sure the car in question doesn’t have any serious defects or problems. If the car had serious problems, the manufacturer wouldn’t want the dealer to offer it with a warranty, because the automaker will likely end up losing money on the transaction.

Likewise, most automakers typically require that their certified pre-owned vehicles be free of any major accidents. Many car brands also insist that their CPO cars have reasonably new tires and brakes to ensure that the buyer doesn’t have to return to the dealer right away with potentially expensive issues.

Roadside Assistance

In some cases, roadside assistance is also included with the purchase of a certified pre-owned car. While that isn’t always true, automakers that include roadside assistance give their drivers yet another layer of peace of mind; those drivers can usually get free towing, rental car reimbursement and other benefits in case their certified pre-owned vehicle happens to break down during the coverage period.


Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. I don’t know if they still have the program but years ago GM touted 100 point inspection on used cars.  I took a look at a used Olds Bravada.  I tried the wipers but they were old and smeared dirt all over the windshield cleaning nothing.  I told the salesman that you guys check 100 things but apparently not the wipers.

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