Buying a Certified Pre-Owned Car

A certified pre-owned (CPO) car is the sweet spot between new and used. A CPO vehicle is a car that's already experienced some depreciation by having a previous owner and a few miles on it, but also gives you a warranty from the manufacturer. That means you get some of the value of a used car and some of the peace of mind and low maintenance costs of a new car.

Reasons to Buy Certified Pre-Owned

CPO cars are more affordable than their new counterparts, but they're typically a little more expensive than a similar used, non-certified car. Depending on the manufacturer and how good their CPO program is, that premium can easily be worth it. If you're shopping in the CPO market, make sure you do some homework on exactly what the manufacturer's CPO program entails like its warranty and its inspection process.

Pros and Cons
Pros: As we mentioned earlier, certified pre-owned cars are more affordable than their new counterparts. The average car loses about 35 percent of its value in just three years. Letting someone else take that depreciation hit and still getting a manufacturer's warranty can be a great deal.

Buying a used car that's not certified can be a bit of a gamble. If you're buying used from a dealer, it usually doesn't come with a warranty and if you buy used from a private party, you never really know exactly what to expect. A certified pre-owned car gives you the peace of mind of having gone under a thorough pre-sale inspection to ensure it's roadworthy and up to date on maintenance.

Cons: Unfortunately, not all CPO programs are created equal. Some give you excellent manufacturer warranties, but some only cover your car for a couple years and might not cover all that much. It's important to research which CPO programs offer the best value and which ones aren't really worth shopping for, which you can do right here on Autotrader.

There are a ton of used cars on the market, but a rather small percentage of them are certified. Finding the perfect CPO vehicle for you can be challenging with limited options out there. If the certified pre-owned car you're looking for isn't on the market near you right now, it might be worth waiting for it to come along rather than taking a risk on a non-certified used example.

The price difference between a certified and non-certified used car varies. Sometimes going with certified rather than used only costs a little extra, but sometimes it's a big jump in price making CPO not that much better of a value than new. If you're shopping CPO, it's a good idea to compare the prices to similar non-certified used cars to make sure you're not paying too much more.
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