When you go to buy a pre-owned vehicle, you’re typically taking the dealer’s word that the vehicle will be in good shape, that it will function properly and that it has no defects. After all, while the vehicle may be pre-owned, you’re still spending your hard-earned money on it. What happens, though, if you drive the pre-owned vehicle off the lot and it experiences problems? Unfortunately, many people have had this exact same experience. They purchase a vehicle from a pre-owned dealer, only to find out later that the vehicle has major problems which incur extra expenses.
As a result, many dealers are now offering certified pre-owned vehicles to help assure customers that a vehicle will deliver on the dealer’s promises. The differences between a pre-owned vehicle and a certified pre-owned vehicle can be minimal or they could be major. Most pre-owned dealers will inspect any vehicle they put on their lot before selling it to ensure it is free of defects; however, a certified pre-owned dealer will often inspect the vehicle, as well as make any repairs, refurbish worn components and offer an extended warranty. It should be noted that there is no national standard for using the term “certified pre-owned.”
If you’re searching for a certified pre-owned vehicle, there are a few different varieties to watch for. Manufacturer and factory certified pre-owned vehicles are usually sold by dealerships which represent the vehicle’s specific brand. These vehicles have been inspected by the manufacturer and have been restored to their original condition as best as possible. There are also independently certified pre-owned vehicles. These are vehicles which have been inspected by a third-party, not the manufacturer, and the third-party may or may not use original manufacturer equipment for replacements and repairs. Finally, dealer certified pre-owned vehicles are vehicles which have been inspected by professionals at a dealership.
Once again, there is no national standard for defining “certified pre-owned,” so it’s just as important to do your own inspection before purchasing a pre-owned vehicle. It is almost always a good idea to have your own mechanic inspect the vehicle before you make a purchase, as the more inspections completed, the better chance you’ll have at getting a vehicle that will last. If you do decide to go with a certified pre-owned vehicle, try to find one with a warranty or extended warranty. This will assist you in getting repairs completed in the event of a problem.