How do you buy a used car while making sure it is in the working condition you expect? This is a challenge many potential car buyers face when exploring their used options. Regardless of how much faith you put in an ad, there is always the chance that what is being advertised isn’t accurate. Even the car itself may hide certain faults when you are looking directly at it on the street.Since all cars, whether they are new or used, are a significant investment, is only natural you will want to have as much assurance as possible that you are buying a good car. That sinking feeling of learning you just bought a lemon is something everyone wants to avoid. Thankfully, there’s an easier way to avoid the lemon while getting the benefits of buying a used car. That way is a certified pre-owned vehicle. You’ve probably heard this term somewhere before, usually in advertisements from manufacturers and dealerships selling their used inventory. What does it mean? Simply put, it means the car has gone through a dealership or manufacturer-approved service and inspection process. Qualified mechanics and staff members have given the car the green light to be sold so you can rest assured.
Reviving the Dead… Kinda
The preowned certification process differs between dealerships and manufacturers. Despite these differences, almost all of them have a certain process of inspecting the vehicle to make sure it meets a set of high standards. While it doesn’t magically resurrect cars from the junkyard, this provides a way of selling cars that potential buyers might otherwise dismiss because of the uncertainty.Any used car can have a wide variety of issues regardless of its age and condition. Just because a car might look good on the outside doesn’t eliminate hidden issues with the mechanics, interior, or overall handling and performance. In order to really be sure a car is a good one, you have to inspect it.The preowned certification process provides this inspection of the vehicle, usually of the same make as the dealership or manufacturer. Since mechanics approved by a brand-specific business will know the ins and outs of that brand’s lineup, they are the most qualified to do such an inspection. They will know what to look for, what common issues can arise, and how to fix them.In the end, they will either give the car their stamp of approval or take additional steps to get it approved. Therefore, any used vehicle that has the certified pre-owned label on it will be up to the standards of that particular brand.
If the car automatically passes the inspection process, that’s it. It is ready to be sold with the additional insurance of knowing someone qualified has given the go-ahead. If a car fails to pass inspection, many dealerships will take additional steps to get it up to the brand’s standards.
To do this right, it’s important to service and repair the vehicle using brand-specific parts and techniques. In other words, you don’t want a used car to be repaired with foreign or substandard parts. If anything from the engine, suspension, drivetrain, or interior needs replacing, it needs to be an exact match.
Most cars of the past couple decades are designed with highly specialized parts. Whereas old cars could be repaired with parts from a junkyard, newer ones have systems and features so advanced that this simply is no longer possible.
To get the best results and outcome, the parts have to come from the manufacturer itself. A preowned certified vehicle that has needed repairs will no doubt stick to this requirement, meaning you won’t find anything that should not have been installed.
New Coverage and Warranties
One way to save a lot of money on costly future repairs is with a manufacturer warranty. While these are common with new vehicles, it is rare any private owner or used car dealership will include such coverage with their inventory. This, however, is different with certified pre-owned vehicles.Depending on the manufacturer or dealership, you can expect the typical certified pre-owned vehicle to come with some form of new warranty coverage. This warranty will often be limited to X amount of thousands of miles or years. Some dealerships might also offer additional coverage for the drivetrain and engine.Regardless of the specific details of the warranty, the idea remains the same. A certified pre-owned vehicle will be covered should near future repairs and service be required. This means you can save money on a used vehicle with the promise of saving even more when it comes time to bring the car back in.
Since all cars, new or used, can experience unexpected issues, this kind of warranty coverage can save you money in the long run. Compared to a normal used vehicle, which lacks any sort of coverage, you will be able to take full advantage of a reduced or free maintenance plan that will keep your car running even longer. Be sure to understand the specifics of the extended or new warranty coverage so you can decide if this is a true selling point.
Exploring Your Preowned Options
The best thing about certified pre-owned vehicles is you can find them virtually anywhere. The most common place for these cars is brand-specific dealerships like your local Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Nissan dealership, etc.Use the internet and visit local dealerships to see their current pre-owned inventories. Most dealerships will publish these inventories for easy access and keep them updated so you will know what is available now.If you find a vehicle that catches your eye, make sure you talk with a salesperson to understand the specific benefits of its certified pre-owned status. Ask any questions related to extended warranties, promotions and deals, and the service history of the vehicle to help you decide whether it is a good buy or not.Most importantly, take comfort in the certified pre-owned label. Compared to other used vehicles, you can rest assured these ones will have gone through the rigorous inspection and service process required to give you a great car.