Certified vs. Non-Certified - What is the Best Used Car Option?

When purchasing a car, we have three options – new, certified pre-owned or non-certified used car. We all know that purchasing a new car is always better. Still, not everyone can afford to buy a bra

When purchasing a car, we have three options – new, certified pre-owned or non-certified used car. We all know that purchasing a new car is always better. Still, not everyone can afford to buy a brand new car. Those who cannot afford a brand new car and are looking for one that is used are often confused by certified versus non-certified options. If you are one of them, read through this article to make a well informed decision that meets your personal needs.

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO)
Pre-owned vehicles that are thoroughly inspected and reconditioned to meet the required standards of certification are referred to as "certified pre-owned". Depending on the authority of certification, they are again classified into two types – manufacturer certified and dealer certified.

  • Manufacturer Certified: In a typical manufacturer certification program, used cars which are less than 5 to 6 years old or with less than 60,000 to 80,000 miles are selected, tested, repaired, and finally verified to make sure that they meet the manufacturer’s standards. Cars that meet the manufacturer standards will be certified and backed up with warranties. Cars with suspicious history and serious flaws will not be considered for this program.
  • Dealer Certified: Pre-owned cars will undergo the same procedure, but the only difference is that they are not certified by the auto maker. With help of some expert technicians, the dealer does all verifications and reconditioning programs and certifies it according to his own standards. He too will provide some warranty called as dealer warranty.

Non-Certified Pre-Owned
These are the vehicles that are generally sold by private sellers or by the car owners themselves. The main thing that attracts people to buy these cars is their low cost. But in reality, they pose significant risks and the underlying costs after purchase are innumerable.

Advantages of certified cars

  • Manufacturer's certification increases its value and gives peace of mind to the consumers
  • Inspection includes a list of 100-160 things which are checked and verified by qualified mechanics. So, no need to spend extra bucks on repairs and inspection
  • Comes with warranties and other additional benefits like roadside assistance, trip-interruption insurance, free maintenance and so on
  • Finance facility is also available, so that you can buy the car in easy installments
  • Authorized dealers offer wide range of models to choose from

Disadvantages

  • Bit expensive compared to non-certified cars
  • High interest rates in finance compared to new cars

Pros and Cons of Non-Certified
The only possible advantage of these cars is their low price. There are many disadvantages.

  • No certification or inspection. You need to spend money on repairs and reconditioning which is an additional expense
  • No warranties, no service related repairs, no additional benefits
  • No finance assistance
  • Vehicle history remains unknown, hence increases the risk of getting lemons
  • Limited choice

Making the Right Choice
After observing the pros and cons of certified and non-certified cars, you might have got an idea on what is worth purchasing. Though CPOs are a bit expensive, benefits like manufacturer warranty may outweigh their prices. However, it is often advised to prefer a manufacturer-certified to a dealer certified car as the factory certification program is more reliable than the other.

Do Your Research
If you have decided to buy a CPO, check for the dealerships which offer maximum product range at best prices in the market. You can check their websites for inventories which are listed with used cars for sale. Choose a reliable dealer and pick a car that matches your requirements. Finally, check for the actual inspection report to have a better idea on what exactly is being checked and reconditioned. Also make sure that the Vehicle Identification number (VIN) on the report matches the number on the car. Ask for a test drive to feel more confident about the car's condition. Also remember that authorized dealers offer best products at better prices than the rest.

Certified pre-owned cars are becoming more popular among all the classes, as they provide huge benefits. However, make sure that you approach a reputed dealer to get the best value for your money.

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