Benefits of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles
When buying a used car, you want to minimize risk and maximize opportunity for success. Choosing a certified pre-owned car is one step toward protecting your investment and guaranteeing you drive off with a vehicle that will last.
While many manufacturers offer a warranty on new cars, those protections have an expiration date—typically when a car reaches a certain age or a certain mileage milestone. A certified pre-owned protection plan on a used car begins when the original warranty runs out and extends coverage for additional years, mileage, or both.
Elements of a Pre-Owned Protection Plan
Pre-owned certification programs vary from company to company. Some extend to include add-ons like roadside assistance, while others just cover the basics. Here are a few examples:
- Chevrolet: Offers an extension to the original manufacturer bumper-to-bumper warranty.
- Honda: Offers additional years to the manufacturer's new car powertrain protection.
- BMW: Extends its new car warranty and includes extras such as roadside assistance and automatic collision with emergency services for their pre-owned vehicles.
Visit your preferred car manufacturer website to read up on their used car protection options.
To qualify as a certified pre-owned vehicle, used cars go through a rigorous manufacturer inspection process.
A number of the vehicle's components are reviewed, including its:
- Mechanical quality.
- Physical condition.
Only certain cars will qualify—usually the ones manufacturers predict will require minimal cost in repairs down the road. This means certified pre-owned vehicles may have a higher resale value (i.e. a higher price tag). Certified used cars might be priced $1,000 to $3,000 more than a used car without the certified manufacturer approval.
If this puts the vehicle out of your price range, you can still find a high-quality used car and protect yourself from costly repairs by purchasing an extended warranty.
If you decide to choose a used car that's not certified pre-owned, you may want to consider an extended warranty or service contract. Similar to manufacturer warranties, extended warranties can protect you from purchasing a vehicle with inherent problems requiring costly repairs.
Extended warranties can include any of the following:
- Full bumper-to-bumper coverage.
- Only coverage on repairs to the powertrain.
- A range of coverage in between.
Before purchasing an extended warranty, it's good to do some research. Ask the following questions:
- Who is selling the warranty?
- If your warranty is coming from a third party, look the vendor up on the Better Business Bureau website and/or look up reviews online.
- Is there a deductible?
- Find out how much you have to pay out of pocket, if anything, for each repair or service visit.
- Can repairs be done anywhere?
- Some warranties require you take your car to a pre-approved mechanic, otherwise you may void your warranty coverage.
- Find out if you can get your repairs, and possible reimbursements for additional expenses, outside of your home state.
Keep in mind that most used cars will require some repairs. Whether you choose a certified pre-owned vehicle or purchasing an extended warranty, make sure you and your vehicle are protected anywhere in the country for minimal cost and maximum mileage.