Is Buying a Certified Pre Owned Car a Good Deal?

So you want a car, you've done the research and have the choice narrowed down to one specific model, is it better to buy used or new?

We have an unbelievable amount of choice as consumers today for almost any product we tend to purchase—no matter how big or small that item may be.

And there are just as many opinions and reviews of said products that only seem to confuse the decision making process even further. It seems then, the more choice we have the harder it is to actually decide on what we want. Almost counter intuitive, and we’ve all been there, racking our brains comparing things that don’t really matter in the real world like 15 massage settings vs. only 10, 300hp vs. 320hp and so on and so forth.

So you want a car, you've done the research and have the choice narrowed down to one specific model, is it better to buy used or new?

Buying new seems like a no brainer. Everyone likes new things, something that is just yours and no one else’s. The story and history of a new car will begin with you and isn’t some unknown that you have to piece together through used car packages and car accident history reports. It’s peace of mind and most new cars are so reliable that gas and yearly oil changes are all they need.

Pricey Options

 But you have to pay for this luxury, and base prices can inflate so quickly that before you know it, that $20,000 purchase is now $30,000 optioned the way you thought you could have it. The worst thing is that those $10K worth of options you paid for turns into a loss the second you drive that new car off the lot and depreciation kicks in.

If only there was a way to get all those fancy add-ons for free

Actually there is. It’s called buying CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) or new to you, or pre loved or… you get it.

Gaining in popularity recently, more and more manufacturers are establishing these certification programs as part of their business model. Many are rigourous 100+ point tests that inspect every area of the car and ensure that all is in working order.

This inspection goes much further than the basic certifications or safety testing that many shops provide, which is more a test of roadworthiness rather than ensuring the car is mechanically and functionally perfect.

Joe’s corner shop will sell you a certified or "safeteyed” car but with no guarantee that it will run after you take it home. Sure the wheels might not fall off on the inaugural drive, but that’s not exactly a wise purchase and leaves a lot of unknowns that are passed off to the subsequent owners.

CPO certifications dont just ensure that the car is safe to drive but that it will drive well, like new in many cases, for years to come. These manufacturer certified cars come with a comprehensive warranty, and some even come with complimentary roadside assistance.

 

If CPO is so good why buy new?

 Every manufacturer is different, and each have different inspection checklists that they go through when certifying a vehicle. Some are more comprehensive than others but most do not cover everything.

So there are still repairs that the owner is on the hook for. Things like gaskets and rubber-o-rings, filters and wearable items like shocks and brakes usually aren’t covered, unless the repair is due to a manufacturer defect. Likewise items in the interior like the stereo components and upholstery are also not covered by many CPO programs. Although this varies, it is best to check with each specific manufacturer to find out exactly what is and isn’t covered.

Nowadays some carmakers offer free scheduled maintenance with new cars and will usually cover almost anything, apart from damage caused by aftermarket mods and outright abuse.

So yeah, there are still reasons to buy new. But there are also times when a CPO vehicle might not be worth the premium it costs over its non-CPO counterparts.

Is the CPO premium worth it?

 The easy answer is yes, if you’re buying a premium, performance or entry-level luxury vehicle. No if you’re buying a simple commuter or compact car.

Even these lines have been blurred over the last 5 years, but it's safe to say that high volume models like, but not limited to, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are generally such reliable cars with so few maladies that even after the 3 or 4 year warranty period is up they are still running like champs with very little wear, at least on the greasy bits.

So paying the premium on a Corolla might not be worth it. Better then, to save a couple thousand dollars in the bank for a rainy day.

Now if you are looking for something that can offer a bit more driving pleasure and some of the nicer luxury features on the market, well CPO can be your best friend.

Sport sedans and powerful luxury cars are crammed with tech and safety and leather and wood, and power pretty much everything. They usually have powerful engines, stiff sporty suspensions, big brakes, performance shocks, the list goes on.

These high performance components, while providing a nice wallop of sportiness and handling prowess, are faster wearing and usually see a bit more owner abuse as well. It comes with the territory, and there’s an old adage that goes something like “you have to pay to play.” This really couldn’t be more true. The typical BMW 3 series customer probably has different driving habits than someone who buys a base model Chevrolet Cruze. The bimmer will accelerate more quickly, stop harder, reach higher speeds, and see more cornering loads on the suspension and components, requiring that much more maintenance.

This is by no means a hard and fast rule. Some dealers will discount certain models to move as quickly as possible, or to make room for newer cars.

Where CPO programs become truly beneficial is in taking out the guesswork and unknowns when buying used, helping make one of the most difficult and expensive purchases we make today just a bit easier.

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If CPO is so good why buy new?

 Every manufacturer is different, and each have different inspection checklists that they go through when certifying a vehicle. Some are more comprehensive than others but most do not cover everything.

If CPO is so good why buy new?

So there are still repairs that the owner is on the hook for. Things like gaskets and rubber-o-rings, filters and wearable items like shocks and brakes usually aren’t covered, unless the repair is due to a manufacturer defect. Likewise items in the interior like the stereo components and upholstery are also not covered by many CPO programs. Although this varies, it is best to check with each specific manufacturer to find out exactly what is and isn’t covered.

Nowadays some carmakers offer free scheduled maintenance with new cars and will usually cover almost anything, apart from damage caused by aftermarket mods and outright abuse.

So yeah, there are still reasons to buy new. But there are also times when a CPO vehicle might not be worth the premium it costs over its non-CPO counterparts.

Is the CPO premium worth it?

 The easy answer is yes, if you’re buying a premium, performance or entry-level luxury vehicle. No if you’re buying a simple commuter or compact car.

Even these lines have been blurred over the last 5 years, but it's safe to say that high volume models like, but not limited to, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are generally such reliable cars with so few maladies that even after the 3 or 4 year warranty period is up they are still running like champs with very little wear, at least on the greasy bits.

So paying the premium on a Corolla might not be worth it. Better then, to save a couple thousand dollars in the bank for a rainy day.

Now if you are looking for something that can offer a bit more driving pleasure and some of the nicer luxury features on the market, well CPO can be your best friend.

Sport sedans and powerful luxury cars are crammed with tech and safety and leather and wood, and power pretty much everything. They usually have powerful engines, stiff sporty suspensions, big brakes, performance shocks, the list goes on.

These high performance components, while providing a nice wallop of sportiness and handling prowess, are faster wearing and usually see a bit more owner abuse as well. It comes with the territory, and there’s an old adage that goes something like “you have to pay to play.” This really couldn’t be more true. The typical BMW 3 series customer probably has different driving habits than someone who buys a base model Chevrolet Cruze. The bimmer will accelerate more quickly, stop harder, reach higher speeds, and see more cornering loads on the suspension and components, requiring that much more maintenance.

This is by no means a hard and fast rule. Some dealers will discount certain models to move as quickly as possible, or to make room for newer cars.

Where CPO programs become truly beneficial is in taking out the guesswork and unknowns when buying used, helping make one of the most difficult and expensive purchases we make today just a bit easier.

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