Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Change News
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory

Bookmark and Share
The ABC's of CPO's

Tips for buying a certified pre-owned vehicle

If you're shopping for a used car you've probably heard the word "certified." The number of certified used cars has grown since their introduction approximately 10 years ago. Unfortunately, most of us don't know what certified should mean and, even worse, it doesn't always mean the same thing.

While all certification programs are different, the basic idea behind them is simple. A manufacturer or dealer puts vehicles that qualify through a fairly rigorous and thorough inspection process, add things like extended warranties, maybe offer special financing terms and other perks and sell them with many of the same benefits associated with buying a new car.

Buying certified is a smart move for many used car buyers. You get lots of features you might only get with a new car. Better still, you can get more car for your money — certified vehicles cost less than their new car counterparts.

But all certification programs are not created equal. To help you sort out the best from the worthless, used car experts offer the following advice:

Certified by whom? Make sure you know who sets the standards for the certification program and who makes certain they're being enforced. Look for a manufacturer backed program — the best people to certify a car are the ones who built it. Unscrupulous sellers often claim a car is certified but the certification isn't worth the paper on which it is printed.

Do your homework. You still have to pick the right car for you. Research the makes and models that make sense for your driving needs — long commutes, taking kids to soccer, teenager's first car. Check safety and reliability reports published online and prices from your whole area.

How was the car certified? At a minimum a car should have a detailed mechanical inspection and a CARFAX vehicle history report. Ask to see the results of both. The car may be certified, but you're the one who's going to be driving it.

What does it get you? The certified used car you're buying probably comes with an extended warranty. Make sure you know exactly what this covers and for how long. You can always add additional coverage through an extended warranty for a little more money and peace of mind.

Ask for more! Don't forget — you're the one buying the car. If you want roadside assistance, options added to the car, free oil changes or anything else don't be afraid to ask. You can ask for anything before you buy.

(Source: ARA Content)