When you’re in the market for a new vehicle, yet find yourself on a tight budget, the best way to maximize your value is often to search for a late-model used car. When you buy used, you can typically avoid the depreciation that comes with buying a new vehicle; and, by buying something of fairly recent vintage, you can minimize the risk of inadvertently buying a “lemon.”
Of particular note is the Certified Pre-Owned, or CPO option. Here’s what you need to know: CPO programs were devised in the early 1990s by dealerships looking for a smart way to resell their lease trade-ins or used vehicles with low mileage. Today, most auto companies offer CPO programs, allowing buyers to get slightly used vehicles in excellent condition, usually for a substantial discount over the original sticker price.
How Does a Used Car Qualify for CPO Status?
The cars you’ll find in CPO programs typically have a few things in common:
- Usually, they are late-model cars with low mileage.
- They have no significant damage on their records.
- They are submitted to a detailed inspection to make sure they’re still in excellent driving shape.
- When necessary, they are reconditioned to make sure they function as good as new.
- In most cases, CPOs come with manufacturer-backed warranties—a good reason to consider buying a CPO.
- These vehicles usually receive special discounts and incentives from the dealership, too.
Different auto makers will have different stipulations for what qualifies a car for its CPO program. To offer just one example, Toyota cars have to be no more than seven years old, and have fewer than 85,000 miles on them, to receive CPO certification. In addition, they undergo significant scrutiny and inspection. And, because the whole point of the CPO program is to move these cars quickly, Toyota often throws in a lot of extras—warranties, roadside assistance for a full year, etc.
For other auto makers, the details may vary a little, but you get the idea: Buying a CPO-qualified car is generally a good way to get a just-like-new vehicle for a good price, often with some nice consumer protections tacked on for good measure.
Is a CPO Right for You?
With all of that said, there are also some potential downsides for buying a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle. For example, while a CPO is certainly less expensive than a brand-new car, it’s also a little bit pricier than a “regular” used car. Then again, that warranty adds considerable value, so in terms of bang for buck, CPOs may still come out on top.
If you’re interested in buying a CPO, we’d love to help you locate a reputable dealership near you. Reach out to Get My Auto to learn more about this process, or to ask whether buying a CPO is right for you.