When you’re in the market for a used car, you have two options: a standard non- certified used car or a certified pre-owned vehicle. These two classes of used cars can make the process of buying a used car very confusing if you’re not familiar with their meaning.
Although the two terms might seem more or less interchangeable, they definitely are not. There are many important differences between non-certified used cars and certified pre-owned cars. Learning more about these differences can help you make a smarter, more informed decision when it comes to buying a used car.
One of the main reasons why many drivers choose to buy a standard used car over a certified pre-owned model is the price difference between them. On average, certified pre-owned cars tend to come with a higher price tag than non-certified used vehicles. That being said, not all certified pre-owned cars are more expensive than standard used models. Where there is one, the price difference between a certified pre-owned car and a similar non-certified used car usually isn’t very severe.
Before you decide to buy a used car over a certified pre-owned vehicle, make sure you’ve done your homework regarding the pros and cons of both types of cars. It can be very tempting to stick with the option that’s easier on your wallet—especially since a car is such a major purchase—but you might change your mind once you weigh the lower price of a standard used car against the benefits you get from a slightly pricier certified pre-owned model. In fact, the money you save on future repair and maintenance costs when you choose a certified pre-owned car can actually save you more money in the long run than buying a more inexpensive used model.
Certified pre-owned cars are usually much more reliable than non-certified used cars. Virtually all certified pre-owned cars come with a complete vehicle history report, which can’t be said for the majority of standard used cars—especially those that come from a private seller rather than dealership.
Also, a used car cannot qualify as a certified pre-owned car unless it is less than five to seven years old and has fewer than 60,000 to 80,000 miles logged on it. These qualifications automatically weed out older cars with more wear and tear that might be unreliable.
When you buy a standard used car, you usually have to take it as is and hope it doesn’t break down any time soon. That’s a huge risk to take—especially when it comes to a purchase as major as buying a car.
Unlike non-certified used cars, certified pre-owned cars are available with an extended warranty. This warranty offers you legal protection for months after you buy the car, even if the car’s original warranty was out of date when its ownership was transferred to you.
Part of the certification process of certified pre-owned cars is a check on the quality and condition of the car before it is transferred into your ownership. These cars undergo a thorough inspection and any necessary maintenance, repairs, or part replacements are performed on them before they are presented to their new owner.
Certified pre-owned cars are also certified by a dealership, so the dealership’s reputation depends on the condition of their pre-owned cars when they change hands. If a dealer sells a certified pre-owned car in bad condition, it can come back to haunt them and hurt their reputation. On the other hand, private sellers of non-certified used cars can easily do shady things—like lie about the condition of the car they sell you or even spin back its odometer to make it look like there are fewer miles logged on it—and then wash their hands of the transaction without a second thought.
If you’re like most people, buying a car is probably one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make in your entire lifetime. Buying a used car can be very stressful, especially if you don’t know the full history of the car or are unsure of its condition.
Many drivers think that if they don’t have room in their budget to buy a new car, they have to take a risk on a used car and just hope the seller’s claims about the quality and record of the car are true. With a certified pre-owned car as one of your options, buying a used car doesn’t have to be so nerve-wracking. When you choose a certified pre- owned car, you know exactly what you’re getting and you get peace of mind that your new-to-you car is safe, reliable, and in top condition. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to contact us so that we can help!