10 Certified Pre-Owned Buying Tips
Just because you're considering the purchase of a certified pre-owned vehicle doesn't mean you're off the hook in terms of doing the necessary research and preparing a list of questions to ask before signing on the dotted line. Here are 10 tips to help make your certified used car purchase a pleasant one:
- Research resale values the same way you would with a non-certified used car. The Cars.com Used-Car Values pricing tool gives average values that are determined by the vehicle's condition, mileage, optional equipment and other factors.
- Make sure the manufacturer — and not just the local dealer — is offering the certification. That way you know the CPO car meets the manufacturer's stringent certified requirements, and you'll be able to have your vehicle serviced at locations nationwide.
- Ask to see the certification checklist to make sure all major components have been inspected.
- Insist on a vehicle repair and maintenance history.
- Make sure the remainder of the new-car warranty is clear and in writing.
- Read the fine print on the CPO warranty. Most certified used-car warranties cover only the powertrain. If you want bumper-to-bumper coverage, you may have to purchase that separately. Some warranties are much longer than others. Some warranties are transferable; others are not.
- Pay attention to both the age and mileage limits in the warranty. Chances are you'll hit the mileage limit first.
- Get details on the return policy. Is there one? Within what time frame? Will the dealer refund registration and license fees and sales tax, as well?
- Take the certified used car for a nice, long test drive.
- Haggle away. Just because a used car is certified doesn't mean you can't — or shouldn't — negotiate on price as you would with any other car.