Can You Negotiate Price on a Certified Pre-Owned Car?

can you negotiate cpo jpg Cars.com illustration by Paul Dolan

Certified pre-owned vehicles, or CPO cars for short, offer benefits ranging from extended warranties to low-interest financing, but they don’t come free. Cars.com’s analysis of more than 200,000 late-model used examples of 17 popular models found the listing price, on average, 4.5% higher for CPO cars versus non-certified ones.

Are those prices negotiable? In a word, yes.

Related: Is CPO Worth It?

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Although some dealers have instituted no-haggle pricing, CPO cars seldom carry such stipulations as a whole. You can — and should — negotiate on CPO vehicles, just like you’d negotiate on any new or non-certified used car.

As with any negotiations, we recommend fixating on the out-the-door price of the car, including all taxes and fees. If you plan to finance, secure pre-approved terms from a third party, like a bank or credit union, before shopping. That clears the way for you to negotiate primarily on the out-the-door price, not the interest rate or the monthly payment. Settle on a good price and the monthly payment will work itself out — either from your pre-approved lender or a competitive offer by the dealership after the fact.

A potential wrinkle is the low financing rates offered on CPO vehicles. If you think you have the credit to qualify, still negotiate on the out-the-door price. If the dealership offers low-rate financing or a reduced vehicle price, but not both, head over to Cars.com’s Cash Back or Interest Calculator — which allows you to compare the two options to figure out which would work best for your finances — and treat any negotiated reductions in out-the-door price like a cash-back rebate. Whether you’re buying a CPO car or a new car, they still represent a reduction in the overall vehicle price.

Naturally, your leverage to negotiate will hinge on the supply of similar cars for sale in your area, both used and CPO. A salesperson may demur to any comparisons between certified and non-certified listings, but the latter can still inform your negotiations. If a dealer lists a CPO car for 20% more than a non-certified example of similar age and condition at a showroom down the street, that’s a hard price to justify. Leverage comparable examples — even if they aren’t certified — to your advantage.

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Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Kelsey Mays
Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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