Is a Certified Pre-Owned Car Right for You?

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CARS.COM — Whether you're considering a new or used car, one option you should explore is a certified pre-owned vehicle. These are late-model vehicles that in many cases are nearly new and come with warranties comparable to those you would get with a brand new model. In addition, they often are available with low-rate financing similar to what is offered on new cars.

Related: More Certified Pre-Owned News

CPO vehicles are offered by every major manufacturer, and sales have increased for several years in a row as more consumers recognize the benefits they offer. Analysts expect sales to grow again in 2017 because the supply of late-model used vehicles will increase with a record number of off-lease vehicles entering the market, most of them three years old or less.

In other words, it's an excellent time to shop for a CPO vehicle.

Before you start shopping, though, it pays to know what you'll be looking at and what you should look for. Explore the basics of CPO programs, the benefits they offer and some key tips for smart shoppers.

Though there are several benefits to buying a CPO vehicle, there are drawbacks, such as a higher price. Know what the pros and cons are.

Moreover, you might find that a CPO vehicle isn't much cheaper than a new vehicle. Should you buy new instead? Here are the pluses and minuses.

On the other hand, buying a non-CPO used car with an extended warranty might give you more peace of mind and even save money in the long run. Explore that option here.

If you do decide to buy a CPO vehicle, you might be tempted to opt for a luxury brand instead of one of the mainstream, lower-priced brands (such as BMW instead of Honda). That is another factor to weigh.

Leasing is still another option. Though it is still relatively uncommon, you can lease a CPO vehicle. What are the pros and cons of that option? Find out here.

If you are sold on the idea of CPO programs, you need to know that they aren't all alike. Find out here how they stack up in warranties and benefits.

Finally, just as manufacturers try to boost sales of new vehicles with incentives such as low-rate financing, they do the same with CPO vehicles. Cars.com provides a guide to current incentives on CPO vehicles that is updated monthly. Plus, there is a handy guide to monthly payments based on the amount borrowed and interest rate. It is better to have a good idea of what your monthly payment will be before you go to a dealership so you don't get talked into something you can't afford.

Advice CPO Car Buying Certified Pre Owned Used Cars

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Contributor Rick Popely has covered the auto industry for decades and hosts a weekly online radio show on TalkZone.com.  Email Rick

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