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What Is a Certified Pre-Owned Car?

To buy a new car or to buy a used car—that is the question! A certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle balances the luxury of new with the affordability of used. Here are 5 things that you should know about CPO cars before you go into a dealership

What is a certified pre-owned car?

A certified pre-owned car (CPO) is a car that has been inspected, reconditioned, and certified by a manufacturer, dealership, or retailer before it’s sold.

Having a used car that is in excellent condition and certified might seem too good to be true, but if you do your research, you’ll quickly realize that it can be a great investment.

Here are 5 things that you should know about CPO cars before you go into a dealership.

1. Who certifies the car?

There are two different kinds of certifications for CPO cars. Dealer-certified cars are authorized by the dealership in accordance with their own in-store standards. 

Manufacturer-certified means that the car has met specific requirements backed by the maker of the car. The manufacturer sets out the criteria for the program nationwide, ensuring that the same quality of CPO car is met at every dealership in their franchise.

2. How does a car become qualified?

CPO cars are the top echelon of used cars that you can buy. When a dealer receives a used car, be it by trade-in or by purchasing at auction, it is put through inspection by a factory-certified mechanic. If the car meets the standards, it is then reconditioned and offered for sale as a CPO vehicle. 

3. How vehicles get selected for CPO

Every manufacturer and dealership/retailer sets its own age, mileage, and quality criteria to determine which vehicles enter their CPO program. Here are a few examples of the standards some manufacturers set: 

  • A Ford CPO vehicle must be under 6 years of age and have less than 120,000km on the odometer to qualify. Then it must pass a 172-point comprehensive inspection to receive the certification. 
  • Honda CPO vehicles must be within the past six model years and pass a 100-point inspection.
  • Hyundai CPO vehicles must meet certain year requirements and pass a rigorous 120-point inspection to qualify. 

4. The benefits of CPO

With a CPO car, there are many benefits that make them worth the slightly higher price. 

  • Additional warranty. In addition to the rest of the new vehicle warranty, most manufacturers extend a limited bumper-to-bumper coverage as well as a year or two extra on the powertrain warranty. 
  • Roadside assistance. If you do have a breakdown with your CPO, most brands include a year of complimentary 24/7 emergency roadside assistance to come to your aid. 
  • Exchange period. What if you don’t like your car after a week or two? With many CPO programs, you have a grace period to exchange it for a different car. 
  • Lower financing rates. Often a CPO purchase will have subvented rates that are lower than available bank financing rates, saving you money on interest charges. 
  • Extra perks. Sometimes, you can get a few months of SiriusXM radio with your CPO purchase or access to your CARFAX vehicle history report online. 

5. What's the catch?

CPO vehicles are usually backed by an extended warranty and subjected to an in-depth inspection and reconditioning to give the buyer serious peace of mind. On the other hand, just because a used vehicle isn't manufacturer- or dealer-certified, that doesn't mean it isn't perfectly reliable. The used car market is extremely robust, and there are great deals to be found on many reliable vehicles that don't meet CPO age and mileage criteria.

If you decide that you want a certified pre-owned car, you might be paying a little more for it. However, compared to a non-certified car, you’ll be less likely to encounter issues (and extra maintenance costs). This means that you’ll not only be saving money, but you’ll also be keeping safe on the road with a vehicle you can depend on. 

Get approved for a certified pre-owned vehicle today

Canada Drives has hundreds of certified pre-owned vehicles to choose from and hundreds more arriving every week. We are not afraid of being radically transparent. That's why every vehicle comes with a free CARFAX and 150-point inspection report.

You'll also receive complimentary warranty protection, and enjoy a 7-day test-own period to make sure your new car is the right fit. If it's not, we'll exchange it for something else or give you a refund.

Get pre-approved today and see what great CPO deals you're eligible for!

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