The Difference Between Used & Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Technically the terms “used” and “pre-owned” mean exactly the same thing. However, not all pre-owned cars are certified. A certified pre-owned vehicle usually has extremely low mileage and is at most, a few years old. These vehicles are also subjected to thorough inspections and are usually backed by extended manufacturer warranties.

So, should you purchase a standard used car or a certified pre-owned vehicle? That all depends on several factors. Here we will go over some significant differences between these two options.

Non-Certified Used Cars

A used, or pre-owned vehicle is one that has had one, or more than one, previous owner. A person will often find used cars for sale on used car lots, by an individual, or at a local dealership.

A standard used car is not ordinarily put through any kind of inspection process. It is not given a “certified” title. However, it will typically cost a great deal less than both the new and certified pre-owned alternatives; and a good used vehicle that has relatively low miles can offer a lot of bang for your buck. It might even be covered by an extended warranty in some circumstances.

Certified Pre-Owned Cars

Unlike a standard used car, a certified pre-owned vehicle is usually offered for sale by a recognized car dealer. Therefore, when you are looking for a certified vehicle, try searching for a “used Ford dealership near me.” This type of vehicle is typically backed by the manufacturer with a warranty that extends beyond the initial vehicle coverage.

Rigorously inspected by certified technicians prior to sale, qualified vehicles receive extended limited warranty coverage and often come with a detailed history report. They also come with an oil change, often a new battery, and a full gas tank.

The only vehicles that earn a certified badge and extended warranty are the ones that pass a dealership inspection checklist provided by the manufacturer. This is how the manufacturer determines if the vehicle is worth guaranteeing and certifying.

Multi-Point Inspection

Every certified pre-owned car goes through a strict, multi-point inspection which uses a step-by-step process beginning with the vehicle’s detailed history report. The original manufacturer is responsible for this inspection process and uses the history report to ensure the car has not been previously wrecked or stolen. The process includes checking the suspension, brakes, steering system, transmission, and other mechanical components. Each of these steps help to ensure the buyer is purchasing a quality vehicle that’s not likely to require a major repair anytime soon.

Cost Versus Value

Aside from the assurance of the multi-point inspection and certification, the biggest difference between a used car and a certified pre-owned car is the cost. A certified pre-owned vehicle will likely cost a good deal more than its uninspected counterpart. It is important to note that although you may see your money go further at the time of your original purchase, the savings could be quickly eaten up by unexpected repair costs if you opt for an uninspected used car.

Nevertheless, if you happen to be good with mechanical repairs and familiar with the particular model you are looking to purchase, or you have a trusted mechanic that doesn’t charge exorbitant prices, you may feel purchasing a less expensive used vehicle is worth the risk.

Conversely, if you don’t want to deal with any type of repair issue in the short term, and you prefer to have a vehicle that is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, a certified pre-owned vehicle is likely the better value. Additionally, many certified pre-owned vehicles come with detailed history reports, roadside assistance, and other perks not available with the purchase of a standard used car.

The Bottom Line

Both standard used vehicles and certified pre-owned cars are considerably less expensive than new cars. Therefore, either of these options offer a great deal of savings.

Standard used cars are by far the least expensive option, but the downside of purchasing a non-certified vehicle is the uncertainty in regard to its mechanical condition – especially if you are purchasing the vehicle from a private individual you don’t know. It might look like a real bargain on the outside but could have potential mechanical issues that will require expensive repairs sooner rather than later.

A certified used car will almost always cost more at the time of purchase, however, these vehicles are offered for sale by recognized used car dealerships, backed by the vehicle’s manufacturer, and often have warranties that extend well beyond the initial vehicle coverage. That’s why you might want to begin the hunt for your next vehicle by searching for “a used Ford dealership near me,” drop in at Hawk auto, and select one of our certified pre-owned vehicles.

When you make a new or used car purchase from Hawk Auto, you will never be disappointed in your selection and you will definitely appreciate our industry leading service. Stop in today!