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What is a “Certified” Pre-Owned Vehicle?

new car - certified pre-owned vehicle - Auto Simple

When something is certified, you are more likely to trust the quality of the product. But do most car hunters actually know what it means for a car to be “Certified”?

When it’s time for a big purchase, such as a new vehicle, it’s important to have all the information you can get. That way, you can make an informed and budget-conscious decision about what works best for you. When it comes down to driving off the lot, will your decision be to go with new, used, or certified pre-owned?

Although “new” and “used” are the two largest car categories, there is a third, in-between category that offers much of the positive attributes of both—certified pre-owned (CPO). If you’re looking for a good alternative to new car prices, CPO is the way to go.

New Cars, Used Cars & In-Between

New cars come straight from the manufacturer and come with a plump warranty and price tag. They will also lose much of their value right off the lot and further depreciate in the coming years. According to CarFax, “a new car will lose 60 percent of its total value over the first five years of its life.” You may want that new car smell without the new car lease.

Used cars have always seemed like a riskier bet for car buyers, especially if they aren’t purchased at a dealership, but through a site such as Craigslist or a private seller. In this case, it’s not guaranteed that the vehicle will come with a detailed history of whereabouts and treatment. There is also no warranty attached to the purchase.

This is why used cars should always be bought through a professional and qualified dealer, such as Auto Simple. You never want to find out you’ve bought a lemon after it’s too late to drive back!

If the idea of going new or used doesn’t seem like enough of an option for you, the third category that is being focused on today is known as Certified Pre-Owned. With CPO cars, you get the best of both worlds.

What does Certified Pre-Owned mean?

Certified Pre-Owned – A certified pre-owned car is one that has undergone a full inspection and any necessary repairs as specified by the automaker. CPO vehicles are often in “like-new” condition. They may cost more, but often come with additional warranties and roadside assistance, one of the main reasons why it’s a smart idea to buy from a dealership.

Sometimes a certified pre-owned vehicle is called a “re-conditioned used car” as it is of a guaranteed high quality. They are not brand new, but not yet a decade old, either. CPO vehicles are usually between 2 years old and 8 years old.

You’ll be able to get that 2012 Ford Focus without the depreciation worries of a new vehicle or the functionality worries of a used one. Due to their like-new condition and dealership warranty, CPO purchases have a lot of positive benefits, most obviously, peace of mind.

If someone is offering a certified or re-conditioned used car, make sure you get all documentation on paper. Review the information carefully.

Perks of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Purchasing a CPO is a win-win in the automotive world:

  • Between 2-8 years old
  • Have age and mileage limits, ensuring their “like-new” condition
  • In good working condition and certified to have passed strict safety inspections
  • Sold through licensed car dealers
  • Inspected according to manufacturer’s standards
  • Sometimes comes with manufacturer-backed warranty that extends the length of the new-car coverage already in place
  • Buying a 2-3 year old CPO saves a buyer around 25% versus a brand new vehicle of the exact same make/model
  • CPO cars often offer lease options unlike used cars, leading to a better car at a lower monthly rate
  • You cannot lie about the condition of a CPO; you can trust the dealer
  • Comes with a free vehicle-history report and CPO checklist specific to each manufacturer and their varying standards (Auto Simple has a 180-point inspection to go over every bolt, wire, curve and crevice.)
  • Coverage varies by automaker; you’ll probably find something around 6 years/60,000 miles of coverage from the CPO’s original sell date
  • Look into the details if you’re offered a CPO program that divides your warranty into “powertrain” and “limited” warranties
  • Embraces the in-between perks of being a “new used car”

Learn how to buy a used car

Things to consider when looking into a vehicle purchase:

  • Research what kind of car you want and then search their inventory.
  • If you want to trade-in or finance, research the options available to you.
  • Get a vehicle repair and maintenance history report.
  • Get a car inspection and documentation.

Dealership Pros

Here are some reasons why you should stick with the professionals:

  • Consumer Protection – A used car dealership that does not abide by state and federal rules and regulations won’t be in business for long. Buying a used car from a dealership gives you much more consumer protection and peace of mind.
  • Warranties – Most used car dealerships offer warranties on used cars, such as Auto Simple‘s 6 Month/6,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty on All Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. This is in addition to any original manufacturer warranties.
  • Trade-In – Trading in a used car is an easy way to kill two birds with one stone (get your trade-in estimate from Auto Simple).
  • Financing Options – Most dealerships offer financing options, which is great if you are looking for the best loan offer. Still, cash is the best way to pay the lowest price.
  • No Paperwork – Although you may have to sign on a dotted line or two, all the paperwork is typically handled by the dealership.

Buying from a dealership gives you peace of mind, but always read everything you sign. Some cars may have manufacturer warranties, some may not. Make sure you know what you are buying, if there is a return period, and other important considerations.

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles at Auto Simple

All the vehicles on our lot undergo a thorough 180-Point Quality Inspection and test drive, which is performed by one of our highly trained technicians who take deep pride in their work.

We control the quality and have our own test track to put the car through all driving conditions. See why our Customer Confidence Program is one of the best in the nation.


Auto Simple carries a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, all of which come with a 6 month/6,000-mile Powertrain Warranty.!

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to walk away with your dream car.

Come to our GRAND OPENING Sales Event at our new Dalton, GA location!
Test drive any vehicle for your chance to win a YETI cooler!
Doors
open from 9am-7pm on Friday (10/9) and 9am-4pm on Saturday (10/10)

Get the best deal on your next car for Christmas!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (423) 775-4600

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*Preferred Customer program and free conventional oil changes every ninety (90) days are contingent upon the customer electing to make recurring payments to via ACH or debit card. Additionally, to continue in the Preferred Customer program and receive free oil changes, the customer’s loan must remain in good standing, and the customer may not cancel the recurring payment election. See store for further details. Other restrictions may apply.