Buying a used car is still considered to be a disturbing task for a lot of buyers. The lack of assurance and responsibility taken from the sellers' end is one of the major reasons behind this is. One might find a good looking car which looks great on the exterior as well as on the interior, but the moment you purchase it and drive for a couple of months or may be less, it might show you its destructive side with more than often visits to the garage. And to make situations worse, you don’t have any official authority to challenge the seller once you have purchased.

All you are left with is a verbal communication assurance from the seller which is as good as assuring that you just purchased moon, and you also know how true it can be.

As per experts, a slowdown in new car sales could also mean the demand is shifting towards the pre-owned market. In fact, some car sellers replace their old cars with pre-owned cars instead of buying the new ones. Now, while buying an old car, you only have the assurance of certification during the purchase and also the reliability of a used car warranty that will take care of your car in the near future.

As the two terms, for used cars are quite broad in nature and proceeded with great level of details, it is vital to understand them on different differentiating factors that is, Certification and Warranty. Read this get a better understanding of these assurance mechanisms for used car purchase.

What is a certified used car?

A certified pre-owned car (CPO) or a used car that has been inspected, refurbished, and certified by a franchised dealership before it’s sold. And it is also maintained to ensure that the car is in excellent condition. These multi-point check-ups are done by a qualified technical person who provides his acknowledgement only after checking even the minutest of details in a used car carefully and thoroughly .  

In addition to extended warranty coverage, CPOs generally include such as trip interruption coverage, 24-hour roadside assistance, dealer loaner cars, and more. The extended warranty and other benefits you receive that vary manufacturer-to-manufacturer. Some will deduct for each covered repair, while others don’t.

Along with the same, cars are considered for certification that are gently used car and have relatively low miles of driving, no history of major accidents, and a clean title tag. Typically they are just a few years old and, after certification, they are sold with warranty extensions past the vehicle’s original limited warranty.

A multi-point check-up typically covers the following sections:

  • Frame and Chassis- damage done or any abnormality on the chassis, complete frame inspection for repairs
  • Electrical systems- battery condition, starter system, ignition, charging on running
  • Glass, Wiper and mirror check- checks on front and rear windshield, condition of mirror.
  • Head lights- headlight, tail light, parking lights, low beam, high beam and so on
  • Exhaust- under body pipe checks, free flow, exhaust condition,
  • Interior features and floor– audio system, steering wheel, instrument panel, AC, Heater, interior lights, glove box, carpet check, floor mats, door trim panels and other dials and knobs
  • Boot check –  spare wheel, luggage compartment floor, luggage light, and other tools
  • Driving Test- noise and overall ride quality, engine performance
  • Engine condition- fluid level, check on oil level, belts hoses and wiring
  • Fuel pump- fuel filter, fuel pump noise, air filter
  • Seats- seat upholstery, headrest and seat movement
  • Suspension and transmission check- clutch assembly, transmission system condition, universal joints, rods and idler arm, suspension system, springs condition
  • Door and window lock – manual lock, automatic lock

If a car has successfully undergoes all the above mentioned tests and checkups, then only a car will be termed as a certified used car.

Pros and Cons of certified used car & warranty

Pros:

Certified gives piece of mind: Certified cars give you a sense of security. Customers don’t have to worry about the faulty or fake commitment with the dealer. Certification program gives you the factory assurance that you are not being duped for a faulty car, whereas the dealer or private organization programs don’t offer a factory sponsorship. Some websites also offer a detailed history of the vehicle report including prior ownership, past accidents etc.

An exchange period: If you don’t like your car after a week or two, you can easily change with many CPO programs, you have the first month to exchange it for a different CPO car. So you pay less and enjoy similar benefits that you get from a new car.

Certified-car repairs are covered through warranty period: In addition to the rest of new vehicle guarantee, certified pre-owned cars(CPOs) come with a manufacturer warranty for free repairs for a certain time period. This warranty counts after the original warranty expires. Whereas, obtaining a warranty on a normal used car is not an easy task.

They’re Inspected: Every carmaker has a comprehensive vehicle inspection program that their used cars have to go through multiple checking before they are called a CPO car. In several cases, the cars are completely reconditioned along the way, as per to the specifications in the dealer’s checklist.

Cons:

Certified used cars cost more: Buying a certified car is more expensive than buying a normal used car. As vehicle inspection and its after repairs and warranty cost more money. This is the reason why CPO vehicles are costlier than the non-certified models, so you should always attempt to negotiate the price you pay.

Be ready to compromise on choice with limited offerings: If you think getting a used car is difficult, well, getting a certified car can bring your hopes and choices down if you are looking for good options. The fact is that you are getting a real product can make you compromise on your choices. There is no surety that the certified used cars won’t have any problem in the next few years.

You can’t buy a certified used car from anywhere: Certified second-hand cars can only be purchased through exclusive car manufacturer dealerships or non-brand used car dealerships who are authorized to sell certified used cars.

It’s Still a Use Car: No matter how thoroughly and carefully a car may be inspected and subject to repairs, it is still a second used car and hence, would probably still have a most higher risk of having issues and troubles as compared to a brand latest one.

From where can I get a certified used car?

Well, you have ample of choices for purchasing normal used car but your options are much more limited if you need to buy a CPO model. A certified car can only be bought from a dealership of the brand that made it. Which means you won't find a CPO Honda Civic at your local Ford dealer. Now, there are two ways to look into this. First, many certified pre-owned cars are sold directly from the car manufacturer's side through their showrooms and dealerships far from your home. This can be done through a dedicated channel of a manufacturer that performs its own level of inspections before putting the car up for sale.

If you are trying for a particular model and make of car, it is generally easier to look out on the broad, non-certified used car market. For finding that same car as a CPO vehicle, you may have to look a wide geographic net and look at dealers. Fortunately, most dealerships post their used car inventory online in order to your searching from the comfort of your home.

Difference between certified used car and normal used car

The main difference between CPO car and normal used car is the assurance of certification. A certified used car is offered for sale only when it undergoes with a complete inspection which repairs any damaged or over used parts. On the other hand, a normal used car is generally offered for sale as it is without any documented inspection and repair work. Also, the buyer has to pay for an inspection and usually any subsequent repairs. A CPO car includes a limited bumper-to-bumper warranty, an extended warranty, and a number of services, like, 24-hour roadside assistance.

How does a car qualified to bee certified?

When the dealer gets a used car, either through trade-in or lease return, they send that car to inspection program which is done by a certified mechanic thoroughly and carefully. Ideally, a used car is only allowed to be certified if the age of it is less than 5 years old from the date of registration and it should have driven less than 50,000 km on the odometer. If the car meets the manufacturer’s CPO qualifications, it is offered for sale as a CPO car. The most important factors for a CPO car are that it must be in an excellent condition, be mechanically and cosmetically sound well and have low mileage. If a car doesn’t meet the CPO requirements, it is either rejected or fixed from the program. Every carmaker has a different set of rules, but the bottom line is CPO vehicles are going to be the highest quality used cars to begin with.

It is certified by the dealer and in as per the manufacturer’s requirements and specifications. Though, the dealer is the one who does the inspection and any repair work that is needed, the car is fully backed by the automaker just as if it were being sold new.