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20 Reasons to Consider Getting a Certified Pre-Owned Car


It’s another new year, and for many people this means it might be time for a new car. If you’re in the market to upgrade your vehicle, don’t head to the dealership with brand new in mind. You might want to consider getting a certified pre-owned car. While car manufacturers want to attract you with the shiniest new toy on the lot, there are many smart and practical reasons why you should skip the brand new lines and opt for something that’s previously owned. We’ve listed 20 reasons why you should consider a pre-owned car, and the list should be enough to change your mind.

1. Depreciation

This is probably the most obvious reason of all and one that is easily forgotten during the car buying process. We all know that cars depreciate as soon as they leave the lot, and they depreciate by quite a bit actually. Cars don’t gain value over the years. They lose their value every single day as a matter of fact. So by the time your brand new car has aged 2 years, its value would’ve depreciated by at least 30%. You omit this tremendous loss by simply going for something that’s pre-owned.

2. Costs

The next reason for buying a pre-owned vehicle makes even more sense. Given that cars lose value as soon as they’re driven off the sales lot, used cars are generally a whole lot cheaper than brand new cars—even ones that are just a year old. If you’re looking to buy a vehicle that’s not too old, pre-owned vehicles will cost significantly less. At the same time, if you only have so much money to budget for a vehicle upgrade, you can put down a huge chunk on a used vehicle or even pay for it outright.

3. Financing

Most people believe that car payments are the norm. Since the average person can’t pay full price with cash on a brand new car, financing is the typical way to go. However, car loans and monthly car payments don’t have to be the outlook of your life as long as you’re driving. Since certified pre-owned vehicles cost less, you’ll have a better chance at finding a car to purchase for cash rather than opting for financing. Avoiding financing altogether means that you won’t have to pay for the cost of interest, and you’ll also have extra money every month from not having a car payment.

4. Warranty

One of the biggest worries people have about buying used cars is the condition of the car. Most people are afraid they might end up buying a lemon from the used car lot. However, times have definitely changed. According to Bankrate, the car buyer of today doesn’t have to worry so much with buying defective used cars because of companies such as Carfax and AutoCheck. Both companies provide a detailed history of a car’s ownership through the car’s VIN or vehicle identification number.

5. Certified Pre-Owned Programs

In addition to warranty, it’s also important for the consumer to know that there are certified pre-owned programs that provide some form of guarantee for the car buyer. Certified pre-owned vehicles have to pass manufacturers’ standards before they even make it on the sales lot. While certified pre-owned programs vary from one to the next, most of them offer assurances that are just as good as when you’re buying a brand new vehicle. It definitely pays to do your research on programs when looking up used cars.

6. Variety

You can easily walk onto a pre-owned car lot and find hundreds of different models waiting for you. The truth is if you’re looking to buy only brand new, your options will be limited, especially if your loyal to a particular brand. However if you are looking for a change or if you’re looking for models that are no longer manufactured today, the only way to go is really through certified pre-owned vehicles. You’ll have more than your fair share of options, and you can even find unique vehicles to suit your unique tastes.

7. Insurance

For some people, paying for insurance is much like paying for another vehicle. Insurance can be quite costly depending on several factors including your driving history and such. But one thing that you can definitely control is the kind of car you’ll be insuring. Brand new vehicles will definitely cost you much more in insurance than one that is certified pre-owned. It’s yet another reason why you need to look into used cars before looking to buy anything else.

8. Registration

Depending on where you live, you might be able to save on registration costs as well. There are some states that charge you the same fee regardless of what kind of car you drive. However, there are states that will charge you less registration fees if you’re driving an older vehicle. On top of registration fees, there are states that even charge you yearly taxes on your car. For example, once your car passes the two-year mark in Massachusetts, the yearly excise tax on your vehicle is reduced dramatically. It’s worth it to look into your state’s laws to see whether buying pre-owned would make a difference for you in the long run.

9. Better Manufacturing

Regardless of what car brand and make you’re looking into buying, you can be certain that most cars today are made with a different standard compared to how they were made even a couple of decades ago. Back then, people begin to worry as soon as their cars start approaching the 100,000-mile mark, but odometers today no longer determine the validity of a vehicle. Some say that 200,000 miles is the new 100,000. While that may not be true for some cars, it’s certainly true for most. If the car you’re looking at has mileage on it, it shouldn’t worry you any longer.

10. Perks

Again, you’ll have to do your research about a certified pre-owned program before committing to it. One of the reasons why you should is because some programs will throw in perks for you just because you’re purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle. If you’ve always wanted to have SiriusXM satellite radio in your car but could never afford it, you might be able to get it through a certified pre-owned purchase. Another perk that you could ask for might be 24-hour roadside assistance and many more.

11. Leasing Option

Some people think that the only way to drive a used vehicle is to finance it or pay for it cash. However, there are plenty of certified pre-owned programs out there that allow you to lease a used car. The difference between leasing a used car and a brand new car is staggering when it comes to monthly costs. Leasing a brand new vehicle is already cheaper than financing it; but if your budget is lower, it might be more practical for you to look into leasing a used car instead.

12. Less Stress

When comparing to buying a used car that’s not certified, purchasing from a certified pre-owned car would prove to be a lot less stressful. While it may cost around 20% more to purchase a certified pre-owned car, you’re getting the benefit of an inspection, a warranty, and pretty much a guarantee. You’d have to go by someone’s word when dealing with uncertified dealers or private sellers. It’s not worth the risk, your peace of mind, and your safety altogether.

13. Inspection

We’ve talked about warranty, but we really need to discuss just how much inspection a certified pre-owned vehicle gets. It would make sense for a certified pre-owned to get a heavier inspection than a used car from a private seller or a dealer that’s not certified. However, you should also know that a certified pre-owned vehicle is actually inspected more thoroughly than a brand new car. Given that a car is new, unwrapping a car is sometimes the extent of an inspection before it’s put out on the lot according to this article from Autoguide. A certified pre-owned gets more attention than that.

14. Restoration

This is the point in an inspection when a car hanging by a thread qualifies to become a certified pre-owned vehicle. The checklist for an inspection is long and stringent, and it tackles details from broken antennas to small dents and cigarette burns on the seats. If a car just about qualifies to become pre-owned but has small defects, the car is brought to the repair shop in order to make imperfections vanish. Your certified pre-owned car won’t come to you brand new, but it might look like it or be close enough at least.

15. Luxury for Less

If you’re in the market for a luxury vehicle, consider getting a certified pre-owned vehicle. If you’re looking to buy luxury, it’s expected that you can afford it to begin with. However, it’ll be a smarter choice to buy a luxury car that’s one or even three years older. You’ll get more bang for your buck, and you’ll still get a car that’s as great as if it were brand new.

16. Certified Prerequisites

Another thing that should give you a peace of mind are the qualifications a car needs to have in order to pass as a certified pre-owned vehicle. While certified pre-owned programs aren’t really thoroughly regulated, the general requirements for a car are fairly similar in that they are strict. For example, if a car is older than eight years, it won’t make it into any certified pre-owned program. If it has more than roughly 48,000 miles, some programs won’t accept it either. That number varies depending on the program, but the average won’t exceed 80,000 miles.

17. Car Collector

If you happen to be obsessed with cars and like to switch up every couple of years or so, the best way to be a car aficionado is to buy certified pre-owned vehicles. If you buy brand new every single time, you will have nothing to show for in the end. If you end up purchasing a car that’s certified pre-owned, you’ll be able to pay for it in less time, own it, and purchase another car you love after just a few years. Buying certified pre-owned is definitely the best option for those who like to collect cars.

18. New Car Feel

One of the biggest draws of purchasing a brand new car is the feel and smell of it. Truly there’s nothing like sitting in a brand new car and driving off surrounded by that new car smell. Unfortunately, the reality is that the new car smell fades eventually. Cars get dirty, and they get old. Everything new about a brand new car will disappear eventually, and it really shouldn’t be a requirement for anyone to purchase cars because of the new feel. Plus, you can buy fresheners now that has that new car smell, so buying certified pre-owned could be a win-win situation.

19. Sustainability

This is something that most people don’t consider when buying vehicles. The truth is the automotive industry has a tremendous environmental impact. Roughly 20% of a car’s carbon dioxide emission is generated during the manufacturing and shipment process. If the demand for brand new vehicles decreased, it would simply be better for the environment. It’s a more conscious way to owning cars, and it’s something that everyone should at least consider.

20. Savings

After everything is said and done, it almost always comes down to money. Buying certified pre-owned can simply mean more savings at the end of the day. It would even be better if you’ve saved up enough in order to purchase a certified pre-owned vehicle with cash. Nobody should say no to saving more money, and if it takes buying used, it’s something that we all should consider.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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