Buying Used vs. Certified Pre-Owned, What Does it All Mean?

Buying a car can be a tricky process. From models and brand choices to complicated financing, it can be difficult to know what everything means. If you've chosen to buy used, a lower price tag was probably the major appeal, but before you get ready to drive off the lot there are a few things you should consider....

Should I Buy Certified Pre-Owned?

If you're new to buying cars, you might not know the difference between used and certified pre-owned (CPO). All said and done, the difference is really in the trust consumers afford to the label.

CPO means the vehicle has gone through up to 200 points of inspection and has an extended warranty from the manufacturer (the CPO Subarus in our lot go through a rigorous 152 point inspection test). Typically CPO vehicles are those pre-owned with fewer miles and some refurb elements. And often, CPO vehicles include coverage on basic fixes and on some form of roadside assistance (our certified Subarus offer either a basic or a Gold Plus coverage plan). For a consumer these features are cues that CPO vehicles might be more trustworthy and better long-term investments.

Is a CPO Like New?

There is simply no trust like the trust of a factory-new car. But there is a difference in perception for many consumers between pre-owned models. Often the security of the CPO vehicle covers the cost differential. Having a recent and thorough inspection backed by a manufacturer's warranty means CPO vehicles are the closest to new you can find in a used lot.

So while there are many great used options, if you're looking for the best quality in used Subarus, browsing the CPO collection can save you a lot of time.

What's the Cost Difference Between CPO and Used?

One of the most important factors in a car purchase is the cost of the vehicle. This cost only begins at the purchase price but can end up including long-term maintenance and resale value. There is no rule of thumb guide for finding the least-costly used vehicle, but there are a few items to consider throughout this process:

Price on its Face

Price is the most obvious and primary consideration you will have. Generally speaking, the price of a CPO will be higher than the price of an uncertified used car. Kelley Blue Book estimates this premium at about $1000 but it can depend on many things like the type of car, age, the mileage, damages, and more. Ultimately, buying used always means more inherent risk and potential for re-work but purchasing a CPO means you're getting more valuable features--and more bang for your buck than with other used car options.

Maintenance and Repairs

There is no way to predict how much maintenance and repair a used car will need over its lifetime. Even if you go the extra mile and bring a mechanic with you to a dealership, there is no guarantee on what you can expect. While new cars are generally considered in 100% condition upon purchase, a used model could potentially require thousands of dollars more over its lifetime.

Having a factory warranty on your CPO can mean less work needs to be done in the first place. It can also mean that if problems do arise, fixes are cheaper.

Resale Options

Another item worth considering is the resale value of your vehicle. Resale value is the return on investment you might receive on your car purchase. Generally newer model cars make more money in resale than older models.

With uncertified used cars, resale value declines rapidly after purchase. On a CPO car, however, the dealer will have replaced faulty parts and fixed those problems you may have encountered under your coverage period which means your resale value has the potential to be higher than for other used cars.

So Which Option is Right for You?

If you're still deciding between the attractive price tag of a used car or the built-in trust of a certified pre-owned vehicle, stop into our Carson City dealership and speak with one of our sales experts. They can help you evaluate your budget and auto needs to determine which option makes the most sense for you.

Categories: Pre-Owned Inventory
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