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How To Ensure A Used Car Is Certified Pre-Owned

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

How To Ensure A Used Car Is Certified Pre-Owned

Levi Quinn
January 6, 2011

Levi Quinn

The process of buying a car can be a frustrating and stressful experience; haggling with a salesperson, securing financing, and dealing with long waiting times at the dealership is never a cup of tea. However, when you are buying a used car over a new model, you also have the added worry of wondering if this car is going to stand up to the test of time and perform, or if it is going to be a lemon.

One way of negating this worry is to buy certified pre-owned used cars. Not only will this help you know you are buying a quality vehicle, but usually it also means that there is a guarantee or at least an extended warranty if something goes wrong when you drive it off the lot.

A certified pre-owned used car is a car that has been put through a serious vehicle inspection by a dealership and/or a car manufacturer to guarantee that it is in working order. Furthermore, the dealership selling this car will usually place an extended warranty on certified pre-owned cars because of the fact that they want car buyers to consider these vehicles just as worthy and bug-free as new cars, oat a lower price.

However, when considering a certified pre-owned car, don't just take a salespersons word for it. You want to ask to see the checklist of the inspection that it was put through and you also want to possibly consider putting the car through your own inspection or having someone who has a knowledge in cars check it out before you buy it.

Once you make a decision on whether or not to buy, carefully examine the terms of any guarantee or warranty that are provided to you by the sales department. While an extended warranty might seem like something that is a no-brainer, it is important to consider the added cost of this service. Depending on the make, model and year of the car, it may actually be cheaper to buy new as it is not unusual for an extended warranty to make a used car seem like buying a new car.

Finally, before signing the paperwork make sure you have the vehicle certification in hand. A vehicle certification for a certified pre-owned used car should only come from a vehicle specific dealer. Therefore, if you buy a Lexus that is claiming to be certified pre-owned, it should not come from a Mercedes dealer. Only specific car brands can certify their own vehicles, if this is not your situation, don't buy that car!

Buying a certified pre-owned car is a very secure way of buying a used car. However, if you choose to buy a used car that is not certified pre-owned, always have a mechanic or other trusted car professional inspect the car prior to purchase. Remember, you never want to be in a situation with a car where you have buyer's remorse. Do your research and make sure you are getting the most for your money and won't have to empty your pockets in car repairs at a later date.

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