Car manufacturers and dealers heavily promote their certified pre-owned vehicles. But, in our experience, certified pre-owned is mostly a marketing gimmick. Although dealerships promise that the certified cars have undergone a stringent inspection, we find that in many cases, either no inspection was performed or defects are overlooked. As a result, many of these "certified" cars are not worth the higher price that dealerships charge for certified pre-owned vehicles.
A recent article in Consumer Reports states that Certified Pre-Owned cars can cost hundreds or even thousands dollars more than other comparable vehicles.
Are Certified Pre-Owned ("CPO") cars worth the extra money? A recent article by Tribune Newspapers discusses the increased cost of CPO vehicles, which consumers bought at record levels in 2014. Certified pre-owned cars are supposedly subjected to an extensive inspection by dealerships, who "certify" that the vehicles meet stringent standards established by the manufacturer.
Most car manufacturers have certified pre-owned ("CPO") programs. Typically, CPO programs involve an inspection by an authorized dealership, who "certifies" that the car meets the manufacturer's high standards. For example, Toyota advertises that it has a "160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection." CPO cars often sell for a premium price. One reason for the higher cost is that most programs include a manufacturer's warranty. But, the main reason that many consumers pay extra for certified pre-owned is because they believe that these cars have been thoroughly checked out and are in great condition.