Are Certified Cars Worth the Extra Cost?

Are certified used cars really a great thing, or is it just another way for dealerships to charge extra money for a car and get away with it? Certified used cars or certified pre owned car programs started in the early 1990s by luxury car brands like Lexus and Mercedes Benz. It was a way to sell cars just coming off leases back to consumers instead of taking them to auto auctions or used car lots. These certified cars were ideal for luxury car buyers on a budget.

Certified pre owned cars must pass a safety inspection and carry a warranty. Due to these requirements, certified pre owned cars cost more than a car just like it but not certified. Certified used cars make up over 40% of all used car sales. That main reason these cars are so popular is because it gives consumers a chance to get a nearly new car at a price they normally couldn’t afford. It’s much cheaper to get a certified used luxury car than buying the luxury car new.

A big draw of these certified car programs is the guarantee that consumers will have a like new car at close to used car price. Most certified programs include 100 point inspections, reconditioning, warranty coverage and roadside assistance. Some even have a return or exchange policy.

The peace of mind from buying an inspected car with warranty is worth the extra cost to many consumers, which is exactly what dealerships and manufacturers want you to think. These certified vehicle programs were actually developed after consumers asked for easier ways to buy used cars. It’s just a benefit to dealers that they can charge more for a certified pre owned vehicle.

By getting a vehicle certified, the dealer can raise the asking price of the vehicle. The certification cost is probably only one half to one third of what the dealer is actually charging. Most dealers will only certify and purchase warranties on the cream of the used car crop. Dealers will tout the fact that the vehicles are repaired, returned to manufacturer’s specifications or upgraded in the certification process. The reality is that during the inspection if the vehicle is found to have a major problem then it’s taken out of the certification process and sold as is or wholesales to an auto auction house.

When buying a certified vehicle, only purchase a factory certified vehicle and not a dealer certified one. The dealer certified vehicles can be a gamble and not a sure thing like the factory certified cars.


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