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Are You Considering a CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) Car? Read This First!



CPO cars can be a good alternative for someone who wants to move up to a better class of vehicle without leaving a big dent in the wallet, but don't take what the marketing campaign for CPO programs say literally.

In fact, you have to be armed with more knowledge than buying a cheaper used car without that 'CPO' tag before heading to the dealership.

What's the Plus Side of Buying CPO Car?

  1. Extended warranty from the manufacture that is almost always better then 3rd party warranty, and often times not available for purchase as a second owner.
  2. Cars that are typically in better condition with a cleaner history are selected for CPO certification.
  3. Up-to-date service performed by the authorized dealership with a long list of inspections.
Ok, that was a short list, but that's all there is to it.  You will generally pay $2,000 - $3,000 more for the benefits listed above.

General Used Car Buying Tips Still Apply

  1. Take the CPO car for a long test drive at varying speed including ride on bumpy roads and left/right turns.
  2. Research the resale value on websites and forums where people share how much they paid for similar cars.
  3. Don't fall for "We will fix that later".  For minor problems, make sure to get an IOU signed by a manger, not the sales person.  He might not be there tomorrow.  If the problem is more than small dents and non-essential functions, reconsider seriously.  Car sales people will almost never pay the full price for proper paint job or even touch-up job.
  4. Check the vehicle history on printout directly from the service department computer before discussing the final price.
  5. Get return policy in writing, even better if it's printed in a brochure.  Most CPO programs and some non-CPO cars come with a limited return policy

Tips for Buying a CPO Vehicle Like a Pro 


  1. Make sure the CPO program is from the vehicle manufacturer. Some dealerships make their own CPO program look like manufacture CPO.  Dealership's CPO is mostly likely a rip-off so watch out for that.
  2. CPO program varies not only between manufacturer but between the dealerships for the same brand. Guidelines from the manufactures are passed down to the dealership but the difference is in the details and how it's executed.  For instance, one dealership may leave 3 year-old batter in a certified car and another dealership may replace 2 year-old batter with a new one.
  3. Insist on getting the certified inspection report signed by the technician and a manager.  It not only reveals what has been done to the car, but also show signs of problem spot.
  4. Carfax report is a must even though not every accidents are reported.  You will see if the car was used for a rental company or if it had one too many previous owner.
  5. Finally, here is the kicker.  Warranty does not cover problems caused by accidents, misuse and improper previous repairs.  Any used car including CPO cars have a fairly high chance of having one of those listed history.  Let's say you notice a suspension problem 2 months after purchasing a CPO car that looks flawless in and out, and takes it to the dealership for a warranty work.  If they find the problem is due to a bent control arm, they will denied warranty claim almost for sure
With so many CPO cars from luxury brand costing higher than a average new car, it's critical to inspect the vehicle thoroughly, even if that mean hiring a pro from a pre-purchase inspection company.  It is just the nature of buying a CPO car that requires more work on your part.


Are You Considering a CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) Car? Read This First! Reviewed by Blogs on 9:34 PM Rating: 5

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