Buying a used car can save you a significant amount of money on your next vehicle, but there are downsides to purchasing a used vehicle as well. Not all used vehicles come in great condition. Some used cars—especially used vehicle models that are old, have a high number of miles logged on them, have been involved in accidents, or have recalled parts—break down quickly and won’t serve you well on the road for very long. Not all used cars are like this, though. There are some reasons why you may find more value in certified pre-owned vehicles. Many used cars on the mainstream auto market are in safe, drivable condition and remain that way for many years post-purchase. However, it can be a challenge to determine the exact quality and reliability of standard used cars you find on a dealership lot. 

If you want to save money on your next vehicle but are wary about purchasing a used car, consider opting for a certified pre-owned vehicle model. Most major vehicle brands have their own certified pre-owned vehicle programs that differ slightly from one another, so there are no set requirements for certified pre-owned vehicles that apply across the board. However, all certified pre-owned vehicles have to meet special standards of quality and value that differentiate them from traditional used vehicles.

used car inventory

certified pre-owned inventory

Keep reading to learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles and why you’ll find more value in these vehicles than in traditional used cars and even some brand-new cars. 

Slow Depreciation 

The value of used cars depreciates much more slowly than the value of new cars—a brand-new vehicle loses up to 20% of its value within your first year of owning it. Used vehicles, on the other hand, are generally a few years old and the majority of depreciation occurs during the first five years of ownership of a vehicle. 

Purchasing a used car helps you avoid the rapid depreciation of your vehicle’s value, which is a major plus that applies to both traditional used vehicles and certified pre-owned models.

Low Mileage 

The more miles you drive in your vehicle, the more likely it is to break down from normal wear and tear on the road—even if you drive carefully and have not been involved in any accidents. 

One of the major problems with traditional used cars is that many of these used vehicles tend to have a high number of miles logged on them. Certified pre-owned vehicles must have under a certain maximum number of miles logged on them in order to qualify for an auto brand’s certified pre-owned vehicle program.

This requirement helps ensure that your next vehicle will serve you well for many years without exhausting itself quickly on the road because it has already driven so many miles. 

Hand-Picked Models 

Because of the requirements, they must meet and the inspections they must pass, most certified pre-owned models are handpicked for their safety, reliability, and overall quality inside and out. 

Shopping for a certified pre-owned vehicle means you’re shopping from a smaller pool of vehicles that are all high-quality instead of browsing through endless traditional used cars of questionable levels of quality. 

Multipoint Inspection 

Before it is put up for sale on a dealership lot, a certified pre-owned vehicle must pass a rigorous multipoint inspection. This inspection is performed after a vehicle has been confirmed to meet all other requirements for certified pre-owned vehicles—such as having low mileage, a clean and accident-free history, a single previous owner, etc.—in order to ensure the quality of the vehicle. 

Most multipoint inspections that are performed on certified pre-owned vehicles before these models are put up for sale check virtually all of the parts and systems of the vehicle to ensure they are in functional, like-new condition. Certified pre-owned cars are required to pass this multipoint inspection before they are sold.

Special Extended Warranties 

One unexpected perk of buying a certified pre-owned vehicle is that many certified pre-owned models come with special extended warranties in order to incentivize drivers to pay slightly more to get a certified pre-owned model rather than a traditionally used model. 

This means that if any part or system in your vehicle is not functioning properly within a certain number of years or miles, you can get that potentially expensive repair or part replacement performed at your local car dealership’s service center for free or at a reduced price.