CPO Frequently Asked Questions

Most certified pre-owned warranties offer limited coverage terms from as short as three-months to as long as six or seven years depending on the brand. In addition, most manufacturers offer services in addition to the typical warranty coverage as an added sales incentive, including 24-hour roadside assistance, loaner vehicles for times when your used car is being serviced or repaired, or trip interruption or travel expense reimbursement should something happen to your vehicle while you're out of town. For the most part, luxury brands tend to offer the longest and best warranties than non-luxury brands. Be sure to research the types of CPO warranties available during the used car shopping process. A warranty package may be the deciding factor when determining which certified pre-owned car is right for you.

Typical CPO Inspection
Typically, cars that are newer than five years old, with fewer than 50,00060,000 miles and solid title histories are the only vehicles considered for certification. Once a car passes this initial test phase, it's put through a series of evaluations (further defined as the inspection process) to see if it meets the manufacturer's stringent guidelines for certification. Most manufacturers offer anywhere from 100-point to 300-point inspections. We've organized these detailed inspections into six separate criteria. These criteria are listed on the following page.

General evaluation, including safety systems, mirrors, lights, braking, steering, shifting and overall engine operation.

  1. Under hood evaluation, including the electrical system, engine cooling system, brake and ignition systems, belts, air conditioning and power steering.
  2. Exterior assessment, such as bumpers, front grill, doors, fenders, glass and wheels.
  3. Interior evaluation, including the instrument panel, seats, carpet, floor mats, headliner and general upholstery.
  4. Required service and maintenance assessment, such as lube, oil, filters, tire pressure and emissions.
  5. Exterior detailing analysis, including surface scratch reconditioning, tar and road oil removal, general washing and waxing, and engine compartment cleanliness.
Is CPO right for me?
Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle is purely a personal decision. As we've outlined in this section, pre-owned vehicles go through a stringent evaluation process and carry comprehensive warranties not typically offered with non-certified used cars. Our CPO Center was designed to provide you with the information necessary to help you decide if a certified pre-owned vehicle is right for you. While certification brings with it guarantees not commonly associated with pre-owned vehicles, it's not a surefire guarantee that something won't go wrong with the used car you're buying. However, consumers appreciate, and in most cases are willing to pay more for, a car that has been rigorously inspected and guaranteed by the manufacturer.

If you're interested in searching for certified used cars in your area, be sure to check out AutoTrader.com, the world's largest online used car marketplace.

The following frequently asked questions about CPO are answered for you here:

Do CPO vehicles cost more?
Yes, CPO vehicles typically cost more money than non-certified vehicles. They may be as little as $400 more than a non-certified used vehicle or as much as $2,800 more, depending on the brand and model. For some people, paying more money for a manufacturer-guaranteed vehicle is worth the extra cost. For others, it's better to take the chance and purchase a non-certified used car for less money since there are a wealth of good-quality, mechanically-sound used cars on the road today that don't carry certifications.