If you are shopping around for a used vehicle, you might notice that some of them are labeled as "certified pre-owned." Some car dealerships have these alongside other used and new cars, while other dealerships actually specialize in certified pre-owned vehicles. When you choose this type of vehicle, you know you are getting a quality vehicle that a licensed mechanic has inspected. Here are some things to know about purchasing this type of used vehicle.
They Go Through an Extensive Inspection
The first thing to know about certified used vehicles is that they don't just get a standard inspection, but a much more extensive one. A mechanic that works for the dealership often goes through a long list of things to check on the vehicle, including everything from how the air conditioner works to the condition of the suspension. The inspection often includes checking exterior aspects of the vehicle, including the headlights and taillights, blinkers, tires and wheels, and body of the vehicle. Under the hood, they will check the engine, transmission, radiator, and all fluid levels. These inspections also include checking the steering, brakes, exhaust, and all other mechanical and operational systems of the vehicle.
Not All Used Vehicles Are Certified Pre-Owned
If you haven't noticed this already, you will see that not all used vehicles at dealerships are certified pre-owned. This is saved for certain pre-owned vehicles that qualify for certification and have gone through this type of inspection. If you are looking for a certified pre-owned vehicle, you need to make sure the dealership offers this service specifically. Ask them directly what the inspection process is and whether it is certified. As you do so, also ask about details regarding the warranty so that if the vehicle does break down, you know what can and can't be fixed by the dealership without extra cost to you.
Keep in mind that newer cars, even if they have been owned before, don't usually qualify. This is because they are assumed to already be in fairly good condition and don't need an extensive inspection to certify them. If you are looking for a car that is just a couple years old, looking for a certified pre-owned one is often not necessary.
You Still Need to Ask For Proper Documentation
Just because a vehicle has certification, doesn't mean it is automatically the best used car in the lot. Make sure you still do some research at the dealership by asking for documentation of the vehicle. Make sure you look through details of the inspection and read what the mechanic found. Look up the certification mechanic they used and how qualified they are. It is often recommended that you bring a skilled mechanic with you to do their own basic inspection of the used vehicle before purchasing it. Also ask to see the vehicle repair history, as the dealership should be able to provide a copy of it.