What Is a Certified Preowned Used Car?

What Does Buying a Certified Preowned
Used Auto Guarantee Me?

When you get ready to buy a vehicle, you may not have the resources to buy one right off the factory line. A certified preowned used car is the next best thing to buying new, in terms of buyer protection.


If you plan to buy a used car, buy from a reputable dealer. If you purchase one from a new car dealership, the car will likely come with either the balance of the original manufacturer's warranty, or a second warranty backed up by the manufacturer and the dealer.

It costs more to buy a used car from a new car dealer, but if you're concerned about being protected in case you buy a lemon, then it really is your best option. There's also another good reason to buy a certified preowned used car...

Don't Be Tied Down to Your Car Vendor

There are a lot of "buy here, finance here" used car lots. If you decide to buy and finance a car with them, you probably won't be able to move away until the loan is paid off. Do you really want a car that you can't take with you if you move?

A certified preowned used vehicle is backed by the manufacturer, so you can take it anywhere and still have it covered for repairs within the warranty period. And a large dealership should be able to find portable financing for you.

What Makes Certified Used Cars Better?

These cars normally undergo a 100 point inspection, and if any problems are found, they are fixed. If the problems cannot be fixed, then the vehicles are rejected and sold as is. You can be more certain that you're getting a quality vehicle when you buy certified used.

Pro's of Certified Preowned Used Cars

  • The vehicle is backed by the manufacturer

  • You don't have to worry about any surprises for the balance of the warranty

Cons of Certified Used Autos

  • These cars can be much more expensive than the equivalent car sold elsewhere

  • There are cars that are advertised as certified, but are not actually certified by the manufacturer

    Some so-called "certified used automobiles" are backed up by the dealer, but this won't help you much, especially if you leave the area.

    The main problem with dealer certification is that they may ask you to pay for repairs up front and then send you a check. Or you might find that the dealer isn't around later to cover the warranty, and that means you wasted your money.

How Can I Tell If the Car Is
Truly Certified by the Manufacturer?

To ensure that the automobile is certified by the manufacturer, call and verify that they cover that particular vehicle. If they do, then they should be able to give you details about the car, and its history.

If you buy a vehicle that is advertised as certified, and then you later find out that it is not certified, then you can ask for a refund, as it will then come under the used car lemon laws.

If a refund is not issued, then you can escalate your complaint by using the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which states that all warranties must be in plain English and not deceptive in any way.

Going to court might be a little expensive, but it'll be worth it in the end because most states have no tolerance for car dealers that use deceptive practices. Be sure that you hire a lemon law lawyer who is well-versed in the used car business.

If you plan to buy a certified preowned used car, make sure that the vehicle is actually certified. Use a highly reputable service such as CARFAX to learn about the entire history of that particular car before signing the contract.

NOTE:The information here is not legal advice and is only presented to you so you can know your options if you purchased a lemon. As with any legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.


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