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Top 10 Tips for Buying Certified Pre-Owned

Certified Pre-Owned Used Car Tips and Advice for the Smart Buyer

By

Hyundai top certified pre-owned program

Hyundai is the top certified pre-owned program among popular manufacturers for 2011.

(c) Hyundai

Certified pre-owned used cars are becoming more and more popular as Americans increasingly need to replace their older used cars but may not be ready to buy a new car. Therefore, here are some tips to keep in mind when buying a certified pre-owned used car.

Most of these are compiled from articles already written about certified pre-owned used cars here at About.com. However, there are some new tips and advice for the smart certified pre-owned buyer.

Here are the Top 10 Tips for Buying a Certified Pre-Owned Used Car:

  1. Most Used Cars Don't Need Certified
  2. Make Sure the New Car Warranty Transfer
  3. Research Is Your Best Friend
  4. Availability of Certified Pre-Owned Used Cars
  5. Local Certified Pre-Owned Buyers
  6. No Cross Breeding Allowed
  7. VW WorldAuto Not a Certified Pre-Owned Program
  8. Certified Pre-Owned Can Be a Good Idea
  9. Buy the Car You Want, Not the Program
  10. Research Your Dealership's Service Department
Most Used Cars Don't Need Certified

That's something most used car dealers aren't willing to admit. Most two- to four-year old cars are so well made that, with the proper maintenance, they're going to coast through five-year warranties. Car companies lose money when they have to fix cars.

Make Sure the New Car Warranty Transfers

Most new car warranties should transfer but check just in case. If one doesn't, then strongly only consider buying certified pre-owned.

Research Is Your Best Friend

Looking at a particular make and model? Google the year (i.e. 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring) followed by the word "problems" to see what results come up. Don't be alarmed. Every make and model will have complaints. Just read up and see if they concern you. Still want the car? Certified pre-owned is the way to go then.

Availability of Certified Pre-Owned Used Cars

You're not going to find a two- to four-year old used car at a new car dealership of the same brand. To clarify, you're not going to find a two- to four-year old Honda Accord, for example, at a Honda dealership. It's going to be a rare instance when a dealership won't sell its own used product as certified because it's more profitable to sell a certified pre-owned for more money.

Local Certified Pre-Owned Buyers

Let's say you do find a nice two- to four-year old used Honda Civic at an Audi dealership that has not been certified. Across town, there is a certified pre-owned Honda Civic for sale that's maybe $1500 more but comes with a warranty. Which should you buy? Are you on the road a lot? Buy the certified pre-owned Honda because it comes with a nationwide warranty. You a homebody? Buy the used Honda Civic from the Audi dealer after getting a pre-purchase inspection.

No Cross Breeding Allowed

That means you can't buy a certified pre-owned Ford at a Chevrolet dealership. If the dealer says it's certified, it's certified by an insurance company and that means a claim has to be filed for payment.

VW WorldAuto Not a Certified Pre-Owned Program

Along those lines, Volkswagen has a program called Volkswagen WorldAuto that it bills as a certified used car program. It's an insurance program. You can't buy a certified pre-owned Dodge at a VW store that is the same as buying a certified pre-owned Dodge from a Dodge dealership.

Certified Pre-Owned Can Be a Good Idea

If you can't afford a new car, then it makes sense to purchase the next best choice, a certified pre-owned used car. You're going to save money on monthly car payments, which is always a good thing.

Buy the Car You Want, Not the Program

By now, almost all certified used car programs are the same. Don't be swayed by how one ranks against another for customer satisfaction. Find a certified pre-owned used car you like that fits your needs and your budget. That's going to be the right certified pre-owned used car for you.

Research Your Dealership's Service Department

That's an important factor often overlooked in buying a certified pre-owned used car. What reputation does a dealership's service department have? That has to be taken into consideration because the main reason for buying a certified pre-owned used car is the warranty. Does your local dealership's service department have a bad reputation for customer service? Then why buy a certified pre-owned used car from them, especially if a similar dealership is miles away?

Weigh all the pros and cons before buying a certified pre-owned used car. It can make sense in some situations and not others. Happy shopping!

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