What’s the Difference Between Certified Pre-Owned and Used Cars?

    Key Summary
    This blog post compares certified pre-owned cars and used cars, highlighting similarities such as price and history, while outlining differences such as warranty and inspection.


    Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) cars and used cars are two options for those who are in the market for a second-hand vehicle. While both options can be a cost-effective way to own a car, there are important similarities and differences between them that should be considered before making a decision. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at certified pre-owned cars and used cars and compare their similarities and differences.



    • Price. Both CPO cars and used cars are typically cheaper than their brand-new counterparts, making them a great option for those who want to save money on their vehicle purchase. The price of a used car will depend on the make, model, year, condition, and other factors, while the price of a CPO car is typically higher than a used car but still lower than a new car. Websites like Kelley Blue Book can help you evaluate the appropriate price for the cars you’re researching.
    • History. Both CPO cars and used cars have a history, which can include accidents, repairs, and other important information. Before purchasing a used car, it is important to research its history to ensure that it has not been in any major accidents or has a history of costly repairs. Visit the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) website to get a vehicle history report with the title, insurance loss, and salvage information. With a CPO car, the history of the vehicle will have been thoroughly vetted by the manufacturer, giving buyers peace of mind that the car has been properly maintained.



    • Warranty. One of the biggest differences between CPO cars and used cars is the warranty. Certified pre-owned cars come with a manufacturer-backed warranty, which can give buyers added protection in the event that something goes wrong with the car. Used cars typically do not come with a warranty, so buyers will need to take on the responsibility of any repairs that need to be made.
    • Inspection. Certified pre-owned cars must undergo a rigorous inspection by the manufacturer before they can be sold as CPO. This inspection covers everything from the engine and transmission to the interior and exterior, ensuring that the car meets the manufacturer's standards. Used cars, on the other hand, are not subject to the same level of inspection, so buyers will need to be more vigilant when it comes to checking for any potential issues.
    • Price. As mentioned earlier, CPO cars are typically priced higher than used cars, but this is because they come with a warranty and have undergone a thorough inspection. Buyers who are willing to pay more for added peace of mind may find that a CPO car is a better option than a used car.


    Certified pre-owned cars and used cars both have their pros and cons, and the decision to purchase one over the other will depend on individual needs and preferences. Certified pre-owned cars offer a manufacturer-backed warranty and have undergone a thorough inspection, making them a good option for those who want added peace of mind. Used cars, on the other hand, are typically cheaper and offer more flexibility in terms of customization, making them a good option for those who are looking for a cost-effective way to own a car. Ultimately, the best option will depend on the buyer's budget, needs, and preferences, so it is important to do thorough research before making a decision.

    Find the right Credit Union for you

    There are more than 5000 credit unions to choose from across the U.S.

    Other Blog Articles