Getting A New Car

Beyond Cost: Other Differences Between Used And Certified, Pre-Owned

If you are in the market for a pre-owned car, then you have the option of buying a used or certified, pre-owned car. Both of these cars have previous owners, but they also have a number of differences. Below are some of the areas in which the two may differ.


Anyone can sell a used car. You can buy a used car from different parties such as:

However, you can only buy a certified, pre-owned car from an authorized dealer.


Certified, pre-owned cars undergo thorough inspections before they go on the market. Most car manufacturers or dealerships have specific points of each inspection that each car must get. A qualified team then fixes any major issues that the inspection unearths. After that, the car is 'certified' as read for sale. Vehicles that cannot meet the required conditions don't go on sale under this program.

Used cars don't have to undergo such inspections. Anyone selling a used car decides whether to inspect the car, repair any issues, or sell the car as it is. This is not to say that all used cars are in poor condition. However, although it is a hit or miss when it comes to conditions of used cars, you can be sure of the condition of a pre-owned car.

Model Year

Certified, pre-owned cars are relatively new cars. Auto manufacturers or dealerships determine the minimum age of cars that can qualify for the certification. For example, a dealership may decide to sell only five-year-old cars and newer as certified, pre-owned. For a used car, however, even cars that are decades old are fair game.


Apart from the model year, the authorities that certify vehicles as pre-owned also consider their mileage. For example, a manufacturer or dealership may decide that they can only issue the certification to vehicles that have 60,000 miles or less. Again, used cars don't have specific mileage limits. Used cars can even have hundreds of thousands of miles on their odometer. Don't forget, however, that high mileage doesn't necessarily mean a used car is bad. Reliable cars can last hundreds of thousands of miles without major issues.

You can find a good car both among the pre-owned and used inventories. Ensure you deal with a reputable dealership to increase your chances of getting a good car when you're checking out used vehicles for sale.