Certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles provide auto buyers with confidence, and they also offer peace of mind after a sale since many worrisome risks are covered by the CPO warranty.
Part of the reason CPO programs can provide this level of coverage involves the robust inspection checklist set by the manufacturer or certification program. These exhaustive lists ensure that the most problematic vehicle parts and systems are thoroughly evaluated before they can cause an owner any trouble.
However, finding a CPO vehicle doesn’t mean that an owner’s responsibilities are all done. Just like the dealer, all Chalfont, Warrington, and Doylestown used car buyers should evaluate the vehicle and the offer being made to see if it can perform as expected.
To help these customers, we’re giving them a CPO buying checklist of their own to “inspect” a CPO vehicle before buying.
Find Several Models and Makes Worth Considering
Used car lots typically offer much more variety than the average new car dealer, which will be restricted to a particular make or automotive group. Before walking on a used car lot, make sure that you have a group of vehicles in mind that can fit your needs.
Take the time to look beyond a particular brand, too. For instance, you may have your heart set on finding a CPO VW Golf SportWagen, but a CPO Subaru Crosstrek may be available at a better price or condition. You’ll want to be ready to compare models objectively should such a situation arise.
Learn about the CPO Programs Offered
CPO programs generally fall under three categories:
- Manufacturer CPO
- Dealer CPO
- Third-party CPO
Each one has its own pros and cons, but a manufacturer-backed warranty usually provides the strongest coverage. However, a dealer-certified vehicle may offer easier repairs with less upfront costs depending on the vehicle and program in question.
Therefore, it always pays to learn more about the CPO programs available on each lot and which vehicles they apply to.
Search Dealer Inventory Online
Search online used car inventories to know for sure which CPO models you can find on the lot. Take the opportunity to evaluate both the model and the CPO coverage offered. You should also note the mileage and any optional added features at this point for comparison’s sake.
Once you find one or more models, contact the dealer so your potential car can be waiting for you when you visit the lot.
Look at the CPO Program Coverage in Detail
Now that you have a potential vehicle in mind, you should review its corresponding CPO program in detail.
Review the following:
- Coverage benefits, such as a powertrain CPO warranty vs. a comprehensive bumper-to-bumper CPO warranty
- Policies on vehicle flaws present at moment of sale
- Policies for repair costs (i.e., whether they’re reimbursements or deductible based)
- Mileage and time limits, both the vehicle-specific ones (like model year) and the policy ones that start once you drive off the lot
- Any return policies, if available
- Consumer reviews of the programs, including who solved people’s problems most often, a dealership or the manufacturer
Perform a Thorough Visual Inspection
Once on the lot, you want to do a walk-around of the vehicle you’re interested in, outside and inside. Realize that a CPO car doesn’t always mean flaw free, but that all flaws are theoretically accounted for and the major ones are fixed.
Look for signs of rust, accident damage, and general wear and tear. Make note of any questions for when you later see the inspection report and vehicle history report.
Pay Attention When Test Driving
Just like your walk-around, a test drive can offer evidence of vehicle issues like a crooked alignment or sluggish transmission. Ask questions and again make notes for the inspection and vehicle history reports.
Ask to See the Inspection Report and Vehicle History
Look for disclosures of issues like accidents or repairs. Ask questions about how something was fixed. You can walk out to the car and run through most of the inspection to confirm items like battery life and physical condition.
Evaluate Your Financing Options
Once you’ve settled on a vehicle, see what financing options you have available. Many CPO programs can earn you a lower financing rate through certain institutions.
Insist on a Pre-Delivery Inspection
Dealers should reinspect their vehicles prior to a final sale to confirm that the condition is the same as when the CPO inspection was performed. You may also want an independent mechanic to evaluate the condition of the vehicle.
Sign for Your Car!
If everything checks out, then you should have a wonderful pre-owned car to drive home!
Keep Your Dealer or CPO Agency in the Loop
You most likely have responsibilities to keep your CPO warranty in effect, including fulfilling regularly scheduled maintenance. Keep documentation of this work and notify your CPO agency or dealer of any accidents, as well as repairs or vehicle modifications you intend to make.
Finding an Excellent Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle at Fred Beans
Fred Beans would love to help you go through this checklist to find the perfect CPO vehicle at a great price. With just under 20 makes in our dealer group, we have a huge variety of vehicles and CPO programs you’re bound to love.
Chalfont, Warrington, and Doylestown drivers can search our used inventory and then contact us to schedule a test drive for the CPO vehicle they have their eye on.