Buying a Certified Used Car from a Dealer

Reader question:

What do I need to do when buying a certified used car?


I’m glad you asked, Zoe.

Unfortunately, a lot of people fail to take the right steps towards ensuring that they get a great deal on their new car purchase. This is even more important when it comes to the used car business, because in that part of the auto industry, you’re more likely to fall into a trap. It’s very easy to overpay for a very old car, or even a new one, and it’s just as easy to take home a vehicle that seemed fine at first, but is just going to fail you. That last problem can be mostly avoided by getting a certified used car instead of just a regular used car, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to watch your step to avoid the pits.

  • Read the deal. You’re paying a lot of extra money for getting a certified used car that will be dependable, but remember that it’s still a used car and has depreciated. Also, you need to make sure that all the promises they are making you is in that contract. Is the warranty as good as they say it is? You’ll want to make sure you know what repairs are covered. Check CarFax to see how the warranty stands up.
  • Is the manufacturer behind it? Sometimes used car dealerships will certify used cars all by themselves. If that’s the case, then you want to be careful. Make sure that if the car breaks down, they will fix it, and with the original parts.
  • Check with the manufacturer. Different car manufacturers have different programs for certified used cars, and checking their websites can help you decide what parts of these programs you like and which one you want to go with.
  • Look into pricing. Check Blue Book for the value of the car. For sa certified used car, you’ll be paying more than this, but you should know how much more.
  • Haggle! Getting a certified used car is a good deal, but you can still get a better one. The price the certified used car dealer offers you is not the final one, and you can negotiate for a lower price. Here’s where knowing the real depreciated value of the car comes in handy. Use that knowledge in your favor.
  • Check it. Just because you’re getting a certified used car, which tend to be in better shape than normal, doesn’t mean that nothing will be wrong with it. Look under the hood, test drive it, and check it when you get home, too. Make sure the deal comes with a money back guarantee, so if you find anything wrong with it you can bring it back and be refunded.


Fashun Guadarrama.

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."