DETROIT — A certified pre-owned vehicle costs more than a regular used car, but it can give buyers some peace of mind in an often murky market.
Certified pre-owned vehicles are used cars that are backed by an automaker’s guarantee. They’re usually newer cars, coming off two- or three-year leases. Certified pre-owned programs limit the miles the cars can have on them — under 60,000, in many cases — and put the cars through a rigorous inspection. They come with extended warranties and, sometimes, extra perks like roadside assistance or a satellite radio subscription.
“If I want a car that hasn’t been abused, this is one of the best ways to avoid all that guesswork,” says Matt Jones, senior editor of consumer advice for the car shopping site Edmunds.com.
Certified pre-owned programs have been growing in popularity as the supply of used cars balloons in the U.S. New vehicle sales have risen for seven straight years and as many as a third of those vehicles were leased. That has left automakers with a steady stream of two- or three-year-old vehicles with limited mileage that are ideal for certified pre-owned programs.