If you have ever bought a used car or are considering buying a used car, you’ve probably already heard of the term ‘certified pre-owned cars’. Certified pre-owned cars are special used cars that qualify for reputable auto dealerships’ certified pre-owned Vehicle programs. Certified pre-owned cars are used cars, just like non-certified used cars—which makes the difference between these two types of cars slightly confusing. However, there are several differences that set certified pre-owned vs. used cars. 

The requirements of certified pre-owned vehicles differ slightly between different auto dealerships and their certified pre-owned vehicle programs. However, most certified pre-owned cars must meet similar standards in order to qualify for these dealership-run programs. 

Whether you’re in the market for a new-to-you car or are just curious about the differences between certified pre-owned cars and non-certified used cars, here are 3 things that elevate certified pre-owned cars above non-certified used cars that are available on the mainstream auto market. You may be able to find specials on used cars regardless if it’s certified pre-owned or not. 

  1. Special Coverage 

One of the best things about certified pre-owned vehicles is that they come with original manufacturer-backed warranty coverage. 

This means that most certified pre-owned vehicles come with factory warranties that are issued by the car’s original manufacturer. These original warranties generally cover the full or partial cost of any parts and systems that break down in the car for a certain period of time—usually at least a couple of years. 

Most non-certified used cars, on the other hand, come with expired warranties or very limited warranties that don’t last long into your ownership of the car. 

  1. Full Inspection 

When you buy a used car, it is important to get that car inspected inside and out by a professional mechanic. Professional mechanics perform car inspections in order to ensure that a car is in safe, drivable condition and does not come with any major problems that significantly affect the functionality of the car and require repairs or part replacements.

Certified pre-owned cars come with full, dealership-backed inspections by professional mechanics. This means that, when you buy a certified pre-owned car, you don’t have to worry about hiring a mechanic and paying extra money to have a full inspection performed on the car you want to buy. When you buy a certified pre-owned car, the professional inspection will already be done for you and guaranteed by the dealership from which you buy your new-to-you car. 

  1. Low Mileage 

One of the most important requirements that is shared among virtually all certified pre-owned cars is that certified pre-owned vehicles must have under a certain number of miles logged on them before they are sold. This exact mileage requirement differs between different certified pre-owned vehicle programs at different auto dealerships. However, the mileage requirements ensure that—as the new owner of the car—you will still be able to drive it in safe, working condition for many years and many miles. 

Most certified pre-owned vehicles must also meet certain age requirements. The vast majority of certified pre-owned vehicle programs require that all certified pre-owned cars must be under a certain mileage and under a certain number of years old. This ensures that all vehicles that are sold through these certified pre-owned programs are in fairly new, gently used condition at the time they are sold to their new owners. 

All in all, buying a certified pre-owned car offers more guarantees and more peace of mind than buying a non-certified used car. Especially if you’re wary about buying a used car and/or don’t know much about cars, it is usually a better idea to go with a guaranteed certified pre-owned model when you buy a new-to-you car.

Hopefully, these tips help you to understand the difference when it comes to Certified Pre-Owned Cars vs. Used Cars.