When Buying Used, Consider the CPO Route

Good news! My friends found and purchased the car they really wanted – a used Nissan Murano. Despite the headaches they incurred early on because of an extremely unprofessional car salesman (they did the right thing by walking away), they are happy to have purchased the car. The Mrs. did admit that she never wanted to have to go through this process again. Can’t say I blame her for how she feels right now, but I assured her that those negative memories would fade with time as she totes around in her Murano, enjoying it more and more each day.

There are a few categories to think about when considering buying a “used” car. For folks who typically upgrade from one used vehicle to a newer used vehicle every few years (e.g. my family!), the better option may be to purchase from private party owners. (And believe me, there is a whole slew of tips for buying from a person that we will get into in a later post.)

In general, most people typically buy their used cars at the dealership. But you should know that most new-car dealers sell two different kinds of used cars on their lots. You say, “Huh?” “How?” Well, there is a used car – usually bought at auction or traded in by another customer when purchasing a new car from the dealer – and there is a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle. And sometimes a car traded in off of lease orA CPO means the manufacturer backs the quality of the vehicle and provides an extended warranty for the customer. Edmunds.com actually has an excellent description about the CPO process. I highly recommend you read it here.

Buying a CPO car is probably the better bet for someone who doesn’t want to take sole responsibility of evaluating a used car sold either via private party or by the dealer and approving its condition based on their experience alone. (In either scenario, I don’t recommend you doing so by yourself – always have a mechanic take a look.) Buying CPO, however, ensures that the vehicle has been thoroughly inspected from bumper to bumper, and any problems (mechanically and aesthetically) have been fixed at the cost to the dealership.

My friends purchased their Nissan Murano this way. They found the vehicle they wanted, and it just so happened to be a Certified Pre-Owned. Not knowing exactly what CPO entailed, they were stern with the salesman about providing them the details of the process – even doubting his word so much that he brought the service records out to show them what the dealership had done. And that’s OK.So if you’re considering buying a newer used car to replace your current vehicle, consider the CPO route. You’ll have the assurance of an extended warranty and the peace of mind to go with it.

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Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.