Comparing Used vs CPO Vehicles

April 17th, 2020 by

One of the popular used cars for sale in Indiana, PA, a red 2016 Chevy Impala is driving on a city street.

Looking to find used cars for sale can be both equally exciting and stressful. It’s essential to do your proper research before jumping straight into looking through dealerships in person because it is important to know what you are getting into. These days, there are a lot of different makes and models out there, so it’s crucial you have a plan before heading out into this competitive market. If you know what you’re looking for and have a good idea of what to expect when it comes to different vehicles and their conditions, you’ll be in a lot better shape when it comes down to finding your ideal vehicle to take home.

At Colonial Motor Mart in Indiana, PA, we’ve been in the automotive business for over 70 years. We carry a wide range of new and used vehicles at all times that you can easily browse on our website. We’ve found that while there are always prospective customers for new cars out there, our used vehicles have become some of our best sellers. Why is that? Well, used vehicles are always going to be lower in price than a brand new car, which means more money saved for you. Of course, there’s going to be some additional mileage on a used vehicle compared to something new, and you may not be getting the completely updated features and technological advancements you’d find in the latest models. However, that trade-off is well worth it for many people. Something you may not realize, though, is that when shopping for used vehicles, it’s important to know the difference between a used vehicle and a certified pre-owned, or CPO vehicle. Let’s get into it so you can better understand what the possible benefits and drawbacks may be for each of these categories.

What Do They Mean?

A red 2017 Ford Escape is driving up a hill in Indiana, PA.

Terms like “used” and “CPO” are quite common in the automotive industry, especially when you’re browsing through car websites or talking to salesmen at a dealership. Quite often, they’re used interchangeably, but they don’t technically mean the same thing. In fact, they can be and usually are quite different.

A used vehicle is literally any vehicle that has been driven off the lot and suffered that instant depreciation in value. Mileages can range from next to no miles to hundreds of thousands of miles, and the general condition of the vehicle can vary from either excellent to very poor. You may be able to find a used car that is near-new and even late-model, with all of the best features and additions for your convenience and comfort. Or, you could find a used vehicle that is decades old and has been through multiple owners and seen plenty of replacement parts in its day. Honestly, the range of used vehicles is absolutely enormous. Still, most dealerships won’t sell just any used vehicle, so you can generally have some confidence when you’re shopping at a reputable location that you won’t be getting into any clunkers or lemons.

A CPO vehicle is technically a used vehicle as well, as they have all seen some use and maybe some wear and tear. However, not every used car can be considered a CPO vehicle since there are strict rules and procedures in place to grant a vehicle that CPO badge. All CPO-branded vehicles can then be placed into two categories, including factory-certified or dealer-certified.

So basically, when you’re out shopping for a vehicle, you’re going to run into three options: new vehicles, used vehicles, and CPO vehicles. New vehicles are always going to be the safest option because they’ve had no maintenance or replacement parts and have little to no mileage, with the only mileage usually being test drives around the dealership. Used vehicles come with an air of uncertainty because it can be hard to know if they’ve been regularly maintained and taken care of throughout their lifespans. The CPO vehicles you run into will be more of a middle ground choice because they’ve normally gone through rigorous testing and have been repaired and maintained to certain standards.

So Which Is Better?

A black 2015 GMC Sierra is parked in front of a modern building with all the doors open.

There is no clear cut answer here, as saying a choice is “better” is a bit relative since it all comes down to each of your unique situations. However, we can definitely compare used and CPO vehicles so you can see which of these options would be better for you.

To begin with, both of these options will be a better deal in terms of price compared to outright buying a brand new car. You can always expect a used or CPO vehicle to be priced lower than new cars because they’ve all seen some use. So, if the price is a significant pain point for you, then you’re already winning by choosing either of these options.

One of the biggest reasons people will go with CPO vehicles over used vehicles is the guarantee that you’re getting some additional benefits. It may depend on the dealership, but most used vehicles won’t come with any warranty, and you will quite often have to buy any vehicle history report yourself from a company like Carfax if you want to know anything about the vehicle’s past.

A CPO vehicle, on the other hand, will either be factory- or dealer-certified. If it has a factory certification, that means the manufacturer has put the car through a comprehensive inspection, performed any needed repairs, and is also including a factory warranty. Dealer-certified vehicles won’t usually have as high of standards as factory-certified vehicles. However, they will have still gone through whatever process the dealer deems necessary to make sure the vehicle is in good and working condition. The warranties will vary on dealer-certified vehicles if there are any warranties, but they usually won’t be as good as those on factory-certified vehicles.

Overall, you can expect to pay more for a CPO vehicle, especially if it’s factory-certified, compared to your run-of-the-mill used cars for sale. Since these vehicles come with excellent warranty coverage and have gone through an extensive inspection and repair process, they’re usually considered to be great cars. Every used car will come with some degree of uncertainty about it, but a CPO factory-certified one will always be the most stress-free option out there. Even if something does go wrong, you still have the warranty coverage to fall back on.

Weighing the Options for Yourself

As previously mentioned, the decision to buy either a used or CPO vehicle is entirely dependent on your situation. If you’re staying within a minimal budget, then a used vehicle may be the best option for you since that might be all you can afford at the moment. There’s nothing wrong with that, and you’ll find plenty of options for reliable used vehicles out there. If it’s within your budget, then looking into a CPO vehicle may be an excellent option for you. It’ll give you the peace of mind that comes with the badge and the added warranties. If you can find a vehicle that’s also factory-certified, that would be even better.

If you’re looking for used cars for sale, we’d love to welcome you here at Colonial Motor Mart. We sell both used and pre-owned vehicles at affordable prices from popular brands. And don’t worry, we have plenty of recent models for you to choose from. Check out our available stock online or visit us today at one of our dealerships in Indiana, PA. We hope to see you soon!

Posted in Used Cars For Sale