6 Tips when Buying a Certified Pre-owned Vehicle

Looking for a pre-owned vehicle, but you want to make sure that your getting your money worth. Well then your best bet is to go certified. That’s right, buy a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealership. A dealership, you say. They are too expensive, and always want to sell you so many extras. Yes, it will cost more when your buying a certified pre-owned or pre-owned vehicle (is not held to the higher standards of what condition the vehicle is in, as with a certified vehicle) at a dealership, but it comes with its benefits. One main fact is that you will definitely have more proof (since there are so many forms you sign) when you buy from a dealership, rather than an outside party, in the case that something goes seriously wrong. For instance, if something goes seriously wrong with the vehicle right after you bought it from an outside party, you may have to chase them around forever (if you ever find them), were you can just pay the dealer a visit (they never want a disgruntle customer there with other potential customers around, so you will have the upper hand). Plus, if you are buying a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealer, the vehicle has to go through a thorough inspection (usually about a 150 point inspection), as well as getting some warranty coverage. So if your heading off to a dealer to check out some certified pre-owned or pre-owned vehicles, here are a few tips to help save you some money and make sure that you are getting your money worth.

6 Tips When Buying a certified Pre-owned Vehicle

1. Do Your Research – It is very simple these days to get an enormous amount of information online, especially on vehicles, so this will be the quickest and easiest way to get the information you are looking for. All you simply do, is do some research on the vehicle or vehicles that you are interested in buying, and you will already have the upper hand when visiting the dealer. The things to research or know, is what the average price of the make and model your interested in, research what types of services and how much they will cost (you don’t want to buy a car and find out later on that the services are too expensive to up-keep the vehicle properly), find out if the vehicle has any common problems that can be costly in the long run, and what the resale value of the vehicle will be in a few years (This is if you plan to sell the vehicle at a later time. All you would do is compare to a model that is about the same amount of years older than the vehicle you plan to buy, and you can see from there). Always remember, the more you know the better. Dealerships hate customers that know their stuff, since they wont be able to drag them over hot coals.

2. Let the Salesperson Know That You Know Your Stuff – When you get to the dealership, don’t be shy about it, let them know that you did your research. It will not only let them know that you aren’t going to be an easy target, but it will also help speed up the whole process.

3. Inspect Vehicle Thoroughly – That’s right, make sure you go over the vehicle with a fine tooth comb, and point out any blemishes, scratches, or other items that attract your attention. If you do this in front of the salesperson and point them out, you can have them either resolve them or give a discount of the asking price. Whereas, if you buy the vehicle and notice them after the fact, you are most likely going to be out of luck (since the dealership will most likely not own up to it and do anything for you).

4. Ask to See Service Records / Carfax – Although certified pre-owned vehicles come with an inspection checklist for the customer, how do you actually know what was really done? Were if you ask to see the service records, you will have the proof right in your hands, plus you may get to see how the previous owner maintained the vehicle. A Carfax is a must, you can find out if the vehicle was in any accidents, and so much more. It should not be an issue on the dealership’s part, since they have all this access at their fingertips, or will be able to get it within minutes for you. If they decline or say that they can’t supply it to you for any reason, the odds are they are hiding something, so just turn around and walk away from the deal.

5. Purchase Manufacturer’s Extended Warranty – This is a great option that about 60% of pre-owned buyers miss out on and end up regretting it down the road. Yes, they can add about $1,200 – $2,000 to the vehicle’s price, but it is very easily added in to the finance payments, only making your monthly payments a few dollars higher. For example, my friend has a 2006 Toyota Camry and she paid $1,250 for a Platinum Extended Warranty through Toyota, seems like a lot, but in the past 2 years it has already paid for itself and more. She had to have her driver side window master switch replaced (auto feature would not work) $458, and the catalytic converter (check engine light came on) $1724, which she paid $0 for. So basically, in the long run she saved herself $932 by buying the extended warranty. Yes, there is a chance that you may not need is (which is a good thing), but it is almost like your health insurance, you don’t get it because you don’t expect to get sick. The one thing to do, is see what the benefits are and what items are covered (I will always recommend the highest level of warranty – usually Platinum). Most of them come with free towing to closest dealer, loaner vehicle if vehicle can’t be driven, and even roadside service (battery died, flat tires, etc.). One important note, although you will save money on non-manufacturer warranties, you will be paying for about ¼ of the covered items (most will never cover a costly catalytic converter).

6. Always Remember It’s Your Money – Always remember that you’re the one buying the vehicle with your hard earned money, and that you have the choice of how you spend it. It is not hard to say no, even if you have to repeat yourself, again it is your money. The salesperson will try to offer you whatever they have available that he can get a commission of off, hence why they are called salespeople, because they sell, sell, sell. This especially goes for that box (Finance Office) they put you in at the end of your deal, the person in front of you is the best salesperson the dealership has, and believe me he will offer you it all (alarms, remote starters, extended warranty, tire warranty, service plans, and etc.). But again, it is your money, so don’t be scared to say no and get the things that you originally planned too. You don’t know how many people walk out of that office, staring at their paperwork wondering what the hell happened, and how they ended up spending so much more than expected and needed.

So the next time your in search of a certified pre-owned vehicle, or any vehicle in fact, keeps these 5 tips in mind. It is definitely a costly investment and you don’t want to be stuck with a lemon or ridiculous interest rates.

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