Certified pre-owned (CPO) programs can be a win-win situation for car dealers and their customers. Designating vehicles as certified lends an aura of quality that helps dealers sell used cars—typically late-model vehicles that come off leases. And certification gives buyers confidence they’re not buying other folks’ headaches.
Nearly every automaker has a certified pre-owned program with two features in common: a multipoint inspection protocol and a CPO warranty. The inspection is supposed to reveal serious damage that disqualifies a car from becoming a certified cream puff, as well as any malfunctioning or worn items that need attention before the car goes on the sales lot.
But that’s where similarities between automaker programs end. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Consider these differences: