Certified Pre-Owned – What Does It Mean?

January 17th, 2018 by

When visiting most dealerships these days you will often encounter the term Certified Pre-Owned. For those not familiar with the term, certified pre-owned simply means the car’s warranty is backed by the vehicle’s original manufacturer or dealership.

Now on the flip side if you were to buy a used vehicle that didn’t come with a certified pre-owned policy and or an extended warranty, you would be out of luck if something happens that would have been covered by the warranty.

Are there Different Certified Pre-Owned Policies?

There are essentially 2 types of certified pre-own policies. The first is by the manufacture, which we covered above. The second is usually created by the dealership. It’s important to understand that there is a big difference between the 2.

A manufacture’s certified pre-owned policy usually consists of a nationwide policy in which repairs can be made through any associated dealerships.  Meaning if something were to happen while traveling or you were to move, any warranty repairs could be made through the various associated manufacturer’s dealerships.

A dealership’s certified pre-owned policy is not supported by the original manufacturer. What happens is the dealership establishes what the guidelines will be for inspecting the used vehicle and who will be responsible (dealership or third party) for repairs should something happen during the extended warranty period.

This is a crucial difference and something to pay close attention to. Since the car isn’t backed by the original manufacture’s warranty, repairs made while traveling might not be covered. Also if you plan on moving out of the area, the dealership’s certified pre-owned program might be null and void if you get the car serviced at another dealer or location that isn’t covered under the program.

What Used Vehicles Qualify For A Certified Pre-Owned Program?

Certified Pre-Owned vehicles generally fall into the category of being less than 6 years old and have no more than 100,000 miles. When a used car, truck or SUV is chosen to be certified, the dealership will go through an extensive inspection looking for issues and will often repair or do the required maintenance to certify it.

Additional coverage may be added to the vehicle extending it’s warranty.

Sometimes buyers confuse an extended warranty with being certified pre-owned and the two are different.  In most cases, the extended warranty doesn’t require any pre-sale inspection.

Not All Certified Pre-Owned Programs are the same

When deciding on a vehicle’s certified pre-owned program, read the fine print. Manufacturer’s don’t have a standard certified pre-owned program and each manufacture’s program can differ widely. The same is true with dealership programs.

Things to look for are hidden costs such as deductibles for warranty claims, length of mileage covered, and how many vehicle items are inspected. Also if you plan on reselling the vehicle, you will want to know if the warranty is transferable.

In most cases buying a used vehicle with manufacture’s certified, often called a “factory certified” backed warranty, is usually the best option.

Certified Pre-Owned Programs Come At A Cost

It’s important to remember that when buying used, any program that extends the warranty of the vehicle will usually increase the vehicle’s purchase price.

Often you have to weigh how much you plan on using the vehicle and how many mile you plan on driving and so forth.  If you plan on keeping the vehicle for an extended length of time, buying one with a Manufacture’s certified pre-owned program might make a lot of sense. It’s will certainly give you piece of mind should something happen during the warranty period.

Here at Fremont Motors Company we offer our own certified pre-owned program called Fremont Elite Certified.

What Is Fremont Elite Certified?


This premium used vehicle:

  • Has been thoroughly inspected and has been reconditioned by professional auto technicians!
  • Includes 12 Month, 12,000 Mile Warranty.
  • Has passed 103 Inspection.
  • Passed National Vehicle History Report.

Check out our assortment of Certified Pre-Owned vehicles.

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

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