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Phone: 804-282-7900
The Consumer Law Group, P.C.

What should I do in order to protect myself before purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle?

Purchasing a new or used vehicle is rarely an easy and stress-free process. For some consumers, purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle provides much-needed peace of mind. Dealers or manufacturers may offer certified pre-owned programs wherein vehicles are marketed as having met certain safety and performance standards following a detailed inspection. These vehicles may also come with an extended warranty. But before purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle, it is crucial for you to arm yourself with knowledge. This can be done by ensuring that the details of the particular certified pre-owned vehicle program are fully understood, as well as other typical measures such as reviewing the used car history report and having the car checked by an independent mechanic.

5 Things to Know Before Purchasing a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle

Before purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle, it is important to learn more about the following:

  1. Be sure that you fully understand what is being “certified.” The exact nature of the inspection process as part of a certified pre-owned vehicle program varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.  Some are more stringent than others.
  2. Know whether you are obtaining an extension of the manufacturer’s bumper-to-bumper warranty on the vehicle. If so, it is important to understand the details of the warranty. For example, many certified pre-owned vehicle programs offer extensions that last for one year or 12,000 miles.  They also may not cover any pre-existing problems that are present, but not noticeable at the time of purchase.
  3. Understand whether you are obtaining an extension of the manufacturer’s power train warranty. The power train on a vehicle consists of the engine, transmission and drive train. If you are purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle that comes with an extended power train warranty, only those parts making up the power train will be covered in the event of an issue.
  4. Recognize whether you are receiving any type of warranty at all. Some manufacturers do not give consumers any warranty for the purchase of a certified pre-owned vehicle except for a service contract or agreement. It is important to understand that a service contract is not the same thing as an extended warranty. Service contracts are more similar to insurance policies, and unfortunately, consumers may have fewer available legal remedies with regard to service contract issues than they do with a vehicle’s warranty.   These service contracts almost always exclude problems at the time of purchase, whether noticeable or not, and prior wreck damage may void the service contract entirely.
  5. Understand whether it is the car dealer or the manufacturer that is certifying the pre-owned vehicle.

Did you purchase a certified pre-owned vehicle that later proved to be defective? We can help. We encourage you to contact us today for more information at 804-282-7900.