You hear a lot about “certified used car” programs. Sounds impressive, right? According to Webster’s, to be “certified” means “having earned certification; genuine; authentic”. But the word is often grossly diluted, especially when it comes to the pre-owned vehicle business. Some dealerships will promote “dealer certified” or “customer certified” programs… but what, exactly, do those terms mean?
“ Absolutely nothing,” says Butler’s Managing Partner, Warren Cooper. “Zero, zip, nada as they say.” That’s because the ONLY TRUE “certified” program with any substance is a *FACTORY* certified program, one that’s backed and supported by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
Kelley Blue Book’s website, Kbb.com, says factory certified programs “typically add warranty coverage that goes past the expiration date of the original new car warranty.” Also, vehicles have to meet certain standards in order to be sold with a factory certification (for a list of manufacturer certified programs visit: http://www.kbb.com/certified-pre-owned/programs) which means you’ll not only be getting a car or truck with more extensive and better coverage, but you’ll be getting a higher quality vehicle at initial purchase. Plus, owning a “factory certified” pre-owned vehicle means your warranty will be honored by any dealership that sells that manufacturer’s product. Not a bad deal. And finally, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing *someone* will be around to honor your warranty.
And remember –you don’t necessarily get that with what is called a “dealer” certification – what if the dealer goes out of business? Or worse yet, “customer” certification… wait, what? How does that work? So, think, ask questions, and make sure the next vehicle you buy comes complete with a warranty backed by the manufacturer. Anything else is misrepresentation.