How to buy a certified pre-owned vehicle

How to buy a certified pre-owned vehicle

Are you a new car buyer, stuck with a head full of questions about what to look at for pre-owned vehicles? It can be a difficult time, especially when you are unsure about what aspects to keep in mind when choosing the perfect car for your needs. Below are some simple tips to make choosing a certified pre-owned vehicle easy and efficient.

Research resale values

When buying one of the many certified pre-owned cars that South Africa has on offer, you should research the resale value of the car in the same way you would a new car. The resale value can be calculated by including aspects such as the vehicle’s condition, mileage, optional equipment and other factors.

The resale value is important because you will be able to see whether or not you will be entering into an investment that is fair to both you and the dealer. You may be able to work out a better deal for the car you choose if you are armed with this information before signing any papers. Knowing the resale value will also allow you to look to the future if you decide to ever sell your car.

Look at the vehicle’s maintenance history

Be sure to look at the maintenance history of the vehicle documented by the dealer. It should be tracked up to the time the previous owner sold the car to the dealership and include all services and repairs.

The logbook of the vehicle or certificate of registration should be up-to-date too, and, if this is not the case, you should query it with the dealer. If you notice that the car has had numerous repairs and services, you should reconsider your options as the vehicle may cost you more in the long-run. The maintenance history will tell you how the car has been kept too and if there are any problem areas on it.

Make sure the manufacturer is offering the certification

You will need to be completely sure that the manufacturer and not just the dealer is offering the certification. This means that it will meet the stringent standards of the manufacturer and you will be able to have your car serviced at locations nationwide.

In order to check if the manufacturer themselves is offering the certification, you can phone their customer service line or visit one of their dealerships in your area with the car’s information. If the dealership is offering the certification, you may have to pay more for this to be done. Once a pre-owned car has been inspected and meets the requirements of the manufacturer, they will deem a car as certified pre-owned.

Read the fine print in the warranty

Obtain the documentation of the terms of the new-car warranty, if there is one still in place. You will need to clearly determine the exact expiration date of that document and what is still included.

Some CPO warranties cover only the powertrain, so if you are looking for bumper-to-bumper coverage you may have to pay extra. Some warranties may be longer than others and you will also need to ascertain whether or not the warranty is transferable. It is imperative to read all the fine print in this document so you are aware of every detail of the transaction.

Test drive the car

Once you have decided on the make and model of your perfect car, you need to test drive it. This will allow you to get an accurate feel for the car and pick up on any problems that you may have missed upon first seeing the car.

Be sure to go for a test drive along a route than includes stop-starts, hills and areas that experience traffic so you can see how the car performs in such situations. Do not listen to the radio while test driving and listen carefully to instances when you have to pull off or idle.

Ask to see the inspection report

This is not a mandatory step but it is important if you want to be absolutely certain of the car you are buying. This report will show you what areas have been inspected and what condition those parts and areas are in.

Most CPO reports show how much thickness is left on the brake pads and tire tread and whether any parts were replaced to bring the car up to the high standards of the manufacturer. If you feel the quality of the car is sub-par, this inspection report will allow you to see why this may be so. Many CPO programmes include a vehicle history report which should be up-to-date.

Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle is an investment worth serious consideration. It may seem more costly than a used vehicle but may end up costing you less in the long-run with regard to repairs and maintenance. You are guaranteed to find high-quality vehicles and brands offering CPO vehicles, but be sure to be thorough in your research and inspections in order to achieve the best deal for your money.

Photo by Iqbal Osman1

Authored by: Pete Anderson

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