Should you buy a certified pre-owned vehicle? 4 Pros and Cons.

Posted by: Lydia on 1/10/2020

Category: General

BMW Driver's seat


Buying a vehicle is always a difficult task. Even for Aussies who have bought many cars over their lifetime, there's always the need to navigate some red tape and go through some tedious steps. 

Sure, it's all just part of the process of buying a car, and without due diligence, it’s possible you’d end up with a lemon. Nonetheless, given all the time and frustration that can come with finding the right car, it’s no surprise that Aussies are keen for options that offer them a fast track to their next vehicle.

When it comes to pre-owned (AKA used) cars, certified pre-owned vehicles can be particularly attractive. Buying a used vehicle can require you to take on extra tasks (and potentially greater risk), but when a used car for sale is certified, it can offer some additional advantages. However, there can also be some drawbacks depending on your circumstances.

With this in mind, let's take a closer look at 4 pros and cons to factor in when considering a certified pre-owned vehicle.

Pro: It offers a great discount on a like-new car

There’s no getting around the fact a new car can be very expensive compared to a used one. There can be all sorts of additional fees that you don’t have to deal with when you buy a used vehicle. Given that a brand new vehicle essentially never holds its value — the common rule of thumb is that a new car loses up to 20% of its value per year — there’s little to no prospect of recouping those higher costs if you go to sell the car in future. A certified used vehicle offers a different calculation — and the numbers really can work out in your favour.

Although a certified used vehicle will often be like-new — almost indistinguishable from the same current-year model — it will often cost significantly less. There may also be more scope for haggling, as the vendor knows an older car isn’t likely to draw crowds in as fast as the latest model. 

Best of all, if you do resell in the future, there’s likely to be a smaller gap between your purchase price and resale price since you bought at a lower price to begin with. That means money saved upfront, and less money lost in a future resale.

Con: Your individual experience may vary

Toyota is a car manufacturer that has long enjoyed a fantastic reputation for reliability and performance. And even if a Toyota does encounter an issue, you’ll more than likely be able to get a fix or replacement part for it sorted without too much hassle.  But not all manufacturers have this same reputation and huge resources available in the local network. Some manufacturers in the luxury market in particular have had persistent problems surrounding reliability over the years.

Buying a car with questionable reliability is not ideal even when it’s brand new, but at least there can be an extra warranty and incentives that help cushion the blow if something goes wrong. The same won’t necessarily apply with a certified used vehicle, as warranty times and other criteria can vary considerably.  And if you do encounter a problem, the cost to fix it could quickly become very expensive. So even if you save some money on the sticker price, you’ll end up paying (potentially much more) for it later.

Pro: A certified pre-owned car could be more reliable than a new one

Although we all may like the idea of driving a brand new vehicle right out of the dealership, in reality, brand new vehicles can still ship with a kink or two in them. Usually these issues are minor, but often they’re not spotted in the earliest days of the vehicle’s lifecycle. This means that someone who buys a car just days after release may encounter such a problem, but it's less likely to be an issue if you're buying it a year or two (or more) down the line. 


In addition, the advantage of purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle is apparent in its name  — in order words, it's been certified. This means that the dealer will have thoroughly inspected it according to the manufacturer's guidelines and ensured that any mechanical issues were taken care of before it was put up for sale. Although there can be some reliability issues as mentioned above, for the most part, you can rest assured that there won't be any hidden surprises with certified pre-owned autos.


Con: Saving some money may spoil the thrill


Getting a used vehicle can save money. But oftentimes, we as human beings will happily buy a more expensive thing even if there’s a similar offering at a lower price. After all, we may be able to watch some weekend footy match on a small TV, but buying a big 75 inch unit that takes up half the living room will give us more fun and enjoyment. The same experience is applicable to cars.

Sure, it may make the most logical sense to buy a less expensive car. But the joy you get driving a brand new ride out of a dealership can be truly fantastic. To many people, buying a new car is also a reward for many years of hard work, or to commemorate a particular event or anniversary. 

Whether or not a certified used vehicle could be ideal as your next car requires many considerations. Not every certified used vehicle offer is made equal, as they can vary from one dealership to the next. But unquestionably, getting a used car that’s certified can give you greater peace of mind and even offer some unique advantages over brand new cars. So if you’re getting a new ride soon and saving some money is a must, looking for a range of certified used vehicles on offer is a good road to travel down.

Would you buy a certified pre-owned vehicle? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: Pixabay