Buying a used car is a trying adventure, especially since it can be hard to figure out if a used ride is a worthy investment. One thing to look for while you shop is cars that have "Certified Pre-Owned" marked on their windows. What does this mean, and why is it a good thing? Here's a few things you probably want to know before you start looking for your pre-owned vehicle. 

What does it mean if a car is certified pre-owned?

While you are shopping for a used car, you will notice that some vehicles have a "Certified Pre-Owned" (CPO) designation or label in advertising or even written across the window. Basically, this designation means that the car was taken in as a pre-owned vehicle, and repairs or restorations were made to ensure the car was in good shape before being placed on the lot for sale. For example, a regular pre-owned vehicle may have been taken in as a trade-in and simply placed on the lot for sale, but a CPO vehicle may have been detailed, probably got a tune-up, and received new tires. Additionally, CPO vehicles may also:

  • Have had their transmission fully tested and restored
  • Have like-new interiors with new or replacement parts
  • Have factory engine parts replaced that showed signs of wear or tear

Are the prices for a CPO negotiable?

You will often find that dealerships are less interested in negotiating the price for a CPO vehicle than what they would other vehicles. This is because the dealership probably put a little money into the vehicle to get it ready for sale and to actually get the vehicle certified, so there will be less wiggle room available in the price than usual. This is not a rule, however. Some car dealerships will actually do some negotiating with CPO vehicles, so it never hurts to ask. 

Are only certain cars available to be certified as CPO vehicles?

There are certain things that must be met for most cars to qualify as a CPO vehicle before going on the lot for sale. For example, pre-owned Fords for sale must be six model years or newer and have fewer than 80,000 miles to be certified pre-owned, according to Therefore, if you see a car that has the CPO designation, you will know that it is newer and has fewer miles, which will usually make it a good investment.