Should you purchase a pre-owned certified car as your next vehicle?


Asked by Dec 08, 2015 at 12:23 AM about the 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

My experience with purchasing a certified pre-owned car has been very good,
and I believe that you can save a lot of money on depreciation especially in the
first three years.  And, you can purchase an extended warranty up to 100,000
miles.  So,  did you consider that when shopping for a another car?

13 Answers


A certified car costs extra because of the extended warranty you mention. An identical non-certified car is a lot cheaper.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Mark, those 'extended warranties' are more like an insurance policy than a warranty. So loaded with with deductibles and exclusions, the dealer or repair shop has to get a diagnosis first, then a second opinion, most shops and no dealers will honor them, unless the 'certified' warranty was bought from that particular dealer. Even then they will weasel out of it, You did something wrong. Ran it out of oil. Any excuse.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

The insurance companies know the average cost of repairs for any given vehicle over any given time. That is the job of an actuary.They double-triple-fourple the known costs then double that. Then they charge you that dollar figure. Why else would they even offer that? To make money. (Yes, I know fourple is not a word)

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

quadruple maybe there FordNut?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Mark, if you believe "Certified" truly means anything I've got a bridge to sell you! Dealers often say in the wholesale market "it's been through the garage", which means it went in the left door and out the right...with maybe an oil change, safety check and decent interior detail.


Ernie, well, maybe in some cases, but, I happen to know a little more about the dealership where my car came from, I know someone who used to work there. They took in this car and went through it with a fine tooth comb, and didn't skip any steps. I purchased my car in May 2014, and the car drives and performs exactly like the day I purchased it, in other words, flawlessly. Yes, I know some people will not want to pay any premium for getting a refurbished car, but, to the extent possible, my car was sold to me in outstanding condition. I think it also helps that I purchased the car in an upscale neighborhood and the previous owner was from an upscale neighborhood in the city. Purchasing a car from a used car dealership is not a good idea and private party sales are sometimes dicey as well. This was definitely not the case with my car and I felt that the extra money was well spent.


Why do you say "purchasing a car from a used car dealership is not a good idea"? Pretty insulting, actually, as I'm one of a handful of New England indie pre-owned Subie tinies who's quality assurance and prep quality is peerless...especially compared to the franchised dealerships. You CLEARLY have no idea what you're talking about outside your very singular experience. PLEASE try to stop generalizing.


Ernie, I'm sorry that you took this the wrong way. New car dealerships have an extremely high profile in the community, they sell brand new cars to their clients and expect to perform warranty service and regular maintenance. While there may be some used car dealerships out there that are fine, there's a disproportionate number of used car dealers who are unscrupulous, and go out of business in a few years. In other words, yours might be one of the few independent dealerships that are out there. You can certainly disagree with me on this point, but, I can say with confidence that it's much less likely that you're going to purchase a lemon from a brand new car dealership, especially if they have been selling cars for more than 30 years. They sell cars on references from satisfied clients and want repeat business just like you do. I'm not saying there's not other personal out there like you, but ferreting them out is the problem. Plus, and you have to know that this is true, new car dealerships take only the best cars in trade and resell them, they generally speaking don't purchase cars at auction or cars that are substandard.


You've REALLY been drinking the Kool-Ade, Mark. Franchised dealers buy MANY used specimens at auction, and indeed the majority of any still under factory mileage warranty so there's less chance they're left out to dry if there's a power train issue. You've also got the community trust issue backwards, too, wherein indies MUST rely on references and long-term relationships, whereas new car stores sell mostly on price and availability. If you check new car stores feedback you'll most likely see bifurcated comments: good ones for treating customers for new cars and terrible ones for pre-owned and after sale services. What you don't get is that the best experienced mechanics often go on to open their own cottages, leaving the dealerships to dredge the bottom for "line mechanics" from which they reap great profit. You really just have no idea....


You got one thing correct in your last answer, my current mechanic previously worked at the agency that sold me my car and opened his own garage. And, I've been using his independent services for 15 years. Ernie, seriously, have you ever heard the expression, ". would you buy a used car from that man?"... That quote didn't come out of nowhere. I'm sorry, you seem confused about this, the whole reason that became a ubiquitous phrase is because everyone knows that buying a used car from a " used car dealership " is one of the riskiest moves out there. My car was sold to the dealership from the owner, it didn't come through an auction. Again, it's called due diligence to establish the provenance of the car, which is pretty important information. And, they were able to provide the car's service history, something many used car dealerships can't produce. Looks like we're just not going to agree on this.


Because my current mechanic previously worked at the dealership, I know that they are that through, since he used to be part of that team.


I meant to say thorough. His exact words were, they don't skip any steps and checks all the systems , 152 steps with the Subaru certificate program, that's why they call it a certified car. They don't do this for every car.


Sigh.... How many autos have you bought, Mark? Ten? I've bought, prepped, sold, and serviced well over 1800. Please don't even pretend to tell me about the automobile biz. G'night.

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