What is the Difference Between Used and Certified Pre-Owned?

Used cars on a car lot


If you’re in the market for a high-quality used car in Central Illinois, Sam Leman Automotive Group is the place to go. We carry a wide variety of used cars, trucks, and SUVs as well as a fine selection of certified pre-owned vehicles for you to choose from. Wondering what the difference is between CPO vs. used vehicles? While both fall under the “used car” category, there are important distinctions between used vs. CPO vehicles that you should be aware of. We’ve prepared this guide to help you make an informed decision on whether a CPO or used car is the better choice for you.


What to Know About Buying a Used Car

A used vehicle is one that has been previously driven by other owners. They will vary in terms of model year, mileage, and number of previous owners, and will be priced at lower than new vehicles and certified pre-owned vehicles. In fact, Sam Leman Automotive Group has an inventory of used cars under $10,000 for sale. In addition to the affordable price tag, a used car won’t depreciate as quickly as a new car, so are more likely to retain their value.

Used cars that have been driven 100,000 miles or more may seem like a risk, but the truth is that some vehicles can last for hundreds of thousands of miles with routine maintenance and care. Some things to keep in mind when shopping for a used car include:

  • Standard used vehicles are not required by the OEM to be inspected before being sold. That being said, dealerships like Sam Leman Automotive Group will still inspect the vehicle for safety and quality before offering it for sale. If you are planning on buying from a private seller, you should have the vehicle inspected by a trusted technician and taken for a test drive before making an offer.
  • Discuss any issues in terms of vehicle condition or performance that arise, to ensure the vehicle is fit for your needs and safe to drive. With any used car, it is important to factor in the cost of maintenance and repairs into your budget. 
  • Some cars and SUVs can last more than 200,000 miles if they are kept up to date on routine maintenance, so a high-mileage used car could well be a good option if you’re on a tight budget. 

What to Know About Buying a CPO Car

Certified pre-owned vehicles are used vehicles that must undergo a thorough multi-point inspection as required by the original manufacturer. Once the vehicle passes inspection, it can be authorized for sale under the manufacturer’s certified pre-owned program

While each auto brand has its own CPO program, just about all will include the following::

  • Only vehicles that are five years old or newer are eligible to be certified
  • Vehicles must typically have less than 80,000 miles
  • All CPO vehicles must pass a multi-point inspection 
  • Certified used cars are offered with extended warranties and/or limited powertrain warranties
  • Roadside assistance coverage is usually included

When it comes to CPO vs. used vehicles, a certified pre-owned car will generally be priced higher than used cars, but they’re still much more affordable than a new vehicle. If you want a like-new vehicle with the latest features and the peace-of-mind that comes with warranty coverage, then a certified pre-owned vehicle could be the ideal choice.

Shop for Used and CPO Vehicles Today at Sam Leman Automotive Group!

Check out our current pre-owned vehicle specials to find some of the best deals on used cars in Central Illinois. If you have further questions about the difference between used and certified pre-owned, feel free to contact us online. Or better yet, stop by one of our dealerships to view the CPO and used vehicles we have for sale today!


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