Loans Car Loans How Much Can You Negotiate on Certified Pre-Owned Cars? By Emily Delbridge Emily Delbridge Twitter Emily Delbridge is an authority on car insurance and loans who contributed to The Balance for nine years. Delbridge is a licensed Personal Lines Insurance Agent who has been in the insurance business since 2005. Since joining the industry, she has significantly contributed to the book of business for independent agency, Great Michigan Insurance. learn about our editorial policies Updated on April 21, 2022 Reviewed by Cierra Murry Reviewed by Cierra Murry Cierra Murry is an expert in banking, credit cards, investing, loans, mortgages, and real estate. She is a banking consultant, loan signing agent, and arbitrator with more than 15 years of experience in financial analysis, underwriting, loan documentation, loan review, banking compliance, and credit risk management. learn about our financial review board Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article Certified Pre-Owned vs. New Average Prices Why Is Certified Pre-Owned Cheaper? Car Warranty Inspection Report Finding the Best Deals Negotiate Like a Pro Photo: DreamPictures / Getty Images If you would like to buy a new vehicle but are not interested in paying new vehicle prices, a certified pre-owned vehicle could be an excellent fit. Certified Pre-Owned vs. New Buying a certified pre-owned car is much like buying a new car, but with prices closer to what you would expect when purchasing a used car. Trained mechanics inspect certified pre-owned vehicles, which are resold by the manufacturer, with a warranty. When you are buying a certified pre-owned vehicle, you can trust that the car is in good working condition. Average Prices Certified pre-owned vehicles are an excellent safe bet, which means they will generally cost more than a regular used car. If you’re using a pricing guide such as Kelley Blue Book, it will have a special pricing category called “certified.” The average premium for a 3-year-old midsize car is about $850, and for a luxury car, the average premium is about $3,000." Why Is Certified Pre-Owned Cheaper? A car is what’s known as a depreciating asset. The second you drive a new car off the lot, it begins to lose value, and eventually—unlike a house or other appreciating asset—it will be less valuable. According to CarFax data, A new car loses 10% of its value on average in the first month of ownership. That means your new $35,000 car you bought in January will be worth about $31,500 come February. By the following January, its value will likely have dropped by at least 20%—making your one-year-old car, probably still in beautiful condition if you have been taking care of it, worth only $28,000. Every year from then on out, it will drop another 10% or so in value. Note You can save thousands of dollars if you’re willing to buy a "basically" brand-new vehicle instead of a "technically" brand-new one. Car Warranty Every manufacturer that has a CPO program will offer you a different sort of warranty. Some will provide you with several years and a set number of miles, and others will focus on a time limit. Be sure to ask about the fine print. Are you purchasing a warranty covering bumper-to-bumper on your vehicle, or does your coverage only include problems with the powertrain? Does the time limit start once you sign the papers, or does it include when the first buyer was driving the vehicle? Is there any remaining warranty that comes with the car that the original buyer did not use up? Inspection Report When you buy a certified pre-owned vehicle, you can be rest assured that everything on the inside is working correctly––but you should still inspect your own. Focus on aesthetics: Are there scratches, dents, or stains inside or outside of the vehicle? Does it look like this vehicle was driven every day or like something owned by a meticulous driver who only took it out on the road once a week or so? These things will be the realities of your everyday drive if you purchase it, so they must be to your liking. But it’s also important to take note of these things because they will impact how much you should be willing to pay for the vehicle. Two identically priced pre-owned cars may, in reality, be different on the inside, so it’s important to pay attention. You should also take a look at the manufacturer's inspection report to get a sense of how soon you will need to perform maintenance on your vehicle or replace critical parts, like the brake pads. The report should tell you every part of the vehicle that was inspected and its condition. You should also ask to see the car’s vehicle history report and make sure it’s up to date. Finding the Best Deals Many local dealerships’ websites will feature CPO cars under whatever that particular company has named their CPO program. In a car lot, CPO cars are usually in a prominent area away from other vehicles––make sure that the vehicle is legally covered by the manufacturer, not just labeled that way. Once you find a car that you love, it will be tough to drive a hard bargain. Many dealers will probably try to explain to you that you are getting a great value on the car––which you are. But you can still negotiate over the price just like you would for any other vehicle you are looking to purchase. Negotiate Like a Pro Remain calm and know the vehicle’s value. It helps to have a few makes and models in mind before you go to the dealer's lot. Look up the listed certified value in a few indexes, and be prepared to state the price you are willing to pay. If you find yourself with a bad deal and a salesperson who won’t budge, it’s better to walk away. There are many certified pre-owned cars around the country, and you will find the perfect one in your price range soon enough. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Consumer Reports. "The Truth About Certified Pre-Owned Cars." Carfax. "Car Depreciation: How Much Value Will a New Car Lose?."