• Pre-Certified Cars: A Cost Breakdown

    Precertified cars are available at thousands of used car dealerships that want to offer the benefits of buying a new car with a great warranty without the high price. Pre-certified cars are inspected immediately upon their arrival at the dealership, and necessary repairs are completed so that an extended limited warranty may be issued by the manufacturer. There are numerous costs associated with certifying a vehicle that make pre-certified vehicles more expensive than used cars without factory warranties. This guide explains the approximate costs that are incurred while certifying a vehicle.

    1. Initial Inspection: All certification programs begin with an inspection of the vehicle to determine its eligibility. At some dealerships, the mileage, model year and overall condition will be examined by the used car manager. At other dealerships, the initial inspection may be completed by a mechanic. In either case, the initial inspection is considered a no-charge labor operation at most dealerships.
    2. Certification Inspection: After a vehicle is selected for certification, it will undergo a major, multi-point inspection so that the vehicle may be issued an extended warranty from the manufacturer. The labor charged for the inspection does not include any repairs deemed necessary by the inspection, but it may include a basic oil change. Depending on the labor rate, the certification inspection will cost between $100 and $200 at most dealerships.
    3. Certification Repairs: Any repairs and the related labor deemed necessary by the inspection are a separate charge. This will vary from vehicle to vehicle and could range from no charge to more than $1,000 depending on the vehicle’s condition.
    4. Warranty Costs: Most pre-certification programs also require the dealership to pay an amount to the manufacturer to begin the warranty period. This ranges from $200 to $1,000 depending on the manufacturer and the model. $200 is a conservative estimate for mainstream domestic and Asian vehicles, while high-end European brands can have charges of up to $1,000.

    As dealerships put much labor into making your certified vehicle purchase a hassle-free one, there are some expenses incurred by the dealership to certify a car. This is why a certified vehicle can cost upwards of $1,000 more than a regular used car.