How to Negotiate on a Certified Pre-Owned Car

Certified pre-owned cars (CPOs) are usually a bit pricier than their non-CPO counterparts because they're typically lower in mileage than regular used vehicles and come backed by a warranty. Of course, you're probably considering buying a used car to save money, so it's not uncommon to want to negotiate the pricing of a certified pre-owned car.

If you know what's worth negotiating and how to do it, you might be able to snag a lower price for your CPO vehicle or at least get a few extras out of the deal.

Understanding what you're buying when you get a certified pre-owned car is essential. These vehicles are usually well-maintained and have at least some warranty coverage left on them. Therefore, your purchasing risk is lower buying a CPO car than a regular used vehicle.

Those benefits are worth their cost, but that doesn't mean you can't try to negotiate a better offer. These suggestions can help you score an excellent deal.

Make Sure It's Actually Certified Pre-Owned (and Check the Details)

It's possible for a dealership to stick a sign on a car saying it's certified pre-owned without it being so. For real CPO cars, you'll be able to read all the details about the certification on its window label. If you're ever in doubt about a vehicle's legitimacy as a CPO car, you should ask the dealership to furnish proof, such as dates of inspections of the certified parts.

Either a dealership or the car's manufacturer can certify it as a CPO vehicle. Both are valid, but a manufacturer's certification tends to hold the higher ground simply because you'll have more leeway when choosing a place to service your vehicle. With a dealership certification, you're usually limited only to servicing your car at that dealership or its affiliates. You can leverage this for a better price.

Compare Prices at Other Dealerships

You may think a dealership is offering an excellent deal on the CPO car you're interested in until you research what other dealerships have in stock. Overpricing happens. But, that's why it's necessary for buyers to do a little legwork to make sure they're getting the most for their money.

Use an online search tool to find used cars near you. Look specifically for comparable models that are also CPO, to make sure the dealership's price is in line with others in the area.

If not, it's time to negotiate a lower price. You can always print off competitors' prices to show the dealership as proof.

Negotiate Financing Options

There may be times when you can't get a dealership to budge on its pricing, especially if the CPO car is in high demand or worth every penny of its cost. You may still have some room to negotiate your financing, though. Many dealerships will work with you on financing that fits your budget rather than turning down your business altogether.

You can try to negotiate how much you'll pay for your vehicle by:

  • Asking for a lower interest rate.
  • Adding a few more months to your loan term for lower monthly payments.
  • Asking for a shorter loan term to reduce the interest you'll pay.
  • Seeing if there's a different bank that the dealership can use or securing your loan through your bank or credit union.
  • Asking for any discounts or promotions that you or your car might qualify for.
  • Negotiating the value of your trade-in, if you have one.

Negotiate "Extras"

You also don't want to forget about extras you could get with a certified pre-owned car that might be just as beneficial for you as discounted pricing would be. For instance, you can negotiate a new set of tires as part of the deal if it looks like the current set might need a replacement in a few months. Even simple maintenance tasks, such as filling the gas tank, an oil change, and a fluid check, can help you save a little money after your purchase.

Asking for an extended warranty can't hurt, either. An extended warranty can protect your investment for a bit longer, especially if you drive frequently and think you might use up your current warranty's mileage soon. You'll likely still need to pay some of the cost of the extended warranty but getting its price down a few hundred dollars is worth trying.

Arming yourself with information about the vehicle you're interested in and the perks that come with owning a certified pre-owned car is necessary before stepping onto a car lot. Arrive with the confidence to stand your ground in your negotiations and be okay with turning down an offer if it's not the right one for you.