Every certified car has to go through an inspection before it can be certified. The only certification that means anything is a manufacturer certified pre-owned car. All others are insurance backed programs. A certified car will only be offered by your local dealer and the warranty will extend beyond the initial “new car” warranty coverage. The warranty must be backed by the original manufacturer to be certified pre-owned.
If problems are found, the factory-trained technicians will fix it or disqualify the car from the program. The certified warranty protection typically takes effect when the original warranty expires and, like a new car warranty, offers coverage for a certain number of years or miles, whichever comes first. ~Edmunds.com
Don’t be fooled by used cars sold with extended warranties; make sure you are getting a factory certified pre-owned vehicle. The manufacturer is not involved in the extended warranty, it is the consumer who is responsible for purchasing the warranty. Extended warranties often require the customer to pay for the repairs in advance and then be reimbursed upon approval of the repair, or pay a deductible that the customer may not be aware of.
A certified pre-owned vehicle undergoes a thorough 100 point inspection by the manufacture’s certified dealerships and is either deemed unfit and thrown out of the program or it is approved. They go over vehicle with a fine tooth comb to make sure it is sound. Vehicles with longer initial factory warranties make better candidates for certified vehicles as the warranty doesn’t begin until the initial warranty expires.
As you can see there is a definite benefit buying a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealer as opposed to purchasing a vehicle from an individual or car lot that is not certified. The consumer pays less money for a certified pre-owned vehicle with a good warranty than he/she would a new vehicle. They generally cost more than the non-certified pre-owned vehicles, but the benefits of the manufacturer backed warranty may be outweigh the extra cost of having to pay out of pocket for extended warranties and repairs.