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When Buying a Used Car – Does “Certified” Mean it’s Better?

2:39 pm Consumer


This Inspected & Certified 2010 used Camaro was for sale in Tampa. 

©  Summary: Car buying advice from a Master Auto Technician that has personally inspected over 1,000 vehicles for Carmax, the largest used car company in the USA. Is a certified used car better than a non-certified used car? Does paying the extra money when buying a certified pre-owned (used) vehicle make sense?

In my 14 years that I worked for the Carmax Superstore in Tampa Florida, I inspected over a thousand vehicles. That was just in the first several years I worked there. I first started working on the mechanical reconditioning side. That’s the department that does the 125 point inspections and then fixes problems found before the car becomes sellable-able.  After going through the extensive checklist a decision is made whether to fix the car and sell it on Carmax’s front lot or to sell the car “as is” on the back lot in a wholesale auction.

If a car or truck has frame damage, flood damage or has been banged up too badly previously in an accident; the vehicle will not meet the standards to allow it to reach the front lot. Also if the vehicle needs too much money put into it to bring it up to standards, it will be “kicked” – that means sent down to the wholesale lot. The kicked cars are sold every couple of weeks in a dealer only auction. The buyers for the wholesale vehicles are typically from near-by small independent car lots which have no issue selling cars that don’t meet Carmax standards. Continued on Page 2

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