2017 Chevy Malibu (General Motors)

Looking to save money on your next car, but still want a warranty and all the fringe benefits of buying a new car at a dealership? Chevrolet’s certified pre-owned program could be perfect for you.

Certified used Chevrolets are less than six years old and come with fewer than 75,000 miles on them. To ensure that they’ve led a pampered life, they all have to meet rigorous standards in a thorough inspection. They can’t show any evidence of previous accidents, flood damage, or rust coming through the metal.

Any problems that the dealership finds during the inspection must be set right. The car will come with fresh oil and filters, and any other fluids due to be changed will be refreshed. The car probably won’t come with new tires or new brake pads, but if they’re close to wearing out they will be replaced.

As additional insurance, all certified used Chevrolets come with a free CarFax report, which will show whether the car has ever had its title “branded” with a rebuilt, flooded, or salvage label from a serious accident. It should also show when major work was done, as well as a steady, linear accumulation of mileage that ensures the odometer hasn’t been rolled back.

Why Get a Certified Pre-Owned Car?

The main attraction to buying any certified used vehicle is the warranty. Chevrolet offers a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty on every certified pre-owned Chevrolet it sells. After you buy it, you could drive your new-to-you Chevrolet until it’s seven years old and has 87,000 miles on it and still have bumper to bumper coverage.

Chevrolet also boosts the powertrain warranty from five-years/60,000-miles to six-years/100,000-miles in case anything major goes wrong. Unlike some other automakers, Chevrolet does not charge any deductible for warranty claims on its CPO models.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to buy a certified used car is access to low-interest loans from the automaker. Chevrolet offers financing rates as low as 1.9 percent on certain CPO cars if you have good credit. That would be a good rate even on a new car and, combined with lower prices, can bring your payments down to about two-thirds of what they might be on an equivalent new car.

Service With a Smile

Chevy Colorado (General Motors)

What sets Chevrolet’s (and other GM brands’) CPO program apart from other non-luxury brand CPO programs is that it comes with two years or 24,000 miles of free factory maintenance. That can be especially helpful on a CPO car that may need its 60,000-mile service within a year or two after you buy it. The 60,000-mile service often includes the car’s first transmission fluid and coolant flushes, as well as all new filters, so it can add up to more than other typical service intervals.

General Motors also offers a unique exchange program: If you’re not satisfied with the CPO vehicle you choose for any reason, you can trade for another GM CPO car. While this isn’t a money-back guarantee, you can exchange your vehicle within the first three days or 150 miles.

Compared to Other CPO Programs

As with other CPO programs, Chevrolet includes lots of add-ons to give buyers an experience as close as you can get to buying a new car: Such as three-month trial subscriptions to Sirius satellite radio and GM’s OnStar, in case you need to call for roadside assistance or you lose the keys to your new car. If you need service, Chevrolet provides “free courtesy transportation.” Depending on the dealership and the timing, that could mean anything from a free service loaner to reimbursement for a rental, a shuttle van, or a free ticket for whatever local public transportation is available.

Prices for certified used cars can run as much as $3,000 more than other equivalent used cars, and sometimes lemons still fall through the cracks. Buying certified reduces the odds of that happening, and certified used cars can still be a great deal. You get the peace of mind of having a warranty, and low interest rates to make them affordable. Chevrolet dealers get first crack at the highest quality low-mileage used Chevrolets that come back on the market – the cars that make the best certified used models. Cars that move on to more open auctions are those that didn’t make the cut. Those may be cheaper, but they can also be an even bigger risk.

More Shopping Tools From U.S. News & World Report

If you like the idea of a certified pre-owned vehicle but want to know more, take a look at the advantages of getting a CPO vehicle. You should also take a look at our used car rankings to see how the vehicle you want matches up with its competition.

For great manufacturer incentives on CPO vehicles, head over to our used car deals page. You can also search through our certified pre-owned car listings to find the best used vehicle for you.