New, Used, or Certified Pre-Owned? Knowing the Difference Makes the Difference


Why does car shopping have to be so complicated? Between the various automotive brands, a growing number of vehicle categories, countless available models, and choosing between new, used, or certified pre-owned – the confusion never seems to end. On top of the obscurities that flood the world of automotive sales, the industry is one of the fastest evolving marketplaces in the world. Buyers who purchased a new car just a few short years ago, will face an entirely different market than the one they were previously familiar with. Dealerships across the nation, including Chevy dealers Dayton, Ohio has to offer, are attempting to clear up the most commonly confused issues car shoppers face. Topping that growing list is the difference between new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles.

What Is the Difference?

When you head down to a reputable dealership, you will be faced with the choice between a new vehicle, a used car, or a certified pre-owned model. Each one of these is distinctly different from the next, and it is important to know what these designations mean, before you head to a dealership.

  • New – The most obviously defined term, is the new car. A vehicle sold as new has little or no miles on the odometer, and has traveled to Chevy dealers directly from the manufacturer. All new cars, trucks, and SUVs come backed by a manufacturer factory warranty, which is the most comprehensive coverage available to car buyers. Regardless of which car brand you end up buying new, you will have the peace of mind that only a factory warranty can provide. It is important to keep in mind that new cars can have anywhere from zero to 300 miles on the odometer, and anything above and beyond that number should cost less than the vehicle’s listed MSRP. Most often these miles come from customer test drives, as well as moving vehicle inventory from one dealer location to another. If you are seeking out a mint-condition vehicle without having to worry about past history, then opting for a new model is a good choice.
  • Used – The second most commonly understood car sales term, is used. A used car essentially means that it has had at least one previous owner, has any amount of miles on the odometer, and is at least one year old. Used vehicles usually show general wear and tear from past drivers, but the amount of that wear and tear can vary greatly from one vehicle to the next. Buying used might be a good option for you if you are looking to spend very little money, and aren’t concerned with warranty protection. Used vehicles can be sold from brand dealerships like Chevy dealers, from private sellers, and from general used car lots. It is important to ask for a past history report before buying a used car of unknown origin, and have it looked at by a trusted mechanic. Used cars traditionally feature the lowest sticker price out of the three vehicle types, but also carry with them the most risk.
  • Certified Pre-Owned – The third and final vehicle sale designation is Certified Pre-Owned. Certified Pre-Owned vehicles are only available at their respective brand dealerships. Car buyers will never find a Certified Pre-Owned Chevy Sonic at a Ford dealership, or from a general used car lot. Every automotive manufacturer has a stringent set of guidelines that vehicles must meet in order to be designated Certified Pre-Owned. If you were to purchase a Certified Pre-Owned Chevrolet from your local Chevy dealer, your vehicle will come with a 12-month/12,000 mile bumper to bumper limited warranty, a 6-year/100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty, a complimentary maintenance package, roadside assistance, and more. Certified Pre-Owned Chevy models undergo a complete reconditioning process prior to appearing on dealer lots, and must pass a 172-point inspection in order to qualify for the exclusive pre-owned program. Unlike used vehicles that can be from any model year with an unlimited amount of previously-driven miles, Certified Pre-Owned Chevrolet cars are different. Aside from passing a multi-point inspection and reconditioning process, a used Chevy vehicle must be within five years of its original manufacturing date, have less than 75,000 miles on the odometer, and have a clean title and history report to make the cut. If buying a brand new vehicle is out of your reach, and you aren’t comfortable buying a general used car, then opting for a vehicle in a manufacturer’s certified pre-owned program is an exceptional choice. Not only will you have complete peace of mind thanks to Chevy’s comprehensive warranty program, you will spend less money than you would on a new car, and receive two free maintenance visits at your local Chevy dealership.

Choose What is Right For You

Not every car buyer is the same, and each one brings a different list of requirements to the table. While one car shopper might have a $2,000 budget and be content with a used vehicle purchase, the next might feel strongly about finding a certified pre-owned model. Other buyers only buy their vehicles new, directly from the manufacturer. There is no single direction for every car buyer to take when it comes time to buy your next vehicle. Rather than make this decision based on the opinions of your friends or family, consider your unique situation and needs. There are great benefits to buying a vehicle, regardless of whether it is new, used, or certified pre-owned. Make the choice that is best for your current circumstance in order to truly be content with your vehicle purchase.

Once you decide which type of vehicle you want to buy, visit your favorite local Chevy dealer to help you through the rest of the process. McCluskey Chevrolet has been proud to help drivers in the Cincinnati and Dayton Ohio area find their perfect vehicle match for the past several decades, and would love to do the same for you. Visit Ohio’s favorite Chevy dealership today – McCluskey Chevrolet.