Used cars come in all conditions, ranging from leased vehicles with under 50,000 miles to former rental vehicles in terrible shape. It can be hard to determine the condition and approximate value of a used car on a dealership lot, which is one reason why some dealerships have begun offering certified used vehicles.
A certified used vehicle has likely had work done to refurbish it and is likely in better condition than the average used car of the same age. You should expect a certain quality standard when you pay the extra money for a certified used vehicle.
When can’t a dealership call a used vehicle certified?
Perhaps the most basic requirement for a certified used vehicle is that the dealer performs a comprehensive inspection and gives the buyer a copy of the respective report. The car a buyer wishes to buy might not meet the criteria for a certified vehicle if it doesn’t come with a report detailing all of the vehicle’s major systems.
Automobiles with certain kinds of issues or damage don’t meet the criteria for certified used vehicles either. For example, a car returned as defective or under state lemon laws cannot be a certified used vehicle.
A car with odometer issues, meaning that it does not report its actual mileage, also doesn’t qualify for certification. Vehicles that have been in fires, floods, collisions or that have frame damage don’t meet the certification standard set by the state either.
Buyers who discover defects or believe that they overpaid for a certified vehicle that turns out to be a lemon may qualify to take legal action against the dealership involved. Learning more about California’s lemon laws can help you determine your rights after buying a used vehicle.