What is the difference between used and certified pre-owned cars

The Difference Between Certified Pre-owned and Used

Car shopping can be time-consuming and frustrating (to say the least).  The first choice comes down to whether you are shopping to buy new or used.  If you’re in the market for a new vehicle but don’t have the money or credit to get approved a certified pre-owned vehicle might be considered to be a “safer” option when purchasing. Everyone wants a good deal, a safe ride and peace of mind in case anything happens with their vehicle.

For many, a certified pre-owned vehicle can cover all those bases while still feeling like you’re driving a new vehicle.

What Is a certified pre-owned car?

CPO or Certified Pre-owned vehicles from Ford are trucks and cars that fall into certain criteria of gently used, properly reconditioned vehicles that come equipped with a warranty from Ford and our dealership. 

Being a Ford dealer we only work with Certified Ford vehicles but there are plenty of other dealerships offering CPO on their own makes and models as well. 

The difference between a CPO and non-CPO vehicle comes down to a few things.  

First, each CPO vehicle must meet certain criteria in order to meet requirements. In order to qualify, it must meet certain age (typically no more than 4 years older), a mileage limit, and more.

All of our CPO vehicles undergo a thorough and rigorous 172-multipoint inspection from our Ford factory technicians that come with the vehicle. Any part that doesn’t meet our standards or is replaced with a Ford factory-authorized part. 

Better yet, you get peace of mind with complimentary 24/7 roadside assistance.

To qualify for the CPO program a vehicle must be in excellent condition. While each manufacturer has a different set of standards all of our Ford pre-owned vehicles come with extended warranties, special financing rates, and other great service options to give you peace of mind.

Are Certified Pre-Owned Cars More Expensive?

To put it bluntly…yes, CPO-enabled cars will cost more but the difference isn’t without merit.  When you purchase a used vehicle privately you run the risk of driving it for a few weeks/months before being hit with a repair bill. 

Within our dealership, we are legally obligated to run our used vehicles through a Mechanical Fitness Assessment before selling the vehicle.  The MFA is an assessment and not a pass/fail vehicle inspection.  While you can still purchase the vehicle even if it doesn’t comply with the items listed you cannot do so without us providing that inspection.

On the other hand with a CPO vehicle, while you pay extra, you can drive it with peace of mind, knowing you won’t have any repairs to worry about for a while. Even if something happens down the road you should be covered under the Ford CPO warranty program

The costs outweigh the risks when purchasing CPO. It provides a great opportunity to have peace of mind, warranty and complimentary roadside assist through Ford.

Is Purchasing A Certified Pre-Owned Car Worth It Over A Private Sale?

When it comes to choosing between a CPO and non-CPO there are a few options to consider.  A factory-certified-pre-owned vehicle has been inspected, refurbished and approved by the manufacturer before it’s sold to you. All of our certified vehicles have met specific requirements set out by Ford Motor Company and are backed by them.  Any repairs will be done with factory-authorized Ford parts.

With that being said only franchised dealers are able to sell certified vehicles. For example, Windsor Ford is only able to sell Ford vehicles!

Still, there are a couple of options you can consider outside of certified pre-owned vehicles when shopping for a used car or truck.

Non-Certified From The Dealer

The majority of most cars on a dealer’s used lot typically aren’t certified.  To qualify for CPO status you need to meet a certain set of criteria that most vehicles on the used inventory lot won’t due to things like their age or mileage. 

However, all of our used cars still go through a rigorous and thorough inspection before we put them back up for sale.  A quality used car certainly doesn’t need to be certified to be reliable and dependable. 

A lot of our used inventory still has a great time and mileage left on their powertrains so you can enjoy certain warranty benefits in a non-certified vehicle as well.

Private sale

A private sale can be an opportunity to save some money but is also a risky investment.  With used car dealers in Alberta, we all follow the same strict guidelines when it comes to reselling previously owned vehicles.

Needless to say, privately owned cars won’t be certified. With any private sale, the buyer will take extra risks. The possibility of getting scammed, stuck with a lemon or a car that’s dangerous to drive due to not being thoroughly inspected.  It’s important for any buyer in a private sale to pay for an inspection from a mechanic they trust.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles?

With any vehicle purchase, it’s always important to weigh the pros and cons.  If you’re considering choosing a CPO vehicle or a non-CPO vehicle here is a small list of pros and cons to consider before making your decision.


You won’t spend as much on a CPO vehicle compared to purchasing a new one.

CPO vehicles are low mileage (ours are under 120,000km) and usually less than 6 years old making them some of the best-used units available.

Warranty coverage provides peace of mind as well as Ford’s 24/7 Roadside Assistance.


To own a CPO vehicle you’ll likely spend a few more dollars compared to the same unit that isn’t certified.

Despite the warranty and 172 point inspection, it won’t necessarily mean your vehicle won’t break down.

Can You Explain The Certified Pre-Owned Warranty?

Purchasing a new car can provide a handful of warranty options and give you the ability to choose between a standard warranty or purchasing more protection.  There’s a good chance though that when the car is ready to be resold on a used lot the original standard warranty may be expired.

The Certified Pre-Owned warranty package provides that peace of mind adding a comprehensive limited warranty covering more than 1,000 components in your Ford vehicle for 12 months up to 20,000 km. 

The best part, you’re covered wherever you roam with 24-Hour Roadside Assistance and Rental Car reimbursement availability. 

Areas of coverage include:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Steering components
  • Brakes
  • Front and rear suspension
  • Electrical system
  • Air conditioning and heating
  • Technology components
  • Emissions components
  • Factory-installed audio system
  • Safety systems
  • Transferable to future owners at no extra cost
  • 24-Hour Roadside Assistance (towing, jump starts for dead batteries, flat-tire changes on-site and lockout services) is included for the duration of the powertrain limited warranty coverage
  • Ford Extended Service Plans, which offer additional coverage, are available from any Ford Dealer

The key takeaway to any of this when shopping is to know that you don’t need to buy a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle to have a used car with a warranty.  If you choose to go the private sale route with your sale you will only be left with any remaining manufacturer warranty and won’t receive the added benefit of a dealer-backed warranty.

Can you lease a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle?

While leasing used vehicles isn’t common you can lease a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle under certain circumstances. Leasing a CPO vehicle can provide challenges and might be harder to obtain than a new vehicle lease but will provide a lower monthly payment.

In most leasing scenarios you’ll need good credit if you want to lease a vehicle let alone a CPO one.

The most likely option is to finance or purchase the vehicle in cash. When financing a CPO vehicle your monthly payments likely will be lower than a new one and financing can be done through the dealership.

Is a certified pre-owned car buying?

Shopping for a car will always provide questions and challenges along the way.  The first of which is deciding between a new or used vehicle.  A new vehicle will give you the latest and greatest with manufacturer’s standard warranties but likely cost more and possibly be harder to get approved for.

On the other hand, a used vehicle can provide lower payments but also potentially give you grief down the road with potential mechanical issues or vehicle problems.  At Windsor Ford we provide all of our used vehicles with a comprehensive inspection before putting them on the lot but depending on how you drive sometimes issues can happen.

So why not choose the best of both worlds with a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle.  You’ll get lower monthly payments and peace of mind with a warranty, roadside assistance, and more!  All certified pre-owned vehicles are less than 6 years old and under 120,000 km. 

All of our Ford Certified Pre-Owned vehicles are in excellent shape even before going through our comprehensive inspection and servicing. 

If you can afford to purchase a CPO vehicle are suggestion is to say “YES”, it is worth buying.

If you have questions about our CPO program or want to see what we have available feel free to get in touch with us!

Share This Story

More Stories & Guides From Windsor Ford

The Latest Deals & News Delivered To Your Inbox Each Month

Windsor Ford
AMVIC Licensed

10001 139 Ave
Grande Prairie, AB
T8X 0V3

Showroom Hours

Monday - Saturday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM


Service & Parts Hours

Monday - Friday
7:30 AM - 6:00 PM

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM


©2024 Windsor Ford. All Rights Reserved. AMVIC Licensed.
Apply For Financing Today
Fill out as much information as possibly and one of our Finance Managers will let you know as soon as possible.
Basic Information
Personal Info
Housing & Income

Contact Us

Are you looking to get in touch? For all general inquiries like feedback, sponsorships, and general requests please fill out the form below and someone will get back to you shortly.

For all other inquiries please contact the appropriate department located further down on this page.