As a credit-challenged consumer, it can be hard to know just what your next car might be. You want something reliable, but also something that won't break the bank. So, where do you find the balance between affordability and reliability? The answer could be a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle.

What Is a Certified Pre-Owned Car?

Need a Reliable Used Vehicle? Try a CPO CarA CPO car is a used vehicle that has been inspected and refurbished by a manufacturer-certified technician, and comes with some form of manufacturer-backed warranty.

In order for a car to be certified, it has to meet certain standards, which vary by manufacturer. Generally, CPO vehicles have to be less than five years old, and have reasonable mileage (usually between 30,000 and 80,000).

A CPO car can be a great choice because they typically offer many of the newer safety and technology features you're looking for, but without the new vehicle price tag. Many of the cars that become CPO vehicles are off-lease models that are usually only two to three years old.

Is a CPO Vehicle Better Than a Used Car?

A CPO car may be in better shape, but make no mistake, it's still a used vehicle. You should still use the same critical eye you would when buying used. Be aware when you're on a test drive, and have a CPO car looked at by a trusted, certified mechanic like you would with any other used vehicle.

One of the major differences between a standard used car and a certified pre-owned vehicle is the warranty that comes with the CPO car. Used vehicles are typically sold "as is", and don't give you the peace of mind that you may get from knowing that a number of problems are covered with little or no out-of-pocket cost, depending on the deductible.

When it comes to financing a CPO car, even though you're saving money on a newer vehicle, they are usually more expensive than a non-certified used car. Consider them a middle ground between new and used vehicles.

Because CPO cars are genearlly in slightly better condition than a standard used vehicle, they can be a good choice for credit-challenged consumers. Financing a CPO car means you're getting a vehicle with potentially fewer issues, which you may be able to drive longer. Because of their initial condition, CPO cars have the potential to be worth more in a private sale or as trade-in when you're ready for your next vehicle.

Ready to Find Your Next Vehicle?

If you're worried about your credit getting in the way of financing your next car, you should take the steps to get the best vehicle you can. Then, you have time to work on credit building before you have to buy again. If you're not sure where to start shopping for your next auto loan due to credit challenges, let us help.

Auto Credit Express can get you on the path toward your next car. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that can help you get financing despite poor credit. These dealers work with lenders that are ready to finance people in unique credit situations. Get started right now by filling out our easy and free auto loan request form.