For car buyers with damaged credit there are advantages and disadvantages in financing certified used cars with a high risk auto loan.
The advantage of choice

Borrowers with problem credit often have a choice when it comes to choosing the type of used car to finance. The reason for this is that in some cases even these buyers can pick either a regular used car or a certified used car.

Here at Auto Credit Express we can understand the confusion this can sometimes cause as we've spent more than two decades helping car buyers with bad credit searching for online car loans find those dealers that can offer them their best opportunities for car loan approvals.

So what's the difference between these two types of used cars?

Certified used cars

Manufacturer-backed certified used car programs work like this: If certain trade-ins, lease turn-ins or auction purchased vehicles meet specific age and mileage requirements they qualify for an inspection program. Following the replacement of specific worn, broken or defective parts, dealers can then sell them with a manufacturer-backed warranty (a used car service contract from the manufacturer).

Because of the added costs required to do this, these certified used cars are then sold at a premium over regular (non-certified) used cars.

What is and is not covered under these warranties varies by manufacturer. Jaguar offers a 6 year/100,000 mile limited warranty (much like their new cars) along with a vehicle history report, 24 hour roadside assistance, complimentary oil and filter changes and a slew of other features. Certified used Chryslers, on the other hand, come with a 3 month/3,000 mile limited warranty along with a 7 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty (with the owner responsible for a $150 deductible amount on both), a Carfax vehicle history report and a 3 month subscription to Sirius satellite radio (in vehicles so equipped).

Certification programs

Both of those programs are certified by their respective manufacturers. Unfortunately, just because a dealer advertises a car as certified doesn't necessarily mean that it's part of a manufacturer-backed program.

This means that buyers need to check that the certified used car they're looking at is backed by a manufacturer's program, not by a dealer. If it isn't, buyers may be required to pay for any repairs up front and submit a claim to an independent warranty company for reimbursement – a situation much less desirable.

Also only franchised new car dealers can participate in manufacturer-backed certified used car programs. These programs aren't available to independent used car dealers including BHPH car lots.

The pros and cons of certified used cars

There are both pros and cons to buying certified used cars mainly because they can cost hundreds of dollars more than their non-certified counterparts. Because of the pricing difference, it pays to research the vehicle you're considering.

Here are some helpful tips:

• Check out various websites. At, for a fee, you can look up the repair records of a particular model. A spotty record means considering either a certified model or a non-certified model with a service contract. Compare the difference in price and coverage (systems, deductible, etc.) between the two. A good repair record makes this decision more difficult.

• Run an AutoCheck or Carfax report on any non-certified car you're considering (most certified used cars include one of these reports). If the report is clean and the addition of a service contract makes it more affordable that the certified model, it may be hard to justify paying the additional cost of the certified used car.

• Kelley Blue Book now lists the values for both certified and non-certified used cars, allowing buyers to better compare the dealer prices of both types to their average selling prices.

• Just to be sure, have any vehicle you choose, certified or otherwise, inspected by an ASE certified master mechanic and have its body inspected by a frame specialist before signing on the dotted line.

How to find a dealer if you have credit problems

One more tip: Auto Credit Express matches applicants that have experienced car credit issues with dealers that can offer them their best chances for approved car loans.

So if you're ready to establish your auto credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loan application.