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Used-Car Financing & Warranty FAQs
How do I finance a used car?
Using the dealership’s lender is convenient, but it’s best to shop around at banks and credit unions ahead of time so you’ll know whose rate is best when you’re at a dealership. This research may take a few days but can be well worth the time.
Yes, loan rates are higher overall for used versus new cars, but they may be better if the car is factory-certified pre-owned because manufacturers may offer attractive interest rates to promote CPO sales. Before financing with a dealer, bank or credit union, check the national average interest rates for used cars at Bankrate.com.
How do I know if I can afford the payments?
You can estimate your payments here using Cars.com’s finance calculators. You should have a down payment of at least 20 percent, financing lasting no longer than four years and a principal, interest and insurance total not exceeding 10 percent of your gross household income.
Extended warranties offer peace of mind, but apart from the coverage included with factory-certified pre-owned cars, additional plans come with a price that studies have shown to be higher than the benefits you can claim in repairs.
Initial warranties are limited by the miles and age of a car, so if the car has higher miles, original warranties may no longer apply. Also note that warranties don’t always transfer to subsequent buyers. Check the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications for warranty limits.
What is a bumper-to-bumper warranty and what does it cover?
Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components such as air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance such as fluid top-offs and oil changes, but a growing number of brands have separate free-maintenance provisions. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties. Terms are typically three years or 36,000 miles, although some have terms as high as six years or 60,000 miles. Check the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications for bumper-to-bumper warranty limits.
What does CPO mean?
A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.
Tips for Buying a Used Car
First-Time Buyers: New, Used or Certified Pre-Owned?
Is a Used Car a Good Idea?
Making Sense of Used-Car Warranties
Used cars tend to have fewer warranty options than their brand-new counterparts, but the policies can be just as daunting to understand. We checked several used-car policies and consulted with a few experts. Here’s what we found.
9 Fine Choices for Used-Car Shoppers
If the 1.8 million used vehicles on Cars.com didn’t tip you off, that’s quite the haystack. Which needles should you look for? Cars.com reviewers, a crew well-versed in used-car purchases, name their favorite used cars from the past dozen years.
How to inspect a Used Car
It’s tempting to hop in a used car you’re considering buying and take it for a spin, but it’s wise to inspect the car carefully before and after the drive to determine its condition and attempt to confirm the answers the seller gave you before you arrived.
As a potential used-car buyer, there’s a lot to consider before handing over your hard-earned cash. We’ve created this step-by-step checklist to help get you on your way to buying a used car that best fits your life.
Were you looking for more on these related topics?
Knowing if Certified-Used Is for You
Researching Models and Reviews
On a Tight Budget?
Pre owned cars
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