Toyota is one of the most popular brands among used car buyers because its vehicles are known to be exceptionally reliable and long-lasting. If you're planning to get a used Toyota, you have two options available: an ordinary pre-owned car or a certified pre-owned car. Each of these options has its own pros and cons, which you need to carefully weigh before making your final decision. Find out the differences between a pre-owned vehicle and a certified pre-owned vehicle.

What Is a Pre-Owned Vehicle?

2021 toyota rav4 in adventure grade driving off-road in forestImage via Toyota Dot Com.

Pre-owned vehicles refer to used vehicles. In other words, a pre-owned car had at least one owner in the past. Its price can vary greatly depending on its make, model, year, and condition. The condition of a pre-owned car is one of the main considerations for used car buyers. Compared to a poorly cared-for vehicle, a properly maintained vehicle is more likely to operate well for a longer time with fewer problems and repairs, making it a more worthwhile investment. Depending on its age, a pre-owned car may or may not be under warranty.

What Is a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle?

A certified pre-owned vehicle is a factory-certified used vehicle that's available for purchase at a dealership of the same brand. Typically, it's an accident-free, gently used, and low-mileage vehicle that's only a few years old. It's different from an ordinary used vehicle in that it comes with warranty coverage from the original manufacturer. This type of car is highly reliable because it has been properly inspected and repaired to achieve a “like-new” condition.

Different auto manufacturers set different requirements for certified pre-owned vehicles. Toyota only chooses vehicles that aren't older than six years old and have traveled less than 85,000 miles. Selected vehicles will undergo the automaker's 160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection and then receive a CARFAX Vehicle History Report. After they've passed the certification test, they'll receive warranty coverage from Toyota, which includes a limited comprehensive warranty for 12 months or 12,000 miles, limited powertrain warranty for seven years or 100,000 miles, and one year of roadside assistance.

Pros and Cons of Pre-Owned Vehicles

The choice between a pre-owned vehicle and a certified pre-owned vehicle depends on your personal needs and budget. The best way to make an informed buying decision is to look at their benefits and drawbacks. Below are the pros and cons of pre-owned vehicles:


  • Lower price: An ordinary used vehicle can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars cheaper than a certified pre-owned vehicle of the same make, model, and year. As such, it may be a more attractive option if you have a tight budget. Even if you can afford a certain certified pre-owned car, you have the option of getting a better used car from the same manufacturer, such as a higher trim level or a more expensive model.
  • More options: Another benefit of buying a pre-owned vehicle is that you'll have more options available. You can find just about any model or trim level at your local dealership. You may even have many choices for a particular model. Certified pre-owned vehicles, on the other hand, are scarcer because not many cars are able to pass the stringent certification test.


  • Higher risk: One of the main problems with buying a used vehicle is that you don't really know what you're getting. A car that appears fine on the outside may have hidden problems that can be expensive to fix. Since it doesn't have to meet any quality standards, a pre-owned car can be in any condition. However, you can find out if a certain vehicle is worth buying by hiring a mechanic to inspect it.
  • No warranty: If the manufacturer's warranty on the pre-owned vehicle you're buying has expired, you have to be prepared to pay any repair bills out of your own pocket if something goes wrong in the future.
  • Higher financing rate: If you need financing to purchase a used Toyota vehicle, you'll likely have to pay a higher interest rate. This is because it's more difficult to predict the value of a pre-owned car several years down the line.

Pros and Cons of a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle

If you want to have greater peace of mind, you'll be better off getting a certified pre-owned vehicle. However, this type of car also has a number of drawbacks. The following are the pros and cons of buying a certified pre-owned vehicle:


  • Warranty coverage: Unlike a used vehicle, a certified pre-owned vehicle comes with warranty coverage from its manufacturer as a form of quality assurance, which is probably its most compelling benefit. While the warranty is valid, you can have your vehicle repaired at your local Toyota dealership for free if it experiences any problem.
  • New, low-mileage vehicle: As mentioned early, all certified pre-owned Toyota vehicles are no older than six years old and have less than 85,000 miles. As such, they'll be able to serve you well for many more years, giving you great value for your money.
  • Thorough inspection: You can expect your certified pre-owned vehicle to be problem-free for quite some time after you drive it off the lot. This is because the dealership has thoroughly inspected the car and fixed all the issues they detected. 


  • Higher price: A Toyota dealership spends a substantial amount of time, effort, and money to ensure a certified pre-owned vehicle is in tiptop condition. It also offers to repair any problems that occur in the next few years or thousands of miles. The extra work and cost that go into the car make it more expensive than a similar non-certified used car.
  • Limited choices: Due to the low-mileage requirements and stringent inspection, only a limited number of used cars make the certified pre-owned grade. Therefore, you'll likely have fewer options available if you want to purchase a certified used vehicle.

Now that you know the differences between a pre-owned vehicle and a certified pre-owned vehicle, you're in a better position to decide which one is a more suitable option for you. Regardless of your choice, you can find plenty of high-quality Toyota vehicles at Kings Toyota. Contact us today to schedule a test drive.


Categories: Pre-Owned Inventory