A. Yes. It's estimated that buying a certified 2012 car could save you 15 percent or more compared with the same model as a new 2013 car. In addition, two- or three-year-old vehicles just returned from a new-car lease can be good candidates for a certified used car.
Savings can be especially big if the current model has been redesigned. For instance, the midsize 2013 Ford Fusion SE sells for $23,085, according to Kelley Blue Book. But a 2012 certified Fusion with a four-cylinder engine and 15,000 miles is priced at $17,534 -- a savings of $4,551.
The best value is a certified program sponsored by the manufacturer, which will also set requirements on which parts of the car must be inspected and repaired if needed.
To make sure you are getting the best deal on a certified car,follow these steps:
- Avoid independent used car lots and go to a franchised dealer that also sells new cars.
- Even at franchised dealers, make sure your warranty is backed by the manufacturer. If it is a Ford warranty, for instance, you should be able to get covered repairs done at any Ford dealer.
- Ask to see the vehicle history. A good certified offering should include a report from Carfax or a competitor showing the previous owners and whether the car has ever been in a major accident.