A grey 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 is shown from the side parked at sunset.

It’s in the Details: Certified Pre-Owned Explained

You’ve got your eye on a Certified Pre-Owned Silverado. It’s everything you’re looking for in a truck, but you hesitate because it’s not brand new. How do you know if buying Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is for you? Let’s take a look at some key factors of the certification process so you can purchase that Certified Pre-Owned Silverado with confidence. Chevrolet offers one of the most comprehensive CPO vehicles programs in the industry, and we are here to tell you that buying a Certified Pre-Owned Silverado will be worth it.

What Makes the Cut?

Have you wondered why some trucks are listed as used and others as Certified Pre-Owned? Chevy has a set of initial criteria each vehicle must meet to be considered for CPO status. The first thing is the truck’s age, as no models older than six years can earn the certified status. Mileage matters as well. Vehicles must have under 75,000 miles to move to the next steps in the vetting process.

In addition to age and mileage limitations, the vehicle must have a clean title and pass a Vehicle History Report. During this investigation, the inspectors look for potential issues such as a branded title. A branded title indicates that the vehicle may have been damaged in an accident or flood and is potentially unsafe to drive. This finding ends the inspection process, and the truck would not qualify for certified status.


Every Chevy Certified Pre-Owned truck includes a free CARFAX report. The report contains essential information about the vehicle’s history, such as any prior accidents, the service history, and whether it was a personal or business vehicle. A truck used as a private vehicle is more likely to be well cared for than one in a business fleet which multiple employees likely drove. Service records are vital and indicate that a truck was well maintained. The CARFAX report would also include any outstanding safety recalls, but your dealer will have resolved those before listing the vehicle.

A popular Certified Pre-Owned Silverado, a red 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 is shown parked in a grass field.

Inspection and Reconditioning

Once the vehicle passes the initial qualification criteria, it moves through the 172-point vehicle inspection and reconditioning process. This is the heart of the comprehensive certification process and includes a complete assessment of every aspect of the vehicle. The inspection report includes columns for the inspector to indicate they have checked each item on the list, whether it needs to be repaired/replaced, and another column for when the work is completed. The level of detail is unsurpassed and gives the buyer confidence that there are no unknowns about the truck.


The process starts by completing all required maintenance for the next service cycle. This includes an oil change and all standard service checks, including filters, belts, batteries, and fluids. So, once a vehicle has that certified distinction, you’ll know that it is in good shape and isn’t going to immediately need to be serviced.

Tires and Brake Pads

During the inspection, the tires are also checked. Tires must meet strict safety standards with a minimum tire tread depth of 5/32NDS across the tire plane. Tires must also be of the same brand and size. Similarly, brake pads must meet stringent requirements, or the dealer will replace them before placing the vehicle on the lot.

Fresh and Clean

Everyone loves a clean car, and while it doesn’t affect the safety of your ride, it’s up to Certified Pre-Owned standards until it is fresh and clean inside and out. A good cleaning removes any stains or odors from seats and carpets. No surface is left uncleaned, including storage compartments, the trunk, and windows. Surface chips and road tar are all cleaned to deliver a shiny, polished vehicle.

Road Test

Next up is a road test. The real test is on the road to quickly identify any engine, transmission, steering, or climate control issues. Every component is turned on and tested, including defrost, air circulation, steering wheel alignment, and dash panel gauges. The road test also identifies any issues with performance. If there is any wind noise or rattling sounds, they are on the list for repair.

Functional Components

The functional section of the inspection ensures that components such as airbags and child safety locks are in working order. It is also where inventory takes place, and examination of key fobs, spare tires, jacks, and tools occur. The importance of theft detection can’t be understated, and the theft detection system undergoes testing and repair if needed.

Engine Compartment

The engine compartment is home to all major systems of the truck. Systems include the brake system and the cooling, ignition, fuel, and power steering systems. The checklist ensures that inspection is complete and all systems are a go. Even the smallest detail is attended to, as any missing labels or decals are replaced with new labels.


The truck is placed upon a lift so the underside can undergo an extensive review. Suspension, drive train, and brake systems are all examined, and each aspect requires a checkmark in the inspection box indicating if work is needed and subsequently complete. This undercarriage inspection also includes the exhaust system and any tow hooks.


The inspector notes the overall condition of the steering wheel, and any touch controls must be in working order. Seating must be in good condition with little to no wear. The audio system goes through sound checks for clarity and ensures all speakers are functioning. Dash controls, inside rearview mirror, and sun visors are just a few of the interior details which are inspected and repaired or replaced if needed.


The inspection is not complete without a walk around the truck. Windows need to be clean and damage-free, and all exterior lights must be in working order. Glass is replaced if there is damage or if there is a crack larger than 3/16 inches. The inspector checks the bed liner for wear and closely inspecting the liftgate for any needed repairs. From the running boards to the roof, nothing is left unchecked.

A white 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 is shown parked in a field.


Chevrolet Certified Pre-Owned vehicles come with two factory-backed limited warranties. There is a 6-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty and a 12-month/12,000-mile Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, both with $0 deductible. Warranties provide peace of mind and are your best protection to ensure you aren’t stuck with costly repairs.

Scheduled Maintenance

Keeping up with regular maintenance is a critical factor in the longevity of your truck. Regular maintenance ensures all systems are running correctly and any issues are identified before they become costly repairs. When we deliver your CPO truck, it is up-to-date maintenance, and the first two visits are complimentary. This inspection includes oil and filter change, tire rotation, and multi-point inspections.


If you discover that this is not the perfect truck for you, return it within the first three days, or the first 150 miles, whichever comes first. It happens. Sometimes you need a little extra time with a vehicle to determine if it will meet all of your needs, and we will work with you to find the ideal fit.


Even pre-owned vehicles deserve the latest in safety and security. That’s why we offer a three-month trial of the OnStar Safety & Security Plan and Connected Services, including remote start and door unlock from your smartphone. All eligible SiriusXM-equipped Chevy Certified Pre-Owned vehicles come with a three-month trial. Try it out, and if it’s not for you, there is no commitment after the free trial period.

Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance is essential. We want to add that sense of security, knowing you are never alone while on the road, even with our meticulous attention to detail. Your CPO truck includes 24-hour roadside assistance during your warranty period. The peace of mind knowing you are never alone in the chance that you need help while on the road.

It’s Time to Consider a CPO Silverado

So, let’s get back to that Certified Pre-Owned Silverado you have your eye on. The comprehensive inspection and repair program makes it the ideal way to purchase a truck that meets or exceeds all of your expectations within your budget. Add to that the warranties and service, and it’s easy to see why you can buy with confidence when you buy a Certified Pre-Owned model.