As an ex-Internet Manager for a major dealer who sold tons of used cars over the years, I make no secret that I’m a big fan of manufacturer certified pre-owned (CPO) programs. Consumers benefit by getting a vehicle that meets a higher standard AND gain long term protection through an extended warranty at no extra cost. I’ve wholeheartedly recommended CPO vehicles to friends and family members.
Mazda obviously did their homework when they designed their new program and included the best of other manufacturer’s successful CPO programs. They matched Honda’s 150-point inspection, 7-year/100,000 miles powertrain warranty, and 12-month/12,000 limited warranty. Mazda could have gone with Toyota’s lesser 3-month/3,000 miles limited warranty, but chose to take the higher road that Honda has already traversed.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved in the two warranties offered:
- Powertrain warranty. This includes the engine and transmission, the two areas that can be the most expensive to repair. Using Mazda as an example, its CPO powertrain warranty covers seven years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first) based on the in-service date, or when the vehicle was initially sold.
- Limited or comprehensive warranty. Also known as the “bumper-to-bumper” warranty, this warranty covers items not included in the powertrain warranty, such as electrical, electronic, and other mechanical issues. Not all CPO programs include a comprehensive warranty. Those that do vary in length, depending on the manufacturer.
Consumers should be aware that dealers may offer to extend the limited/comprehensive warranty for a fee, in some cases matching the length of coverage of the powertrain warranty. Mazda offers this option. This can be advantageous, but needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Variables include what’s covered, the term of coverage, and the cost.
To qualify for Mazda's program, vehicles can't be older than 2006 and must have less than 60,000 miles. Mazda’s other benefits:
- Zero deductible
- Vehicle history report
- 24 hour roadside assistance
- Transfer benefits if vehicle is sold
Make Your Best Deal
In a previous article, I’ve identified that manufacturers determine the benefits of CPO programs. This compares to dealers, who determine the price. The good news for consumers is that the value of the certified program is not diminished simply because you get a good deal on the selling price. It also means that the actual cost for the added value of a CPO vehicle is really determined by your negotiating skill.
As usual, used car buyers need to shop around and do their homework. Use websites like KBB.com and Edmunds.com to see what others in your area are paying. If possible get quotes from more than one dealer. Good luck.