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Why a certified used car can be a good choice right now

Why a certified used car can be a good choice right now

If you’ve been thinking about buying a certified pre-owned (CPO) or used car, now might be a good time, especially if you’re considering a Honda HMC,
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Acura, or Ford F,
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The ability to buy an older Honda or Acura with factory warranty protection has just been enhanced for vehicles up to 10 years old under new certified pre-owned programs from both automakers. Ford launched its own similar program in early 2021.

A year earlier, Ford beat Honda and Acura to the extreme and expanded its CPO program. It includes not only up to 10-year-old Ford models, but also eligible models of any brand.

This additional factory-backed protection can help consumers looking for more affordable options for older vehicles. The skyrocketing prices of new vehicles drove buyers to consider more affordable used cars, including models five years or older.

Read on to find out what protection you can expect and what types of warranty coverage come with these programs before purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle.

What are certified used cars?

Certified pre-owned cars are the best-of-the-best used models on a franchised dealer’s used car property. Every vehicle must pass an intensive inspection by a factory-trained technician. Those specialists use factory parts to replace or repair defective parts.

Automakers stand behind these vehicles with additional limited warranty protection beyond the original new car warranty that may be left. The brand usually sweetens the deal with other CPO perks like special financing, 24/7 roadside assistance, a free vehicle history report, and some free scheduled maintenance.

These are all benefits and protections not offered on ordinary used cars. Potential buyers should compare CPO programs because automakers’ inspections and benefits vary.

Honda True Used Program

Buying a used car is always a roll of the dice. There are few guarantees. Even if the seller is acting with honest intent, there is no way to anticipate hidden problems. CPO essentially provides some warranty protection against many of those accidental repairs.

For the most part, a manufacturer reserves its CPO program for later model light-used vehicles with limited miles on the odometer. Until the launch of HondaTrue Used, Honda’s two-tier HondaTrue Certified (CPO) program was extended to Honda models as little as five years old with less than 80,000 miles on them. HondaTrue Used pushes age to no more than 10 years and mileage to unlimited miles. So any 10-year-old Honda model could qualify for this level.

HondaTrue Used models do not have the same warranty protection as HondaTrue Certified because the qualification rules are less strict. Still, every HondaTrue Used model must pass a comprehensive inspection by a factory-certified technician. In addition, it must also have a clean vehicle history report that is free of accidents. Before purchasing, buyers can download a copy of the completed 112-point checklist and view the history report.

Any vehicle Honda has accepted into HondaTrue Used will receive a powertrain and non-powertrain manufacturer’s warranty for 100 days or 5,000 miles (whichever comes first). The warranties do not cover every part, but do cover important systems. The Honda certified second hand Warranty booklet indicates what is covered.

Value-added benefits

While not as comprehensive as the benefits for HondaTrue Certified models, HondaTrue Used offers some value-added benefits to make the deal more pleasant. They include 24/7 roadside assistance during the HondaTrue Used powertrain warranty. A free oil change during the first year of ownership is another benefit. For the duration of the powertrain warranty, buyers also receive limited compensation for travel interruptions, concierge service and free satellite radio service for 90 days. Buyers have up to three days or 300 miles to exchange a Honda CPO vehicle for another CPO vehicle.

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Acura Precision used

Acura Precision Used is similar to Honda’s new program. However, it reflects Acura’s enhanced Precision Certified program. There are significant differences:

  • The length of warranty coverage without powertrain and drivetrain increases to six months or 7,500 miles.

  • 24/7 roadside assistance is for a year or 12,000 miles.

  • Buyers have up to seven days or 300 miles to exchange an Acura CPO model for another CPO vehicle.

Ford blue advantage

In 2021, Ford took another spin on its CPO program when it launched its Ford Blue Advantage (FBA) to complement its existing program. Ford now calls the original program Ford Gold Advantage. FBA is for Ford models that did not qualify for Gold Advantage. The new program extends eligibility for Ford vehicles up to 10 years old. However, it puts a mileage limit of 120,000 miles on cars to qualify.

Ford does something different than Honda and Acura. FBA is open to models of any brand on its eligible dealers’ used lots. The vehicle must meet the FBA age and mileage requirements and pass the 139-point inspection by a certified technician. Whether Ford or other make models, eligible vehicles come with a Ford-backed 90-day or 4,000-mile limited warranty. Ford requires a $100 deductible for any warranty repair.

FBA includes 24/7 roadside assistance for up to seven years or 100,000 miles from original purchase date when new. It also offers a 14-day or 1,000-mile money-back guarantee. In addition, FBA buyers get access to FordPass Rewards with 11,000 free points. These can be exchanged for uncovered warranty repairs, routine maintenance and the purchase of Ford products.

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Porsche-approved

There is nothing new in the Porsche Approved CPO program. However, the current program is worth mentioning as it covers Porsche models up to 13 years old. That’s right. The CPO warranty for Porsche models that are still under the original new car warranty comes into effect when the original 4 year or 50,000 mile warranty expires. The program provides a 2-year unlimited mileage warranty from the date of sale for Porsche CPO models with expired new car warranties. The CPO warranty covers the powertrain, suspension, steering, braking system, electrical system and more.

Benefits include 24/7 roadside assistance and no deductible for covered repairs.

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Who else?

While the list of CPO programs that provide some degree of factory protection for older model year vehicles is short, we expect more automakers to follow suit.

This story originally ran autotrader.com.