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BMW CPO: To certify or not to certify?

Car Tips | February 1st, 2009 by 49
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To certify or not to certify? That’s been a popular question among BMW owners the last few years as BMW rolled out it’s certified pre-owned …

BMW CPO: To certify or not to certify?

To certify or not to certify? That’s been a popular question among BMW owners the last few years as BMW rolled out it’s certified pre-owned program for used BMW’s. It’s a program popular enough with BMW owners that it’s spread to many other higher end brands such as Lexus and Audi who realized how attractive this may be to those who are new to their brand but don’t want to buy a new car.

For those that don’t know, in BMW terms, the certified pre-owned program is a service you can opt for on any BMW over about 10,000 and under 60,000 miles. However, for a vehicle that is less than 4 years old and has mileage that low then you should hold off as the factory warranty is still more than likely available on the car. As for the warranty itself, it’s good for 2 years or the next 50,000 miles from when it is certified. But I digress, the important thing people need to know is that the items covered by the certification process are:

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  • Engine
  • Transmission(Auto and Manual)
  • Fuel system
  • Front and rear suspension
  • Brakes and ABS
  • Air Conditioning
  • The electrical system
  • A few other more integral systems are also covered

Aside from the coverage on the major systems of the car, when a car is certified BMW is required to do hundreds of checks on the car to bring it up to spec before it can be considered covered as a CPO warranty.

As part of these checks, BMW does things such as replace engine belts, change the oil and other fluids, change brake pads and rotors, check the fuel system, a change of tires(if the tread is low enough and you have non-spec BMW tires), etc. The inspection essentially works to confirm that the car is as close as can be to a car that just rolled out of the factory.

Based on the work required to bring you car to CPO- spec will determine the price of your certification so, if you’ve owned your car since new and have it certified then the more preventative maintenance you’ve kept up with then likely the cheaper your CPO will be. For example, my certification cost about $1,800 as BMW had to replace the tires on my car as they weren’t BMW spec( don’t put any Pirelli’s on the car before you have it CPO’d!) so the cost was driven up some.

All in all, if you want to cover major parts and a little more piece of mind after your factory warranty expired or you’re nervous about buying a German car due to out-of-warranty maintenance then this may be a good program for you. Personally, I have buyer’s regret with mine but I’m curious to here what those of you who have a CPO’d car or have considered doing so think about the program.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Hegedosh/8204311 Tom Hegedosh

    I bought my z4 CPO’ed from the dealer with 35k miles, and yeah if you consider the amount of repairs they’ve done under warranty, it was definately a good decision. The schedules maintenences weren’t included though

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1315021455 Alex Romania

    It’s a shame that maintenance is not included, it would only make sense. What kind of problems did you have Tom?

  • Brookside

    I had my 2004 Z4 CPO inspected….it passed with one caveat- the same thing as Horatiu happened…I had replaced the run-flats with Yokohama’s and was told I’d have to pony up and get some Bridgestones to get it compliant. I turned them down- I was looking for a trade & the deal on offer at that time wasn’t great. My plan was to sell the car privately.

    However, what I had, was an official record that the car was valued at the highest resale price- Something I could show to prospective buyers (and btw, those all-season Yokes were twice the tire than the runflats).

  • Facebook User

    @Brookside:

    I got screwed on that and was made to change the tires back to Conti sports from some Dunlops I had on there. I raised a stink about it but they said it had to be done. Other than that, does the CPO really lend any major value to the resale of a car?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=51500531 Andrew Murphy

    Weird, it didn’t register me as my profile.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Hegedosh/8204311 Tom Hegedosh

    @Alex Romania: some cable in the top motor broke, they replaced my amp cause it as cutting out, some idle valve thing, and a couple of other repairs that would have added up to over $2k with labor

  • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

    @Andrew Murphy: I think you were logged into Facebook, in the same browser :)

  • bmwtechal

    suspension items are not covered under cpo. they are considered wear items/matience items.

  • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

    @bmwtechal: So, in your opinion, is CPO worth it?

  • Brookside

    CPO certified basically means that the car went thru a thorough inspection by BMW mechanics (it took more than an hour) and it rates in the upper 90% of used cars of the same make and model with no damage. My car wasn’t perfect – but I thought it was pretty close – and low miles/no smoker.

    Tell you what happened. 2 months later my wife was in an major accident in that Z4…she is fine, she wasn’t at fault, there’s no injuries, but the car was declared a total wreck. The other guys insurance paid top BlueBook price and the determining factor, the one thing I thought sealed the deal was that I could point to the CPO inspection. My BMW dealer backed me up with the records. & The insurance paid out.

    OK- I promise, no more car stories from me. :)

    • Mjdmail

      Hello-You seems to be the answer man here. I just bought a 2006 325i and it appeare dto be out of warranty-I open up the manual and their is a CPO card in the bag-How can I check?

  • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

    @Brookside: No no, you should definitely share more, these are the type of articles we should have on here. I get so many emails with questions regarding insurance claims, CPO, etc..etc…So, feel free to share some :)

  • Gil

    I’m happy with my CPO’ed 740iL (oh god that was centuries ago…). My 2 Audis were also CPO. My (used) Lexus had a 3rd-party extended warranty – that was painful.

    I think the convenience comes when you compare it to 3rd-party “extended” warranty. You fight them tooth and nail, you have to get “pre-approved” for the stupid repair, or find an approved mechanic, then you pay out of pocket, then you wait for a check, bla bla bla. Long process.

    With CPO, you just bring the car to the dealer, and that’s that. If it’s not covered, well, what can you do. If it’s covered, you’re thankful and you smile (right???).

    I’d take manufacturer’s CPO warranty any day. No, it doesn’t cover everything, but it sure minimizes the drama and hassle.

  • Elliot

    I just 3 weeks ago purchased a CPO’d 2005 X5 4.4i. It is as clean as a car with 15k and it had 46k when i drove it home. It’s Perfect. I purchased it from Perillo here in Chicago. I brought it in 2 days later to have the cd changer installed and the mechanic “didn’t like the way the brakes felt” so i was given new pads on all four wheels. That is the beauty of CPO. No hassle at all. I am covinced I will only drive a BMW from now on and will not hesitate to shop CPO again.

    • You

      You said: “had 46k when i drove it home”
      The brake pads were replaced under original Manufacturer Warranty, not under CPO.
      CPO kicks in at 50K miles or after expiration date of original Manufacturer warranty.
      CPO does not include maintenance (brake pads).

  • Gragop

    @Elliot:

    you’ve had a much better experience than mine, none of the items(aside from an oil change) were covered under my maintenance package nor the CPO so it came to about $1,000+ worth of work. Absurd – so glad I spent so much cash on the damn warranties in the first place.

    • Godo882000

      I’m looking at a 2007 BMW 335i with 59000 miles that has a two year extended warranty. Is it worth buying with that many miles?

    • Dude

      His experience was nice, because it was covered under original Manufacturer’s Warranty, not CPO.

  • http://OriginalownercantCPOcar dambmw

    The owner has the option of buying a warranty from BMW that is equivalent to the CPO program but its not called the CPO program, its something like the “Original Owners Protection Program”. Ive heard the items covered are the same as the CPO warranty but only the original owner of the car can purchase the warranty, see following link

    http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/Owner/BMWUltimateService/Warranty.aspx

  • http://ekim53 Mike Zambelli

    Just purchased a 2005 325 Ci convertible with 26K mileage. It’s super clean and this is my first BMW. The original warranty is up around August or September of this year. What are your thoughts on purchasing the CPO (if it’s an option???since I didn’t buy the car from a BMW dealer) and what is the general cost? Thanks for your help and if you have any other advice, I will greatly appreciate it.

  • http://OriginalownercantCPOcar dambmw

    @Mike Zambelli: If you didnt buy the car from a BMW dealer, there is no way to get the car Certified Preowned Warranty or CPO.

    In your position, I would inquire about an aftermarket warranty at the dealership you plan on having the car maintained. Usually the ones the BMW sales (ie. non-CPO, aftermarket) are much cheaper than the “Original Owners Protection Plan” warranty plus since the BMW dealership sells it, they usually back it. This is based on what some friends have told me, no first hand knowledge.

    Another option is if you belong to a credit union, when you buy a car, they sometimes offer an aftermarket warranty that you can just put in as part of your car payment. Maybe you can re-finance and add a warranty to the car if they even provide one. My daughter (against the advice of myself and son-in-law) bought a Chrysler Van and was able to purchase an extended warranty thru the credit union where she financed the van.
    Im leary of aftermarket warranties you see on the internet, seems like you hear all the time they go out of business or someone buys them out. She got her moneys worth on the warranty, she had repairs well in excess of what the warranty cost her on her loan, even including interest.

    There are several enthusiasts sites out there you can get info where this subject has been exhaustly examined, look at

    http://bimmerfest.com
    http://e46fanatics.com

    Good Luck!

    • Jesse

      Incorrect – you can buy a CPO car from a private individual, and the warranty goes with the car.

  • CJP

    Need some advice – fist time buyer BMW buyer here (have owned my Cherokee for 10 years!) but believe it’s time to move on…now I’m looking to buy a pre-owned X5 in the Los Angeles area and am a bit perplexed about where to buy it from – a BMW dealership (which seem to be a bit more expensive), a private seller or a non-BMW dealer (the later two = less expensive, but not CPO).

    Questions –
    1) if I’m purchasing a 2006 or 2007 X5, what can I expect to be the annual maintenance cost to be?

    2) once the warranty (4 years/ 50K and / or CPO= 6 years 100k) has expired, is it best to service the car / get it’s maintenance at a BMW dealer OR a BMW / European independent mechanic?

    3) if you buy from a pre-owned from a BMW dealer, do you get a loaner car when having it serviced?

    4) how often is servicing the X5 necessary?

    what else do I need to know!?

    Many thanks for any feedback here!

  • Gil

    CJP:

    This is from my experience. Others may differ (probably depends on the dealership too, to a certain degree).

    CPO is only offered thru BMW dealership, so if you want CPO, you kinda have no choice but to get it from them. To me, it’s worth it compared to 3rd-party warranty. It’s a lot less hassle.

    1) Don’t know about the X5. I have a 2006 X3 and it’s still under warranty. My 1993 740iL averages about $8,000/year to maintain. But I’m the anal and meticulous type, so little things that go wrong get fixed right away. Check Edmunds.com. They have an estimated 5-year costs for these things. They call it “true cost to own”. Here’s a link for 2006 X5 3.0i:
    http://www.edmunds.com/used/2006/bmw/x5/100653450/cto.html

    3) Yes. At least my dealer does. (Devon, Pennsylvania). Ask your dealership about it.

    4) My X3 is 30 months old, and have seen the wonderful dealer 6 times. My 740iL goes about every other month. It’s 15 years old, so I guess things do fail and break more often.

  • CJP

    Thanks for the feedback Gil!
    Curious why you’ve had to take your x3 in 6 times in less than 3 years? Isn’t that excessive – or is that the norm?

  • Gil

    CJP:

    Ha, I know that sounds scary right?

    Here’s the breakdown on the X3 (OK, 7 times, as I’m digging thru the service records):

    1. Something funny with the gas cap, so it doesn’t close right, and caused the “check gas cap” light to keep coming on after refueling.
    2 & 3. Faulty passenger seat weight sensor, which affected the airbag sensor. Fixed twice. And thankfully it stays fixed! :)
    4. Passenger seat heater.
    5. Faulty tire pressure sensor, both front wheels.
    6. Dynamic xenon headlights stopped swiveling (it’s amazing how spoiled you become with these swiveling headlights!).
    7. Light sensor stopped working, so leaving the headlights in “auto” mode doesn’t work at night time.

    #2 and #3 required the car to stay overnight for parts to come in. The rest of them were fixed in a day’s time.

    • Donna

      I have an X5 and it’s been in the shop 6 times (within 2 months) due to the tire pressure sensor light. For some reason the service people can’t fix the problem. The light comes on for no reason. Any advice?

  • Juan

    Here is a not so good story about a CPO 3 series I purchased. Almost two years later, I go to get the car appraised because I need more room now than a 3 series can provide. Well to my surprise, the car reports that it had been in an accident. Now mind you the carfax when I bought it was clean. No accidents and the car looked immaculate.

    Here is where it gets better. When I bought the car two things I noticed wrong right away were that one front tire rubbed on dips or when the front dipped low enough. No damage to the tire so I put it off as a thing to go back to the dealer. Second item was the swivel zenon lights, only one swiveled! Last item, although its been dismissed as a common item. The break sensor never came on and my pads wore down to the point they cracked! The accident happens to have been on the side of all the failures! So how thorough is this CPO program?

    Now I am at a loss because despite the fact that it is a CPO BMW it was appraised very low. They did a “goodwill” repair to the wheel well and new bumper.. woopie doo! So I am taking the legal approach as the friendly customer to vendor approach didn’t work for me.

  • Juan

    Lesson learned.. buy a new car next time!!

  • Elliot

    WOW, some of these stories scare me. But, I just returned from Joe Perillo in Chicago with my cpo’d 2005 X5 4.4i. Had it 4 weeks and notices 3 drops of oil on the ground. Only 3. I freaked and immediately took it in. It was only a gasket that needed replacement but they kept the car overnight to make sure the job was done correctly and all that was needed from me was a signature. Not crazy that i had the leak but the warranty did its job. I am still a fan. And Perillo is outstanding if you’re in the market in the Chicagoland area. I would not go anywhere else

  • Gil

    I guess it’s due diligence on the buyer’s part, too. I almost bought a CPO Lexus until I noticed a VIN sticker was missing on the front passenger door, and Carfax returned clean history. And Lexus is anal when it comes to VIN stickers – they have it plastered all over their vehicles. The dealership swore up and down that everything is legit. Uh oh, I don’t think so.

  • JCS

    I love my car but, I think the CPO sucks. I would never opt for it again, NOTHING has been covered and my 03 330xi was great for about 2 years then every little thing started to go, electrical, suspension, belts, air conditioning, that stupid tire pressure monitor, both rear light housings fried and melted! I’ve spent thousands in repairs and general upkeep. Now I have 2 rear suspension coils that are broken and will be $850 to have fixed. I’ve read on blogs that my year and make is know for these problems and go figure….both are cracked. time for a new car with less maintenance.

  • Craig

    I purchased my 2006 525XI in October of last year, 2008, with 18,000 original miles. This car had been previously own by one person and had been maintained by BMW thru a CT dealership. I purchased this car with the help of a consultant at auction where hundreds are auctioned off in PA regualarly. My question is this: the four year 50,000 mile is due to expire in September and I’m interested in knowing if an extended warranty thru BMW is possible? Since my purchase of the vehicle it has been serviced as required, once, and had a new battery installed. I have driven it 12,000 miles since acquiring it. As I reside in MA it is not being serviced by the original CT dealership.

  • Derek

    I’m looking at a CPO’d 530xi with 43000 miles on it. I noticed in the maintenance records that it had it’s 1st oil change at 17,500 miles, and the next change at 35,000. I was concerned a bit at 17,500. I know the synthetic oil can go for 15,000 miles but still… The sales person told me that the oil change alert is condition-based so the driver didn’t have to necessarily change it at 15,000. Is that really true?

  • Ryan

    I am interested in getting 07 7 series CPO 750LI. Any thoughts. Should i get from a dealer and should i be worried about costs of repairs down the road.
    Any insight would be greatly appreciated>

    • Brookside

      The CPO inspection is very thorough…I had a Z4 inspected and it took my dealership 2 hours to inspect the car including driving it thru urban stop and go traffic and a sprint on the interstate. The car passed btw, but I thought it would given the care I take. The entire process felt rigorous and honest.

      If you are locked in on getting a stretch 7 it’s probably just now coming off the standard warranty the car was issued with. Ask your dealer what warranties they recc. And do some research on your own. Also, approximate how long you’ll have the car..eg, why buy a year warranty when you can save a bit of money on a 3 year.

      BMW’s are reliable…some models like the E46 are almost bulletproof in regards to longevity and build quality. Commonsense is going to get you a great car.

  • Shaun

    I am thinking of purchasing a 2007 328xi coupe. It currently has 36k and the factory warranty expires in December. Do you think it is worth it to get the CPO? Thanks

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  • Harold

    I purchased my 2006 car, and the default warranty expired, is it possible to get the car CPO’d ? It only applies to used cars right?

  • Harold

    I just called Brecht BMW here in Escondido and spoke to Finance, they said owners can’t have CPO, it only works if the Lease is up, and the leaser wants to buy the vehicle, then he/she can opt for the CPO

    Need thoughts and comments about this, so I suppose there’s no way for an original owner addon anymore BMW warranty

    • Andrew

      Harold – I don’t know if that’s the case. To be honest, I leased my car and then technically sold it back to BMW and had it CPO’d then repurchased it immediately. So, that route worked for me but I would recommend contacting other dealers in the area to see if they’re willing to work with you.

  • Geno

    I’m thing to buy a 2007 or2008 750li cpo, what should I expect to pay for yearly mantance?

  • mini.malistic

    Guys,
    Your reviews are indeed very helpful and informative. I’m considering buying a 1 series from a non BMW dealer, so I checked up with BMW if I could purchase extended warranty for 2 yrs / 50,000mi. I was informed that the maintenance for additional 2 yrs would cost me $2095 and $ service for 2 additional years would cost me $2500. Is it possible to purchase these extended plans if I’m going to be the second owner for the car. Looking for some input form all you.
    Thank you in advance

  • JRT

    It’s great hearing everyone’s feedback but still a little confused regarding CPO coverage. What is the factory warranty on new vs CPO? I am looking to get an ’07 x5 and I assumed I would be getting CPO as I intend to keep it for at least 3-5 years. What is the savviest strategy when it comes to coverage?
    Thanks in advance for any and all feedback.

    • Mxrockit

      JRT,
      May be a little late here, but my neighbor is a mercedes mechanic at a dealer that also services BMW. When a CPO vehicle comes in for maintenance they have rules. Mercedes: If it’s 60 percent worn ; replace it. BMW: If it’s 40 percent worn on the; let it go. Anyone have a BWM neighbor who can verify??? Anyone???

  • John

    I am considering an 2007 X3 car is certfied, but the certification was done over a year ago and 18,000 miles. Dealer says that is ok they do not reinspect the car since it was certified already. Is that tyoical, how can a car be certified if inspection is over a year old and car has been diven all those mile?
    Help need to bnuy or not buy today
    Thanks

  • John

    I just verified with BMW Corp office that a CPO lasts for the 2 yr 50 K from the time it is originally inspected. Ther is NO required reinspection before selling car again. So as the woman on the phone said all I can do is ask dealer to inspect bring upto spec or walk away. This is a RIP OFF, and totally misleading representation.

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  • Anonymous

    Can anyone tell me what is covered with a cpo warranty?…

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