Understanding How Ford Certified Pre-Owned Works

The Ins and Outs of the Ford's Certified Pre-Owned Program

2006 Ford Focus. Photo © Ford

The Ford certified pre-owned program is for used car buyers who want to buy a used car with the blue oval emblazoned on it. But, they also want the extra comfort of an extended warranty.

Just don’t buy a used car because it is Ford certified pre-owned. Before buying a certified pre-owned vehicle, check out this explanation of the certified pre-owned program offered by Ford. This explains the warranty program for the manufacturer; how old the certified pre-owned vehicles are, and other benefits you can expect from the manufacturer's certified pre-owned program.

To qualify for certified pre-owned status, each used Ford must be less than 6 model years old and have less than 80,000 miles on the odometer. Other websites have it wrong that eight-year old vehicles are eligible. They're not.

The vehicle history report looks for things like: flood vehicles; fire damage; frame damage; salvage vehicles; branded title; odometer issues; accident history; and, vehicle title history.

Each certified pre-owned Ford comes with a CarFax report. Take a moment to learn how to read a CarFax report to make sure you’re getting the best vehicle. Even certified pre-owned vehicles can sometimes have imperfect records if you miss certain key details.

Here are some of the other criteria for a vehicle to become Ford certified pre-owned:

  • It used to be a vehicle had to pass a 169 point-by-point exam. That’s been increased to 172 points but don’t be impressed automatically by that number. It’s not the quantity but rather the quality of what is being inspected that is important.
  • It comes with a full tank of fuel. That’s actually 172nd on the list of the point-by-point exam. With gas at $2 a gallon in December 2015, that’s not such a huge deal any more.
  • Its electric and hybrid vehicles have their own 15-point inspection as part of the overall certified pre-owned program. You might want to consider a certified pre-owned hybrid or electric vehicle because demand is currently down for this segment.
  • The 6-year/100,000-mile warranty provides coverage for the engine, transmission and more; and, fully transferable warranty.
  • The warranty covers more than 500 components, including many high-tech parts, as well as the failure of covered components due to abnormal wear resulting from defective materials or workmanship, in addition to mechanical break downs.
  • There is also a three-month, 3,000 mile comprehensive warranty from the time of sale. See the Ford certified pre-owned site for complete details.
  • Special financing is available as well as a trial subscription to Sirius/XM radio and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Keep in mind that certified pre-owned does not mean you are buying a perfect vehicle. In effect, you are paying more for a vehicle that comes with a strong warranty not offered on other used cars.

Just like with new cars, it is always possible you are going to have problems with a certified pre-owned used car. It’s worth checking out publications like Consumer Reports which have long-term reliability information on how a used car is going to perform.

After all, you are going to be buying a used car that is anywhere from one to six years old when considering a Ford certified pre-owned.

It’s going to be in nicer condition than most used cars but it’s not going to be mechanically perfect.