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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Nine
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Issue Nine
October 29, 2003
Fernandez Racing
Fernandez Interview
Hot Lap: Strong Strut
CPO Nightmares
Lotus Elise Preview
Coming Next Issue
Bimmer Roundup Coverage
Hot Lap: The Wheel Exchange
Review PowerBook G4 17 inch
Want Clean Glass?

CPO Nightmares, continued.


Certified Pre Owned Cars For Sale

For the most part, CPO programs do appear to work as intended. But there are some potential problems and pitfalls that the consumer needs to be made aware of - the adage "Let the buyer beware" still applies to CPO vehicles. Roadfly has learned of several recent CPO problems and feels compelled to share some of this info with you, our valued reader.

The Basics: What Exactly is CPO?

Rather than bore you with paragraph after paragraph of information, let's just consider the basics about most CPO programs.

  • Factory initiated program
  • Applies to vehicles that are relatively new and still covered by original warranty
  • May extend vehicle's warranty by time and mileage
  • May include extra services like roadside assistance
  • Vehicles are inspected by the selling dealership: a comprehensive list of body, mechanical, safety and accessory inspections is performed
  • Vehicles are repaired and brought up to standard prior to sale
  • Vehicles usually receive additional detailing
  • Vehicles are usually "featured" by the dealership
  • Vehicles usually cost more than non-CPO vehicles with similar options and equipment

The above list is just what it is - the very general basics. There's a ton of fine print involved with each manufacturer's CPO program, so you'll have to do your homework if you're interested in a CPO vehicle. But what happens if things go wrong? Does buying a CPO vehicle guarantee you'll get a trouble free vehicle? Not exactly.

While browsing the various internet-based message boards, we discovered that a small (yet not insignificant) number of people were reporting odd problems with their CPO vehicles - some had an inordinate number of problems, others had minor problems, but they were problems nonetheless.

After doing a little more digging, we found one CPO vehicle owner who was sold a car that appeared to have been the victim of a major accident - body panels had been replaced and repainted, air bag problems existed, and so on. Another CPO vehicle owner had reported that his "new" CPO vehicle was in the shop for months on end, while the dealer attempted to fix a long list of problems. And yet another owner reported a constant overheating problem, combined with oil leaks.

We attempted to contact the owners so that we could discuss this with them, but apparently, the manufacturers who sponsor the CPO program had put a "gag order" on the owners. E-mails were returned with a brief note indicating something to the effect of, "Can't talk about it, [vehicle manufacturer] has made me sign a non-disclosure agreement."

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