Whitney Russell
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Contrasting CPO and Extended Warranties

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CPO and extended warranties differ when it comes to comprehensiveness and term flexibility
Photo: Tumisu via Pixabay

If you’re shopping for a gently-used vehicle, you might be deciding between a certified pre-owned vehicle with a CPO warranty vs. a used vehicle with an extended warranty. Here’s a brief overview of how these two types of warranties differ to help you determine which one is the right investment for you.

Multiple Advantages: Reasons to go with a GM CPO vehicle

CPO vs extended

The main difference between CPO and extended warranties is that one is backed by a car’s automaker and the other is backed by a third-party company. A factory CPO vehicle’s warranty differs depending on the manufacturer when it comes to deductibles and the types of repairs covered, as U.S. News & World Report’s John Vincent points out. But a CPO warranty typically offers more comprehensive coverage and more flexible terms than an extended warranty does, adds Edmunds’ Ronald Montoya.

Some key advantages of each

CPO warranties have some distinct benefits worth noting if you’re on the fence between a CPO and a non-CPO used vehicle. For starters, you can service your vehicle at any official OEM dealership service department, not just the one you bought the vehicle from, explains Vincent. That means you can enjoy cost-free vehicle repairs when you’re traveling out of state. And CPO warranties won’t cost you extra; their price is built into the overall price of the CPO vehicle. Lastly, CPO warranties often come with extra side perks that vary from free periodic maintenance tasks and trip interruption coverage to a satellite radio subscription and roadside assistance, as Montoya highlights.

Extended warranties for non-CPO used cars have their own benefits, says Vincent. For one thing, you can service your vehicle at independent auto shops, not just a certified dealership. This can be a useful advantage if you travel frequently in remote areas where auto dealerships are scarce. Secondly, you can add an extended warranty to almost any pre-owned vehicle regardless of its age or condition. Thirdly, non-CPO used vehicles are often cheaper than CPO vehicles, so even though you’ll have to pay a bit extra for the extended warranty, it might be the most affordable option.

Concluding thoughts

car dealership salesperson standing outside a car and customer sitting inside a car, look at a tablet together
Buying a CPO vehicle from a dealership can be less stressful than finding a used car on your own and making sure it has a solid extended warranty

If you’re still not sure whether to go the CPO route or the extended warranty route, it can be safer to go with the former. A CPO vehicle backed with a CPO warranty will give you more peace of mind since you’ll know that the manufacturer (not just the dealership you purchased the CPO car from) will back certain repairs. You’ll save yourself the time and hassle of researching the exact terms of a third-party’s extended warranty. And you’ll minimize the chance of problems down the road if the third-party company that backs the warranty turns out to be sketchy and unreliable.

Want to learn more? Read up on GM’s new extended limited warranty option, then learn what types of circumstances might void a car’s warranty.

Buy Used With Confidence: Find the right CPO vehicle for you