Here's How to Tell Whether Leasing a CPO BMW Makes Sense for You

Are you on the market for a car but can't afford the latest model of your favorite brand? If that's the case, a might late-0model used car might make the most sense for you. Buying a used car means someone else already paid the depreciation associated with new cars. Question is, with that many makes and models to choose from how can you be sure you are getting the best car for your money?

In the early 1990s, car manufacturers started CPO (certified pre-owned vehicle) programs to market all those low-mileage trade-ins and lease returns. For the most part, these vehicles were well maintained and to make them even more attractive to potential buyers, manufacturers added extended warranties and other extra perks.

Today, almost all car manufacturers in the U.S. have CPO programs. While different brand programs share some similarities, they also vary widely.

What Makes a Used Car a CPO?

To be certified as a CPO a vehicle should be a late model, have low mileage and no significant damages. Furthermore, all vehicles undergo a detailed, multi-point inspection and reconditioning process. Add to that manufacturer-backed warranty, extras such as free maintenance and free roadside assistance, complimentary loaner and low financing rates and you will understand why CPOs are worth checking out.

What is a CPO BMW and How Does the BMW CPO Program Work?

For a BMW to be certified the vehicle must have less than 60,000 miles and be less than 4 years old. It also has to pass a rigorous inspection from BMW trained and certified technicians. Here's the multistep process every car goes through:

  1. Pulling a CARFAX report to make sure the vehicle has not been in any major accidents.
  2. Checking the maintenance log to make sure the vehicle has been maintained according to BMW's standards.
  3. Thorough car inspection to uncover any problem areas that need attention. 
  4. Fixing everything that's broken. 
  5. Road test to make sure the vehicle drives as expected.
  6. Reconditioning. 
  7. Performing upcoming maintenance that's due.
It's worth noting that in most cases those CPOs still have the original BMW 4-year/50,000-mile new car warranty and the new car maintenance plan can still be in effect. To prepare for the time when your BMW will no longer have warranty, ask to see what the maintenance costs will be in upcoming years.

It's also worth noting that BMW offers two certified pre-owned plans called Certified Pre-Owned Elite and Certified Pre-Owned.

  • Certified Pre-Owned Elite vehicles have fewer than 15,000 miles, and BMW adds a one-year/25,000-mile extension to the BMW new-car four-year/50,000 miles warranty.
  • Certified Pre-Owned BMWs are vehicles with fewer than 60,000 miles. For these certified pre-owned BMWs, BMW adds two years or up to 50,000 miles to the BMW new car warranty.
Not All Certified Cars Are Manufacturer Sponsored

It might come as a surprise to you but some dealers have their own certified programs with benefits similar to those of the manufacturers. What they don't have is a manufacturer-backed warranty and that's a big minus. In addition, dealers can set their parameters for certification meaning their inspection process is not thorough.

When a CPO Vehicle May Not Be the Best Option for You

Because of the inspection, warranty and the various extras you get, a certified pre-owned BMW costs more and buyers pay the premium with the goal of eluding costly repairs down the road.

There's no telling what may happen after the warranty expires, or how much repairs will set you back. That's why some people prefer to save money by buying a car that's not certified hoping that the car won't require any costly repairs.

CPO programs, as mentioned above are available for late models only. If you are in the market for a low-cost and high-mileage car, CPO isn't for you.

Buying a CPO or not, have the used car checked by your trusted third-party mechanic for added peace of mind before you sign on the dotted line.


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