What Is The BMW Certified Program?
Vehicles with more than 300 miles but less than 60,000 miles on the odometer are eligible for the BMW certified program. These vehicles are then scrutinized according to BMW’s 200-point inspection checklist. Technicians check for everything from the appearance of paint to the thickness of brake pads and make sure the vehicle has an owner’s manual.
The BMW CPO certification starts as a process to weed out cars that don’t meet eligibility criteria:
- The BMW tech will first verify the vehicle’s mileage and vehicle history, using a CARFAX or AutoCheck report. A “disqualifying” report will block certification, and any BMW found to have inconsistent or incomplete maintenance history can’t be certified.
- If the tech finds any non-BMW performance modifications, the car can’t be certified.
- If a vehicle has not been serviced in accordance with any open recalls, that work will be performed.
A car’s body condition, fit, and finish, including the exterior and interior are closely examined for defects. The inspection tech looks closely for any kind of damage and specifies anything that might need a repair or touch-up. The process includes:
- Convertible roofs are tested, and water drains are checked.
- Seats and trim are checked for blemishes or tears, and weather seals are inspected. The functionality of these features will also be checked on the road test, which comes last.
- All door, hatchback, and tailgate latches are tested for proper operation. Fluid levels are checked, and the tech will inspect for any leaks. Power seats are tested.
- If the inspection reveals “mismatched and/or non-approved safety-related components,” these will be replaced with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) BMW parts.
- The mechanical inspection follows next. Here, the tech will check all suspension components and exterior lights. If anything has been replaced with a non-BMW part, the correct BMW parts will be substituted.
All BMW CPO vehicles are subject to a road test as well as an inspection. The road test begins with a review of the BMW’s systems. With the engine running, the tech inspects and tests the functions of every system and control in the vehicle. For example, the heat and air conditioning are tested for effectiveness and maintaining set temperatures, and even the rain-sensing windshield wipers are tested.
All the car’s electronic features, including the audio, iDrive (ConnectedDrive), and navigation are tested for proper function. Likewise, all electrical features are tested, including lights, power windows, heated seats, and sunroof. Anything found not to be working properly will be repaired or replaced.
With that phase complete, the tech will road-test the BMW for no less than 20 continuous minutes and for at least 5 continuous miles. Acceleration and braking are evaluated, and the tech will note any signs of malfunctions, squeaks, rattles, vibrations, or idle roughness.
BMW CPO Warranty
Every BMW CPO vehicle comes with a two-part warranty. First, you get the remainder of the BMW 4-year/50,000-mile new vehicle warranty. When that portion expires, either by time or miles, a separate, less comprehensive one-year/unlimited-mile warranty goes into effect.
Even BMW emphasizes that this is not an extension of the original warranty. There are numerous items excluded from coverage, and the list makes a pretty convincing case to consider an extended auto warranty.
The BMW CPO warranty covers major parts of the car, including:
- Air conditioning and heating
- Cooling system
- Final drive assembly and driveshaft
- Fuel system
- Interior and exterior features
The BMW certified pre-owned warranty does not cover many maintenance and wear parts, which many car brand warranties also exclude. Some of these include engine drive belts, brake pads and rotors, spark plugs, fuses, fluids, air conditioning refrigerant, hoses (including clamps and connectors), and windshield wiper arms and blades.
BMW’s CPO warranty does not cover tires or wheel alignment, but the tire manufacturer’s warranty may still apply. (Ask your BMW dealer regarding specific CPO vehicles.)
Some items that are not covered and can be expensive to replace include exhaust systems, such as catalytic converters and diesel engine particulate filters.
Critically, the BMW CPO warranty also does not cover a fairly large number of suspension components, including ball joints, bushings, coil springs, control arms and brackets, stabilizer bar links and supports, strut elements and shock absorbers, and steering tie rod ends and adjusting sleeves. That doesn’t leave much of the suspension left to be covered.
The list of body-related items not covered by the BMW CPO warranty is also quite extensive. Some highlights include water leaks, various structural parts, body panels, squeaks, rattles, and body seals and gaskets.
BMW’s Roadside Assistance covers the basics, including battery jump-starts, delivery of fuel or operating fluids, tire changes, and lockout services. It also provides towing to the nearest authorized BMW dealer for mechanical issues, hazard damage, or even an accident.
Don’t expect a tow truck automatically, however. For example, if your BMW CPO vehicle breaks down for not being able to start, BMW employs what it calls a Master Technician Team to attempt to diagnose the problem remotely. Using the car’s telematics technology to access vehicle data and warning messages, the team may be able to recommend over the phone some steps you can try.
In addition, BMW Roadside Assistance includes trip interruption assistance for certain repairs that leave you without transportation while far from home. This benefit will help arrange alternate transportation or hotel accommodations and will reimburse your out-of-pocket costs up to $1,000 per incident.
Although BMW repair and maintenance costs can be expensive, the brand made a good showing on the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM. BMW came in 11th from the top in this study, which measures problems in three-year-old cars. BMW registered 108 problems per 100 cars, coming behind Genesis (102), Lexus (81), and Lincoln (106), but well ahead of Mercedes-Benz (122).
Our Take on the BMW CPO Warranty
On the whole, BMW’s CPO program offers a lower-cost entry into The Ultimate Driving Machine experience, but the BMW CPO warranty is lacking, in our opinion.
If you’re thinking of buying a BMW CPO vehicle, think about adding more warranty coverage. BMW offers plans to extend coverage up to a total of seven years. We’ve already taken a detailed look at the BMW extended warranty plans, and we judged them to be good, but expensive.
That said, you should buy a BMW certified pre-owned sedan, coupe, convertible, or SUV because you want the car, not because you like the warranty. It’s easy enough to address the BMW CPO warranty’s shortcomings. Here are three ways:
- The CPO warranty starts when the original BMW warranty expires, so it can pay to buy the newest, lowest-mile CPO BMW that your budget allows to get more of the remaining original new vehicle warranty.
- Buy an extended warranty. BMW offers its own plans, which are good but pricey. Also, with a BMW extended warranty, you must have your BMW repaired at a BMW dealership.
- Buy a third-party extended warranty, which can offer better value and coverage options and allow repairs at some 30,000 facilities coast-to-coast, compared to about 340 BMW dealers. We looked at the market and picked what we think are the best extended car warranty providers based on extensive research.
By choosing the third option, you can take time to compare quotes and buy the warranty that ideally suits your own needs and budget. The top-rated companies provide generous perks that include roadside assistance with towing and rental car coverage, as well as trip interruption coverage that can pay for lodging and meals should you need to wait overnight for a repair while far from home.
Compare free extended auto warranty quotes from several of these providers. We’re confident you’ll find excellent value and added peace of mind.