Mazda Certified Pre-Owned Basics
Mazda conducts its CPO program much like other brands do. Dealers select vehicles, many of which are lease returns or dealer service loaner vehicles, that fit into the brand’s certification eligibility requirements. For its CPO program, Mazda will accept vehicles up to 6 years old or with up to 80,000 miles.
That generous range ensures that Mazda dealers can offer a wide variety of CPO vehicles and price levels. We had no trouble finding three-year-old MX-5 Miatas available with less than 20,000 miles for well under $20,000.
Certification by factory-trained Mazda technicians depends on a comprehensive, 160-point vehicle inspection and road test to ensure the car is up to Mazda’s specs for certified pre-owned vehicles. That does not mean “just like new,” as it doesn’t for any CPO program. It means that wear and tear levels are appropriate for the vehicle’s age and miles.
We’ll look more closely at Mazda’s certified pre-owned inspection process later, but we first want to delve into the warranty. After all, the somewhat higher price you may pay for a certified pre-owned Mazda over one that is offered merely as “used” is attributable to the inspection, any refurbishment performed, and most critically, the warranty.
Mazda also throws in a three-month free trial to SiriusXM satellite radio and sometimes offers reduced-rate financing on CPO vehicles.
How Good Is Mazda’s CPO Warranty?
Mazda CPO warranty coverage begins with any remaining time and miles on the Mazda new- vehicle 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle warranty. It also extends the powertrain coverage from the original 5-year/60,000-mile term to 7 years/100,000 miles.
We like that Mazda is essentially giving you a 2-year/40,000-mile boost to powertrain coverage. That’s identical to the powertrain warranty extension that the Honda CPO warranty provides. When the original new vehicle warranty coverage expires, the 1-year/12,000-mile CPO warranty kicks in.
We also like that there are no deductibles to pay under the Mazda CPO warranty and that the warranty is transferable. That can be a major plus if you decide to sell your certified pre-owned Mazda to a private party before the warranty coverage expires, because you can tout that benefit to potential buyers.
Getting The Most From Mazda’s CPO Warranty
As we suggest with any brand, the easiest way to get the most warranty coverage from Mazda’s CPO program is to buy the most recent and lowest-mile certified pre-owned vehicle that matches your needs and fits your budget. That’s not always a cut-and-dry choice, of course, but it can be a guideline.
This suggestion will also help you decide what kind of extended car warranty you might need. Here are two examples to show what we mean:
Let’s say you want a Mazda3 CPO. In a recent search, we looked at a red 2019 Mazda3 sedan with the mid-level Select Package and with just 5,800 miles. At the time, it was priced about $4,000 below a 2019 new model still in stock. Chances are you’d get a discount on the new model, but the CPO version is practically new and would still cost less than the new car.
In this particular example, you would start with up to 2 years and 30,200 miles left on the new vehicle warranty. Add to that the 1-year/12,000-mile Mazda CPO warranty and the 7-year/100,000-mile Mazda powertrain warranty, and the math shows that you’d have substantially more coverage than with a brand-new Mazda.
With the money you saved over the brand-new Mazda3, you could buy an extended car warranty to get comprehensive vehicle protection for several more years.
If you choose an older, higher-mile CPO Mazda, the math does not work out quite as well, but you still get that longer powertrain warranty, and the car would of course be priced even less than a low-mile version. From that savings, you could more easily afford to fill in coverage gaps with an extended warranty, either from Mazda or a reputable extended car warranty company.
Mazda’s CPO Roadside Assistance
Mazda’s CPO vehicles come with roadside assistance for the duration of the warranty, and Mazda assures that “you are never charged for roadside assistance during the certified warranty period.” The services include:
- Towing to the nearest authorized Mazda dealership for warranty-related repairs
- Jump-starts for dead batteries
- Change of flat tires
- Emergency gas delivery
- Lock-out assistance
Unfortunately, there is no trip interruption reimbursement in the Mazda CPO roadside assistance. That could include meals, lodging, and rental car expenses should your Mazda need to be kept for repairs overnight or longer while you are far from home. Mazda has about 700 dealers in the U.S., so in some areas, a breakdown could leave you far from home and far from a Mazda dealer.
To get trip interruption benefits, you’d need to buy the Mazda Extended Confidence extended warranty. You would also get those benefits with plans from most third-party providers. Extra benefits from these companies can be generous in this area.
Mazda’s Safety And Reliability Record
Not only do Mazdas offer performance that warms enthusiasts’ hearts, but the brand also has an impressive safety record. For 2020, Mazda earned seven IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards, the most of any other brand.
In addition, Mazda has a good reliability record. In the 2020 edition of the J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM, Mazda registered 130 problems per 100 cars. For perspective, that was below Toyota (113) and Volkswagen (116) but ahead of Kia (132), Audi (136), Nissan (136), and Honda (139). The industry average was 134.
One critical takeaway from the 2020 J.D. Power study was that in-car audio, entertainment, and navigation systems still take the top trouble spot in vehicle reliability. So, while a malfunctioning navigation system won’t leave you stranded, it’s still an expensive thing to replace. Once the vehicle portion of the Mazda CPO warranty ends, you would need an extended warranty to cover such high-tech items.
Mazda’s CPO Inspection
Mazda’s 160-point inspection of CPO vehicles is thorough and includes a road test. The car is first issued an AutoCheck report to show the vehicle’s title history, number of owners, and any reported accidents. (The inspection includes checking for accident damage, as well.) You can view the AutoCheck report for any Mazda CPO vehicle in a dealer’s inventory, either online or in-person. Here’s an example.
To give you an idea of why some other brands advertise inspections with more points, one example is Mazda lists checking suspension components as one item, rather than breaking it down into individual parts. The numbers you see for CPO inspections simply reflect how the brand instructs the techs to inspect the vehicle.
Mazda CPO cars will get new tires if there is less than 50 percent tread remaining, and the same goes for brake pads.
Choosing An Extended Warranty For A CPO Mazda
Mazda has a reputation for making vehicles people love to drive. If you love your certified pre-owned Mazda so much you’d want to keep it for many years, then consider adding an extended car warranty.
Mazda offers a comprehensive plan, but to fine-tune coverage to your needs and budget, look at one at the plan selections by some of the best extended warranty car companies. You may find a plan that perfectly complements Mazda’s generous powertrain warranty coverage, for example. And, you will get other benefits as well, including:
- Wide choice of coverage options, with plans up to 10 years
- The ability to buy the warranty at any time, even after your car’s warranty has expired
- Covered repairs performed at any of about 30,000 facilities nationwide (versus just 700 Mazda dealers)
- Roadside assistance benefits that include generous trip interruption expenses
We think the Mazda CPO program offers lots of value. We also think it’s worth calling a few of the top warranty providers to see the value their plans provide. Get a free quote from one or more of them before you buy a Mazda CPO vehicle.