Ford certified pre-owned warranty

Not all certifications are equal

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A longtime leader of the auto industry, Ford is a brand known for its longevity and innovations that are still around. When it comes to the brand today, it’s important that your Ford is safe on the road — especially if it's pre-owned. That’s where Ford’s launch of Blue Advantage comes in: a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle program powered by a slick digital marketplace where you can browse CPO Fords nationwide. But how does this program actually stack up? How much extra do CPO Fords cost? And is that worth paying for what you’re getting?

Read on to find out.

Key insights

Vehicles that qualify for Ford Blue Advantage have passed a multipoint dealer inspection and come with additional warranty coverage as well as other benefits.

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Ford’s warranties on its Gold Certified and EV Certified vehicles are solid, offering an extra one year or 12,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper protection, but Blue Certified vehicles get much less.

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On average, Ford dealers charge an extra 4.9% for CPO vehicles (about $1,125 extra on a $23,000 car), which may be worth it given the solid warranty protection you get with the better certification tiers.

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Still, you may want to consider an extended warranty instead of (or in addition to) buying certified pre-owned.

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Ford’s certified pre-owned program explained

In order to become Blue Advantage Certified, a used vehicle must pass a detailed multipoint inspection at a dealership and be within a certain age/mileage limit.

These limits vary because the Blue Advantage program has three levels of certification. We’ve included a detailed breakdown below, but in short — Gold Certified is probably the tier you want, EV Certified is just Gold for electric vehicles (EVs), and Blue Certified is for older vehicles that end up on a Ford dealer’s lot, regardless of their make or model.

Gold Certified
To qualify for Gold Certified status, vehicles must:
  • Be one of Ford’s gas or hybrid models
  • Be at most five model years old (i.e., a 2019 model or newer in 2024)
  • Have fewer than 80,000 miles
  • Pass a 172-point inspection

Gold Certified vehicles come with an additional 12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Limited Warranty (measured from when you bought your vehicle or the original bumper-to-bumper warranty ends, whichever is later) and a seven-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty (measured from when your vehicle was brand-new).

You also get some additional benefits, like:

  • A 14-day/1,000-mile money-back guarantee
  • Seven years/100,000 miles of roadside assistance
  • Rental car assistance (up to $35 per day for up to 10 days)
  • Travel expense reimbursement (up to $200 per day for up to five days)
  • 22,000 FordPass Rewards Points, which can be redeemed for dealership services and accessories

(We’ve seen claims on social media that 22,000 FordPass points offer roughly $110 in buying power, but we’d take those comments with a grain of salt.)

EV Certified
This certification is extremely similar to Gold Certified status but lightly modified to make sense for electric vehicles. To qualify for EV Certified status, vehicles must:
  • Be one of Ford’s electric vehicles
  • Be at most five model years old (i.e., a 2019 model or newer in 2024)
  • Have fewer than 80,000 miles
  • Pass a 127-point inspection

Like their Gold Certified counterparts, EV Certified vehicles come with an additional 12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Limited Warranty. However, they receive an eight-year/100,000-mile BaseCARE EV Limited Warranty instead of a traditional powertrain warranty, which makes sense given that electric vehicles don’t have many of the components covered by conventional powertrain plans.

EV Certified vehicles also get the same additional benefits as Gold Certified vehicles, including:

  • A 14-day/1,000-mile money-back guarantee
  • Five years/100,000 miles of roadside assistance
  • Rental car assistance (up to $35 per day for up to 10 days)
  • Travel expense reimbursement (up to $200 per day for up to five days)
  • 22,000 FordPass Rewards Points, which can be redeemed for dealership services and accessories
Blue Certified
The standards for Blue Certified status are much more lenient. As long as they pass a 139-point inspection, qualifying vehicles can:
  • Be of any make or model
  • Be up to 10 model years old (i.e., 2014 or newer in 2024)
  • Have up to 149,999 miles on their odometers

However, Blue Certified vehicles only receive a 90-day/4,000-mile Comprehensive Limited Warranty (measured from when you bought your vehicle) and limited benefits: a 14-day/1,000-mile money-back guarantee, 11,000 FordPass Rewards Points and roadside assistance for as long as your Comprehensive Limited Warranty lasts.

» LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

How good are Ford’s CPO warranties?

The quality of Ford’s certified pre-owned warranties really depends on which level of certification you’re talking about.

Ford’s CPO warranties on Gold Certified and EV Certified vehicles are solid, offering up to one year or 12,000 miles of extra bumper-to-bumper protection. “It’s pretty much the same warranty as the factory bumper-to-bumper warranty, meaning you’re covered for just about everything but wear-and-tear,” a rep at a local Ford dealer told us. One notable difference, however, is that Ford’s CPO warranty comes with a $100 deductible on all repairs.

You’re covered for just about everything but wear-and-tear.”
— a local Ford representative

Still, one year of added bumper-to-bumper protection is pretty much the minimum you should accept if you’re looking for a CPO vehicle. Anything shorter (like what comes with a Blue Certified vehicle) or one that only covers a few hundred parts (out of 5,000+) simply won’t provide enough protection to justify paying $1,000+ extra for your vehicle.

Additionally, the seven-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited warranty on Gold Certified vehicles effectively extends your original five-year/60,000-mile Powertrain warranty by another two years or 40,000 miles. Just remember that both the factory and CPO powertrain warranties only cover a few dozen critical parts inside your engine, transmission and drivetrain.

Likewise, the BaseCARE EV Limited warranty is essentially a direct extension of Ford’s EV factory powertrain warranty, covering a few dozen components across your electric vehicle’s electrical system, brakes, suspension, drive axles, steering and A/C. Interestingly, it doesn’t cover your battery, which is covered by a separate EV battery warranty.

How do Ford’s CPO warranties compare?

To put Ford’s certified pre-owned warranty in context, let’s take a look at how other manufacturers warranty their CPO vehicles.

» MORE: Best CPO warranties

Is a CPO Ford worth it?

A CPO Ford could be worth the added cost, as long as the dealer isn’t charging more than $1,500 or so extra. We’ll explain our reasoning.

In general, shopping for CPO vehicles is more likely to be worth it if:

  • The vehicle you’re considering has below-average reliability ratings.
  • The available CPO warranty offers bumper-to-bumper protection for at least one year/12,000 miles.
  • The upcharge for a CPO version of the vehicle you want is less than $1,000.

We’ve already established that Ford offers a solid 1-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, so that checks box number 2. But are Fords reliable? And how much extra are Ford dealers charging for Gold- and EV-Certified vehicles these days?

How reliable are Fords?

Paying extra for a CPO vehicle makes more sense if you’re shopping for a car with a checkered reliability rating because certified cars come with extra warranty coverage that can protect you from paying out of pocket when your car breaks down.

In Ford’s case, the brand ranked 23rd out of 29 automakers in J.D. Power’s 2024 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, and Consumer Reports, which draws reliability data from a wider range of model years, ranked the brand 22nd out of 30 automakers in 2023. RepairPal, a site that estimates automotive repair costs, ranked Ford 21st out of 32 brands for reliability, and estimated in 2019 that Ford owners spend $775 per year on maintenance and repairs, which when adjusted for inflation is around $1,059. (Compare that with the reported $891-per-year industry average.)

All this points to the need for a good CPO warranty, which, thankfully, Ford offers.

Unfortunately, even if the CPO warranty covers the cost of your repairs, it may not help those repairs go any faster. A common complaint among the Ford reviews on our site is that there’s a long wait for warranty repairs.

“My emergency brake was engaging as I was driving, warning lights, etc. I brought it to our local Crowne Ford in Lynbrook, NY. They had it for a few days before figuring out the issue,” wrote Kathy, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from New York. “It was electronic problems, speed center control harness and another electronic part. They have had my car for 2 months and parts are still on backorder. I have paid $1,800 so far for a small rental car.”

At the very least, your CPO warranty can cover up to $350 in Uber/Lyft/rental cars while your car is in the shop, which is a valuable hidden perk that not every CPO program offers.

» MORE: Ford maintenance: cost, plans and service schedule

How much does a certified pre-owned Ford cost?

According to iSeeCars, the average CPO premium for a Ford is 4.9%. For context, the average CPO premium across all brands is reportedly around 4.4%.

On a $23,000 car, a 4.9% upcharge means you’d pay roughly $1,125 more than you would for an equivalent noncertified vehicle. (We also spent a few minutes browsing Ford CPO listings on Edmunds to see if this estimate was accurate, and a roughly 5% upcharge seemed right on the money.)

To recap, here’s what you’re getting for your extra 4.9% on a Gold Certified vehicle:

  • A thorough dealership inspection
  • An extra one year or 12,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper warranty covering 5,000+ parts
  • An extra two years or 40,000 miles of powertrain warranty covering ~50 parts
  • Up to $350 in rental car/Uber/Lyft reimbursements
  • Up to $200 in travel reimbursements
  • About $110 in FordPass Reward Points

You can hire a third-party mechanic to perform an unbiased pre-purchase inspection for around $200 before you buy any used vehicle, so we know roughly what Ford’s CPO inspection is worth.

Quantifying the value of a warranty is difficult, but we found that a Ford PremiumCARE extended warranty may cost you between $2,000 and $2,500 for an extra three years of protection (also with a $100 deductible). That’s about $650 to $850 per year of bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Finally, you may never use the rental car or travel benefits that come with your CPO vehicle, but they’re nice to have. Combined with the value of your FordPass Reward Points, your additional benefits are likely worth a few hundred dollars.

Granted, these aren’t exactly apple-to-apple comparisons, but it doesn’t seem like paying a roughly $1,000 to $1,500 upcharge for a CPO Ford is too much for what you’re getting.

How to get the most out of Ford’s CPO warranties

So, given what we’ve learned, when is a CPO vehicle from Ford a good choice?

The simple answer is that purchasing a Ford Blue Advantage vehicle makes the most sense when your dealer isn’t charging much extra for it. (Gold Certified and EV Certified vehicles are arguably worth the 5% upcharge, but Blue Certified status isn’t nearly as valuable.)

Alternatively, if you’re just looking for a car and you find a good deal on the model you want that happens to be Blue Advantage certified, go for it. A deal is a deal, after all.

If you choose to purchase a Ford Blue Advantage vehicle, here are some ways you can maximize its value:

  • Don’t be afraid to renegotiate: Ford’s 14-day return window gives you a unique form of leverage. If you find something you don’t like about the car within the first two weeks (like worn brakes or a funny smell), you can ask the dealer to remedy it or risk having to take the car back.
  • Remember your trip and rental car benefits: If your Ford breaks down and needs to stay overnight for repairs, you could have up to $1,350 of travel and rental car expenses reimbursed.
  • Spend your FordPass Rewards points: The 22,000 points that come with Gold Certified and EV Certified vehicles may cover new floor mats or an oil change.
  • Know your warranty’s limitations: Be sure to read your warranty documents front to back so you know what is (and isn’t) covered.

Finally, you might consider bolstering your warranty protection with an extended warranty.

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Do you need an extended warranty for your Ford?

In general, an extended auto warranty can be worth it if you’re expecting hefty repairs that won’t be covered by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Instead of buying a CPO Ford, you could pay $200 for an independent inspection plus $2,000 for an extended warranty — doubling your out-the-door cost but tripling your warranty protection.

Whether you want to get an extended warranty instead of buying CPO or in addition to buying CPO is up to you. Given Ford’s reputation for build quality, it might be a good idea to consider an extended warranty on your Ford, even if your vehicle comes certified.

When we did a full breakdown of Ford’s extended warranty program, we found that some third-party warranty companies offered considerably better deals than Ford for similar coverage, but these results weren’t universal, so it pays to shop around for the right company.

» FIND WARRANTY PROVIDERS: Best Extended Car Warranty Companies

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Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. J.D. Power, “Vehicle Dependability Slumps as Rate of Deterioration Increases, J.D. Power Finds.” Accessed June 2, 2024.
  2. Consumer Reports, “Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?” Accessed June 2, 2024.
  3. RepairPal, “Ford Repair & Maintenance Costs.” Accessed July 17, 2023.
  4. iSeeCars, “Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Cars: Are They Worth the Extra Cost?” Accessed July 17, 2023.
  5. Edmunds, “Certified Pre-Owned (CPO).” Accessed July 17, 2023.
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