GMC certified pre-owned warranty

An extended warranty might be a better bet

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As the name implies, General Motors is anything but niche. Since its founding in 1908, the company has built everything from Motorhomes to Corvettes to the DUKW transports that delivered soldiers to the beaches of Normandy.

Today, the brand owns both Chevrolet and the General Motors Trucking Company (GMC), the latter of which focuses on luxury trucks and SUVs. But despite the brand’s track record of winning literal wars, modern GMCs continue to suffer from below-average reliability. As a result, if you’re considering a GMC purchase, you might want to look at the Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) market.

But what exactly is a CPO GMC? What does it include? What are dealers charging extra for it, and is it worth paying for?

Read on to find out.

Key insights

CPO GMC vehicles must be under six years/75,000 miles old and pass a 172-point quality inspection. They also include a longer warranty, 24/7 roadside assistance, two free oil changes and more.

Jump to insight

GMC’s CPO warranty is merely subpar. You’ll get one extra year of both bumper-to-bumper and powertrain protection for a combined four/six from new, respectively. Competing truck brands offer something similar, but luxury SUVs from Lexus, Lincoln, Porsche and Genesis offer six total years of bumper-to-bumper.

Jump to insight

On average, GMC dealers are currently asking $565 or 1.4% extra for CPO GMCs. For the Sierra 1500 specifically, that gap rises to $5,917 or 13%. In the latter case you might be better off with a pre-purchase inspection ($200) and a separate extended warranty.

Jump to insight

As an alternative to buying CPO, you can purchase a GMC extended warranty for around $1,000 per year of additional bumper-to-bumper protection. That’s average for the industry and a good deal considering the high ownership costs of GMCs.

Jump to insight

GMC’s certified pre-owned program explained

CPO vehicles are used vehicles below a certain age and mileage that have passed inspection at a dealership. They typically include a longer warranty than a normal used vehicle and may also include benefits like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, an exchange policy and more.

Every major automaker has its own CPO standards, and GMC is no different. To qualify as CPO, a pre-owned GMC vehicle must first be under six years old and have fewer than 75,000 miles on the odometer. Next, the vehicle must pass a 172-point quality inspection at a licensed GMC dealer, where a service technician will check the engine, transmission, infotainment, electronics, tires and much more.

In terms of warranty and benefits, all CPO GMC models come with a six-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, 24/7 roadside assistance, free scheduled maintenance and more.

“It’s pretty close to a brand new car,” our local GMC dealer told us. “You’re getting a 12,000-mile extension of your bumper-to-bumper warranty, powertrain coverage out to 100,000 miles, two free oil changes and a few other benefits.”

When shopping for a “GM Certified” vehicle, you may also come across vehicles that have been “CarBravo Certified.” GM launched CarBravo in 2022 as a digital online marketplace where its dealers could list higher-quality used vehicles all in one place, sort of as a rival to CarMax or Carvana. In order to qualify as CarBravo Certified, a used GMC must pass a similar inspection, but it only comes with a six-month/6,000 mile warranty and fewer benefits.

In essence, you can think of CarBravo Certified as GM’s new “CPO lite” program that probably isn’t worth paying more than $500 extra for, given the lighter benefits.

Let’s break it all down in further detail, starting with the CPO warranty.

» LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

How good is GMC’s CPO warranty?

For context, all GMC vehicles come with the following factory warranty:

  • Three years/36,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage, which covers virtually everything on the car except cosmetics, wear-and-tear items (e.g., brake rotors) and routine maintenance (e.g., oil changes).
  • Five years/60,000 miles of powertrain coverage, which covers your engine, transmission and drive axle(s) only.

Keep in mind that factory warranties follow the car – not the driver – so if you purchase a used GMC, you may get some of the previous owner’s leftover factory warranty. For instance, if you purchase a one-year-old GMC Acadia with 10,000 miles on it, you’ll still have two years/26,000 miles of the original bumper-to-bumper warranty left.

Now, as mentioned above, certified GMCs come with the following CPO warranty:

  • One year/12,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage, starting from the date that you purchase the vehicle or the date the vehicle’s factory warranty expires (whichever comes first).
  • Six years/100,000 miles of powertrain coverage, which effectively replaces your factory powertrain coverage and gives you one year/40,000 miles of additional powertrain coverage.

Here’s a simpler way to look at it: CPO GMCs come with one extra year of bumper-to-bumper and powertrain protection each. How does that compare with CPO warranties offered by other brands?

How does GMC’s CPO warranty compare?

It largely depends on whether you’re considering a GMC truck or SUV.

If you’re considering a truck, remember that GMC owns Chevrolet, so you’d get the same total warranty coverage with a Sierra or a Silverado. A CPO Ford F-150 will come with the same total bumper-to-bumper protection (three years factory plus one year CPO), but Ford offers one extra year of powertrain protection.

Once we start looking at luxury SUVs, you’ll find that most of GMCs competitors offer superior coverage. If you purchase a CPO Lexus, Lincoln, Genesis or Porsche you’ll get six total years of combined bumper-to-bumper coverage measured from when the vehicle was new.

That’s 50% more coverage (two years) than you’d get with a GMC crossover or SUV, so keep that in mind if you’re shopping for a luxury SUV with maximum warranty coverage.

So overall, GMC’s CPO warranty is somewhat mediocre. The three-year factory warranty is short to begin with, so when you only add one extra year for CPO, the combined four years falls well behind many of its luxury competitors.

*Measured from when you bought the vehicle or the end of your factory bumper-to-bumper warranty **Measured from when your vehicle was new ***Measured from the date of purchase

» MORE: Best CPO warranties

CPO GMC benefits

In addition to the warranty, CPO GMC vehicles come with the following benefits:

  • 24/7 Roadside Assistance for the duration of your powertrain warranty, including lockout services, flat tire change (with your spare), battery jump starts, emergency fuel delivery and towing to the nearest licensed GMC dealer.
  • Courtesy Transportation, including “alternate transportation” or “reimbursement of certain transportation expenses.” We asked a GMC dealer to translate, and he said, “Courtesy Transportation basically means that if you bring your vehicle in for warranty work, we’ll try to give you a loaner vehicle, and if one isn’t available, we’ll help with the cost of a rental car.”
  • A 3-Day/150-Mile Exchange Policy, which allows you to exchange your GMC for a different Chevrolet, Buick or GMC on the lot.
  • Two Scheduled Maintenance Visits that include oil changes, tire rotations and multi-point inspections.
  • Miscellaneous extras, including an OnStar trial, a SiriusXM trial and a vehicle history report.

All things considered, these are decent benefits for a CPO program. It’s nice that GMC includes 24/7 roadside for the duration of your powertrain CPO warranty (up to six years from new), and not all automakers are willing to provide alternate transportation.

We also like how you’ll get two free oil changes (valued around $100 each), and the three-day return policy lends a little extra peace of mind, even if the window is extremely tight.

Is a CPO GMC worth it?

Let’s recap everything that’s included with a CPO GMC. When you pay extra for CPO, you’re getting:

  • A vehicle that’s below six years/75,000 miles old and passed inspection
  • One extra year of bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranty protection
  • Six years of 24/7 roadside assistance (measured from new)
  • Two free oil changes and a few other extras

Is it worth it?

Well, in general, it’s more likely to be worth paying extra for CPO when:

  • The vehicle you’re considering has average- to below-average expected reliability.
  • The cost of buying CPO over pre-owned isn’t much more than the industry average (6%).
  • The CPO warranty and benefits justify the added cost.

We’ve already established that CPO GMCs come with a decent warranty and good benefits. But how reliable are GMCs to begin with, and how much do CPO GMCs cost?

How reliable are GMCs?

According to the data, experts seem to agree that GMCs exhibit more problems than your average vehicle.

In its 2024 Vehicle Dependability Study, J.D. Power ranked GMC in 18th place out of 29 brands total, citing an average of 206 problems per 100 vehicles after three years of ownership – roughly 8% more than average.

Consumer Reports, which pulls from a wider range of model years, ranked GMC 24th out of 30. According to the outlet, the Sierra 1500 was the most problematic model, with a predicted reliability score of just 29%. The Terrain was the most reliable, at 56%.

And since GMCs are luxury vehicles with luxury parts to maintain, the cost of ownership is higher than average, too. RepairPal data suggests that GMCs cost roughly 16% more to repair and maintain than your average vehicle.

In summary, GMCs are generally expected to be less reliable and more expensive to own and maintain than your average vehicle. So if you plan to purchase a GMC, you might want to consider a CPO model since you’ll get a bit more quality assurance out the gate, as well as a longer warranty.

But how much are GMC dealers charging extra for CPO these days, and is it still worth paying?

How much does a certified pre-owned GMC cost?

To find out, ConsumerAffairs visited Edmunds, an online vehicle marketplace, to find the average listing price of a CPO GMC compared with its pre-owned equivalent with similar ages and miles. We also filtered out any vehicles with accidents or major issues reported to create the closest comparison possible.

In total, we found 9,818 used GMCs on the east coast with an average asking price of $40,425, and 1,152 CPO models with an average asking price of $40,990. That’s a mere $565 difference, meaning CPO models only cost 1.4% more than pre-owned models (on average).

However, when we looked at CPO versus pre-owned prices for GMC’s most popular model, the Sierra 1500, the gulf got a little wider – $45,427 versus $51,344, representing a difference of $5,917 or 13%.

We’re not sure $6,000 extra is worth it, especially when you can schedule your own pre-purchase inspection for just $200.

It definitely isn’t worth it for just one additional year of bumper-to-bumper protection — not when extended warranty coverage is cheaper.

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Do you need an extended warranty for your GMC?

A combination of luxury parts, below-average reliability and a short factory warranty all point to a single conclusion: An extended warranty for your GMC might be a good idea.

In our full breakdown of GMC's extended warranties, we found that the official GMC extended warranty tended to cost around $1,000 per added year of bumper-to-bumper coverage, which is an average price for the industry.

That’s not a bad deal to begin with, but we also found that some extended car warranty companies offered rates up to 50% cheaper.

So before you pay $5,000 extra for a CPO GMC, keep in mind that you may be able to get your own inspection ($200) and a much longer extended warranty for far less ($2,000 to $4,000).

» FIND WARRANTY COMPANIES: 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 May 15, 2024.
  2. Consumer Reports, “Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?” Accessed May 15, 2024.
  3. RepairPal, “GMC Reliability Rating.” Accessed May 15, 2023.
  4. Edmunds, “Used GMC for Sale Near New York, NY.” Accessed May 15, 2023.
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