Honda certified pre-owned warranty

Expect a small upcharge for excellent warranties and benefits — with the right tiers

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Honda has an unsung reputation for sustainability. In 1974, the Japanese automaker became the first car company to meet U.S. Clean Air Act standards without the use of a catalytic converter. Twenty-five years later, it launched the very first hybrid available in North America: the Honda Insight.

Today, Honda’s penchant for sustainability shines through in its certified pre-owned (CPO) program. By offering excellent warranties for minor upcharges, it’s clear Honda wants to keep its cars on the road as long as possible.

But how does Honda’s CPO program stack up? How much extra will a CPO vehicle cost you? Are there any hidden caveats to consider? Read on to find out.

Key insights

  • Honda’s CPO program is called HondaTrue, and it offers three tiers of certification: HondaTrue Certified+, HondaTrue Certified and HondaTrue Used.
  • Vehicles in all three tiers must pass a quality inspection, but they come with different amounts of warranty coverage.
  • Paying extra for a HondaTrue Certified+ or HondaTrue Certified vehicle might be worth it if the dealer is charging $1,000 or less over the noncertified used price.
  • For coverage beyond the CPO warranty term, consider an extended warranty.

Honda’s certified pre-owned program explained

Honda calls its certified pre-owned (CPO) program HondaTrue. There are three levels of HondaTrue vehicles, but all three must pass the same 182-point quality inspection.

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

All three tiers also include roadside assistance, at least one complimentary oil change and a few other benefits that we’ll discuss below.

On average, Honda dealers charge just 1.9% extra for CPO vehicles, according to iSeeCars. Honda had the lowest average upcharge of the 25 automakers in that study.

» LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

How good are Honda’s CPO warranties?

Honda’s CPO warranty is excellent and fairly easy to understand.

For starters, Honda didn’t create a special CPO warranty with extra gaps that aren’t present in its factory warranty like some automakers do. Instead, the company simply extends or reinstates your factory warranty when you buy CPO.

“It’s a continuation from Honda,” a rep from Honda of Atlanta told us. “It’s the same bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties you get from the factory, just stretched out a little longer.”

It’s the same bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties you get from the factory, just stretched out a little longer.”

Here’s an example of what that means. Every Honda comes with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. If you buy a HondaTrue Certified vehicle, you get those warranties extended to four years/48,000 miles and seven years/100,000 miles, respectively. (If the vehicle’s original bumper-to-bumper warranty is already expired, you get one year/12,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper protection from your date of purchase instead.)

With HondaTrue Certified+, you’ll get the same 1-year extension of your powertrain warranty but an extra two years/50,000 miles added to your bumper-to-bumper warranty — for a total of five years/86,000 miles. This lengthy coverage was enough to catapult Honda onto our list of the five best CPO warranties.

How do Honda’s CPO warranties compare?

Honda’s CPO warranties generally stack up well against the competition, but it really depends on which certification you look at.

HondaTrue Used offers below-average protection that’s really only on par with the lowest certifications offered by other automakers with tiered CPO programs, like Ford and its Blue Certified tier. However, HondaTrue Certified vehicles match up pretty evenly with what Toyota and Chevrolet offer, and the only automaker whose CPO warranty can compete with HondaTrue Certified+ is Lexus.

*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 when you bought the vehicle

CPO Honda benefits

All three tiers of HondaTrue vehicles come with the following benefits:

  • 24/7 roadside assistance for the duration of the bumper-to-bumper warranty, including towing to the nearest Honda dealer after an accident/collision, flat-tire changes (with spare), battery jump-starts, emergency fuel deliveries, lockout assistance and winch services
  • Trip interruption expense reimbursement of up to $100 per day for up to three days to cover meals and lodging if your Honda breaks down over 100 miles from home and requires overnight repairs at the dealer
  • Complimentary oil changes — two for HondaTrue Certified+ and HondaTrue Certified vehicles and one for HondaTrue Used vehicles

One notable omission is any form of rental car assistance. Some competitors offer up to $50 per day while your car is in the shop for a warranty-covered repair, but with Honda, you’ll have to catch a ride with family or hope your dealer has a loaner available.

Is a CPO Honda worth it?

Paying more for a certified pre-owned Honda is usually worth it as long as the dealer isn’t charging you more than $1,000 or so extra.

To understand why, know that, in general, buying CPO is more likely to be worth it if:

  • The vehicle you want isn’t known for reliability.
  • The manufacturer’s CPO warranty offers bumper-to-bumper protection for at least a year.
  • The dealer is charging less than $1,000 over the noncertified pre-owned price.

So, let’s dive in and see if a CPO Honda is worth the upcharge.

How reliable are Hondas?

Honda reliability is a surprisingly mixed bag.

In its 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, J.D. Power ranked Honda 18th out of 32 automakers, with 205 problems per 100 vehicles after three years, compared with an average of 186 for all brands. Consumer Reports, which draws from a wider range of model years, ranked Honda fifth out of 24 automakers in 2022. These results could indicate that Honda’s reliability is slipping or that competitors are catching up.

It’s worth looking at reliability ratings for your chosen model and year.

“Car hard idled and stuttered within 6 months of driving it new off the lot. Had it seen by 3 dealerships, they were unable to feel what I felt and did not fix the issue,” wrote Margaret, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Wisconsin.

“I had my compressor replaced last year (2022) and now my evaporator is bad according to the dealership,” wrote Ben, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Indiana. “Honda USA will not even acknowledge this is the fault of the compressor. Evaporators are supposed to last 10-15 years or the LIFE of the the system. My car is less than 5 years old and has 65,000 miles.”

Fortunately, if and when things do go wrong on Honda vehicles, they’re relatively inexpensive to get back on the road. Data from RepairPal suggests that Honda vehicles cost just $428 per year on average in maintenance and unexpected repairs — nearly 35% below the $652 average across all brands.

In short, Hondas appear to be decently reliable and extremely affordable to repair. This means you probably don’t need a CPO or extended warranty unless it’s very cheap or you simply want extra peace of mind. However, if you can get a good deal, there’s not much downside either.

» LEARN: Honda maintenance: cost, plans and service schedule

How much does a certified pre-owned Honda cost?

As we mentioned earlier, a study from iSeeCars found that Honda dealers generally charge 1.9% extra for CPO vehicles versus their noncertified counterparts. On average, that worked out to a $340 upcharge. Our analysis of CPO listings on Edmunds suggested that the cost of HondaTrue Certified+ vehicles is a little higher but possibly worth it for the extra year of bumper-to-bumper warranty protection.

All things considered, $340 or thereabouts is well worth it for a quality inspection and a brief extended warranty. If you were to purchase those items separately, the pre-purchase inspection alone would run you roughly $200, and a one-year extended warranty would likely cost well over $700.

» LEARN: How much does an extended car warranty cost?

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

If you do end up going with a HondaTrue vehicle, here are some ways you can squeeze the most value out of it:

  • Use the three-day return policy to your advantage: Even though HondaTrue vehicles must pass a quality inspection, you can schedule your own pre-purchase inspection during your return window for an unbiased second opinion. If your mechanic finds any gremlins, you can ask your dealer to remedy the issue or risk taking the car back.
  • Schedule your free oil change(s) early: A good oil change can cost up to $100, so don’t leave that benefit on the table. Once you purchase your HondaTrue vehicle, go ahead and schedule both of your free oil changes at the intervals recommended by your dealership.
  • Add Honda Roadside Assistance to your phone: Look up the number to call for help ahead of time and add it to your phone as a contact so it’s easier to use when the time comes.
  • Get your travel expenses preauthorized: While some automakers let you bring receipts for reimbursement, Honda requires you to call to preauthorize any Trip Interruption Expenses you incur while your Honda is in the shop more than 100 miles away. (This phone call could save you up to $300.)

Quick and easy. Find an auto warranty partner now.

    Do you need an extended warranty for your Honda?

    In our full breakdown of Honda’s official extended warranties, we determined if you don’t plan to own your Honda much longer than the CPO warranty period, an extended warranty probably isn’t worth it.

    If you do plan to keep your Honda long-term, you’ll be glad to know the quotes we received for HondaCare extended warranties were some of the lowest in the business, hovering around $750 per year of coverage. If you need coverage beyond 120,000 miles, though, consider a third-party extended warranty instead.

    Bottom line

    Honda’s CPO vehicles are relatively affordable, and the top two tiers include excellent warranty coverage and benefits. As long as your dealer isn’t charging more than $1,000 extra for your CPO vehicle, the upcharge is probably worth it for the quality assurance and boosted warranty. Just don’t get tricked into thinking a HondaTrue Used vehicle offers as much as Honda’s other certification tiers.

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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. iSeeCars, “ Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Cars: Are They Worth the Extra Cost? ” Accessed Aug. 1, 2023.
    2. J.D. Power, “ Vehicle Dependability Improves Despite Continued Problems with Technology, J.D. Power Finds .” Accessed Aug. 1, 2023.
    3. Consumer Reports, “Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?” Accessed Aug. 1, 2023.
    4. Edmunds, “ Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) .” Accessed Aug. 1, 2023.
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