Lincoln certified pre-owned warranty

An excellent warranty with robust benefits — but it doesn’t come cheap

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Back in 1917, Henry Leland founded the Lincoln Motor Company and named it after his personal hero Abraham Lincoln. Seeing the potential of having a “luxury division,” Henry Ford purchased Lincoln to compete with Chrysler’s Imperial and General Motors’ Cadillac.

Over a century later, Lincoln’s list of competitors has grown much longer. In addition to Cadillac, the prestigious American brand must now compete with Lexus, Acura, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and more. That’s true even when it comes to each brand’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

So, how does Lincoln's CPO program stack up? Does it make up for the company’s ongoing struggles with build quality? And what are dealers charging for used vs. CPO Lincolns these days?

Read on to find out.

Key insights

  • To qualify as CPO, a used Lincoln must pass a 200-point inspection at the dealer, be under five years old and have fewer than 60,000 miles.
  • CPO Lincolns also include a six-year/100,000-mile CPO warranty and a long list of benefits, like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursements and 20,000 Lincoln Access Rewards Points worth about $200 towards parts and service.
  • Lincoln dealers appear to be charging between 5% and 8% extra for CPO vehicles, which is arguably too much for what you’re getting.
  • You can try to negotiate a better deal or simply “certify” the car yourself with a pre-purchase inspection ($200 or so) and a three-year extended warranty (roughly $2,500).

Lincoln’s certified pre-owned program explained

Certified pre-owned programs let automakers offer you a third choice between “new” and “used” vehicles. In order to qualify as CPO, a gently used vehicle must pass inspection at the dealer. In return, they include some sort of added warranty for reassurance. CPO vehicles often come with extra benefits beyond the warranty, too, such as 24/7 roadside assistance or free loaner vehicles while your car is in the shop for warranty work.

In a nutshell, you can think of CPO vehicles as “like new” — cheaper than your average new vehicle but with more perks than your average used vehicle.

» MORE: What is a certified pre-owned car?

Now, let’s talk about Lincoln’s CPO program.

CPO Lincolns must be under five model years old (i.e., a 2019 or newer in 2024) and have fewer than 60,000 miles on their odometers. They must also pass a 200-point quality inspection at the dealership, which includes a detailed look at their interior, exterior, engine, electronics and more.

Lincoln claims to offer a six-year/100,000-mile CPO warranty, but that’s measured from when the car was new.

In return, CPO Lincoln vehicles get a “six-year/100,000-mile” warranty. However, that’s measured from the date your vehicle first sold to its original owner. So it effectively just extends the four-year/50,000-mile factory warranty by an extra two years or 50,000 miles. (Think of it this way: If you purchase a CPO Lincoln that’s 3 years old and has 40,000 miles on its odometer, you’ll effectively have three years/60,000 miles of coverage left, whichever comes first.)

Finally, CPO Lincolns include benefits like free roadside assistance for the length of the warranty period, a money-back guarantee and 20,000 Lincoln Access Rewards Points.

We’ll break all that down further to determine whether it’s worth paying extra for a certified pre-owned Lincoln.

» LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

How good is Lincoln’s CPO warranty?

Lincoln claims that its CPO warranty covers “more than 1,000 components.” Maybe we were overthinking, but that gave us pause since a typical bumper-to-bumper warranty covers between 1,500 and 5,000 components. Is Lincoln’s CPO warranty not truly bumper-to-bumper?

To find out, we called large-volume Lincoln dealers in multiple states to ask.

“No, it’s bumper-to-bumper,” said one in Houston. “It covers everything but wear-and-tear parts for six years/100,000 miles from new.”

“It’s the same as the factory Lincoln warranty, just longer,” said another in Atlanta. “You’re getting bumper-to-bumper coverage, we’re not sure why they say it like that.”

So there you have it.

One hidden drawback to Lincoln’s CPO warranty, however, is that it doesn’t include much coverage for CPO Lincolns that are already five years old. You’re only getting six years of coverage total, meaning a 5-year-old Lincoln will only have one year of coverage left at the time of purchase.

The older your Lincoln is, the less CPO warranty you’ll get.

In contrast, Lexus’ CPO warranty offers six years/unlimited miles of coverage or two years/unlimited miles if your factory warranty has already expired. Basically, if you purchase a five-year-old Lexus, you’re still getting the full two years of CPO coverage.

How does Lincoln’s CPO warranty compare?

Overall, Lincoln’s CPO warranty is still excellent, though. (Any CPO warranty that offers an additional two years of bumper-to-bumper coverage is near the top of the leaderboard with Acura, Lexus and Porsche.) Lincoln trails all three of those brands because it doesn’t add a full two years for vehicles that are already 5 years old, but if you’re looking at a newer CPO vehicle, it won’t make much difference.

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

We also included Mercedes-Benz in the chart above to point out why having true bumper-to-bumper coverage makes a big difference. In contrast to Lincoln/Lexus/Porsche, Mercedes’ CPO warranty only covers around 250 parts. That’s roughly 10% of the coverage you’d get from those other brands, meaning the likelihood that a part will be repaired under warranty is 90% lower.

So, when you’re shopping for a CPO or extended auto warranty, always be sure you read the fine print to see if it offers the coverage you expect.

» MORE: Best CPO warranties

CPO Lincoln benefits

CPO Lincolns also come with the following additional benefits that last for as long as your CPO warranty remains active:

  • 24/7 roadside assistance, including towing assistance (up to $100 per visit), transmission services, flat tire changes, fuel deliveries (up to two gallons), jump-starts and lockout assistance (up to $50 per visit)
  • Travel expense reimbursement for up to three days ($500 total) to help cover meals, lodging and a rental vehicle if your CPO Lincoln breaks down more than 100 miles from home
  • Destination expense assistance of up to $75 to help with emergency transportation to your immediate destination if your CPO Lincoln breaks down
  • Rental car reimbursements of up to $45 per day to help cover the cost of a rental while your Lincoln is in the shop for a warranty-covered repair (not available in Hawaii)
  • A 14-day/1,000-mile money-back guarantee, allowing you to return the CPO Lincoln you purchased for a refund or a different vehicle
  • 20,000 Lincoln Access Rewards Points, which are good for $200 towards Lincoln parts or service at the dealer.

Overall, these are excellent benefits for a CPO program. All of that trip protection and roadside assistance could collectively be worth $1,000 or more if your CPO Lincoln breaks down, and the 20,000 bonus points add $200 of value to the program as a whole.

But is all that enough?

Is a CPO Lincoln worth it?

Now that you know the ins and outs of the Lincoln CPO program, let’s get down to brass tacks: Is paying extra for a CPO Lincoln worth it?

Well, that depends on how much Lincoln dealers are charging extra for CPO status these days and how reliable Lincoln vehicles are in the first place.

Let’s analyze both factors, starting with reliability.

How reliable are Lincolns?

Generally speaking, certified pre-owned status is actually more valuable with less reliable brands. That’s because you’re far more likely to use your CPO benefits (like warranty coverage and roadside assistance) if your car breaks down a lot.

Lincoln’s aren’t known for being reliable, which actually makes buying CPO more valuable.

Lincoln generally ranks well below the industry average for reliability. J.D. Power ranked the brand 31st out of 32 marques. Consumer Reports came to a similar conclusion, ranking the brand 23rd out of 30 automakers.

Lincoln reviews on our site are mixed, with multiple consumers mentioning suspension and vibration problems. “It's a shame, because other than this one majorly irritating issue (Imagine going on a cross country trip and enduring this constant vibration the whole trip) the vehicle is a pleasure to drive,” wrote a reviewer from Ohio.

RepairPal data from 2019 showed that, on average, Lincoln vehicles cost $879 per year to maintain and repair. Adjusted for inflation in 2024, that’s around $1,202 per year — nearly 35% higher than the average vehicle.

This all points to a similar conclusion: If your heart is set on a used Lincoln, you should strongly consider buying CPO to get that extra warranty protection and roadside assistance.

Now let’s see how much it might cost you.

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

How much does a certified pre-owned Lincoln cost?

To find out how much extra you’ll spend for a CPO Lincoln, we went to Edmunds to compare the cost of used and CPO 2021 Lincoln Aviators. We then did the same with 2022 Lincoln Nautiluses.

On average, there was about one CPO listing for every five used listings, and dealers were charging anywhere from $2,100 to $6,000 or more for CPO vehicles. The average was around $3,000 extra.

The average upcharge for a CPO Lincoln is around $3,000 at the time of publishing.

This added cost on a used Lincoln was about 8% of those vehicles’ values, which is a high upcharge for CPO status. An iSeeCars study from a few years ago found that, on average, dealers across all brands only charged around 3.6% extra.

The extra cost is also a lot to pay for a two-year extended warranty and some added benefits. Sure, buying CPO means that your Lincoln has passed a dealer inspection — but you can always hire a third-party mechanic to perform a less biased inspection for $200.

As for the included CPO warranty, two years of additional coverage for $3,000 is OK but not great. If you’re interested in the peace of mind provided by warranty protection, you may be able to get a better deal on a separate extended warranty, which should still include many of the benefits listed above.

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CPO vs. extended warranties for Lincolns

Given Lincoln’s track record for reliability and relatively high cost of repairs, it might be wise to purchase extended warranty protection to complement your used or CPO Lincoln.

In fact, you might consider skipping certified pre-owned status entirely, given how much Lincoln dealers are charging for CPO vehicles these days. As an alternative, you can “certify” the vehicle yourself by booking your own pre-purchase inspection for about $200 and purchasing a separate extended warranty plan.

In our analysis of Lincoln extended warranty options, we found that three years of additional bumper-to-bumper coverage could cost anywhere from $1,800 to $3,500. In all cases, it was a better deal than paying $3,000 for a two-year CPO warranty.

So, if you’re keen on buying a used Lincoln, you might want to consider the cost of buying CPO in your area versus the cost of buying a separate extended warranty that could last longer for less money.

» 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 March 19, 2024.
  2. Consumer Reports, “Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?” Accessed March 19, 2024.
  3. RepairPal, “Lincoln Reliability Rating.” Accessed March 19, 2024.
  4. Edmunds, “Used Certified Pre-Owned Lincoln for Sale Near Me.” Accessed March 19, 2024.
  5. iSeeCars, “Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Cars: Are They Worth the Extra Cost?” Accessed March 19, 2024.
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