McLaren certified pre-owned warranty

Your CPO McLaren may not come with a warranty or benefits, but it may still be worth it

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a McLaren speeding down the highway at sunset

As far as brand-igniting halo cars go, the Lexus LFA may have shocked us, and the Bugatti Veyron may have impressed us, but nothing truly blew our collective minds like the McLaren F1. With a driver’s seat smack in the middle, gold foil in the engine bay and a top speed of over 200 mph, the F1 is still considered by many to be the best road-legal supercar of all time.

And while F1s are fetching over $20 million these days, you can find other pre-owned McLarens for well under $200,000. If you’re considering the latter, you may want to look into the certified pre-owned (CPO) market, where the cars have been officially blessed by a McLaren technician.

But how much do CPO McLarens cost compared with regular pre-owned? What do they include? And have McLarens gotten more reliable since the days of the troubled 12C?

Read on to find out.

Key insights

To qualify as CPO, a pre-owned McLaren must be under 40,000 miles, pass inspection and have all worn parts refurbished up to McLaren standards.

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McLaren’s CPO warranty is average (one year/12,000 miles on top of the remaining factory warranty, but it’s not always included. Some dealers sell it as an optional extra for $4,000 to $6,000 more, depending on the model.

Jump to insight

The average price difference between used and CPO McLarens can range from $9,000 to $49,000, depending on the model. On the low end, that’s probably worth it, considering how dealers spend an average of $15,000 refurbishing each used McLaren to CPO standards.

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You can purchase either a 12- or 24-month McLaren extended warranty while your vehicle is still under warranty - though you can always wait until your CPO warranty is nearly over to make a decision.

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McLaren’s certified pre-owned program explained

If you’re new to certified pre-owned programs, here’s how they typically work with a major automaker like Chevy or Lexus.

To qualify as CPO, a used vehicle must be below a certain age and mileage, as well as pass a rigorous dealership inspection to ensure quality. CPO vehicles typically come with at least a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty (tacked onto the end of the remaining factory warranty), and some added benefits like roadside assistance and rental car assistance.

Naturally, as a niche purveyor of British supercars, McLaren does CPO a bit differently.

First, to qualify in the first place, a used McLaren must be under 40,000 miles, but there’s no hard age limit. In fact, even in 2024, there’s a CPO McLaren 650S Spider from 2015 on sale with just 29,000 original miles.

Next, the used McLaren must undergo an extremely rigorous inspection process by a certified McLaren dealer. One local dealer told ConsumerAffairs that the CPO process takes at least two and a half hours initially, and any parts deemed too worn or below McLaren standards are immediately replaced.

Finally, there is an official one-year/12,000-mile McLaren CPO warranty, but your car may not come with it. Some dealers include it in the price while others sell it separately, so you’ll want to ask before you plunk down $200,000.

McLaren’s whole approach to CPO is unconventional, so let’s break it down piece by piece, starting with the funky warranty situation.

» LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

How good is McLaren’s CPO warranty?

All new McLarens come with one of two factory warranties:

  • Three years/unlimited miles comprehensive
  • Five years/45,000 miles comprehensive (for the Artura only)

McLaren uses the term “comprehensive” because it’s not your typical bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers absolutely everything but wear-and-tear parts.

“The list of inclusions is much, much, much longer than the list of exclusions,” a rep at our local McLaren dealer told us.

In other words, McLaren’s comprehensive warranty covers nearly everything, including your:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Transfer case
  • Differentials
  • Driveshafts
  • Air conditioning components
  • Braking components
  • Steering components
  • Electrical issues such as electrical failures
  • And more

In addition, all McLarens from models years 2023 and newer come with three years of complimentary routine maintenance – things like oil changes, filter swaps and inspections. But to take advantage, “you have to be on time,” a service advisor at our local McLaren dealer told us. “You can schedule your complimentary service visit up to a month before or a month after it’s due, but outside of that, McLaren won’t cover it.”

Lastly, it’s worth noting that, like most cars, the warranty follows the VIN, not the owner. “So if you buy a pre-owned McLaren, you may still have some factory warranty left on it.”

Now, with all that context in place, here’s how McLaren’s CPO warranty works.

McLaren’s CPO warranty is one year/12,000 miles of additional coverage on top of your factory warranty coverage. However, unlike with most CPO vehicles, the cost of the warranty isn’t always included in the cost of the CPO McLaren itself.

“Some McLaren dealers choose to include it in the price, some don’t,” our local dealer told us. “We choose not to so that our customers have the option. Heck, I sold a 600LT to a guy two weeks ago who said he only planned on owning it for four months. Someone like that simply doesn’t need a one-year warranty.”

If you do choose to purchase it, however, “the one-year CPO warranty typically costs between $4,000 and $6,000, depending on the model.”

So how does an optional warranty stack up to McLaren’s rivals?

How does McLaren’s CPO warranty compare?

Unfortunately, McLaren’s CPO warranty falls objectively short of what you’d get with a CPO Lamborghini or Ferrari.

Lamborghini’s CPO warranty provides true bumper-to-bumper coverage for the same period of time (one year/12,000 miles). Ferrari’s CPO warranty lasts twice as long (two years/24,000 miles).

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

» MORE: Best CPO warranties

CPO McLaren benefits

Another competitive drawback to McLaren’s CPO program is that the benefits below are tied to the warranty. That means if you purchase a CPO McLaren without the CPO warranty, you won’t get to take advantage of it.

But if your CPO McLaren does come with the warranty, you’ll enjoy the following benefits for the duration of the warranty period:

  • Roadside Assistance, including towing to the nearest licensed McLaren repair facility.
  • Trip Interruption Insurance to help cover the cost of meals, lodging and transportation if your McLaren breaks down 150 plus miles from home or requires overnight repairs. Specifically, McLaren claims it will cover up to two nights in a 4- or 5-star hotel, a 72-hour car rental and “reasonable” meal expenses.

Overall, these are pretty standard benefits for a CPO warranty program, for a supercar or otherwise.

Is a CPO McLaren worth it?

Yes, a CPO McLaren is worth it.

In a broad sense, it’s more likely to be worth purchasing a CPO vehicle if:

  • The vehicle in question has a reputation for average or below-average reliability.
  • The difference in cost between pre-owned and CPO is around average for the industry (6%).
  • The CPO warranty and benefits justify the increased cost.

Since the McLaren CPO warranty (and benefits) are technically an optional extra, the only thing you’re really getting when you pay extra for CPO is the CPO inspection.

But based on the owners and dealers we spoke with, the McLaren CPO inspection alone could very well be worth the added cost.

“During the inspection, we spend two and a half hours with the vehicle going through everything with a fine-tooth comb,” a dealer service tech told us. “Anything that isn’t up to McLaren standards gets replaced with a brand new McLaren factory part.”

As a result, when you purchase a CPO McLaren, you’re getting an over $200,000 supercar that’s as close to brand-new condition as possible without the original sticker price. The alternative is to buy a regular pre-owned McLaren, but unsurprisingly, all three McLaren dealers we spoke with strongly advised against it.

“These are precision-built vehicles with expensive parts,” one told us. “So when you buy a pre-owned McLaren without knowing exactly how it was treated – and whether it was thrashed around a track – you’re taking a big risk.”

Case in point, one McLaren dealer we spoke with claimed that not every pre-owned McLaren passes the CPO inspection process. “And even when a McLaren is in good enough condition to pass, we spend an average of $10,000 to $15,000 reconditioning it up to McLaren standards.”

The moral of the story is that McLarens are a big enough investment that you probably don’t want to take a chance on a regular pre-owned one. CPO McLarens may cost more, but they’re far less likely to break down and require eye-watering repairs within the first year.

Now, is it worth spending the extra $4,000 to $6,000 on the one-year CPO warranty (provided it’s not already included in the price)? To find out, let’s have a brief look at McLaren’s expected reliability.

How reliable are McLarens?

Since McLaren only sells around 3,000 vehicles per year in the U.S., it can be hard to pin down precise reliability figures. Plus, like most exotic car owners, some McLaren drivers treat their British supercars like garage queens, while others thrash them around the trash, redlining through every chicane.

As a result, it can be hard to tell whose chronic breakdowns are, shall we say, “self-imposed.”

While the actual data may be limited, McLaren owners seem to agree that the brand’s reputation for poor reliability is overblown. After the troubled MP4-12C had major issues out of the gate, McLaren began screwing together its Ferrari fighters much more tightly, both literally and figuratively.

How much does a certified pre-owned McLaren cost?

In the section above, we mentioned how one dealer said they invested $10,000 to $15,000 reconditioning each CPO McLaren. By extension, it would probably be worth paying $10,000 to $15,000 extra for one.

But how much are dealers charging for CPO McLarens these days?

To find out, we visited CarGurus, an online automotive marketplace, to compare the average cost of a CPO McLaren to its direct, pre-owned equivalent with similar age and miles. We also factored out any used hypercars (Sennas, F1s and P1s) and pre-owned vehicles with major issues.

With our filters in place, we found 298 used McLarens in total with an average asking price of around $245,000. By contrast, the average asking price of 97 total CPO McLarens was around $294,000 – a difference of $49,000, or 20%, which is pretty steep.

However, if we set out filters to only look at McLaren’s most affordable used models – the 570S, 570S Spider and the GT – the cost difference between CPO and pre-owned became much narrower: $176,000 compared with $185,000, a difference of just 5.1%.

At this point, we’d say paying $9,000 extra for an “affordable” CPO McLaren is a no-brainer. You’ll get peace of mind knowing that your supercar has been blessed by a McLaren technician and has already had any creaky or leaky parts replaced.

On the higher end of the spectrum, paying $50,000 plus extra for a CPO McLaren 765LT might still be worth it. If you can afford a supercar that makes other supercars look like a Toyota Camry, what’s an extra $50K for added peace of mind?

Before we wrap up, let’s have a quick look at how McLaren handles extended warranties and whether it’s worth it for you.

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Do you need an extended warranty for your McLaren?

When you purchase a CPO McLaren, you have the option of purchasing a one-year/12,000-mile CPO warranty that effectively extends your three-year factory warranty by another year.

Before your CPO warranty expires, you’ll have the option to purchase another 12 or 24 months of McLaren’s extended warranty.

“As far as I can tell, the extended warranty covers the same parts as the CPO warranty and the factory warranty,” the McLaren service tech told us. “The 12-month usually starts around $4K to $6K, but if you buy 24 months at once you save a little.”

The other benefit to owning a CPO McLaren is that it already qualifies for extended warranty coverage. “If you purchase a pre-owned McLaren, you’ll have to get it inspected by a McLaren dealership before McLaren will approve you for an extended warranty,” he told us. “Usually, the cost of the inspection is around $1,100.”

One McLaren dealer told us that despite the relatively low cost, McLaren’s extended warranties aren’t as popular as you might think. “A lot of McLaren owners drive them for four months before trading them in. So they’re not thinking about warranties at all.”

That being said, if you plan to own and cherish your McLaren for years to come, a combination of CPO and an extended warranty down the road might be a solid, stress-relieving investment.

» 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. CarGurus, “Used McLaren Cars for Sale Nationwide.” Accessed May 10, 2024.
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