Ram certified pre-owned warranty

Ram’s CPO program falls short — but there’s a better alternative

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If you weren’t already aware of the longstanding Ford/Ram rivalry, consider this: when Ford came out with its massively popular F-150 Raptor performance truck, Ram answered with the Ram TRX. While Ram corporate didn’t outright call it the raptor-munching Tyrannosaurus Rex, ask a Ram dealer what “TRX” stands for, and they’ll probably grin and tell you.

On the more practical side of things, Ford, Ram, Toyota and Chevrolet also have competing certified pre-owned (CPO) programs. So, if your primary goal is to get a solid truck with great warranty protection, you’ll want to know where Ram stands out — and falls short.

So what’s included with a CPO Ram truck? How much extra would you have to pay for a CPO Ram? And is it worth it in the end?

Read on to find out.

Key insights

  • CPO Rams come with a three-month/3,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
  • That’s arguably the shortest bumper-to-bumper CPO warranty in the business (Ford/Toyota/Chevy come with a full year), and Ram’s other CPO benefits don’t make up for it.
  • Ram dealers often charge too much extra for CPO vehicles, considering what you’re getting.
  • For the money, you might be better off scheduling a pre-purchase inspection and buying a separate extended warranty from Mopar.

Ram’s certified pre-owned program explained

Certified pre-owned vehicles are used vehicles that have passed an inspection and include some sort of extended warranty. The automaker itself sets the terms of the CPO program — including the warranty, benefits and requirements — and the dealers perform the inspection.

CPO vehicles are popular among used car shoppers because they’re cheaper than brand-new cars but are generally higher-quality than other used cars.

In Ram’s case, the brand doesn’t actually have its own CPO program. Instead, it follows the CPO program of its parent company, Stellantis, which also owns FIAT, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Alfa Romeo.

Stellantis’ CPO program works like this:

  • In order to qualify as CPO, a Ram truck must be under five model years old (a 2019 or newer in 2024, for example) and have fewer than 75,000 miles on its odometer.
  • The truck must also pass a 125-point inspection at the dealership.
  • All CPO Ram vehicles come with a three-month/3,000-mile Maximum Care (aka bumper-to-bumper) warranty plus a seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
  • You’ll also get some extra benefits, like roadside assistance, a rental car per diem and more.

Let’s break down Ram’s CPO program a little more — what it really includes, what it doesn’t include, how much it costs and whether it’s worth it.

» LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

How good is Ram’s CPO warranty?

To put it simply, Ram’s CPO warranty isn’t as good as what the competition offers.

For context, a typical CPO warranty adds one year/12,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage, which starts on the day you buy the car or the day your remaining factory warranty period ends. Stellantis offering just one-quarter of the usual bumper-to-bumper coverage isn’t a great start.

New Rams also come with the industry minimum factory warranty — just three years/36,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage. So, if you buy a CPO Ram with 25,000 miles on the odometer, you’ll have just 14,000 miles left before your bumper-to-bumper warranty expires.

Granted, competing trucks from Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet all come with the same factory warranty. However, all three companies provide a full, one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty for their CPO trucks.

How does Ram’s CPO warranty compare?

As mentioned, CPO Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota trucks all come with longer bumper-to-bumper warranties. Chevy may have a shorter powertrain warranty — just six years compared to Ram’s seven — but keep in mind that powertrain warranties only cover a few dozen components in the engine, transmission and drive axle(s). Bumper-to-bumper warranties, meanwhile, cover almost every part of your vehicle.

*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 Ram benefits

Like other Stellantis vehicles, CPO Rams come with the following benefits:

  • 24/7 roadside assistance, including flat-tire service (with your spare), up to two gallons of gas delivery, battery-jump assistance, lockout service and towing (up to $100 per occurrence for all)
  • Car rental allowances of up to $35 per day for up to five days ($175 total) to help cover the cost of a rental while your Ram is at the dealer for a warranty-related repair
  • A first day rental allowance of $35 to help cover a rental or a taxi ride while your Ram is at the dealer for repairs, even if those repairs aren’t warranty-related (excludes bodywork)

Overall, these are below-average benefits for a CPO program.

While we like the 24/7 roadside assistance, car rental allowance and free cab ride, Ram’s CPO benefits don’t include travel expense reimbursement, which helps to cover the cost of meals and lodging if you break down 100+ miles from home. Travel expense reimbursement can provide extra peace of mind if you plan to go on road trips, especially if you drive a vehicle with below-average reliability (which we’ll discuss more below).

In contrast, CPO Fords include up to $500 in travel expense reimbursements plus $75 in emergency transportation assistance to help with a taxi, shuttle or rental car expense. That’s in addition to its $30 per diem for a rental car.

Is a CPO Ram worth it?

Even though Ram’s CPO warranty and benefits are lacking, they can still be worth paying for if the price is right — especially when you consider Ram’s spotty track record for reliability.

So, let’s dive deeper to see if paying extra for a CPO Ram is worth it.

How reliable are Rams?

According to various sources, Ram trucks tend to score either average or below-average in terms of reliability.

In its 2024 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, J.D. Power ranked Ram 17th out of 32 automakers overall, with an average of 201 problems per 100 vehicles after three years of being on the road. Consumer Reports ranked the brand 15th out of 30 in 2023, with the Ram 1500 scoring between a 2 and a 3 out of 5 for predicted reliability, depending on model year. (Interestingly, the 2021 Ram 2500 scored a 4 out of 5 while the 2022 scored a 1, so that may be a model year to avoid.)

RepairPal ranked Ram 23rd out of 32 automakers overall, citing the fact that Rams cost an average of 32% more to maintain and repair than your average vehicle.

If they didn’t have so many problems, I’d love a Ram 1500 Limited. ”
— Sean Kim, mechanic

As of publishing, Consumer Reports lists Rams’ powertrains, build quality and in-car electronics as potential trouble spots. While powertrain issues may be covered under the longer seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain CPO warranty, build quality and electronics issues would only be covered under the three-month/3,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty — which highlights why its short length is such an issue.

“If they didn’t have so many problems, I’d love a Ram 1500 Limited,” said Sean Kim, an experienced mechanic in Atlanta.

This seems to be a common sentiment among Ram fans — they’re great trucks, but you’ll probably want a warranty.

“Love the Ram and Ram line, products and features.” wrote a reviewer in Texas. “Bought a new one in 2021. Battery went bad after 16 months. It happens. Took them 4 days to diagnose and replace. It happens. Was under warranty, so they put a new one in Sep 2022.

“Last week it wouldn't start. … Took them 5 days to diagnose and finally they told me it was the battery, again. 14 mos on a battery is horrible! Not under warranty anymore and they wanted to put another Mopar battery in it, and of course charge me for it. Told them no way. ”

It’s a shame, then, that you only get three extra months of exclusionary coverage with CPO Rams — but it could still be paying extra for CPO if you find a certified truck or van at the right price.

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

How much does a certified pre-owned Ram cost?

According to a 2018 study by iSeeCars, Ram dealers tend to charge 2.8% more for CPO vehicles versus standard used models. A quick scan of used and CPO listings on Edmunds would indicate that the true number is probably around 4% these days. (That’s about $1,600 extra on a $40,000 truck.)

That upcharge could be worth paying if you really value peace of mind, but here’s something else to consider: You can always hire an independent mechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection for around $200. That’s about $1,400 cheaper than buying CPO, and for further peace of mind, you can apply that towards an extended warranty for your “new” Ram.

(On top of that, you’ll probably get a more thorough and objective inspection than you would from the dealership that’s trying to sell you the truck.)

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Do you need an extended warranty for your Ram?

In our full breakdown of Ram extended warranties, we found that a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty from Mopar — the official parts and warranty supplier for Ram trucks — would only cost around $700 to $1,000 per year of additional bumper-to-bumper coverage. That means you could find a lightly-used truck, order your own pre-purchase inspection and purchase a two-year extended warranty for around the same price as buying certified pre-owned.

While Mopar tended to have the best prices for Ram extended warranties when we wrote that article, it likely wouldn’t hurt to collect a few other quotes from reputable warranty companies to make sure you’re getting a good deal, either. Warranty prices tend to shift erratically, and you might catch a deal by shopping around.

» 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 8, 2024.
  2. Consumer Reports, “Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?” Accessed March 8, 2024.
  3. Consumer Reports, “Ram Trucks.” Accessed March 8, 2024.
  4. Consumer Reports, “Ram 1500 Reliability.” Accessed March 8, 2024.
  5. RepairPal, “Ram Reliability Rating.” Accessed March 8, 2024.
  6. iSeeCars, “Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Cars: Are They Worth the Extra Cost?” Accessed March 8, 2024.
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