Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Review

April 24, 2020

When it comes to buying a used car, the process can be intimidating. One way to make it “easier” is to buy a certified pre-owned car. Toyota offers a certified used program, and below we’ll discuss its pros and cons. If you’re thinking about buying a certified pre-owned RAV4, Highlander, Camry, or Corolla, you’ll want to read this brief guide before you sign on the dotted line. Here is YAA’s Toyota certified pre-owned review.

Is Toyota Certified Pre-owned Worth It?

YAA score: 7/10

We rate Toyota’s certified-pre owned program a 7 out of 10. There is  a lot to like about Toyota’s used car certification, and a few things to be left longing for. 

Highlights

What’s to love about Toyota’s CPO program?

  • 7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty, or 8-year/100,000-mile Factory Hybrid Vehicle Battery Warranty, or 8-year/100,000-mile Fuel Cell Vehicle Warranty
  • 1 year of Roadside Assistance.
  • Free CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™.
  • Minimum of 5/32″ tread depth remaining across tread width of all tires and spare.

Lowlights

  • Powertrain, Hybrid, and Fuel Cell warranty begin at the date of first sale, not the date you purchased the vehicle.
  • We wish the 12-month/12,000-mile warranty was longer.

Full Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Review

A complete breakdown of Toyota’s certified pre-owned program can be found here: https://www.toyotacertified.com, and I strongly recommend you become familiar with that website if you are considering purchasing a Camry, Corolla, RAV4, etc, etc. Below we breakdown the key features of each primary component of the CPO program.

If you’re thinking about buying a car, you might enjoy this article if you haven’t read it already: How Much Do Dealers Markup Used Cars?

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Information

Certified pre-owned Toyotas come with two warranties; a comprehensive bumper-to-bumper warranty, and a powertrain warranty. As with all warranties, there are a few disclaimers that you need to be familiar with. For example, on the 12-month/12,000-mile comprehensive warranty there is a laundry list of items that are not covered.

What is not covered by Toyota’s CPO warranty

  • Accessory Drive Belts;
  • Batteries;
  • Body Panels;
  • Brake Linings, Pads and Shoes, Rotors and Drums;
  • Bumpers;
  • Carpet;
  • Chrome;
  • Clutch Friction Disc and Pressure Plate;
  • Dash Cover and Pad;
  • Door Fabric;
  • Door Trim;
  • Filters;
  • Fluids;
  • Glass (including Windshields);
  • Headliner;
  • Heating Hoses,
  • Lines and Tubes;
  • Hoses;
  • Hybrid Vehicle Battery Pack*;
  • Hybrid Vehicle Battery Plug Assembly*;
  • Hybrid Vehicle Relay Assembly*;
  • Hybrid Vehicle Supply Battery Assembly*;
  • Interior and Exterior Trim and Moldings (including but not limited to: Ash Trays, Covers, Cup Holders and Vents);
  • Lamps, Light Assemblies/Housings, and Light Bulbs;
  • Nuts, Bolts, Clips, Retainers, and Fasteners;
  • Paint; Rust and Corrosion Damage;
  • Seat Covers;
  • Sheet Metals;
  • Shiny Metals;
  • Spark Plugs;
  • Structural Framework and Welds;
  • Tires;
  • Vacuum Hoses, Lines and Tubes;
  • Weather Stripping;
  • Wheels and Rims;
  • Windshield Wiper Blades (Rubber Component);

All interior and exterior cloth, leather, and stitching including convertible tops and/or vinyl tops including but not limited to: any vibration, deterioration, discoloration, disfigurement, warping, fading, staining, stretching, ripping, punctures, tearing, and/or scratches.

What does this mean for you? If something breaks in your certified pre-owned Toyota vehicle, the odds are it might not be covered by your one year warranty. On the plus, the powertrain warranty is much more comprehensive, and Toyota stands by that warranty for 7-years or 100,000 miles (from the date of first purchase), whichever occurs first.

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Roadside Assistance

All certified used Toyota vehicles come with one year of roadside assistance. This is a nice perk and covers a variety of “oh no” moments like:

  • Flat tires;
  • Out of gas;
  • Dead battery;
  • Towing; and
  • Locked out of your vehicle.

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Inspection

To become a certified used Toyota, a vehicle must pass a rigorous 160 point inspection (165 for fuel cell vehicles, and 174 for Hybrids). One thing we love about the Toyota certified pre-owned inspection is that it covers both mechanical and cosmetic aspects of the vehicle, and it must be completed by a factory trained technician.

The complete list of what is inspected can be found here: https://www.toyotacertified.com/160-point-inspection

Overall, our review of the Toyota certified pre-owned program is positive. We wish there were more items covered by the comprehensive warranty, and that the warranty lasted longer. We appreciate the powertrain warranty, 160 point inspection, and roadside assistance programs.

If you’re in the market for a Toyota vehicle and you’re torn between new, used, or certified pre-owned, you wouldn’t be making a mistake to consider a CPO vehicle.

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11 Comments

  1. Julio Quezada

    Hello Zack,

    Nice article. I personally bought a CPO Toyota car and can attest what you’re saying on this article to be true.
    One quick tip/experience point on this matter I want to share with you and your audience on this topic is that as a buyer, you need to become familiar with whatever CPO program means for the particular car you’re buying. Make sure you have a general understanding of what it entails, read the Manufacturer’s site/information about it, read nice articles like this one, and watch good videos such as the ones you and your dad make (by the way, I like the honesty and sincerity from both of you).
    In my case, when I got he car, I did not inspect it thoroughly of course (I guess that’s one of the reasons one would buy a CPO, right? To have that peace of mind and stuff), but I did note I was being handed over only two keys: the main one which has the embedded remote, and the remote-less valet one. I knew from reading the CPO documentation that I would need to receive three keys: two remotes, and the valet. So I went back to the dealership, and asked my salesperson about it. Guess what? He didn’t know about it but after checking with someone he came back, apologized, and told me they would be giving the remaining remote key.
    CPOs are no joke for the manufacturer, and it shouldn’t be to you either. After all, you ARE paying a bit extra for all this. So make it count and hold he dealer accountable for every piece of it.
    As expected from a CPO car, it should run with no major issues in the short-to-middle term if you take care of and service it properly.

    Thanks and give my regards to your dad (er… sorry, “retired father”).

    Reply
  2. Jackie Aldridge

    Nice to know about this. How much is it worth? Do I consider it to be worth $1,000 or $1,500 . Supposed to take so many hours so one would be able to calculate the value of it is being worth so many hours of the technicians time right?. But then they spent a certain amount of time on inspecting it when they bought it.?

    Reply
    • Zach Shefska

      Jackie, great question! When a dealer invests the time and money to get a car to be CPO you can expect it to increase the value of the vehicle by a few percentage points. Most CPO programs also have an extended warranty, so the value of that can be $1,000 in its own right.

      Reply
  3. Kenny Keith

    I’ve been searching for a used 2018-2020 Toyota Camry lately. Here is my thought:

    If I come across a CPO Camry I ask if the CPO moniker can be removed. The two that I have run across was basically $1000 extra. My reasoning is this. I can purchase a 8 yr 100k Toyota bumper to bumper warranty through TOYOTA for that same price. There are a couple dealerships known in the Toyota community that heavily discount these warranties because they sell them in volume. So they undercut your dealership trying to rip you off at the time of purchase for the same coverage for $3k. And if you read the article above you know the CPO warranty doesn’t cover a good number of things that an actual bumper to bumper warranty will cover.

    The only caveat to this is that the vehicle being purchased has to still be under the original manufacturer warranty to be eligible to purchase the extended Toyota warranty.

    Reply
    • John

      Great info, Kenny. I’m currently shopping around for either an ’17-’18 Lexus GS350 or Highlander Limited. I found a Toyota contact person in Michigan who sells ToyotaCare plans at substantial discount. Now just have to locate a Lexus person in the event I decide on that vehicle.
      I bought an ’18 CRV new 3 yrs ago and found a great deal on a 7yr/125k mile HondaCare plan for $695 vs the almost $2k my local dealer wanted for the same plan.
      Thanks again for sharing your experience.

      Reply
      • Kenny

        Yes, Jennifer at Wolverine Toyota is who I assume you are talking about. Ask her and she may be able to help with Lexus extended warranty as well

        Reply
  4. Howard

    Hi Zach,
    If someone buys a CPO Toyota, does the buyer have to take the Toyota back to the selling dealer, or can they take it to any Toyota dealer for service?
    Thanks for all you and your dad do to educate the consumer.

    Reply
    • Zach Shefska

      Great question, Howard! You can service at any Toyota dealer for service.

      Reply
  5. Paul

    Hi, Just an FYI regarding the warranty start time for a CPO… “Powertrain, Hybrid, and Fuel Cell warranty begin at the date of first sale, not the date you purchased the vehicle.” In May (1 month after your article), Toyota changed the warranty.

    Toyota recently changed this, it’s from when you buy the CPO, not from original buyers (zero miles) date of purchase. This statement is from the Toyota website:

    “Coverage begins from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle (TCUV) purchase or 100,000 total vehicle miles.”

    Saw this too: “Limited Powertrain 7yr / 100k

    Old: Coverage expires after 7 years from the vehicle in-service date (date of first use) or 100,000 total vehicle miles.
    New: Coverage expires after 7 years from the TCUV purchase date or 100,000 total vehicle miles

    Nice website! Keep up the great posts ;>)

    Reply
  6. Joey

    Do all Toyota dealerships adhere to the same standards and rules when certifying a car as CPO?
    Thanks!

    Reply

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