Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Review

December 17, 2020

Cadillac has a long-held reputation for providing a luxurious ride. Depending on who you ask, they’re also the epitome of class. Anyone looking to drive a Cadillac should consider the Cadillac certified pre-owned (CPO) program. It’s a way to buy a slightly used, inspected, and warrantied Cadillac, which is better than buying used and cheaper than buying new.

We’re about to go through the Cadillac CPO program, including the warranty, inspection process, and any provided perks.

TLDR;  We’re displeased by the Cadillac CPO program. The warranty they offer for their CPO vehicle isn’t long enough. While their inspection is thorough, we would like Cadillac to extend their warranty and bring back the powertrain warranty that came with all Cadillacs for five years.

Cadillac’s Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Information

Cadillac won’t allow any used car to become a CPO vehicle. To become a Cadillac certified pre-owned vehicle, the following criteria must be met:

  • Pass a 172-point inspection
  • Have 50,000 miles or fewer

Once these conditions are met, the car will be warrantied and sold as a Cadillac CPO vehicle.

What does Cadillac’s Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Every Cadillac certified pre-owned vehicle includes a Limited Warranty, which is an extension of the Bumper-to-Bumper warranty that’s sold with every new car. This warranty covers most components of the vehicle. However, Cadillac does not include a specific exclusions list, unlike other automakers (Audi has a public exclusion list).

To be covered by this warranty, the issue must stem from a manufacturer’s defect. If the problem is related to misuse, neglect, abuse, or modification, the repairs will not be covered.

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All repairs must be completed at a Cadillac dealer. This policy is standard for all CPO programs. There is no deductible for warrantied repairs, which is something that we greatly appreciate.

Third-party sources say that the warranty is transferable, but we’re unable to find any information on the warranty transferability on the official Cadillac certified pre-owned website. You’ll need to ask the dealer about transferability.

How long does Cadillac’s Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Last?

Every Cadillac certified pre-owned vehicle comes with a one-year Limited Warranty with no mileage cap. This warranty is active either after the expiration of the new vehicle Bumper-to-Bumper warranty or when you buy the CPO vehicle.

The original Bumper-to-Bumper warranty is good for four years or 50,000 miles. Compared to the requirements to participate in the CPO program, it’s entirely possible that you buy a car that doesn’t have a new vehicle Bumper-to-Bumper warranty. Fortunately, you’ll still be covered for one year with the CPO warranty.

It’s worth mentioning that model years 2012-2017 included a six-year and 100,000 miles powertrain warranty. If you purchase a vehicle within these years, you’ll retain the remainder of the powertrain warranty.

We don’t think a one-year warranty is sufficient for a CPO vehicle. Cadillac should lengthen the warranty and bring back their powertrain warranty. Offering a one-year warranty means that you have the equivalent of a few oil changes to discover any of the manufacturer’s defects. Considering it can take years for issues to show up, even when related to a defect, you could end up with repairs that would otherwise be covered.

General Motors offers a one-year warranty as well, but they also include a powertrain warranty to make up for it. Cadillac should follow suit.

Cadillac’s Certified Pre-Owned Inspection

Before being sold as a Cadillac certified pre-owned vehicle, the car must pass a 172-point inspection. You can view the entire checklist online, but we’ll cover the major sections below:

  • Investigate vehicle history, including a vehicle history report and checking for trouble codes
  • Maintenance, including load testing the battery and changing the oil
  • Check tires and brake pads, including measuring the remaining depth on treads and thickness on pads
  • Detailing, including washing the carpet and waxing the exterior
  • Road test, including checking acceleration and steering wheel alignment
  • Functional tests, including checking airbag functionality and convertible top functionality (if applicable)
  • Engine compartment, including checking the AC compressor and the power steering functionality
  • Interior, including lighting and seating condition
  • Exterior, including headlamp functionality and body panel condition
  • For hybrid vehicles, inspect battery air intake and confirm the auto stop

Cadillac’s inspection seems thorough and touches on all the crucial parts of a vehicle. Their inspection process boasts 172 points, which is slightly above the average amount of inspection points.

Other Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Perks

Every automaker provides some perks to go with your new certified pre-owned vehicle. Cadillac offers the following bonuses:

  • 24/7 Roadside Assistance for the length of the warranty, including coverage for lockouts, dead batteries, flat tires, and emergency tows
  • Cadillac provides courtesy transportation if your vehicle requires repairs that are covered under the warranty
  • A three-month trial of SiriusXM
  • My Cadillac Rewards, which is Cadillac’s loyalty reward system

The above rewards are standard for a CPO program. Providing a courtesy vehicle if you need warrantied repairs is a nice perk, but many automakers include a similar bonus. While we’ve seen some CPO programs with fewer perks, we’ve also seen plenty of programs that offer more perks. Either way, we don’t think bonuses should play an essential role in helping you make a car purchasing decision.

Overall, we are not impressed by the Cadillac certified pre-owned program. The main reason is that they offer a CPO warranty that is far too short. One year is not long enough. Although other automakers offer similar warranties, we think this is too short to discover the manufacturer’s defects.

If you buy a Cadillac certified pre-owned vehicle, make sure to have a third-party mechanic perform a pre-purchase inspection before signing any paperwork. They’ll double-check the inspection and make sure it’s in prime condition.

Anyone who dreams of driving a Cadillac should consider their CPO program. However, if you’re only looking for a reliable CPO vehicle with a good warranty, there are other programs out there to explore.

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