Nissan Certified Pre-Owned Review

December 8, 2020

Anyone looking at buying a used car should first consider purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealer. A CPO vehicle has many benefits over a Craigslist used car, primarily that it has been thoroughly inspected and comes with a warranty.

We’re about to dive into the Nissan certified pre-owned program, including discussing the warranty, inspection, and bonuses.

TLDR; Nissan provides a lackluster CPO program that we do not recommend. The lack of a bumper-to-bumper warranty on their CPO vehicles is a massive downside of their program. While their inspection process looks excellent, the absence of this warranty sticks out. You should only buy a Nissan CPO if you are a fan of Nissan. Otherwise, there are better CPO programs out there.

Nissan’s Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Information

To be eligible for the Nissan certified pre-owned program, a vehicle must meet the below criteria:

  • Less than six years from the original date in service
  • Have fewer than 80,000 miles

We should highlight that they’ve phrased the age requirement interestingly. They don’t clarify if the ‘date in service’ is the date the car was made or the date the vehicle was sold. That’s something to clarify if you visit a Nissan dealership, as we could not find any clarification on their website.

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

Nissan only offers one warranty with their CPO vehicles: a powertrain warranty.

The powertrain warranty covers:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Drivetrain components
  • More coverage disclosed in a handbook (not available online)

It needs to be mentioned that there is also a $100 deductible for covered repairs. While that may not seem like much, it can add up during the life of a vehicle.

While the powertrain warranty will protect you from significant damage that could total your car, the lack of a bumper-to-bumper warranty is detrimental to the entire program. Almost every automaker offers a specific bumper-to-bumper warranty with their CPO program.

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

The Nissan certified pre-owned program only has one warranty. It lasts for:

  • Seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first
  • Begins from the day the vehicle was purchased

This powertrain warranty duration is about average for the industry. Some automakers boost the year range to ten, but 100,000 miles is standard.

We should compare the CPO eligibility against the powertrain warranty. Notice how you could potentially buy a vehicle with only one year left on the warranty or perhaps you only have 20,000 miles left? Since the powertrain warranty duration started counting down when the car was first sold, you should try to buy a newer Nissan certified pre-owned vehicle, if at all possible, to get the most out of the extended warranty.

Should you decide to sell your Nissan while the warranty is still active, it is fully transferable. This bonus can add some excellent resale value to your car. Although, Nissan does not make it clear if there is a fee to transfer the warranty.

Nissan’s Certified Pre-Owned Inspection

Every Nissan certified pre-owned vehicle has been through a 167-point inspection. This amount of inspection points is about average for the auto industry. You can view the complete inspection checklist on Nissan’s website, but we’ll cover the main points below:

  • VIN verification, including ensuring the VINs all match and the title is clear
  • Engine condition, including vacuum hoses condition and engine oil sludging
  • Cooling system, including hoses condition and radiator condition
  • Fuel system, including fuel point noise and fuel line condition
  • Electrical system, including overall wiring condition and ignition system operation
  • Transmission, including clutch operation and transmission mounts
  • Hybrid system (when applicable), including hybrid battery record level and hybrid electronic control unit diagnostics
  • Steering/suspension, including tie rods condition and struts/shocks condition
  • Brakes, including calipers condition and master cylinder operation
  • Body frame, including checking for rust damage and frame damage
  • Road test, including engine idle quality and cruise control operation
  • HVAC, including A/C operational and air cabin filter replacement
  • Window operation check
  • Seat belts and airbags check
  • Audio and alarm check
  • Interior amenities, including steering wheel lock operation and interior door handle operation
  • Interior trim, including carpet condition and sun visor condition
  • Luggage compartment, including light operation and emergency tools
  • Seats, including upholstery and heated seat operation
  • Exterior, including overall inspection for damage and light functionality
  • Tires, including tread depth and alignment

As you can see, their 167-point inspection covers every part of your vehicle. We are impressed by the attention to detail shown in their checklist, even if the overall inspection point number is average. The inspection process is the most substantial part of the Nissan certified pre-owned program.

Be aware that the dealer performs this inspection. You should also obtain a pre-purchase inspection before you make your decision.

Other Nissan Certified Pre-Owned Perks

Every automaker likes to include a few perks with their CPO program. Here’s what Nissan has:

  • 24/7 Roadside Assistance for the duration of the warranty, which covers lockouts, emergency tows to a dealership, fuel delivery, and flat tire service
  • Three-month subscription to SiriusXM
  • Comprehensive Carfax report (but can you trust those?)

Each of these perks is standard for the auto industry and they should not persuade you to buy a Nissan CPO car.

Overall, we are not impressed by the Nissan certified pre-owned program. The complete lack of a bumper-to-bumper warranty for their CPO vehicles means that there are thousands of components in the car that are not covered, even if it’s due to a manufacturer defect.

We do not suggest buying a Nissan CPO vehicle unless you’re a specific fan of Nissan. If you’re looking for a CPO vehicle that comes with a great warranty and nice perks, there are other automakers to research.

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