By on September 28, 2014

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It’s easy to think that certified pre-owned, CPO, programs that sell used cars that meet manufacturers’ standards for quality, are a fairly modern development in the car biz, but car companies have been helping their dealers sell ‘approved’ used cars for generations. Chevrolet had its “OK” used car program. Ironically, that branding apparently had its origins in the marketing of 1918 era American Motors (unrelated to the company of the same name formed by the merger of Hudson and Nash), which Louis Chevrolet helped found after he parted ways with Billy Durant and the Chevrolet company. Louis Chevrolet would hand sign the dashboard of each American Six with the rhyming “O.K. Chevrolet”.

OK1

While at the new National Hudson Motor Car Museum that’s now part of the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, I noticed a poster from Hudson’s H.A.R.P. program. HARP stood for “Hudson Approved Reconditioning Procedure”. I doubt that any current automaker today would use the word “reconditioning”, particularly luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, which popularized and heavily promotes its CPO program. Consumers in the 1950s were a bit more forgiving, more likely to accept the fact that at 50,000 miles or more many cars would need some kind of overhaul or major reconditioning. Note how #7 on the HARP list is “Perform minor mechanical adjustments and repairs. Major overhaul if necessary.” If you note, it wasn’t the only “if necessary” on the list.

1918AmericanMotors_Chevy

You may also notice that the Chevrolet O.K. ad from the 1950s says that those cars have been “reconditioned” for safety, performance and value. Back then consumers needed assurance that necessary repairs and reconditioning had been done. Today’s CPO programs are more likely to give the impression that those cars are so lightly used and so well treated that repairs and reconditioning aren’t needed to ensure that they are nearly new in condition and performance. They’d never give even the impression, let alone put it in writing, that their cars sometimes need “major” overhauls.

JerryLynchHudsonDealership

For the most part, that’s probably true. People today will spend $6,000 on a used Toyota with 150,000 miles on the odometer. That kind of long term, high mileage durability was almost unheard of in the 1950s. Automatic transmissions lasted 50,000 miles and at 100,000 miles most engines were tired and in need of rebuilding. It’s likely that the average used car buyer needed greater assurances of reliability back then than the potential buyer of a low mileage E Class needs today. I could be wrong but Hudson’s HARP seems to have meant actually going over the cars and making necessary repairs. Today’s CPO programs seem to me to be more like hand-holding than reconditioning.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

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55 Comments on “HARP, an Early, More Hands-On Version of CPO...”


  • avatar

    Interesting to see the CPO concept actually began with mainstream cars. I had thought Mercedes-Benz was the first to to create the idea, but obviously they were not.

    Mercedes-Benz actually does specify the system review they do in significant detail, if you read the web site closely enough, you will see it.

    I bought a CPO Mercedes-Benz S500 a few years back and it was an excellent experience – they fixed everything that had problems until the expiration of the warranty.

    My next car is probably going to be either a CPO S550 or CLS550.

    D

    • 0 avatar

      Yep. Mercedes-Benz has a lovely CPO program. So does Cadillac, who took excellent care of our family friend’s 2006 STS-V from when she bought it in 2010 to the expiration of the warranty in January of this year.

      I have been eyeing CPO CL550 examples…and even the CL600. Why not? It’s a car *worth* fixing every so often, especially if someone else is picking up the tab…

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    I saw “Jerry L…” on the dealership and immediately thought of Lundegaard.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ” O.K. Used Car ” lots were every where when I was a kid , they had banners flapping in the breeze and always really nice clean , shiny cars , never the low end dented and grimy window cars other places had .

    Then as now , appearance is what sells .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    50merc

    In the 60’s and 70’s I’d trade in cars when they got to about 50K miles, figuring problems like water pump failure and need for a valve job would arise within a year or so.

    There was a reason why it used to be commonplace for gas stations to employ a mechanic, maintain an inventory of hoses, belts and tune-up parts, and display a “We Fix Flats” sign.

    • 0 avatar
      Windy

      My grandmother, who never learned to drive, had a Cadillac series 75 1951 from new till she traded it in for a 1961 Lincoln continental convertible. I still have the mohair lap robe that matched the interior of that 75.

      She had a driver after my grandfather died in 1953 and put over 175,000 miles on the Cadillac she was never as happy with it as the pre war big Packards my grandfather preferred but her driver kept it like new in her heated garage.

      Her last car a 1966 continental sedan she had till she died in 1986 and it too had almost 200,000 miles on it and I had no problem getting $4,000 for it at that time as it too looked and drove like new, the convertible had only 80,000 or so miles but she did not enjoy getting her hair mussed and found the higher interior noise levels impeded conversation with her friends hence its early trade in.

      I may be hard for folks to know just how perfectly cared for were her cars. Her driver had been trained at the Packard factory in the 20s and then every 2 or three years on each new Packard as my grandfather bought a new one. The heated garage had a grease pit and was fully equipped for service and upkeep by the driver. As each change of car the driver was given the old car as a bonus so you can see it was also in his interest to keep them as perfect as he could. I sold over $10,000 of nos Packard and Cadillac and Lincoln parts that I found in the attic of the garage in 1986 so these cars were as well cared for as they could have been at the time.

      I can recall being taken out for lunches in the 50s and my abiding memory is of her driver wiping off the dust of the black 75 with a kozak cloth as we came out for the drive home. The only visible wear on the 20 year old Lincoln in 1986 was on the accelerator and brake pedals. Her driver had predeceased her by a few months they were both in their late 80s and they both loved just going for a drive on the back roads of New England. Hence the high miles her cars racked up.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    We’ve come a long way since something considered “okay” was good enough to qualify for NEW CAR CONFIDENCE!

    Also, out of idle interest, I checked one manufacturer’s (VW Canada) CPO page, and they definitely make reference to reconditioning, as well as having seen it in a number of used car ads.

  • avatar

    No, the funniest thing about his article is that calling a car “OK” these days would be damning it with faint praise.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Maybe that’s why I adamantly refuse to buy used any more; every single used car I have ever owned required an expense near the actual purchase price of the vehicle in repairs within the first year and sometimes even more. If I’m going to effectively double my purchase price that quickly, I should finance that repair for the purchase–but what lending company would allow that? So not only do I get the monthly payment for the purchase of the vehicle, but now I have to have that much cash aside again just to keep it running. Again, if I’m going to spend that much anyway, why not go ahead and buy new–where the seller has to absorb the cost of any repairs?

    I get FAR more reliability out of buying new than I ever have buying used.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      What have you been buying in which a major repair exceeds the purchase price in as little as a year?

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        With the exception of my current pickup truck which was knowingly purchased from an el-cheapo used car lot (in which I KNEW and EXPECTED the expense and still kept the purchase after repairs under $6K) they have all been purchased as 5- to 8-year-old models off of name brand new car lots. In over 40 years of driving, I’ve owned 12 cars of which five were purchased brand new and the new cars have NEVER cost me for major repairs while EVERY SINGLE USED CAR has cost more than I certainly like. While I’ll grant that the high price of today’s cars makes repairing one a lower percentage of purchase price, repairs themselves are still exorbitant, a moderately major repair still running in excess of $1K and if it’s something like a valve job can easily exceed $5K. Even in my current truck, I’d love to replace the engine and tranny with an ecoBoost with 6-speed even with the current ecoBoost issues. Less than 10mpg in such a lightweight body (Curb weight 4200#) with a 5.0EFI under the hood is abysmal when the same horsepower on the same weight today doubles that.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I have had similar issues with repairs exceeding the value of the car in both personal and dealer vehicles, but every one of those occurred on a vehicle fifteen to twenty years old at the time of purchase. If you consistently purchase vehicles five to eight years old and have had a repair issues exceeding the car’s valuation, then you are either buying iffy condition cars/iffy designed cars or just doing it wrong. The last time this occurred was with my old Saturn where I invested $1,100 in a transmission replacement after seven years and 80K of use (after purchasing it for $1500 in 2006). Repairs beyond regular maintenance had achieved amounts near the purchase price and the transmission put it way over. I did however sell it this spring for $1,000 so my TCO less regular maintenance and the trans job was roughly $1600 for 7.5 years and 84K miles. I assume you’re buying examples over the 10,000 dollar range in five to eight years old, so you have had to make 10K worth of repairs to the cars you’ve owned?

          Regarding 5.0EFI vs Ecoboost, we’ll have to agree to disagree as I will take the 5.0 over time vs fancy turbo V6s. I had a MY90 Town Car which took me to the cleaners financially, however its mileage was consistently 15city/25-26 hwy @ 55 as recently as 2010. The curb weight of 1990 F150 is 3769lbs, the curb weight of a 1990 Town Car is just over 4,000lb. While it’s worth noting the Town Car’s AOD was replaced 5K before I bought it, so either your motor or transmission needs some service or attention, or your driving it with too much of a lead foot if you consistently see 10mpg.

          http://www.answers.com/Q/Curb_weight_of_a_1990_ford_f_150

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @28-cars…: “Regarding 5.0EFI vs Ecoboost,…”

            You managed to prove my point in a couple ways here. Thank you for proving that yesterday’s trucks were MUCH lighter than today’s–I hadn’t imagined there was a whole TON of difference in weight in a mere 20 years. That said, my 1990 is the 5.0EFI with 3-speed Overdrive automatic that’s lucky if it gives me 8-10mpg in town driving but can give me almost 20 on the highway. Considering today’s 300hp EcoBoost with 6-speed automatic can take a 1-ton-heavier truck to 17/18mpg city I’d think I could approach 20mpg city with this old beast using new engine/tranny combo. Of course, the cost would TRIPLE what I paid to purchase and make it roadworthy most likely considering crate engines tend to run 5K+ and trannys about 7K+. That doesn’t even consider the computer hardware and other stuff required. No, I’m not saying I’ll do it, I just wish I could because the truck would be far better with the upgrade.

            Oh, and the truck is an XLT Lariat Standard Cab Long Bed. As such, it may be slightly heavier than the link you provided.

            Interestingly, my 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited gives me 18/23mpg under the exact same driving conditions as that truck using a 6-cylinder engine giving about 20 more hp than the V8 and 6-speed stick. It also has the factory towing package, so the final drive is roughly 3.48 and not the 2.80 high-mileage drive.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            EcoBoost mileage seems to be inconclusive I have limited exposure to it personally outside of one friend with one. He claims 17 highway 12 city and 8 when towing. This one claim is not enough to convince me one way or another. I will agree the EcoBoost setup in a 20yo F150 will return better mileage than an MY14 simply because of the weight difference, but I can only speculate on the figures. Personally I would be very impressed with a truck which could return 25 *city*, to me this would be a game changer. I also think even 18city is interesting out of something relatively heavy like Wrangler, oddly enough:

            CURB WEIGHT 3782 lbs

            http://www.edmunds.com/jeep/wrangler/2010/features-specs.html

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @28-cars…: You’re right. With the older minivan engine, most people don’t get the kind of mileage I do–but then, that emphasizes my point that the truck should be doing better than it is since I am ABLE to achieve that kind of mileage; that Jeep is EPA rated for 16 city/19 highway. The newer model with the Pentastar engine is only 2mpg better EPA. My own ‘mixed’ mileage exceeds EPA highway figures on average.

            And that is my point. The EcoBoost engine alone won’t do the job. Its advantage of lower horsepower to simply maintain speed helps the mileage but the extra gears means that you don’t have to ride that boost for long, at which point with my driving style I could probably double the truck’s in-town mileage while adding as much as 50% highway mileage by letting the engine turn slower. Even with cruise control, that big V8 turns 2Krpm at 65mph–the same speed as my Jeep’s V6 at 60mph where I get 23+mpg. Were I able to turn two cylinders off in that V8, I could probably see some improvement by that alone.

            So, EcoBoost mileage is quite dependent on the operator’s driving style and I can pretty well guarantee that I would achieve about 20% better mileage than EPA rated without looking like a “little old lady” is driving it.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnnyFirebird

            The only times I’ve seen recon bills exceed MSRP as a used car manager was with two 2007 Passat wagons and one 2006 Passat sedan.

            Needless to say I strongly recommend avoiding that generation of Passat, despite the automotive journalists of the world loving them.

            There are times where I’ve done estimates on older vehicles that retail for $3000 and need $5000 in repairs, but at that point I do the math and cut my losses, kick them out to the auction.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnnyFirebird

        But does it wouldn’t match anywhere near the purchase price of a *new* car, right?

        I have a hard time selling cars older than 2006 because they usually require between $1500-2500 in recon, not including panels. Maybe it’s something to do with Quebec but people here just don’t service cars after a certain age more than oil changes. The front suspension is almost always jacked, the brakes dangerous, and more often than not there’s massive rust. I’ve tried this a couple of times – buying an XC70 or Jetta or Passat for $1-2,000 and doing all the necessary recon to sell for $6-7000 and it ends up usually being a losing proposition for me. It’s nice to have cars on the lot for people who don’t want to spend $25000 on a car, but the risk involved (especially with our consumer protection laws and always-creeping-up repair bills) isn’t worth the maybe $500-1000 profit I could possibly have at the end.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Ok Johnny, first off it’s probable that we live in two completely different regions of the country, if not the world. That said, in 99% of the cases, I wouldn’t trust any car where I live priced at less than $10K to have any level of reliability–typically they’re 10 years old or older. I also wouldn’t buy one even at 5 or 6 years of age because the odds grow high that I’m taking on the original owner’s problems, whatever they may be. That’s just my personal experience. That said, while my current truck could use some tweaks and minor repairs, most of those would add up to another $1K or more very quickly. It does need new shocks; it does need a complete tune-up. But I’ll bet that a tune-up would reveal the need for a new timing chain or gear (or both) which would jack a $200 job at a Ford dealership (and even many independent shops around here) to $900 or more without a blink of an eye by the shop’s manager. Sure, I could probably replace plugs and wires easily enough–if I were willing to risk killing the engine entirely by breaking a plug and not even the plug wires want to let go since they haven’t been touched in probably 13 years or longer (I’ve already attempted the task once and simply don’t have the tools to safely replace a broken component). I don’t want to take out a loan just to fix a truck I don’t plan to keep more than another couple of years.

          Meanwhile, a brand-new car can give me 5 years or more of reliable service with any repair expenses outside of normal wear items covered by a warranty/service contract. Even my Jeep gives me a 100% drivetrain warranty that covers the engine, tranny, transfer case, differentials, driveshafts and axles and it’s now solidly 8 years old. Sure, I have to pay for things like brakes and incidentals that aren’t directly drive-train related, but they’re also items that are either normal wear or unnecessary for the daily operation of the vehicle.

          Sure, I may pay $300, $400 or even $500/month in monthly payments, but I’m also getting peace of mind in that any problems are taken care of at no added cost. Most people have to buy what they can afford and HOPE they don’t incur costly repairs just to remain mobile. If I KNEW beyond a doubt that the lot did its absolute best to insure the reliability of a used car, then I’d be more willing to buy used; but I’m not.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnnyFirebird

            Yeah, that’s a big problem! I was discussing $1000-2000 cars with a friend of mine in South Carolina. These cars in Montreal are usually ugly-but-functional with around 150-200,000 kilometers (95,000-130,000 miles). In SC they’re barely moving pieces of junk.

            Quebec has the cheapest used cars in North America, so you can get some screaming deals – but vehicles tend to rust to death *fast* here and the suspensions get wrecked too. It’s very rare to see a pre-2000 car on the streets here.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Used cars are a gamble for sure. My father bought a $7000 Impala that never was right. He bought a $2000 Chevrolet 2500 that blew a starter the day he bought it, and then lost the clutch.

      I’ve done worse, though. My 1997 E350 box van has fallen apart after I’ve driven it for about 400 miles. I had an F-150 need a new cam gear.

      I’ve done OK at times, though. My 1995 Buick LeSabre that I bought for $700 has been great! I replaced the blower motor (Preventative- it was vibrating when I bought the car), and the radiator 10000 miles later. Before the transmission died, I got about 20-25k miles of service out of a $700 car. Not bad.

      You just need a crystal ball to buy used cars! Or, a repair budget…

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    The CPO process has always been odd to me. When I got hired as a used car manager a couple of years ago I had zero experience in the field. I came to it with the basic expectation that I would sell people cars in the same condition that I’d want them to be in if I were looking at a car of that price and age.

    I’ve dealt with two types of mechanics who do these CPO inspections, those who just give the car a quick check and test drive and check everything off, and those who will give me an eighteen page , $7000 list of everything that doesn’t meet their standards with every fault code and scratched button noted. Both have their issues.

    I can say from walking around other used car dealerships (to get an idea of how slavish other managers are to the letter of their CPO standard sheet) that I probably spend about twice as much in reconditioning as most guys. This might sound like bragging, but it’s got me in trouble with my superiors as I’m more likely to only break even or even go into a loss on a car. I’ve been reading up more on the sunken cost fallacy and try to make sure that I’m not too tied to a particular vehicle and get out of it if it really does require extensive reconditioning.

    One thing I’ve learned from you guys, especially people like 28 Cars Later, are that dealer mechanics flag stuff that doesn’t necessarily need to be fixed. They’ll pretty much say that every set of brake discs should be replaced regardless of mileage if there is a slight vibration on the road test or ridging. No dealership I’ve worked with will resurface brakes any more, if I want to get that done I have to send them out to a weird back alley shop. Also a “rusted belly pan” without perforation isn’t something that I need to replace.

    I want to sell good cars to people and I want them to be reliable. I’ve had a 2006 Passat’s suspension fall apart on the shop floor and apparently “every dealership”‘s used car department pays retail for labour and parts, which seems insane to me.

    I’ve put $5k into an old XC70 only to have it come back two weeks later with even more issues. CPO vehicles are a bit less of a headache because at least they have a warranty associated. Throwing money at a car doesn’t matter, it’s me, as the UCM, taking it and driving it and seeing what I can tell is wrong that matters. And sometimes getting a second opinion.

    It’s a tough business. I want to have decent profits and I also want to not strand a family in the middle of nowhere with a dead “reconditioned” car.

    Sorry for the long rant!

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “apparently every dealership‘s used car department pays retail for labour and parts, which seems insane to me.”

      That makes sense. You don’t want the parts side of the shop to be subsidizing the used car department. Theoretically, it should impose some discipline on the used car guys, since they aren’t permitted to make improvements that don’t pay for themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnnyFirebird

        Especially on older non-CPO cars it means that we can’t really be competitive with non-dealer used car lots, though. When they’ve got an in-house mechanic that’s paid $45 an hour versus $129 it’s a lot easier to lower your recon bills. Personally I’d be happy with warranty parts and labour pricing, which has some margin for shop and parts counter but helps cover my bills too.

        • 0 avatar
          Exfordtech

          Why should a flat rate tech subsidize the used car department by accepting warranty time for a vehicle that is no longer in warranty?
          Also in regard to rotor refinishing, if your lot turnover is slow, freshly cut rotors can be prone to develop poor friction material transfer as well as rust issues if the vehicle sits on the lot. Additionally, some newer vehicle rotors simply do not have enough material on them to be able to satisfactorily refinish without being below minimum thickness. If this is not the case then personally I would refinish rotors (on car lathe like a Pro-Cut only as the cost would be lower for you and the labor time would be better for me, a win-win.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnnyFirebird

            Warranty labour rate, not warranty time – but I understand the problem. I don’t have a say in it so I just have to consider reconditioning with the labour rate and parts with retail pricing when I appraise the car, especially for CPO vehicles where I have to use OEM parts.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I think that the best argument is that the retail pricing at a dealer is absurdly high, particularly for a frequent customer with a large account.

            If they played it straight with you, then you’d have the freedom to bid out the work to some other shop that would surely charge you a lower labor rate, plus provide a discount on the parts. There would still be a markup, but it would be a lower one that reflected your buying power.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      If you ask me, Johnny, you’re one of the good ones. I appreciate a shop–a manager–who at least tries.

      Yes, you do have to find that balance and unfortunately all-too-many choose to ‘cheap out’ rather than giving a customer their money’s worth. Small things like scratches and blemishes aren’t necessarily a sign of an abused car; reliability is far more important than mere appearances, though too many customers don’t understand that. Sometimes–and this can be really screwy when you consider it–a simple $5 (five dollar) fix can eliminate a repetitive $100 repair… if you can determine the cause. It’s knowing when working out of the box can be more effective than going by the book. In one case for me, just adding a mere 6″ of wire eliminated a problem that caused one particular engine sensor to literally break its contact every year. Until a nylon timing gear shredded, that engine went from problematical to absurdly reliable with a cheap, $5 fix.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnnyFirebird

        There was a customer for a 2007 XC90 that was under the car and judging every picayune detail about squeaks and rattles, demanding a compression test, that kind of thing. He was OCD, sure, but I respect him much more than the other clients that demand a new rear bench leather seat cover because it’s a little rough. At least the first guy was obsessive about the things that matter. (For some reason I imagine a lot of TTAC commenters being like that guy when buying a car.)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Thanks for the complement, and I share your values. Your are the used car manager and thus, you are the one building the customer relationships, and its your name on the final product so-to-speak. Pch points out the parts department does not want to subsidize the repair department, but the issue really is a conflict of interest as both departments are owned by the same person or entity. Where is the incentive for the parts department to offer better prices to the shop? I imagine the repair department is not generally able to phone FCP Euro, Ipd, or your local Autozone so they have a monopoly right? Ultimately the “customer” pays, it matters not to them if their markup puts your reconditioned cars in a tight margin. If this monopoly I speculate about is not the case my suggestion to you as the UCM is to start utilizing the aftermarket for your reconditioning parts costs. Volvo might not have the aftermarket of Chevrolet or Ford, but aside from online sources our local Autozone and Advance Auto carry many common parts which fit the Volvos my guys shop services.

      My other thought as UCM is to diversify your product. I like Volvo, I have one and I’ll probably get more eventually, but they are not what they used to be. The P2 S80s we work on frequently are or eventually become elegant money pits. Oddly I haven’t seen many XC90s come through, but the general thought it they are a POS (in fairness I doubt many beyond MY08 have come through the shop). I imagine most of the newer Volvo product (2005+) is still being dealer serviced but I wonder if enough of those will even hit 200K that they start to filter down to the Volvo indys. If I was in your shoes, I would attempt to develop relationships with the wholesalers for your local Subaru, Toyota, Honda, and possibly GM dealers in order to stock other product. Ideally you want to stock competent product with lower reconditioning costs which is also popular. The Japanese brands for the most part tick these boxes, to a lesser extent GM, maybe Ford or Chrysler. You probably won’t be able to CPO these cars, but in theory they should not require it as much due to superior design or manufacturing processes.

      • 0 avatar
        bam210135

        JohnnyFirebird

        As an MB tech who does CPO checks, I agree that some guys go overboard and nit pick everything that’s wrong with the car and some spend minimal time doing a check. You have to be somewhere in between. You have to realize at the end of the day it’s a used car so it can’t possibly be excepted to be perfect like a new car. I think my UMC makes good choices to make money and give the customer a great deal.

        Also the sales, service, and parts department at my dealer work at an “internal” rate when working on used/CPO cars. We lower the shop rate (but the techs still make the same amount), parts lowers their profit margins, and sales gives us much needed “income” in both departments. (It’s all the owner’s money anyway.)

        • 0 avatar
          JohnnyFirebird

          I generally prefer the mechanics who note everything because I can, at least, go through the list and figure out “nah, this is fine” and what’s not fine. The problem is a bit political – if, say, you note a rusted belly pan that didn’t need to be replaced, it’s now in writing on the CPO report and I’m going to have to demand the service manager that you write a new one, which could screw you up as a tech not wanting to put his name on something that you don’t think is up to your standards. But having a car pass certification and, say, not having a working ventilation system or wipers is a waaaay bigger problem for me. This is why me and the service manager try to take home every car after it’s done repairs.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnnyFirebird

        I’ve been keeping records with the non-Volvo cars and we generally do worse profit and recon wise on them. Part of it is that as a Volvo shop we don’t have tools for changing the clutch on a Matrix or G35 coupe so I had to ship both of those out this summer, and repairing an F150 suspension.

        I have to pass this by my service manager but I might start sending out off-brands to either their specific dealerships or local shops that specialize in them, inspections and all. I’ve had bad luck with off-brands, with the wrong parts being ordered, way too much diagnostic time, the wrong things being repaired. If I’d just sent them to MB or VW or Dodge or whatever and got them looked at in the first place I’d save some cash. Also I’d save on the labour rate, as Hyundai, Toyota, VW, and Chrysler all have a way lower hourly rate.

        I did make the mistake of sending the G35 coupe to a Nissan dealership to get the clutched changed. Took them a week and a half, they did it incorrectly, had to send it back. I thought it was pretty identical to the 350Z, I guess not?

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Does the manufacturer foot the entire bill on CPO warranty claims? If so, I can see how the dealerships are double dipping.

    Add 2k to the sale price for CPO with minimal investment, and charge the maker for warranty repairs that come up. Wait, wasn’t there just an article about something similar?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      CPO is a cost paid by dealers for the “certification” and then marked up to you. I think it varies how much the CPO warranty covers.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      Each dealership handles their CPO programs differently. In Canada with VWs now CPO simply means the vehicle has been inspected and repaired with OEM parts at the dealership as per their CPO requirements, and comes paired with subsidized financing rates. You can, at your own expense, purchase a CPO warranty (dealer / F&I sets the price, usually at the manufacturer’s billed cost + markup) which functions the same as VW’s original warranty. I think it’s for 2 years / 40,000 kilometers here.

      Volvo requires that CPO cars are sold with the extended warranty included in the MSRP, but their warranty goes from the original in-service date of the vehicle to 6 years / 160,000 kilometers (you can pay extra for more years and more kilometers). BMW CPO cars include a 2 year, 40,000 kilometer warranty that begins after the original one expires.

      GM does the VW route of offering it as an add-on, but as more of an aftermarket extended with varying kilometers, deductibles, etc. All GM CPO cars come with subsidized financing rates.

      I prefer a non-deductable, pretty-much-the-same-as-the-original-warranty warranties if I’m going CPO. In this case it’s the manufacturer who pays for the car’s repairs and not the dealership. They *do* audit vehicles to discourage dealers from, say, not fixing their cars at all and waiting for it to be done at the manufacturer’s expense, but I’ve still known many UCMs who do this.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    HARP? – I’ll take one Hudson Hornet with twin H power inspected and reconditioned as described please!

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I have brought many used cars in my life time and a few new cars. I can spot a junker a mile away. My first job at 16 years of age was for a Pontiac dealer in Brooklyn, NY. My job was filing claims under warranty with GM. I will not go into details how they screwed GM on the claims but to this day i have no use for new car dealers. I have meet a few honest one’s but very few. If you do not know how to fix your own car and service it leave the used cars to someone else. Buy new with a warranty or a CPO from a honest dealer. Labor charges at a dealer today are out of sight. If you know your parts you can get a good price from some of the dealers that deal on line. People come up to me all of time telling me a tale of woe what they went thru for a simple repair. I used to like to help a few people that i felt sorry for but some of the cars today are almost impossable to work on with out the proper programs. I have the programs for my own cars which are updated on a yearly basis. Funny my first used car was a 1948 Hudson Hornet $100.00 from a Rambler dealers back lot and i had that car for 5 years, Bulletproof. I learned a lot about that car and still miss it.

  • avatar
    v8corvairpickup

    In 2001, my future wife purchased a “Certified, pre-owned Honda” 1998 CR-V from a Las Vegas Honda dealer. She’s never had major problems with the car but when she bought it, the wiper blades needed replacing, the original tires were pretty worn, the original battery died a few weeks after purchase and there were a few, dumb rattles inside the car (one was the glovebox door latch was loose).

    Thus, my opinion of the modern CPO program is: After a wash and detail, if the Carfax is clean and mileage is “average” or below, it passes the CPO test with flying colors.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      Depends on the used car manager, really.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      At least they should have gone to the trouble of re-grooving the tires… :-)

      • 0 avatar
        JohnnyFirebird

        I do know used car managers that basically just wash it and hope that nothing goes wrong before the CPO warranty kicks in. But I’ve also had cases where a mechanic missed something obvious and a client noticed it on delivery (like wipers or dual zone climate control not working right). I try my best to test drive every vehicle after reconditioning and making sure the driver’s experience is up to CPO standards (ie: everything works and nothing falls off).

  • avatar
    claytori

    It has been 25 years since I have had a new car. Most have been used, purchased privately. A few used from dealers. I do my own inspections, and have never had a surprise repair that I didn’t anticipate. One dealer was somewhat disturbed that I negotiated him down from $10,200 to $10,000 because one of the tranny axle seals was leaking. It actually cost less than the $200 to fix. I still have that one 11 years and 300,000km later. I actually find new cars to be more trouble to sort out. Taking it back to the dealer, explaining what is wrong, convincing them to fix it, complaining when they don’t, etc, etc, etc. Pain in the posterior. I buy a car, it breaks, I fix it. Then there is the issue of the new car “dealer prep” charge. They take the plastic off the seats and wash it. In the FSM there is a list of the items that should be performed for this charge. It may include a road test, emissions check, wheel alignmet, etc. Chances of this work being performed as part of dealer prep, zero. You get to test the vehicle and complain (see above). With a used car, you get to drive it prior to purchase. Any issues can be detected and you get to walk.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Some issues can be detected. My 1995 F150 with the 300 I6 blew the cam gear after 15,000 miles. That I couldn’t tell.

      But, have a good mechanic check the car. Keep a little money set aside for minor repairs, and you’ll usually be good to go!

  • avatar
    shaker

    It seems logical that you should buy a CPO vehicle from a dealer that sells that model new; at least any repairs should be done correctly, and since the car doesn’t have to be sent to a third-party, maybe the savings will be applied to giving the vehicle a closer look.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    How does one “regroove” a tire?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      A more modern term would be “retread”. While you don’t often see it done for cars any more, 18-wheeler trailers commonly run on retreads–which is why you see so many blown truck tires on the highways.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Ah, so you glue on a layer of tread and hope it sticks?

        Side note: I enjoy the change in the American lexicon over time – I feel like America runs through it’s popular terminology very quickly.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          NO ~

          Re grooving was done back in the day when the rubber between the belts (cotton back then) and the inner depth of the thread was thicker , there were special tools used to deepen the worn out tread , it s bit of art to properly re groove tread and not make it obvious .

          Big Rig tires used to have ” re grooveable ” on the side walls if they were designed for this .

          Re treading or re capping is much more involved , you have to first buff off all the old tread evenly with out going down to the cords , then you vulcanize a new tread strip on .

          Dirty , nasty work .

          90 % of the time when you see those tread strips lying on the roadway , they came off because the driver was too lazy to maintain the proper inflation pressure and tires , new , used or re capped , get hot very quickly when run under inflated .

          -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks, sounds pretty labor intensive. I would think better in the long run to make a new tire than bother with all that. Of course that must not have been the case back in the day.

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