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In addition to a great vehicle, luxury vehicle shoppers want a longer warranty, more services, and an overall better ownership experience. However, not every luxury vehicle shopper wants to pay more. For a BMW shopper, the best way to reduce costs is by leasing on of BMW’s certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles.

Leasing works very well for many BMW shoppers because it offers a fixed cost of ownership. Whether the vehicle is used for business or personal use, a lease offers the buyer a way to get into a slightly more expensive vehicle.It also gives the buyer the peace of mind that there will be no added costs and an easy exit when the lease is up. These off-lease BMWs create a large pool of relatively new BMWs that have had all their service completed by BMW. This is because during BMW’s four year/50,000-miles warranty BMW wisely includes the required maintenance on its vehicles at no extra cost.

Once the lease ends, most new car lesees will opt to roll into another lease, allowing the used BMW to become an ideal candidate for BMW’s exemplary CPO program. Since the vehicle was maintained by BMW the new owner knows the car is mechanically excellent and reliable. BMW can also give the new CPO buyer a comprehensive folder showing all the work it performed on that vehicle. Cars BMW customers bought and traded in can also become CPO BMWs.

What it Takes to be a CPO BMW

A BMW vehicle must meet certain qualifications for consideration to the certified pre-owned program. First, it must have been in service for fewer than 60,000 miles and must be fewer than four years old. In addition, the used BMW must pass the BMW CPO team’s scrutiny. A CARFAX report is pulled to ensure the BMW has not been in any major accidents, and the team looks closely at the maintenance and repair history to confirm that the vehicle was maintained according to BMW’s standards. The CPO team then goes over the car closely, looking for any problem areas in need of attention. Anything broken is fixed. Next, the vehicle is given a road test to make sure it drives as expected. Lastly the vehicle is reconditioned, and any maintenance that is coming due is performed. Only then will a used BMW be certified by BMW.

[Read How CPO Programs Work]

A certified pre-owned BMW owner’s first level of protection is the original BMW four-year/50,000-mile new car warranty. Also, the new car maintenance plan may still be in effect. When shopping for a CPO BMW, it is worth looking closely at the maintenance record and asking to see what the maintenance costs will be in upcoming years in writing.

Two Types of Plans

BMW offers two certified pre-owned plans, both of which augment the BMW new car warranty plan. The first is called Certified Pre-Owned Elite. These vehicles have fewer than 15,000 miles, and BMW adds a one-year/25,000-mile extension to the BMW new-car warranty (four-years/50,000 miles). Buying a CPO Elite BMW is very similar to owning a new BMW. Shoppers buying one of these vehicles may want to ask why the previous owner quit on the car so soon, as almost nobody owns a car for just one year or less.

The second program is the larger pool of vehicles and is simply called Certifed Pre-Owned. These are BMW vehicles with fewer than 60,000 miles. BMW adds two years or up to 50,000 miles to the BMW new car warranty for these certified pre-owned BMWs. Therefore, the oldest a CPO BMW can be, and still be covered under warranty, is six years, or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Run-Flat Tires

BMW of North America, LLC

Certified pre-owned BMW shoppers should pay special attention to tires. BMW uses run-flat tires on most of its popular models, including the 3 Series and X3 crossover. Run-flat tires offer three advantages over conventional tires. They allow a vehicle to continue on home or to a repair facility for about fifty miles at low speeds after a puncture. If a puncture occurs on the highway, this is a benefit because it allows the driver to simply slow down and continue driving to the next exit or further. Run-flats are also tougher, they can take more abuse than conventional tires and not fail in a way that makes the car dangerous. Last, since there is no spare tire, that space is freed up for cargo.

However, run-flats are twice the price of conventional high-performance tires. They are also not as easy to find in inventory at smaller tire shops, and BMW service departments may not always stock them or be open on weekends. Run-flats are also harder for tire shops to work on. This special, hard to work on construction makes having a second set of winter-only tires harder to deal with and more expensive.

[Read Best Used BMWs]

Because of the run-flat tires BMW uses, a certified pre-owned BMW shopper needs to look closely at the tires on the vehicle they are considering. If the tires are new, or nearly so, there is no issue. But if they are partially worn, the owner needs to be aware that the replacement costs are not included in BMW’s maintenance plan. A buyer may also want to be aware that run-flat tires should never be repaired, but only replaced. One should look closely to see if the vehicle they are buying was ever brought in with a low tire and how that was resolved.

Owning a certified pre-owned BMW is very much like owning a new BMW. All of the same BMW dealership benefits, such as loaner cars for service, are extended to its CPO customers. Financing for certified pre-owned BMWs is also available direct from BMW. The certified pre-owned vehicle program from BMW is an excellent way for a shopper to drive home in a cheaper BMW, but with all of the new-car protections and benefits.