What to know, what to ask about, how they protect you
Think about what you want in your next vehicle. Maybe it’s something basic and safe for a new driver in the family. Or a roomy truck that’s ready for anything from commutes to road trips. Or a sturdy SUV designed to haul groceries, kids and sports equipment with ease.
Is it new? Not necessarily. Used vehicles are hot. A record 40 million were sold in 2021 – a whopping 10 percent increase over the previous year.
The reasons are clear: They’re generally less expensive, have lower insurance rates and give you more vroom and amenities for your buck.
But they have a history. They’ve been around the block – multiple times, literally. You need to be confident about your purchase. So before you close the deal, ask your sales rep a very important question: What kind of warranty can you offer me on this vehicle?
Warranty = Peace of Mind
What is a warranty anyway? And why should you have one on a used vehicle?
Simply put, a warranty is a contract. It’s a promise from the manufacturer or seller to cover the costs of repairs, maintenance and replacement parts for a product – in this case, a used vehicle – for a certain period of time. It reassures you that the vehicle is in good shape and that the manufacturer or seller – whichever is issuing the warranty – stands behind the product. It lets you be confident that you won’t have to pay out of pocket for major repairs spelled out in the warranty.
Some other things to know about warranties:
What does a used-vehicle warranty cover?
Warranties can vary widely depending on the age, mileage and previous use of a vehicle. Basic warranties generally cover the engine and transmission, though more comprehensive plans may include heating and cooling systems, electrical or high-tech components, safety features and even hybrid batteries.
Also, depending on age and mileage, the original manufacturer warranty may still be in effect. A dealer warranty on the vehicle would go into effect after the original warranty expires.
What is a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle?
Certified pre-owned vehicles offer buyers a lot of advantages. They tend to be newer – only a few model years old – and gently used. They also generally have lower mileage and must be accident free. They also must pass a significant inspection and meet specific criteria before they go on the lot. An important point to note is that CPO vehicles are always factory certified – that means you’ll see a CPO Ford on our lot, but never a CPO vehicle of another make.
CPO vehicles are highly reliable and may have their original manufacturer warranty still in effect.
How much is a warranty at Mullinax Ford of Central Florida?
All Mullinax warranties are included in the vehicle purchase price. And because we believe in transparency, our warranty information is prominently displayed in a triangular sticker on the windshield. By contrast, costs for a third-party, after-market warranty can start at $1,000 and go up from there. The average cost is about $2,500 and many plans only cover the vehicle up to about 100,000 miles.
Note: Buyers of new Fords have additional, extended warranties available to them at extra cost. See our extended warranties page for details.
How long do you have to return a used vehicle?
Return periods vary by warranty. Information is available below and on the windshield.
What used-vehicle warranties are available at Mullinax Ford of Central Florida?
If the vehicle is on our lot, we have a warranty that offers you an appropriate level of protection. Just as we put our Up Front®, no-haggle price on the window, we put our warranty information out there too, on a triangular sticker on the windshield.
Things to know:
- The best warranty – the Ford Blue Advantage Gold Certified warranty – is reserved for CPO vehicles and comes directly from Ford Motor Company.
- Mullinax Ford also provides four additional warranties that cover all used vehicles available through the dealership.
Ford Blue Advantage Gold Certified
The top level of available warranties is the Ford Blue Advantage Gold Certified option, which is available directly from Ford Motor Company and the only one to qualify as a true extended warranty. Designed to provide the highest levels of peace of mind, it is reserved for qualifying Ford CPO vehicles and provides the most comprehensive used-vehicle warranty coverage.
Eligible vehicles include Ford trucks (up to the F-450 series and select commercial vehicles), SUVs, cars and vans that are the current model year or within the previous five model years and have fewer than 80,000 miles. They are also reconditioned so they are practically like new.
The Ford Blue Advantage Gold Certified warranty includes:
- 7-year, 100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty coverage
- 12-month, 12,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty coverage
- 172-point vehicle inspection
- 14-day, 1,000-mile (whichever comes first) money-back guarantee
- 24-hour roadside assistance for breakdowns, blowouts, bad weather and other issues for the full duration of the powertrain limited warranty period. Features include:
- Travel reimbursement up to $1,000 for up to five days if a breakdown occurs more than 100 miles from your home.
- Destination expense assistance of up to $75 to cover the cost of a taxi, shuttle or rental vehicle to reach your destination.
- Rental vehicle reimbursement up to $35 per day for up to 10 days if your vehicle requires overnight mechanical repairs.
Mullinax Ford of Central Florida provides four additional warranty levels available that, between them, cover every used vehicle on the lot. They are:
The Green Warranty is the top warranty available from Mullinax Ford. It covers used Fords and other makes that are 10 years old or less and have fewer than 80,000 miles. The warranty includes:
- 60-day unlimited mileage warranty; $100 deductible
- 110-point vehicle inspection
- 5-day, 300-mile exchange policy
- Extended service plans available
The Silver Warranty is intended for vehicles 10 years old or less, but with higher mileage – between 80,000 and 105,000, depending on condition. Silver coverage includes:
- 60-day unlimited mileage 50/50 warranty
- 45-point vehicle inspection
- 5-day, 300-mile exchange policy
- Extended service plans available
Vehicles at least 10 model years old and with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer qualify for the Bronze Warranty. All vehicles in this category are sold as-in, in the condition they were received. Bronze coverage includes:
- Value pricing for extra savings
- 5-day, 300-mile exchange policy
Our Specialty Warranty is designed to address the needs of high-performance, luxury, diesel or modified vehicles. It includes:
- The balance of factory warranty, though some components may not be covered if the vehicle has been modified
- A 110-point vehicle inspection
Preparing to buy a used vehicle
The most reliable and efficient way to buy a used vehicle is to go to a dealership like Mullinax Ford of Central Florida that offers both new and pre-owned trucks, SUVs, cars and vans. Dealerships have expert service technicians ready to address maintenance or repair needs, with a finance department that can help you secure a loan for your new ride.
Nevertheless, whether you’re an experienced used-vehicle buyer or a first-timer, you should be prepared to do some research on any potential new-to-you possibilities. Here’s how:
Ask questions about the vehicle’s condition and history, including:
- Where did the vehicle come from? Common sources include trade-ins, dealership demos, auctions, rental car fleets or trades with other dealers. This answer can indicate how many owners the vehicle has had and the vehicle’s maintenance history.
- How has the vehicle been maintained? You want to determine whether service was done at the appropriate intervals, either at a dealership’s service department or by an independent mechanic. Ask what work the dealership has completed and to see vehicle history reports such as CARFAX.
- Has the vehicle been in any accidents? Again, ask for vehicle history reports.
- Has the dealer performed any service or scheduled maintenance on the vehicle? You could save money if routine tasks have already been done.
- Will the dealer accept your current vehicle as a trade-in? The answer depends on the condition of your vehicle, though most dealers, including Mullinax Ford of Central Florida, will include your current vehicle as part of a deal.
What should you look for when buying a used vehicle?
Inspect the vehicle inside and out, paying attention to issues that could be deal-breakers or pricey fixes.
Outside, be on the lookout for rust or paint damage. Small spots of rust or chipped paint can be easily fixed, but areas where the metal is totally rusted through could be a sign to walk away from the purchase. Other issues to be aware of:
- Make sure the body panels line up evenly. Uneven panels can mean the vehicle was in an accident and not repaired well.
- Open and close the doors, hood and trunk to make sure they move easily.
- Check for paint overspray on the inside of the trunk, hood and doors. You want to make sure the color matches on all parts of the vehicle. Changes in color can mean the part was repaired and repainted.
- Check for frame issues. Is the vehicle sitting level on the ground? Do you see anything hanging underneath? Look at the bumpers and inside the trunk and hood – warping or new bolts could indicate an accident.
- Look under the hood for fluid leaks, corrosion, cracked hoses or damaged belts. Check the dipsticks for the oil and transmission. Oil should be light brown and transmission fluid should be red or pink. If it’s not, start asking questions or choose another vehicle.
- Check the tires. Tread wear should be even and all four tires should match. Uneven tread or wear can indicate poor alignment, which often points to problems with the steering, suspension or frame.
- Test drive the vehicle. Before you put the vehicle in gear, turn the key to the “accessory” position to make sure the warning lights go on. If they don’t, or if anything stays lit when you turn the ignition, be sure to have the issue checked out. Next, listen for tapping or clicking sounds as well as any unusual engine or brake noises. Also be aware of how the vehicle handles. A vehicle that is poorly aligned will pull either left or right. You’ll want to see about getting the issue addressed before proceeding.
- Inside, make sure all of the electronics work. Turn on the radio and press all the buttons. Test the air conditioning and heat as well. Also pay attention to the upholstery – looks for tears and stains on front and back seats. With leather seats, make sure there are no cracks. Upholstery repairs can be pricey.
- Above all, avoid being rushed. At Mullinax Ford of Central Florida, we always make sure you can shop at your own pace.
Should you take the vehicle for an independent inspection, and if so, where?
Of course. We’re happy for you to have the vehicle checked out by a third party. A mechanic you know and trust is a good option. Many independent and chain garages also do inspections.
What is good mileage for a used vehicle?
That depends. People have different driving needs, so mileage on used vehicles can vary widely. On average, however, most people drive about 1,000 miles a month, or 12,000 miles a year. By that calculation, a 5-year-old vehicle would have about 60,000 miles on the odometer.
Mileage should be one of your considerations, but don’t rely strictly on numbers.
Today’s vehicles are designed to stay on the road longer – well over 100,00 miles, in most cases. Many, including the Ford F-150 and the Expedition, can easily rack up 200,000 miles and still be going strong.
Also, be aware that low mileage may not always be the most positive attribute. If a vehicle did little more than sit in a garage, it might need some expensive maintenance before it’s ready for the road again. Also consider how it was driven – a city car that was mostly used for quick errands will show more wear on the tires and brakes than one that was driven long distances.
What should you do after buying a used vehicle?
The ink on the sales contract may be dry, but you have a few more things to do. After the sale, you need to:
- Transfer the title, pay sales tax on the vehicle, and register your vehicle with the state and get new tags. The staff at Mullinax Ford of Central Florida can help you with all of those tasks.
- Get the vehicle insured or notify your insurance company of your purchase.
- Enjoy your new-to-you vehicle!
Ready to look for a pre-owned vehicle?
At Mullinax Ford of Central Florida, we can answer any of your used-vehicle warranty questions and help you find the truck, SUV, car or van for your needs and your budget.
You can shop online or visit us at the dealership. Our location serves Apopka, North Orlando and all of Central Florida. Contact us today.