Purchasing "Certified Used" car

am evaluating a 2005 Civic Hybrid for purchase from a local Honda dealer. The white buyer’s guide sheet taped to the window has the “as is” boxed checked indicating that there is no warranty on the vehicle. However, the internet ad indicates the vehicle is “certified used” as does other signage affixed to the vehicle. The sales associate also affirmed that the vehicle is “certified used”. A carfax search also indicates “certified used” status.

According to the Honda website, the “certified used” designation affords “powertrain coverage for seven years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first) from the vehicle’s original in-service date and non-powertrain coverage for 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first) from the original warranty expiration date or, if the original warranty has expired, from the Honda Certified Used Cars purchase date.” Thus, I am perplexed as to why the buyer’s guide is checked “as is” and yet the car is supposedly “certified used” which should provide warranty coverage. The sales associate indicated that the buyer’s guide sheet must be checked “as is” by state law, which makes no sense to me since the “certified used” designation supposedly provides warranty coverage.

I’m concerned that something underhanded may be occuring here or perhaps the buyer’s guide is incorrectly marked “as is” or the sales associate may not be well informed. Can anyone explain this to me?

Thank you for your consideration.

I can certify that the vehicle I drive is used!

It’s the manufacturers way to get you to think that their cars are soooo special that you should pay extra to buy that used vehicle from them. They just go through it like any other dealer before it’s put on the lot.

Instead, look for the same used car from a private party that has service records. You’ll come out way ahead.


Dealers are required by law to post that sheet and mark it accordingly as to “AS IS”, 30, 60, 90 day warranty, etc.
In the case of a certified car what this means is that the dealer is under no obligation to warranty anything on that car and the warranty responsibility is Honda Motor Company’s.

Honda M.C. may well warranty a powertrain problem but the dealer is off the hook the minute you sign and drive off. The dealer’s only responsibility would be to perform an authorized warranty repair that is covered by Honda Motor Co.
Keep in mind that there are many things warranty does not cover so don’t assume that any powertrain hiccup is going to be paid for by Honda M.C.

I hope that explains it anyway, but my suggestion is to take the paperwork and read it over thoroughly at McDonalds over a cup of coffee without anyone breathing down your neck.

There is “Honda Certified Used,” and there is “Dealer Certified Used.” If the vehicle is “Honda Certified Used,” all of the things you found on the website will apply. If, on the other hand, the vehicle is “Dealer certified used,” you’re on your own. "Certified Used, means virtually nothing, unless it is backed by the factory.

Which “certification” does this car have?

Since it’s not very old, I’d have to wonder why it isn’t “Honda” certified.

Auto manufacturers that certify used cars have a set evaluation they put the car through. After it passes, it is certified and will be covered by the Honda warranty. If this is a dealer certified car, you need to find out what the dealer certification consists of. It must be in writing and part of the contract or it means nothing.

I too would be concerned. And it’s been my experience that whenever a salesman does have a good answer to a question like this he says “state law requires it”. The Buyer’s Guide may simply have been erroneously checked.

The real defining document will be your contract. If the contract includes the warranty, you have it. If not, you don’t. Even of the Buyer’s Guide said it was “certified” if the contract said “as is” you’d be stuck. The Buyer’s Guide is not the contract…only the contract is the contract.