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What Does A Powertrain Warranty Cover?

A powertrain warranty from a manufacturer or third party protects vehicle components that allow power to transfer energy from your engine to the wheels

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Updated: Sep 17, 2023

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A car warranty can offset sudden and unexpected repair costs, but the language surrounding warranties can be complex. Do you know what your manufacturer warranty or extended warranty will pay for? Just what does a powertrain warranty cover?

Today, we will discuss the ins and outs of powertrain warranties. When you have all the details, you can decide whether you need any additional protection for your vehicle.

Speed Reads:

  • A powertrain warranty covers the engine, transmission, drive axle, and other key components that make a vehicle move.
  • Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, and Mitsubishi offer the most generous new car powertrain warranties, with terms of 10 years or 100,000 miles.
  • Endurance, Olive, CarShield, and CARCHEX are our top picks for third-party extended powertrain warranty providers.

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Powertrain Warranty Coverage

Coverage from a powertrain warranty extends to all of the parts included in the powertrain. The parts and systems that make up the powertrain are responsible for making your car drive down the road. Technically, most parts on a car are designed to make it move in one way or another, but the powertrain components are the most integral to a vehicle’s movement.

However, items that are not directly connected to the powertrain, such as brakes and suspension, are not included in coverage. This is also true for all wear and tear items and routine maintenance like tire rotations.

What Is Included In The Powertrain?

Many car owners think that a vehicle’s powertrain and drivetrain are the same thing, but that’s not the case. The powertrain can be split into two parts, the engine and the drivetrain. Generally, powertrain warranty coverage includes the following components:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Torque converter
  • Propeller shaft
  • U-joint
  • Rear axle
  • Spool
  • Differential

What Makes Up The Powertrain Engine Coverage?

Engine parts covered by a powertrain warranty include the following:

  • Driveshaft
  • Engine block
  • Pistons
  • Crank shaft
  • Timing chain
  • Valvetrain
  • Valves for internal and external exhaust
  • Oil pump
  • Fuel injectors
  • Pushrods and lifters
  • Pistons

However, be aware that coverage for your car’s powertrain does not include other internal parts such as spark plugs, timing belts, wiring, oil pan, the engine radiator, wheel bearings, connectors, or coolant hoses. Some of these are considered to be wear and tear items, which are not covered under most warranties.



How Long Does A Powertrain Warranty Last?

Powertrain warranty term lengths vary widely by provider. If you purchase a new car with a powertrain protection plan, some of the best manufacturers offer coverage for 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Other automakers may only offer four years or 50,000 miles of coverage on new vehicles

If you decide to purchase an extended warranty plan, you can generally get great powertrain coverage from a third-party company no matter what type of vehicle you’re driving.



Who Has The Best Powertrain Warranty?

The awards for best factory powertrain warranty go to Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, and Mitsubishi. Each offers a term length of 10 years or 100,000 miles. Tesla isn’t far behind, with a term length of eight years and mileage limits that vary by model, while Infiniti, Lincoln, and Cadillac all come in at six years or 70,000 miles. If you drive a Jeep, Chevrolet, or other make not found on the list below, looking into an extended warranty might be a particularly good move.

Below are the manufacturers with the best powertrain warranty terms:

AutomakerManufacturer Warranty Terms
Hyundai10 years/100,000 miles
Kia10 years/100,000 miles
Genesis10 years/100,000 miles
Mitsubishi10 years/100,000 miles
Tesla8 years/mileage varies by model
Lexus6 years/70,000 miles
Infiniti6 years/70,000 miles
Lincoln6 years/70,000 miles
Acura6 years/70,000 miles



Powertrain Warranty Vs. Bumper-To-Bumper

The differences between a powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranty are fairly straightforward. In a nutshell, a powertrain warranty covers the powertrain while a bumper-to-bumper warranty covers almost every non-powertrain component from the front bumper to the rear bumper.

In reality, a bumper-to-bumper warranty can look different depending on your warranty provider. The best warranties will cover most components of the car, and the worst warranties will have a lot of fine print and exclusions. That being said, most bumper-to-bumper warranties have some exclusions like wear and tear items including brake pads, wiper blades, and light bulbs.

That’s why it’s important to find a reputable extended warranty provider if you decide to purchase an aftermarket extended powertrain warranty.

Venn diagram that shows the similarities and differences between bumper-to-bumper warranties and powertrain warranties.



Should You Get An Extended Powertrain Warranty?

For many car owners, purchasing an extended warranty can provide peace of mind. Even if you have factory powertrain coverage, it’s only a matter of time until your warranty expires, leaving you responsible for any repair bills. When you consider that the average cost of replacing the transmission in a car is between $1,800 and $3,400, that peace of mind alone might be worth it.

If you want full coverage for your vehicle, a comprehensive warranty that includes both bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage is your best bet. But if you’re just looking for protection for essential components like the engine, then you should consider an extended powertrain warranty.

Vehicle Repair Costs

The average cost of vehicle repairs sits around $652 per year according to RepairPal. However, if a major part of your vehicle breaks down, you could be looking at paying a large sum. While car reliability varies between manufacturers, it is good to know common repair costs to gauge whether you need coverage.

Below are average repair costs, chances of major repairs, and frequency of being taken to a mechanic for different major automaker brands:

ManufacturerAverage repair costChance of
major part breakdown
Frequency of visits
(per year)
Honda$42810%.31 times
Toyota$44112%.34 times
Acura$5018%.39 times
Kia$47410%.22 times
Hyundai$46810%.27 times
Nissan$50013%.31 times
Ford$77515%.30 times
Chevy$64915%.28 times
Subaru$61713%.33 times
BMW$96815%.95 times

Where Can You Purchase An Extended Warranty?

Extended warranties can be purchased either directly from your automobile manufacturer, at a dealership, or from a third-party provider like CARCHEX or CarShield.

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. If you have a lot of brand loyalty and feel most comfortable signing a vehicle service contract with your favorite car brand, then that’s probably the best choice for you. However, manufacturer warranties usually have stricter requirements on where you can service your vehicle – usually, it’s only in manufacturer service centers. You may also have to purchase your extended warranty at the time you purchase your vehicle.

Third-party warranty providers, on the other hand, generally let you service your vehicle at whatever in-network shop you like, giving you a lot more flexibility.



What Do Powertrain Warranties Cover?: Conclusion

Powertrain warranties protect all the important parts that allow you to drive your vehicle, allowing you to have peace of mind. While they do not come with the same comprehensive coverage as bumper-to-bumper warranties, they come at a cheaper cost and protect your most important components. If you are looking for extended warranty coverage, we suggest comparing as many options as possible to find the right plan for you.

Best Extended Powertrain Warranty Providers

Let’s take a look at some of the top third-party extended warranty providers. When we recently reviewed the best extended car warranty companies in the industry, these were the four that performed best in categories like reputation, coverage, customer experience, and cost.

Endurance: Best Coverage

Endurance is a direct provider, which means there’s no middleman involved. If you choose to work with Endurance, you will deal with them every time, including during the claims process. That means your claims experience may go more quickly than with another company. Endurance offers six levels of extended car warranty coverage:

PlanWho It’s ForDetails
SupremeThose who want complete coverageSuperb bumper-to-bumper coverage
SuperiorThose who want near-complete coverageCovers many specific parts of vehicles
Secure PlusThose who need coverage quicklyCovers steering, electrical, and brake systems with a shorter waiting period than other coverages
SecureThose who want budget coverageOnly covers the most important parts of your vehicle
Select PremierThose with older vehiclesOnly covers the powertrain
AdvantageThose who want maintenance coverageCombines mechanical breakdown protection and routine maintenance services like oil changes, brake pad replacement, and cooling system checkups

If you’re looking for powertrain coverage only, Select Premier is the best choice for you. Endurance’s term lengths are not available online, but in our “secret shopper” analysis, the longest quote we were able to get was for eight years or 125,000 miles.

Read more in our Endurance review.

Olive: Best Online Warranty

Olive makes it easy to buy and manage an extended car warranty online. Although it offers just three levels of coverage, Olive doesn’t have a waiting period for protection to take effect. That’s a rarity in the extended auto warranty world. The company also has solid customer reviews on Google, Trustpilot, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Here are some details on Olive’s three coverage options, all of which can cover a vehicle for three years at a time, until a vehicle reaches 185,000 miles:

PlanWho It’s ForDetails
Complete CareDrivers who want an extension of their factory warrantyAn exclusionary plan that’s similar to a manufacturer’s limited warranty
Powertrain PlusCustomers who want to go a step beyond a powertrain warrantyCovers the engine, transmission, drive axle, air and fuel systems, steering, front suspension, air conditioning, and more
PowertrainThose who want basic long-term vehicle protectionProtects the engine, transmission, drive axle, air and fuel systems, and seals and gaskets

To learn more, check out our Olive review.

Best Online Warranty 4.5/5

There’s no waiting period for coverage with this extended warranty company.

CarShield: Best Monthly Payments

Of all the extended car warranty providers we researched, CarShield was the most popular. The company has low deductibles and claims are paid directly to the repair shop, saving you some time and hassle.

CarShield offers six levels of coverage:

PlanWho It’s ForDetails
DiamondMotorists that want factory-warranty-level coverage for their vehicleBumper-to-bumper coverage that’s near-identical to most manufacturer warranties
PlatinumHigh-mileage vehicle ownersCovers most major vehicle systems
GoldMotorists that only want to cover the most important componentsProvides coverage for the powertrain, transmission, water pump, air conditioning, ignition, and a few other components
SilverMotorists who want basic powertrain coverageCovers most parts of the powertrain
AluminumMotorists whose cars have high-tech or highly advanced electrical systemsCovers GPS systems, the engine control module, alternator, and other electrical systems
Motorcycle & ATVMotorcycle, ATV, and off-road vehicle ownersOffers several levels of coverage for specialty vehicles

See our CarShield review to learn more.

CARCHEX: Best for Used Cars

CARCHEX is often considered to be among the best extended warranty providers. With endorsements from brands like Kelley Blue Book, Carfax, and Edmunds.com, you know the company can be trusted. Like many third-party providers, CarShield warranties come with perks like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and emergency towing.

CARCHEX doesn’t have a specific powertrain warranty. Instead, it has different levels of coverage from Platinum to Bronze. As you move down the line, your coverage decreases and fewer parts are covered until you’re left with just the powertrain. If you’re looking for just powertrain coverage, we would recommend the Silver or Bronze plan.

Here are the full coverage options for CARCHEX:

PlanWho It’s ForDetails
TitaniumThose looking for the highest level of protectionBumper-to-bumper protection that covers almost all components
PlatinumPeople looking to cover specific componentsCovers most components
GoldPeople with a vehicle that has over 60,000 milesProvides flexible coverage for a range of vehicle parts
SilverMotorists with high-mileage vehiclesCovers only the most essential vehicle components
BronzeMotorists looking for a basic level of coverageCovers common and expensive repairs

For details on this provider, see our CARCHEX review.

Powertrain Warranty: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about powertrain warranties:

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