So, just what does a powertrain warranty cover? In this guide, 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.
What Is A Powertrain Warranty?
A powertrain warranty is a type of limited warranty that covers the cost of repairing or replacing parts of the powertrain, such as the engine, drivetrain, and transmission. The warranty can protect you from costly repairs, as the components of the powertrain are often the most expensive to fix.
What Does A Powertrain Warranty Cover?
A powertrain warranty covers the costs of repairs and replacement parts due to a mechanical breakdown of the powertrain (engine, drivetrain, and transmission. Conversely, a bumper-to-bumper warrant, which is the other most common type of warranty, covers more systems and components for a shorter period of time than a powertrain warranty.
In order to have the best idea of what powertrain warranties cover, it is important to understand more about (1.) what exactly a powertrain is, and (2.) what isn’t covered in a powertrain warranty, both of which we discuss in the following sections.
What Is A Powertrain?
A car’s powertrain consists of the parts that provide the mechanical energy that moves the car forward. These components include the engine, cylinder block, transmission, driveshafts, transfer case for all-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles, supercharger, turbocharger, and differentials.
The powertrain also includes the internal parts of the engine, such as the crankshaft, pistons, timing belt and gears, gaskets, intake and exhaust valves, and the oil pump.
The powertrain is essential for the proper functioning of your vehicle, which has a lot of moving parts – parts that, eventually, could just decide to stop working. That’s where a powertrain warranty can be useful.
What Is Not Included In A Powertrain Warranty?
Powertrain warranties do not cover so-called “wear items” that are designed to wear and tear over time. This includes parts like the battery, clutch, wheel bearings, CV joints, and certain drive belts and fluids.
Factory Powertrain Warranty
An automotive factory warranty usually consists of a bumper-to-bumper warranty and a powertrain warranty plus some other coverages. The “powertrain limited warranty” that comes with a new vehicle covers the powertrain components for a longer period of time than the vehicle’s bumper-to-bumper factory warranty.
How Long Does A Powertrain Warranty Last?
Powertrain warranty term lengths vary widely by provider. If you purchase a new vehicle with a powertrain warranty, some of the best manufacturers offer coverage for 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Other manufacturers offer 5 years/60,000 miles for their powertrain warranties, including Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Honda, Subaru, and more. Below are 11 car manufacturers ranked by their 2022 powertrain warranty length:
|Manufacturer||Powertrain Length of Coverage|
|1. Hyundai||10 years/100,000 miles|
|2. Kia||10 years/100,000 miles|
|3. Genesis||10 years/100,000 miles|
|5. Mitsubishi||10 years/100,000 miles|
|6. Tesla||8 years/mileage varies by model|
|7. Acura||6 years/70,000 miles|
|8. Cadillac||6 years/70,000 miles|
|9. Lexus||6 years/70,000 miles|
|10. Infiniti||6 years/70,000 miles|
|11. Lincoln||6 years/70,000 miles|
Check out our car warranties comparison guide to see bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties for more companies.
Powertrain System Repair Cost
Once the manufacturer’s powertrain warranty expires, you are responsible for the costs of repairs, unless you decide to purchase an extended warranty. Below are eight common powertrain component parts and the average cost to repair them without an extended warranty:
|Powertrain Component||Average Cost*|
|Timing Chain Replacement||$1,266–$1,871|
|Oil Pan Replacement||$728–$956|
|Water Pump Replacement||$301–$653|
|Engine Control Module||$919–$1,076|
|Transfer Case Replacement||$2,466–$2,884|
|Transmission Mount Replacement||$139–$267|
|Axle Shaft Replacement||$485– $607|
|Axle Seal Replacement||$158–$326|
*based on RepairPal.com.
Extended Powertrain Warranty
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. For many car owners, purchasing an extended warranty can provide peace of mind. When you consider the average costs of powertrain parts, that peace of mind alone might be worth it.
Can I Extend My Powertrain Warranty?
If you choose to purchase an extended car warranty, your powertrain warranty coverage will be extended for several years, though the exact coverage length will depend on your warranty plan.
Is A Powertrain Warranty Worth It?
If the protection afforded by an extended warranty provides you peace of mind, a powertrain warranty is worth it if it provides the right amount of coverage to fit your needs and budget.
You should consider an extended powertrain warranty if you’re just looking for protection for essential components like the engine. If you want full coverage for your vehicle, an extended warranty that includes bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage is your best bet. On the other hand, you should consider a drivetrain warranty If you want the cheapest coverage available.
We compare the other two coverage levels with powertrain warranties in the sections below:
Drivetrain vs. Powertrain Warranty
While a powertrain warranty covers all parts of the vehicle’s powertrain, such as the engine, drivetrain, and transmission, a drivetrain warranty only covers the drivetrain. That means that it only covers the components that are responsible for delivering power to the driving wheels, such as the:
- Torque converter
- Propeller shaft
In common practice, powertrain and drivetrain warranties mean the same thing, since the drivetrain is part of the powertrain. Most factory warranties include the engine in this level of coverage, which makes them powertrain warranties.
Bumper-To-Bumper vs. Powertrain Warranty
A powertrain warranty covers only the powertrain, while a bumper-to-bumper warranty covers almost every non-powertrain component from the front bumper to the rear bumper. What exactly is covered by a bumper-to-bumper warranty can differ from provider to provider, so make sure to read the fine print and exclusions.
Contrary to a powertrain warranty which usually outlines the specific components that are covered, a bumper-to-bumper warranty will include a list of exclusions. Generally, a bumper-to-bumper warranty also excludes wear items, such as tires, brake pads, and windshield wipers, and routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations.
Buy Powertrain Warranty
You can purchase an extended warranty directly from your automobile manufacturer or a third-party provider like Endurance, CARCHEX, or CarShield. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, which we discuss in the sections below.
Extended Manufacturer Warranty
If you have a lot of brand loyalty and feel most comfortable signing a contract with your favorite car brand, then a manufacturer-extended powertrain warranty is probably the best choice for you. That said, manufacturer warranties usually have stricter requirements on where you are able to service your vehicle – usually, it’s only in manufacturer dealerships and service centers. You may also have to purchase your extended warranty at the time you purchase your vehicle.
Aftermarket Powertrain Warranty
Aftermarket 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. Many plans also come with benefits like towing, roadside assistance, trip interruption, and rental car coverage.
Powertrain Warranties: Conclusion
In this guide, we provided an overview of what a powertrain is, what it covers, how long it lasts, and whether or not it is a good idea to purchase one. We also compared manufacturer extended powertrain warranties to aftermarket powertrain warranties and provided recommendations for customers seeking to extend their powertrain coverage.
Best Powertrain Warranty
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 three 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 by more quickly than with another company.
While Endurance offers six levels of extended car warranty coverage, if you’re looking for powertrain coverage only, Select Premier is the best choice for you. You may also want to consider the Secure plan if you are looking for a little more coverage than just the powertrain warranty. Endurance can cover vehicles for 250,000+ miles on the odometer.
Read about the cost and coverage options in our Endurance review.
CARCHEX: Best For Used Cars
CARCHEX is often considered the gold standard of service for extended warranty providers. The company has endorsements from brands like Kelley Blue Book, Carfax, and Edmunds.com.
If you are looking for a powertrain warranty, we recommend the Bronze plan, which covers common and expensive repairs. To learn more about their additional four plans, read our CARCHEX review.
Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Benefits
Of all the extended car warranty providers we researched, Protect My Car had the best routine maintenance perks. The company also has low deductibles and claims are usually paid directly to the repair shop, saving you some time and hassle. Plus, it offers flexible payment terms for service contracts and a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans.
The warranty plan that covers most parts of the powertrain is the Driveline plan, which is one of three levels of coverage that Protect My Car offers. Read our Protect My Car review to learn more.
Auto Powertrain Warranty: FAQ
Below are some common frequently asked questions about powertrain warranties:
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of extended auto warranty companies to formulate rankings of the best providers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Warranty providers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of extended warranty plans available, coverage terms, and added benefits like roadside assistance.
- Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of plans and vehicles. Companies with lower prices per year of coverage receive the best scores.
- Transparency: This score takes into account contract transparency and the availability of a money-back guarantee.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analysis to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each warranty company.