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.
No factory powertrain warranty lasts forever. Learn about your options for adding extra powertrain coverage by visiting our top recommendations below.
In this article:
- What Is A Powertrain?
- What Does A Powertrain Warranty Cover?
- How Long Does A Powertrain Warranty Last?
- Why You Might Need An Extended Warranty
- Top Extended Powertrain Warranty Providers
- FAQ About Powertrain Warranties
What Is A Powertrain?
The powertrain consists of the parts that essentially provide power to the wheels of your car. These components include the engine, transmission, driveshafts, transfer case for all-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles, differentials, suspension, and constant velocity joints, as well as the internal parts of the engine, such as the crankshaft, pistons, timing belt and gears, intake and exhaust valves, and the oil pump, among other items.
The powertrain is essential for the proper functioning of your vehicle and 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 Does A Powertrain Warranty Cover?
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.
It should be noted that the powertrain warranty does not cover so-called "wear items" that are designed to wear and tear over time. This includes parts like the battery, clutch, and certain drive belts and fluids.
Powertrain Warranty Vs Drivetrain 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
Powertrain Warranty Vs Bumper-To-Bumper 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.
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 automakers may only offer 4 years/50,000 miles. Here are the top new car warranties and the length of their powertrain warranties:
|New Car Warranty||Powertrain|
|1. Hyundai||10 years/100,000 miles|
|2. Kia||10 years/100,000 miles|
|3. Genesis||10 years/100,000 miles|
|4. Volkswagen||6 years/72,000 miles|
|5. Mitsubishi||10 years/100,000 miles|
|6. Jaguar||5 years/60,000 miles|
|7. Infiniti||6 years/70,000 miles|
|8. Lincoln||6 years/70,000 miles|
|9. Tesla||8 years/mileage varies by model|
|10. Cadillac||6 years/70,000 miles|
Once the manufacturer's powertrain warranty expires, you are responsible for the costs of repairs, unless you decide to purchase an extended 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.
Why You Might Need An Extended 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 the average costs of powertrain parts, that peace of mind alone might be worth it.
|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|
|CV Joints Replacement||$2,622–$2,923|
|Axle Seal Replacement||$158–$326|
*based on RepairPal.com.
If you’re just looking for protection for essential components like the engine, then you should consider an extended powertrain warranty. If you want full coverage for your vehicle, an extended warranty that includes both bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage is your best bet.
Where Can You Purchase An Extended Warranty?
Extended warranties can be purchased either directly from your automobile manufacturer or from a third-party provider like Endurance, CARCHEX, or CarShield.
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. If you have a lot of brand loyalty and feel most comfortable signing a 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 dealerships and service centers. You may also have to purchase your extended warranty at the time you purchase your vehicle.
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.
Top 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 three that performed best in categories like reputation, coverage, customer experience, and cost.
Remember, a factory powertrain warranty doesn't last forever. Learn about your options for adding extra powertrain coverage by visiting our top recommendations below.
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 consider the Secure plan if you are looking for a little more coverage than just the powertrain warranty. Endurance’s term lengths are not available online, but in our “secret shopper” analysis, the longest quote we were able to get was for 8 years or 125,000 miles.
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. With endorsements from brands like Kelley Blue Book, Carfax, and Edmunds.com, you know the company can be trusted.
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.
CarShield: Best Value
Of all the extended car warranty providers we researched, CarShield had the best value. The company has low deductibles and claims are paid directly to the repair shop, saving you some time and hassle. Plus, it offers month-to-month service contracts that can be canceled at any time.
The warranty plan that covers most parts of the powertrain is the Silver plan, which is one of six levels of coverage that CarShield offers. Read our CarShield review to learn more.
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.
Read our guides to other warranty providers:
- Infiniti Extended Warranty Review
- Tesla Extended Warranty Review
- Jeep Extended Warranty Review
- Acura Extended Warranty Review
- Toyota Extended Warranty Cost
- Mercury Extended Warranty Review
- Range Rover Warranty Review
- What Is A Certified Pre-Owned Car?
- Premier Protection Services Review
- CNA Auto Warranty: Reviews And Our Take
- Carsure Warranty Reviews