Powertrain Warranty - What it is and Why You Need It (2022)

A guide to powertrain warranty and everything around it.

Most automakers provide both bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties with new vehicles. But what is a powertrain warranty and why is it usually longer than other forms of warranties? This article will dive into the working of a powertrain warranty to help you make the best use of it and decide whether you need extra coverage or not.

What Is Considered The Powertrain On A Vehicle?

Powertrain Warranty - What it is and Why You Need It (2022)
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By definition, a powertrain on a vehicle is the mechanism that transmits the drive from the engine of a vehicle to its axle. A powertrain unit is comprised of a series of complex mechanical components that include the engine and its internals like the crankshaft, pistons, timing belt and gears, gaskets, intake and exhaust valves, and the oil pump. Other components that are a part of the powertrain assembly include the cylinder block, transmission, driveshafts, transfer case for all-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles, supercharger, turbocharger, and differentials.

The complexity of a drivetrain is due to the thousands of moving parts and the complexity often means parts that are prone to breaking. Hence a powertrain warranty has become an essential part of the car purchasing process to avoid unexpected and hefty bills.

What Does A Powertrain Warranty Cover?

Powertrain Warranty - What it is and Why You Need It (2022)
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A powertrain warranty as the name suggests is a type of limited warranty that provides coverage for curtail components associated with the drive train. This includes the cost of repairing or replacing parts of the powertrain including the engine, drivetrain, and transmission. The powertrain is comprised of essential running gear that also means it is usually the most expensive part of the car.

Similar to other forms of warranty, a powertrain warranty does not encompass parts that are prone to wear and tear or degradation with time. These elements include the battery, clutch, wheel bearings, CV joints, and certain drive belts and fluids.

What’s Not Covered by a Powertrain Warranty?

A powertrain warranty is a basic coverage offered by a manufacturer on core powertrain components. By definition, powertrain is the mechanism that transmits the drive from the engine of a vehicle to its axle and onto the wheels. A Powertrain warranty can vary based on the provider but they are mostly exclusionary. Like any warranty, some factors could void your powertrain warranty, chief amongst which is negligence. If your vehicle isn’t subjected to regular maintenance, the provider can deny your claim. Apart from this, the exclusions apply to peripheral parts especially the ones that are subject to wear over time. Some of the key exclusions in a powertrain warranty include:

  • Sensors
  • Wiring
  • Connectors
  • Engine radiator
  • Hoses
  • Coolant heater core
  • Starter motor
  • Entire pressurized fuel system
  • Control module and module programming
  • Wheel bearings
  • Locking hubs
  • Wiring
  • Lines
  • Clutch and pressure plate
  • Transfer case control module
  • Drive system control module

How Long Does A Powertrain Warranty Last?

Powertrain Warranty - What it is and Why You Need It (2022)
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A powertrain warranty as discussed above covers a comprehensive list of components which include the engine, drivetrain, and transmission. Meanwhile, a drivetrain warranty only covers the drivetrain. A drivetrain is a collection of components that are responsible for delivering power to the driving wheels and these include the torque converter, propeller shaft, U-joint, rear-axle, spool, and the differential of which there can be more than one depending on the vehicle.
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.

Powertrain Warranty Vs Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty

Powertrain Warranty - What it is and Why You Need It (2022)
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A powertrain warranty is self-explanatory. Under this type of warranty, only the components that comprise the powertrain have coverage and others parts, no matter how closely related, will not be covered under this warranty program. Meanwhile, a bumper-to-bumper warranty covers almost every component that isn’t a part of the powertrain. The coverage offered by a bumper-to-bumper warranty plan however can vary from provider to provider, so make you go over the terms and conditions.
A powertrain warranty will more often than not, explicitly mention the specific components that are covered but that might not be the case with a bumper-to-bumper warranty.

A bumper-to-bumper warranty will include a list of exclusions which usually include the list of items that are subject to wear and tear, such as tires, brake pads, and windshield wipers, and routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations, though it is recommended to read the terms of the policy as these components and the kind of coverage often differs from provider to provider.

How Long Does a Powertrain Warranty Last:

Powertrain Warranty - What it is and Why You Need It (2022)
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Powertrain warranty varies widely in its duration based on the provider. Most new vehicles offer a powertrain warranty, some of which can even offer coverage for 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. But offering at least 5 years/60,000 miles has become a common practice in the industry. Here are 11 car manufacturers ranked by their 2022 powertrain warranty length:

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
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

Some of the manufacturers that offer 5 years/60,000 miles for their powertrain warranties are:

  • Ford
  • Dodge
  • Chevrolet
  • Chrysler
  • Honda
  • Subaru

As with any factory warranty, once the manufacturer’s powertrain warranty expires the cost of repairs even if it’s a result of a malfunction rests with the owner and the manufacturer unless it’s a part of a recall initiated by the manufacturer.
To avoid such surprises, we highly recommend choosing a good extended warranty for your vehicle which will ensure continued coverage for your powertrain. The exact time frame of coverage will depend on your warranty plan and provider.

Why You Might Need An Extended Warranty

Powertrain Warranty - What it is and Why You Need It (2022)
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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
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.

Extended warranties can be purchased directly from the manufacturer within the factory warranty period or from a third-party provider which can usually be purchased at any time depending on the condition of the vehicle.

A manufacturer warranty program usually expects you to abide by the terms set by the manufacturer which all kinds of services to authorized manufacturer dealerships and service centers. Aftermarket warranty providers, on the other hand, offer more flexibility in terms of where you can get your vehicle serviced, which is usually any in-network shop of your choice, which adds to the flexibility of a third-party warranty.

Check out our in-depth guide on warranties to see if an extended car warranty is right for you!

What Are The Top Extended Car Warranty Providers?

Powertrain Warranty - What it is and Why You Need It (2022)
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When it comes to third-party warranty providers, we strongly recommend getting in touch with them to try and get the best deal since most of them will offer you a discount over the quoted price if you ask for one. Olive and Endurance are some of the best third-party warranty providers that offer the option of transferring ownership. Here’s a brief review of these providers:

Uproar:

Uproar is based out of Seattle, Washington, but it’s not like any other extended car warranty company out there. Uproar bills itself as an innovator, which makes a lot of sense considering it’s the first extended warranty company to offer a 100-percent digital, subscription-based experience. The main highlights of uproar include an instant quote and signup online, same-day coverage, no long-term commitments, transparency, and no aggressive salespeople or robocalls. They are BBB accredited and have five-star ratings from both Google and Consumer Affairs.

Olive:

With one of the highest satisfaction rates in the industry, a result of their extremely reasonable pricing structure, Olive is yet another provider that has built up quite a fan following. And the cheaper prices mean you can set aside those saving and use them towards routine maintenance.

  • For cars up to 10 years old/ 140k miles
  • 100% online extended warranty solution with customizable plans
  • File claims online 24/7
  • Affordable monthly payments
  • Call for a quote & get a free $5 gift card

Forever Car

This brand is a well-reputed one and offers a plethora of options. There Platinum Plus warranty plan covers repair costs for both mechanical breakdowns and wear-and-tear items such as windshield wipers, fuses, light bulbs, and brake pads.

  • 4 distinct warranty plans spanning a wide price range
  • Cut repair costs with full protection for your vehicle
  • Inspection required before a claim can be filed
  • Deductibles range from $0 to $500

Endurance:

Endurance is one of the biggest names in the third-part warranty space and offers a plethora of plans to cater to a wide range of customer needs. The Endurance Advantage™ plan covers mechanical breakdowns and maintenance through three levels: Preferred, Plus, and Prime. These plans cover all basic maintenance parameters like oil changes, engine checks, and brake pad replacements, along with additional services like roadside assistance, towing, and rental car reimbursement. Some of the other benefits include:

  • Coverage for cars up to 20 years old
  • Basic powertrain warranty options are available
  • Inspection required before a claim can be filed
  • Extra perks with all-inclusive membership
  • Join & save $300 on a protection plan

CARCHEX

They offer coverage for cars with up to 250,000 miles which makes them a great choice for people who plan to purchase a warranty for their heavily used vehicles. They offer a wide range of policies some of which offer industry-leading claim filing processes. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, CARCHEX should be on your list when shopping for an extended warranty.

  • Covers cars with up to 250k miles
  • First-rate full-coverage protection for new and used vehicles
  • The claim filing process depends on the policy
  • No-haggle, low-price guarantee
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
Bhavik Sreenath
Bhavik Sreenath
A keen automotive enthusiast with a love for anything with engines. He loves discovering the world of cars and technology to explore new boundaries in the field of modern-day journalism.  Read full bio
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