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Drivetrain Warranty Guide (2023)

New vehicle warranties include a powertrain and drivetrain warranty. The drivetrain warranty covers the parts of your car that make it move.

Featured Extended Warranty Companies

We reviewed the best extended auto warranty providers, and here are our top picks.

Best Overall Provider
Endurance

Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0

Most Affordable Provider
CarShield

Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

Best Provider for Used Cars
Carchex

Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

Affiliate disclosure: Automoblog and its partners may be compensated when you purchase the products below.

  • Drivetrain components are often covered under a powertrain warranty, but always check.
  • Powertrain/drivetrain warranty coverage terms among new vehicles vary widely.
  • Hybrid and electric vehicles have specialized drivetrain warranty coverage.
  • Electric vehicles have unique components with special warranty coverage.

New vehicle warranties often have numerous subsections of coverage, but automakers focus attention on the two main parts. First, the new vehicle limited warranty, which is sometimes called a “bumper-to-bumper” warranty, covers just about everything on the car. Next, some brands also provide a separate, longer powertrain warranty that extends coverage of the engine, transmission, and other components beyond the new vehicle warranty term.

Yet, when car enthusiasts or technicians talk about a car’s transmission and the related parts that deliver power to the wheels, they often use the term “drivetrain.”

What does a drivetrain warranty actually cover? We did the research to help you understand the key terms and concepts. Drivetrain parts are usually covered by a powertrain warranty. But for how long? It’s important to know which parts of the warranty cover drivetrain elements, and also to know how extended auto warranties cover these parts. Also, there are more hybrids and electric vehicles available every year, each with its own terminology and particular warranty coverage.

What Is A Drivetrain Warranty?

A drivetrain warranty is a vehicle service contract that covers the system’s mechanical parts, known as the drivetrain. The drivetrain includes the transmission, driveshaft, axles, and wheels. These parts enable a vehicle to transfer energy from the engine to the wheels.

What Does A Drivetrain Warranty Cover?

Drivetrain warranty coverage is universal as it refers to most vehicles’ standard system of parts called the drivetrain. Warranties can vary from provider to provider; you must read the vehicle service contract thoroughly to know exactly what is covered.

A drivetrain warranty covers some of the most essential parts of a vehicle including:

  • Transmission
  • Driveshaft
  • Differential
  • Axle shafts
  • CV joints
  • U joints

Drivetrain Warranty vs. Powertrain Warranty

People often use the terms drivetrain and powertrain interchangeably. However, it is important to understand they do not mean the same thing. The confusion is caused by the fact that a powertrain warranty covers a vehicle’s drivetrain, but drivetrain warranties do not cover engine parts or the engine block.

How Long Does a Drivetrain Warranty Last?

Powertrain and drivetrain warranty coverage vary by brand. For some brands, once the new vehicle warranty expires, that’s it – coverage for everything ceases unless you purchase an extended warranty from the manufacturer or a third-party provider.

Some brands, however, then continue powertrain coverage for an extended period. Unfortunately, some car owners need to remember this distinction and are only reminded when a non-covered part of the vehicle fails.

Here’s a cross-section of mainstream and luxury brands and their new vehicle and powertrain/drivetrain warranty coverage terms.

 

Brand New Vehicle Warranty Powertrain Warranty (including drivetrain)
BMW 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Cadillac 4 years/50,000 miles 6 years/70,000 miles
Chevrolet 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Dodge 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Ford 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Honda 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Mazda 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Mercedes-Benz 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Nissan 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles

The powertrain warranty champs are brands in the Hyundai Group: Hyundai, Genesis, and Kia – all with 10 years/100,000 miles of coverage. That coverage applies only for the original buyer, however. Once a Hyundai, Genesis, or Kia is traded in to the dealer or sold to a private buyer, the long powertrain coverage expires, and the vehicle transfers with any remaining portion of the five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle warranty.

EV Drivetrain Warranty

Hybrid and electric vehicles somewhat complicate the powertrain/drivetrain explanation, but the terminology is vital to understand warranty coverage.

Did you know electric vehicles do not have transmissions? Instead, with their high torque at all speeds, they don’t need a transmission’s gears to multiply torque, as in a gasoline-engine vehicle.

One exception to the rule is the Porsche Taycan. To maximize acceleration performance, the Taycan uses direct drive from one motor for the front wheels, but a unique two-speed transmission between the rear electric motor and the rear wheels.

Like gas-fueled Porsches, the electric Taycan has a four-year/50,000-mile new vehicle warranty, including the powertrain. The Taycan’s EV battery is covered for eight years/100,000 miles.

Toyota Hybrid Warranty

Consider the Toyota Prius, perhaps the best-known hybrid. Toyota hybrids come with the same three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty as the regular models. For hybrids, however, the powertrain coverage includes not only the gasoline engine and transaxle (transmission), but also the electric motor/generator.

Toyota also covers the “hybrid system,” which includes various control modules, for eight years/100,000 miles. Starting with the 2020 Toyota hybrid models, the battery coverage runs for 10 years/150,000 miles, and that transfers to subsequent owners if you sell the vehicle.

Kia Hybrid Warranty

Kia covers its hybrid and EV powertrains and battery packs somewhat differently, giving them the same 10-year/100,000-mile warranty coverage as its gasoline models.

Tesla Warranty

As a comparison, EV market leader Tesla covers the battery and Drive Unit (the electric powertrain/drivetrain) for eight years/150,000 miles on the Model S and Model X, and 8 years/100,000 miles on the Model 3 and upcoming Model Y.

Ford Hybrid Warranty

Ford provides eight years/100,000 miles of coverage on hybrid and electric powertrains.

If you are buying a hybrid or EV, check the warranty carefully and ask the dealer to clarify any questions about warranty coverage and terms.

Featured Extended Warranty Companies

We reviewed the best extended auto warranty providers, and here are our top picks.

Best Overall Provider
Endurance

Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0

Most Affordable Provider
CarShield

Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

Best Provider for Used Cars
Carchex

Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

Best Claims Process
autopom!

Our Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0

Where Can You Buy An Extended Drivetrain Warranty?

You can purchase a drivetrain warranty from the manufacturer or a third-party provider. Each option has its pros and cons. Below we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a manufacturer-extended drivetrain warranty and a third-party drivetrain warranty.

Dealership Extended Warranty

Most car makers offer their own extended warranties or contract with a third party to administer a plan. You can also choose a third-party extended warranty provider on your own, which may offer more choices of coverage. Some manufacturer-extended warranties offer a few different tiers of coverage, starting with a powertrain plan, while others offer only bumper-to-bumper coverage plans. Others offer only more comprehensive and expensive plans.

Third-Party Extended Warranty

You also have the option of choosing a third-party extended warranty for a new or pre-owned car. These allow you to buy a powertrain warranty (which covers the drivetrain) at a more affordable price than a full-vehicle warranty and still get the peace of mind from having coverage on many expensive-to-repair parts.

Also, a key benefit of a third-party warranty is you do not need to decide to buy one until after you’ve lived with the car for a while, and you can even wait until the original warranty expires. With some car brands, you need to decide about buying an extended warranty at the time of purchasing a new vehicle.

Third-party providers tend to offer more levels of coverage, and almost all start with a basic plan that covers the essential components of the powertrain and drivetrain. As an example, the Bronze plans available from CARCHEX, with terms up to six years, cover many of the same internal powertrain and drivetrain parts as original factory warranties.

Third-Party EV Drivetrain Warranty

Third-party extended warranties are now covering hybrid and electric powertrains for certain models, so these have become an attractive option for those types of vehicles. You can find out more by calling a few of the best extended car warranty companies to compare free quotes. Some of our favorites are listed below.

What does a drivetrain warranty actually cover? We did the research to help you understand the key terms and concepts.
What does a drivetrain warranty actually cover? We did the research to help you understand the key terms and concepts.

Is An Extended Drivetrain Warranty Worth It?

Here’s an important thing to remember about drivetrain parts: If even a small part should fail, it could leave you far from home with an inoperable vehicle. Not only could an extended warranty provide coverage to pay for the repair, but many plans from manufacturers and third-party providers include roadside assistance and other perks to alleviate the inconvenience and distress mechanical breakdowns can cause.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair Drivetrain Parts?

Every vehicle is different, and with choices in front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive, repair costs are going to vary widely. We picked one repair, “constant velocity axle (CV axle) replacement,” and checked the cost for five different 2017 models on RepairPal.

  • 2017 BMW X3: $1,412–$3,417
  • 2017 Honda CR-V: $966–$2,365
  • 2017 Ford Explorer: $426–$1,153
  • 2017 Toyota Prius: $1,017–$1,880
  • 2017 Dodge Challenger: $607–$1,967

The wide repair-cost variance for individual models reflects different powertrains/drivetrains available for each vehicle and the need to replace one or more CV axles.

Drivetrain Warranty Coverage: Conclusion

A drivetrain warranty provides coverage for the parts of your vehicle that make it move. Drivetrain warranties offer lower coverage than a powertrain or bumper-to-bumper warranty; however, a drivetrain warranty can help prevent out-of-pocket expenses when your vehicle experiences a mechanical breakdown. You can purchase a drivetrain warranty from a manufacture or a third party.

Featured Extended Warranty Companies

We reviewed the best extended auto warranty providers, and here are our top picks.

Best Overall Provider
Endurance

Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0

Most Affordable Provider
CarShield

Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

Best Provider for Used Cars
Carchex

Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

Powertrain & Drivetrain Warranty: FAQ

Is a starter covered under a powertrain warranty?

Do not assume the starter, which gets the gasoline engine running, is covered under a powertrain warranty. It might instead be covered under the “electrical” section of a factory warranty, a CPO warranty, or an extended warranty. This can vary by brand, so consult your warranty booklet or ask the dealer to clarify.

Are sensors covered under a powertrain warranty?

Modern vehicles employ a wide array of electronic sensors, many of them in the powertrain and drivetrain. Those are generally covered under the new vehicle warranty and the federally mandated emissions warranty. However, it’s critical to check your warranty booklet to see how the manufacturer covers these parts. Some can be costly to repair or replace.

The shock absorbers are part of the suspension, so are they considered part of the drivetrain and covered by a powertrain warranty?

Automakers generally consider the shock absorbers, also called “dampers,” to be wear-and-tear items. They may be covered for failure caused by defects, but a warranty will generally not cover repair or replacement due to simply wearing out. For better ride comfort and handling agility, some luxury and performance vehicles use electronically-controlled shock absorbers that can be costly to repair or replace.

Call CARCHEX to consult with a representative about how an extended warranty covers such parts.

Our Methodology

Our expert review team takes satisfaction in providing accurate and unbiased information. We identified the following rating categories based on consumer survey data and conducted extensive research to formulate rankings of the best extended auto warranty providers.

  • Affordability: A variety of factors influence cost, so it can be difficult to compare quotes between providers. Our team performs ongoing secret shopper analyses for different vehicles, mileages, warranty plans, and locations to give this rating.
  • Coverage: Because each consumer has unique needs, it’s essential that a car warranty company offers an array of coverage options. We take into account the number of plans offered by each provider, term limits, exclusions, and additional benefits.
  • Industry Standing: Our team considers Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, availability, and years in business when giving this score.
  • Customer Service: Reputable extended car warranty companies operate with a certain degree of care for consumers. We take into account customer reviews, BBB complaints, and the responsiveness of the customer service team.