A powertrain warranty covers the components and systems responsible for making your vehicle move.
When you purchase a new car, your manufacturer will typically guarantee the powertrain for at least five years or 60,000 miles.
While your powertrain warranty is in place, your vehicle’s engine, transmission, and drivetrain are protected against covered defects or damages.
After the manufacturer’s powertrain warranty expires, you can prolong your vehicle’s powertrain coverage by purchasing an extended warranty.
Featured Extended Warranty Companies
We reviewed the best extended auto warranty providers, and here are our top picks.
In most cases, a powertrain warranty protects the most critical components in your vehicle and not much more. The term “powertrain” – also referred to as the “drivetrain” – refers to the parts of your vehicle that transmit and moderate power from your car’s engine to its wheels.
Automakers include a drivetrain warranty with all new vehicles, covering repair costs for damages that can prevent your car from working properly. When that coverage runs out, you can choose to extend that warranty by purchasing one through the dealer or a third party.
To help you decide if you should extend that coverage, our team crafted this guide to powertrain warranties. You’ll find detailed information about what these warranties cover and the best extended car warranty companies to buy more coverage from if you decide to do so.
Virtually every new car comes with a powertrain warranty, with term lengths varying depending on the manufacturer. This warranty covers the cost of repairs to the powertrain system if your vehicle suffers a mechanical breakdown while your coverage is active.
What Does a Powertrain Warranty Cover?
Broadly speaking, a powertrain warranty covers three key vehicle systems – the engine, transmission, and drive system. Covered components within these systems vary depending on your vehicle and powertrain warranty contract.
Powertrain Warranty Coverage
The table below shows a more detailed list of the parts typically covered under a powertrain warranty.
Standard Components Covered Under Powertrain Warranty
Engine mount, cylinder block, cylinder heads, engine gaskets and seals, pistons and compressor gaskets, fuel injection and hydraulic/oil/water pumps, timing chain, valvetrain, flywheel, timing gears, and belts
Transaxle, torque converter, transfer case (all-wheel and four-wheel drive), hydraulic lines, central gearset, clutches, actuation sensors, and transmission fluid lines
Differentials and differential housing, propeller shafts, all internal joints, driveshaft and drive axle shafts, constant-velocity joints (CV joints) and universal joints (u-joints), axle hubs, intake manifolds, and wheel bearings
What Doesn’t A Powertrain Warranty Cover?
In general, a powertrain warranty will only cover repairs or component replacements when the damage is verifiably caused by flawed workmanship, defective materials, or malfunctioning drive systems.
In addition, these warranties are the most basic kind of coverage plan. They don’t typically cover systems beyond your vehicle’s engine, transmission, and drivetrain. You’ll need to purchase a more comprehensive plan if you want coverage for your air conditioning, electrical components, or other systems.
We go over what isn’t covered in more detail in the following sections.
Powertrain Warranty Exclusions
Even if a certain component falls under your powertrain coverage, the warranty may not cover repairs if damage occurs outside of normal usage. That means it isn’t likely to pay for repairs needed from sources that include:
Failure to follow recommended maintenance schedule
While you need to maintain your vehicle to keep it running well and keep it eligible for coverage, warranties don’t usually pay for routine services. These services include:
Air filter changes
Secondary hoses and secondary hydraulic lines
Wear and Tear Components
Your warranty also isn’t likely to cover parts that are designed to wear out and need regular replacement. These parts include:
Oil filter unit
Distributor caps and rotors
Engine control module sensors
Damage Covered by Insurance Policies
Most warranties also won’t cover damage from sources that are typically covered by auto insurance policies. These sources include:
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What Is a Powertrain?
Before getting into the details of powertrain warranties, it’s important to understand what the term “powertrain” actually refers to. A car’s powertrain is comprised of all of the parts that propel your car forward.
What is Included in the Powertrain?
The most important powertrain components include:
Transfer case for all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles
Turbochargers and superchargers
Is the Engine Part of the Powertrain?
Your vehicle’s engine is also part of the powertrain, along with its internal components. These include:
Extended Powertrain Warranty
After your factory warranty expires, you can choose to extend your powertrain coverage. This allows you to keep your car’s most critical components covered for even longer.
Where Can You Buy an Extended Powertrain Warranty?
Your car comes with warranty coverage from the manufacturer when it’s new. However, you have other options when it’s time to extend your coverage.
Your Car’s Manufacturer
It’s common for automakers to offer their own extended coverage plans. Manufacturer extended warranties can be appealing to those who prefer to have work done at their dealership by certified technicians using official parts.
However, in our research we found that many of these companies only offer one level of coverage. These plans are typically a more comprehensive warranty – and therefore, a more expensive warranty – than a basic powertrain plan.
Even if your manufacturer does offer a powertrain plan, there are a few other considerations worth noting. Plans from automakers typically require that you get any work done at your dealership’s repair center. They also require you to use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Depending on how far away your nearest dealership is, this can be a huge inconvenience and lead to long wait times for repair work.
Third-Party Warranty Providers
Another option is buying extended powertrain coverage from an independent warranty provider. These companies specialize in vehicle service contracts and can be an attractive alternative.
Third-Party Extended Powertrain Warranty Benefits
Independent warranty companies tend to have a few advantages over manufacturers as providers, including:
Choice of repair shop: While manufacturer plans typically limit you to getting work done at the dealership, plans from independent providers give you much more choice. Most allow you to choose any shop certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service (ASE) for repair work. That means you can take your car to your favorite neighborhood mechanic – or virtually anyone else.
Purchase flexibility: Automakers often put restrictions on when and how you can buy extended coverage. You may need to buy your plan directly from the dealership and sometimes before your factory warranty expires. Independent providers, on the other hand, allow you to purchase coverage online or over the phone at almost any time.
Choice of coverage: Third-party providers typically offer more plan choices than manufacturers. While virtually all of them offer powertrain warranties, many also offer options like powertrain plus plans that deliver a little more coverage.
Added perks: Many independent providers package extra benefits with their warranty plans. These include things like roadside assistance, towing packages, trip interruption coverage, rental car reimbursement, and more.
Coverage add-ons: You can also often find options to add to your warranty plan that can help cover other parts of your vehicle. These include coverage for things like routine maintenance or your car’s high-tech components.
Extended Powertrain Warranty Cost
The cost of an extended powertrain warranty varies depending on where you purchase it and several other factors. Most automakers make it difficult to get cost estimates for their coverage plans, but we were able to retrieve real quotes from third-party providers.
Extended Powertrain Warranty Quotes
In a secret shopper study, we reached out to several extended warranty companies for quotes on a 2013 Honda Accord with 90,000 miles. Here’s what we were quoted for powertrain warranties with a $100 deductible:
The quotes we received were for a specific vehicle at a specific time. Your warranty costs will likely vary from those listed in the table above. That’s because extended warranty costs are individualized, using several factors to determine them. These include:
Mileage:Higher-mileage cars are more likely to suffer a breakdown and therefore tend to cost more to cover.
Vehicle age: Older vehicles are also more susceptible to mechanical failures and typically drive a higher price for warranty coverage.
Coverage plan: Powertrain warranties tend to be the cheapest plans offered by providers. More comprehensive coverage typically costs more.
Deductible: Many companies allow you to choose your own deductible, down to as little as $0. But the lower you set your deductible, the more you’ll likely pay for coverage.
Type of car: More expensive cars tend to be more costly to cover. In addition, cars with known issues may drive a higher price for a warranty plan.
Provider: As you’d expect, companies have different rates – even for similar coverage on the same vehicle. That’s why our team strongly recommends getting quotes from multiple providers and comparing them before making a purchase.
Is Powertrain Warranty Worth It?
If you need to use your extended powertrain warranty coverage, you could easily end up paying less for your plan than you would for repairs, making it very much worth the money. Powertrain components are not only the most important parts in your car, they’re also some of the most expensive to replace. For example, it can cost upwards of $6,000 to replace the transmission on a 2018 Honda Civic, according to RepairPal.
Extended Powertrain Warranty Benefits
But even if you end up paying more for coverage than you would have for repairs, extended warranties can be worth it in other ways, too. These include:
Predictable expenses: Extended warranty plans allow you to make regular monthly payments to avoid surprise expensive repair bills. For many people, this predictability makes it easier to budget and plan around finances.
Support at repair shops: Not everyone is comfortable at repair shops, but extended warranty providers will do the talking for you. That means you don’t have to worry about being overcharged or agreeing to ripoff services you don’t need.
Peace of mind: One of the biggest benefits of warranty coverage is not having to worry about having to pay for repairs should you need them. For many car owners, the monthly payment is worth it to have one less thing to worry about.
All new vehicles come with a factory warranty that includes both powertrain coverage and a more comprehensive bumper-to-bumper warranty. In most cases, the bumper-to-bumper coverage period is shorter than the powertrain coverage.
How Long Does a Factory Powertrain Warranty Last?
A standard manufacturer powertrain warranty lasts five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, many manufacturers have powertrain warranties with shorter or longer terms, and extended powertrain warranty coverage will depend on your provider.
The table below lists the powertrain warranty lengths for many of the major auto brands sold in the U.S.
What Does a Factory Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Cover?
A bumper-to-bumper warranty is named as such because it covers the vast majority of a car’s components between the front and rear bumper – otherwise known as the entire vehicle. The official name for this type of warranty is an “exclusionary warranty” because it covers everything but a few specifically-listed exclusions.
That means that unless a specific component is mentioned as an exclusion, it is covered under a bumper-to-bumper plan.
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Exclusions
Exclusionary warranties, as you can probably guess, do indeed come with a few exclusions. These typically include:
Brake pads and shoes
Tire support and tire tread
Chassis structure and paneling
Cabin fascia, fabrics, and seating
How Long Does a Factory Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Last?
The industry standard for bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage is three years or 36,000 miles. However, some manufacturers have terms of up to five years or 60,000 miles.
Powertrain Warranties: Conclusion
A powertrain warranty covers your car’s most essential – and often most expensive – components. Most new cars come with powertrain coverage as part of their manufacturer’s warranty. This coverage typically lasts between 4 years/50,000 miles to 5 years/60,000 miles, but in some cases, it lasts as long as 10 years and 100,000 miles or more.
Once that warranty expires, you can choose to extend your powertrain coverage. While many automakers sell their own extended warranty plans, independent providers offer coverage that gives you more choice and flexibility, along with some added benefits.
Even if you don’t use every dollar you spend on a plan, an extended powertrain warranty can still be worth it in other ways. Many drivers appreciate the predictability, support, and peace of mind they get from having additional coverage.
Featured Extended Warranty Companies
We reviewed the best extended auto warranty providers, and here are our top picks.
We’ve looked into the auto warranty industry leaders, rating companies on their quality of coverage, prices, reputation, and customer experience. Two of our recommended providers with excellent industry standing are Endurance and CARCHEX.
Endurance: 4.6 Stars
Endurance has been protecting customers against the high costs of auto repairs since 2006. It has availability in every state except California and offers six comprehensive coverage levels to allow for flexibility in plan options. Customers have four deductible prices to choose from – $0, $50, $100, and $200 – to further customize their coverage.
Endurance members can access various free perks, including roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption reimbursement.
CARCHEX is a reliable company with a strong history of painlessly paying customer claims. In business for more than 20 years, it has many high customer ratings and has an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB.
There are five levels of CARCHEX coverage that can protect vehicles for up to 10 years or 250,000 miles, whichever comes first. Like Endurance’s plans, CARCHEX extended warranties come with benefits including rental car coverage and 24/7 roadside assistance.
Learn more about CARCHEX in our full-length review.
Is suspension covered under a powertrain warranty?
No, it is rare for a powertrain warranty to cover the cost of suspension repairs or replacements. Remember, the powertrain warranty only guarantees vehicle parts that are directly involved with your car’s forward or backward movement.
Are sensors covered under a powertrain warranty?
For the most part, yes, sensors are covered under a powertrain warranty. Standard coverage includes essential engine control module sensors. However, your car’s auxiliary sensor systems – such as cabin awareness, braking, or suspension sensors – will not usually be covered under a powertrain warranty.
Are powertrain warranties transferable?
Yes, powertrain warranties are generally transferable. If the ownership of a car changes, the vehicle’s powertrain warranty can be transferred to the new owner, usually for a small transfer fee.
Can powertrain coverage be voided?
Yes, powertrain coverage can be voided if you ignore the conditions of your warranty contract. If you only commit a minor breach of contract, your provider may choose to deny your coverage claim but allow you to keep your underlying powertrain plan for future repairs. However, more serious warranty breaches – such as off-road misuse of your vehicle, negligent service scheduling, or aftermarket modification – can void your entire powertrain warranty.
What is the average cost of an extended car warranty?
The average total cost of an extended car warranty is about $2,800. Your own price will depend on your vehicle make, model, age, and mileage, as well as the extended car warranty company you choose and your deductible.
What does an extended powertrain warranty cover?
An extended powertrain warranty covers the same systems as a manufacturer’s powertrain warranty, usually the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. Specific internal parts within these systems will vary depending on your contract.
What is the difference between powertrain and regular warranty?
A powertrain warranty is limited to a vehicle’s most critical components, including the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. Other warranties, like a bumper-to-bumper warranty or stated component plan, offer more comprehensive coverage.
What does 100,000 powertrain warranty mean?
A 100,000-mile powertrain warranty means that coverage for the engine, transmission, and drivetrain lasts for 100,000 miles. Some automakers, such as Hyundai, provide 100,000 miles of powertrain coverage with their factory warranties.
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.