When you purchase a new vehicle, it will most likely come with a manufacturer-backed powertrain warranty. But what does a powertrain warranty cover?
In this article, we’ll discuss powertrain warranty coverage in detail, including coverage, exclusions, term lengths and differences between powertrain warranties and other vehicle protections. We’ll also discuss the cost of extended powertrain warranties and whether it’s worth the investment.
We’ve reviewed the best extended car warranty companies on the market, and above, we’ll discuss the powertrain coverage plans offered by our top recommended providers.
What Does a Powertrain Warranty Include?
A powertrain warranty protects the engine, transmission and drivetrain – a car’s vital components. The engine converts fuel into power, making your vehicle move. Your transmission regulates how much power goes to your wheels, so you can drive at a certain speed. The drivetrain, also called a drive axle, transfers power to the wheels.
To give you a better understanding of what a powertrain warranty covers, we’ve detailed the Honda warranty’s powertrain coverage for a 2021 Honda CR-V below.
- Cylinder block and head and all internal parts
- Timing gears and gaskets
- Timing chain/belt and cover
- Valve covers
- Oil pan
- Oil pump
- Intake and exhaust manifolds
- Engine mounts
- Engine/powertrain control module
- Water pump
- Fuel pump
- Seals and gaskets
Transmission and transaxle
- Case and all internal parts
- Torque converter
- Transfer case
- Transmission/powertrain control module
- Seals and gaskets
Front- and rear-wheel drive systems
- Final drive housing and all internal parts
- Differential housing and all internal parts
- Propeller shafts
- Universal joints (U-joints)
- Constant velocity joints (CV joints)
- Rear hubs and bearings
- Seals and gaskets
What Does a Powertrain Warranty Not Include?
A powertrain warranty does not protect nearly as many components as a bumper-to-bumper warranty. For example, a powertrain warranty does not cover a car’s air conditioning, infotainment system or electrical system.
Other exclusions typically include:
- Normal wear-and-tear parts like brake pads
- Tires and wheels
- Damage caused by misuse or abuse
- Damage caused by a collision
- Environmental damage
- Routine maintenance
What’s the Difference Between Powertrain and Other Warranties?
The most common warranties you’ll see offered by manufacturers or third-party providers are powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranties. Another warranty that can be confused with powertrain coverage is a drivetrain warranty. So, how do these three coverages differ?
Bumper-to-bumper coverage is commonly offered alongside powertrain coverage as part of a new car factory warranty. Also called comprehensive or exclusionary coverage, bumper-to-bumper warranties protect almost all major systems and parts of your vehicle, except for a short list of exclusions.
Typically, bumper-to-bumper warranties have shorter term limits than powertrain warranties. They can also be much more expensive when you’re purchasing extended coverage. However, bumper-to-bumper coverage goes far beyond your vehicle’s engine, transmission and drive axle, giving you the ultimate peace of mind. This protection also excludes routine maintenance, wear-and-tear parts and damage caused by outside forces.
Many drivers think a vehicle’s drivetrain and powertrain are the same, but in fact, the drivetrain is a part of the powertrain. A drivetrain warranty will typically only cover your car’s torque converter, propeller shaft, universal-joint (U-joint), rear axle, spool and differential.
How Long Does a Powertrain Warranty Last?
New vehicle powertrain warranties last anywhere from 4 years/50,000 miles to 10 years/100,000 miles, depending on the manufacturer. The longest powertrain warranties on the market – lasting 10 years/100,000 miles – are currently offered by Kia, Genesis, Hyundai and Mitsubishi. Popular commuter brands like Honda and Toyota offer powertrain coverage lasting 5 years/60,000 miles.
To see where your manufacturer ranks among all car brands, read our new car warranties comparison review.
Should You Buy a Powertrain Warranty?
After your powertrain warranty expires, an extended auto warranty can protect you from footing the bill for expensive engine, transmission and drive axle repairs. According to RepairPal, the average cost to replace an entire transmission is between $5,401 and $5,696. Thankfully, you’ll likely need to repair transmission components instead of replacing the whole system, but even minor powertrain repairs can be costly.
If you’re thinking about purchasing additional powertrain coverage, take your vehicle’s reliability and your financial situation into account. Drivers with highly reliable cars may not need to invest in extra coverage. The same is true for those who have a budget set aside for auto repairs. However, many drivers find that the peace of mind offered by an extended warranty is worth the price.
To give you a better idea of what repairs might cost to, here are some commonly reported powertrain issues and their respective costs:
|Fuel pump replacement||$638 to $837|
|Timing belt replacement||$765 to $952|
|Radiator replacement||$715 to $940|
|Thermostat replacement||$270 to $326|
|Head gasket replacement||$1,802 to $2,292|
Manufacturer vs. Third-Party Powertrain Coverage
An extended warranty will typically be offered to you at the dealership when you purchase a new vehicle, but getting coverage from a third-party provider often gives you more flexibility when it comes to coverage, pricing and repair facility options.
Manufacturers guarantee factory-trained technicians and the use of genuine replacement parts, but their typically high-cost contracts and strict vehicle eligibility requirements may not be the right choice for you.
Cost of an Extended Powertrain Warranty
While the cost of powertrain coverage varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, we found that independent providers’ powertrain contracts cost, on average, $649 per year of coverage. Below, we’ve detailed powertrain warranty quotes from some of our top-recommended providers. These quotes were for a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox with 90,000 miles.
|Endurance||CARCHEX||CarShield||Protect My Car||autopom!|
|Plan||Secure Plus||Silver||Gold||Driveline||Powertrain Plus|
|Term Length||5 years/|
for 36 months
for 18 months
for 18 months
for 24 months
|Down Payment||$200.35||First month’s payment||$99.99||$50.00||$262.00|
Our Picks for Best Powertrain Coverage
If you’re interested in buying coverage from an independent provider, you may be overwhelmed by the number of options available. To make your decision-making process easier, we’ve done the homework for you, reviewing contracts from major providers throughout the industry. We considered factors like industry standing, coverage, cost and customer reviews. Endurance, CARCHEX and CarShield stood out among the competitors.
Endurance: Best Provider
We named Endurance the Best Provider overall based on its high-quality coverage, positive customer reviews and extensive perks through the Endurance Elite program. Endurance’s most basic powertrain warranty is called the Secure plan – a straightforward, no-frills contract. Customers can also purchase the Secure Plus plan, which protects powertrain components as well as the air conditioning and steering.
Read more about this provider in our full Endurance warranty review. You can also click below to get a free, personalized quote from Endurance.
CARCHEX: Best for High-Mileage Cars
CARCHEX offers some of the longest coverage terms in the industry – up to 10 years/250,000 miles. The CARCHEX powertrain warranty is called Bronze Coverage. It provides coverage for five to six years and is a good choice for vehicles with over 150,000 miles on the odometer.
To learn more about this provider, read our comprehensive CARCHEX review. Click below to see how much a CARCHEX powertrain contract might cost you.
CarShield: Most Affordable
Budget-conscious drivers should turn to CarShield. The provider offers flexible financing options, including month-to-month contracts that can be canceled at any time. The Silver plan is CarShield’s most basic powertrain plan, which includes emergency roadside assistance, towing and rental car reimbursement benefits.
Learn more in our CarShield review, and click below for a free, no-obligation quote.
FAQ: Powertrain Warranty Coverage
What is included in a powertrain?
A powertrain can be broken down into three components: the engine, transmission and drivetrain.
Are sensors covered under powertrain warranty?
Typically, powertrain warranties do not cover wear-and-tear parts like sensors and wiring. However, some manufacturers or warranty providers may cover them. Consult your warranty terms or vehicle protection plan contract to find out for sure whether sensors are covered for your vehicle.
What does the Hyundai powertrain warranty cover?
The Hyundai powertrain warranty lasts for 10 years/100,000 miles and protects the car’s engine, transmission and drive axle. While this is one of the longest term limits on the market, it’s not fully transferable to subsequent owners.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car warranty provider to formulate rankings of the best warranty companies. Our in-depth rating system takes into account coverage, pricing, transparency, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each provider is given a weighted score in five categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto warranty companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.