Affiliate Disclosure

Content on Jalopnik Advisor is commercial in nature and independent of Jalopnik Editorial and Advertising. Jalopnik Advisor content is free to consumers and always will be, however we and our partners may be compensated if you purchase a product or service through the links on this website.

If you just bought a new car and the dealership representative starts talking about car warranty options, you may be a bit confused. “What does a car warranty cover?” is a pretty common question in the minds of drivers, so you’re far from alone.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “What does a car warranty cover?” We’ll look into the different types of warranties, explain what an extended warranty covers, and recommend the best extended car warranty providers.

In This Review:

    What Does A Factory Car Warranty Cover?

    There are two main types of coverage through a car manufacturer’s warranty: a new vehicle limited warranty that’s included with every new car and a factory extended warranty that provides additional coverage after the original warranty expires.

    The average period of time for coverage on a new car is 3 years/36,000 miles for the bumper-to-bumper warranty and 5 years/40,000 miles for limited powertrain coverage. If you’re interested in keeping your car safe and avoiding hefty repair costs once these warranties run out, it’s worth considering a factory or third-party extended warranty.

    Factory extended warranty coverage from automakers like Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Toyota, or Nissan is best for car owners who:

    • Own high-tech, luxury vehicles with intricate systems
    • Don’t mind bringing their vehicles to car dealerships for repairs
    • Can afford relatively pricey coverage plans
    • Want factory-trained technicians who use genuine automaker parts

    These manufacturer’s warranty plans often offer less coverage than third-party options at higher rates, but they do offer service under a solid brand name. If you’d prefer cheaper and potentially more expansive coverage, compare free quotes from some reputable extended car warranty companies.

    A third-party warranty holds many benefits over a factory warranty, such as:

    • Cheaper and more negotiable pricing
    • Usually more comprehensive coverage
    • Additional coverage options and a wider array of plans
    • Flexibility on where car repairs are done

    Both factory and third-party warranty options have exclusions for normal wear and tear and for environmental factors or vandalism. The seat belts are generally included in a separate factory warranty plan, and you’ll see an additional emissions and corrosion warranty. 

    It can be tricky to find out what an auto warranty from each third-party provider does cover, which is why we researched the top third-party options. Endurance and CarShield are great choices for an extended warranty due to their affordable prices and wide-ranging plans and deductible amounts.

    What Does A Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Cover?

    When looking at vehicle warranty choices, you may wonder what a car warranty covers through each plan. Below, we’ll explain the differences between bumper-to-bumper coverage and a powertrain warranty:

    • Bumper-to-bumper: This term generally refers to the highest level of car warranty coverage available. Sometimes known as an exclusionary warranty, this type of contract lists only the parts that are not covered since the majority of car components will be protected.
    • Powertrain: This is some of the most basic coverage offered by any provider, protecting powertrain parts such as your vehicle’s engine, transmission, and drive axles. This plan is a stated-component contract, meaning that your powertrain warranty will list each car part that is covered.

    There are also “powertrain-plus” plans that combine the critical pieces of powertrain coverage with a few extra pieces typically found only in bumper-to-bumper warranties. You’ll get more protection than what’s provided in a powertrain plan but at a cheaper price than exclusionary coverage.

    Rarely, you’ll run into options for drivetrain warranties. These plans are the most basic ones available, only protecting your transmission, axles, and other drivetrain components. Since drivetrain coverage excludes a car’s engine, it’s difficult to recommend it except possibly as an extended warranty for cars over 100,000 miles.

    What Extra Benefits Does A Car Warranty Cover?

    Factory and third-party warranty plans often include perks that can add peace of mind on the road. The following are some relatively common types of benefits:

    • Roadside assistance: Towing, winching, lockout services, and battery jump-starts are all usually included in warranty roadside assistance plans.
    • Trip interruption benefits: If your car breaks down more than a certain distance from home, an auto warranty covers meals and lodging up to a certain amount of money and number of days.
    • Rental car reimbursement: When your car is in the repair shop for a covered repair, your company may cover some of your rental car or public transportation costs.

    While both factory and third-party plans usually come with these benefits, they’re often more comprehensive and long-lasting when found through a third party. Some other benefits you may find include concierge services, key fob repair and replacement, and total loss protection.

    Our Recommendations For An Extended Car Warranty

    If you’re wondering, “What does a car warranty cover?” then you’re likely also considering which providers offer the best coverage. After extensive research, we’ve determined that you’ll find exceptional service and affordable premiums through Endurance and CarShield.

    What Does An Endurance Car Warranty Cover?

    In our review of the top third-party warranty providers, we named Endurance Best Coverage. With positive reviews from industry experts and customers alike along with six coverage levels, this provider sits at the top of the list.

    Here’s a breakdown of how Endurance scored in our provider ratings:







    Customer Experience


    Overall Score


    The company offers six plans:

    • Supreme: This is Endurance’s bumper-to-bumper exclusionary warranty, covering almost your entire vehicle.
    • Superior: Endurance’s Superior plan provides coverage for hundreds of specific car components.
    • Select Premier: This plan protects high-mileage vehicles, focusing on your car’s powertrain and electrical, air conditioning, and fuel systems.
    • Secure Plus: This plan’s major areas of coverage include the engine, transmission, brakes, air conditioning, electrical components, and steering.
    • Secure: The most affordable plan focuses on vital and expensive powertrain components in your vehicle, such as the engine, transmission, and water pump.
    • EnduranceAdvantage™: This combines extensive component coverage with routine maintenance needs such as filter and oil changes, tire rotations, protection of seals and gaskets, and brake pad and wiper blade replacements.

    All Endurance plans come with one free year of Endurance Elite Benefits membership, giving you the following perks:

    • 24/7 roadside assistance
    • Key fob replacement
    • Tire replacement or repair
    • Collision discount
    • Total loss protection

    What Does A CarShield Car Warranty Cover?

    For over 15 years, CarShield has provided quality car warranty services to motorists across the country. You’ll find five main plans from CarShield, along with one that’s intended for motorcycles and ATVs.

    Below is an overview of how CarShield performed in our provider scoring:







    Customer Experience


    Overall Score


    Here are CarShield’s five main levels of coverage:

    • Diamond: A bumper-to-bumper warranty with few exclusions that’s extremely similar to your manufacturer’s warranty.
    • Platinum: This is the best coverage option for high-mileage vehicles, as it covers a mix of high-level components and basic powertrain parts.
    • Gold: This covers parts such as the engine, transmission, water pump, alternator, starter, air conditioning, and windows.
    • Silver: CarShield’s affordable powertrain warranty covers the most important parts of your vehicle, such as its engine, transmission, and water pump.
    • Aluminum: This plan provides specialty coverage of electrical components including the engine control module, starter, alternator, GPS system, and electrical system.

    You’ll also receive roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption benefits from CarShield for the duration of your contract. Most CarShield warranties are transferable to a subsequent buyer, meaning you could increase your vehicle’s resale value if you sell it under warranty.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Get a Quote From Our Most Affordable Provider - CarShield

    Plans as low as $99 per month

    Get Price