Most new cars come with a powertrain warranty, but what does a powertrain warranty cover, exactly?

In this article, we’ll explore powertrain warranty coverage, average costs, and how these plans differ from bumper-to-bumper warranties. We’ll also recommend some of the best extended car warranty providers that can keep your powertrain components covered long after the factory warranty expires.

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    What Does A Powertrain Warranty Cover?

    A powertrain warranty typically covers the parts of your vehicle that provide power to the wheels to make your car move. These include some of the most important and expensive parts of your vehicle, such as the engine, transmission, and drive shaft.

    Here’s a list of the parts most commonly associated with powertrain warranty plans:

    • Engine
    • Transmission or transaxle
    • Transfer case and differentials
    • Front- and rear-wheeldrive systems
    • Seals and gaskets
    • Oil pan, oil pump, pistons, and timing chain
    • Other internally lubricated parts

    A powertrain warranty covers only the basic parts for repairs at the dealership, but most new vehicles also come with extensive bumper-to-bumper warranties. The best new car warranties offer separate powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranties, typically giving drivers longer powertrain coverage. Some manufacturers limit powertrain coverage by tucking it into their bumper-to-bumper warranties, though.

    What Is A Powertrain?

    The powertrain consists of the key components that generate power and keep your car’s wheels turning. These parts include the engine, transmission, drivetrain, and drive axle.

    Powertrain parts can be some of the most expensive vehicle components to fix. Below is a list from RepairPal of some of the most common powertrain repair costs:

    Vehicle Repair

    Average Repair Cost

    Spark plug replacement

    $191 to $250

    Engine control module replacement

    $925 to $1,002

    Transmission replacement

    $4,830 to $5,023

    Water pump replacement

    $413 to $545

    Fuel pump replacement

    $787 to $948

    It’s important to remember that the powertrain warranty covers the least vehicle components of any auto warranty type. If you want everything from wheel bearings to CV joints to the timing belt and the torque converter to be covered, you may want to consider a more in-depth plan.

    If you don’t want to pay out of pocket after an unexpected mechanical breakdown, an extended powertrain warranty may add some peace of mind. Investing in an extended car warranty from market leaders like CarShield and Endurance is a beneficial move for those hoping to save money on car repairs.

    How Long Does A Powertrain Warranty Last?

    A powertrain warranty typically lasts for 5 years/60,000 miles, but some can last up to 10 years/100,000 miles. The length of your factory powertrain warranty will depend on your automaker and whether your vehicle is new, used, or certified pre-owned.

    If you need an extended warranty for cars over 100,000 miles, you may want to choose a third-party provider. Most factory-backed vehicle service contracts only extend powertrain coverage up to a maximum of 120,000 miles.

    For a powertrain-specific plan that will last your vehicle’s entire lifetime, check out the most reputable extended car warranty companies that can give drivers up to 250,000 miles of powertrain coverage. Third-party options are usually cheaper than manufacturers’ extended warranties, offer more flexibility, and often include standard roadside assistance, towing, and rental car reimbursement benefits.

    What’s Not Covered By A Powertrain Warranty?

    A powertrain warranty excludes vehicle parts that are not directly part of the powertrain system, such as:

    • Air conditioning
    • High-tech components
    • Radios or audio systems
    • Suspension
    • Brakes

    While a powertrain warranty has exclusions in the fine print for the parts listed above, they may be included in your bumper-to-bumper warranty. Here are parts and services that almost no dealership or third-party auto warranty plan will cover:

    • Routine maintenance like oil changes and multi-point inspections
    • Auto glass parts such as the windshield and mirrors
    • Collision damage
    • Normal wear-and-tear parts like tires, wiper blades, and brake pads
    • Damage from misuse, abuse, or neglect
    • Unapproved lift kits and modified vehicles
    • Damage caused by environmental conditions or chemicals
    • Damage from improper maintenance or use of unapproved fuel

    While certain parts won’t be protected, an extended powertrain warranty does cover your car’s basic parts, contributing to your safety on the road. Because of this, an aftermarket warranty is a solid choice for budget-conscious motorists who want hassle-free coverage.

    If your car is reliable and you follow your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, your vehicle may never experience a major breakdown. In this case, you might save money by foregoing an extended powertrain limited warranty. Either way, powertrain-specific warranties cost less than other coverage, so you won’t lose much even if your plan goes unused.

    Is Powertrain Warranty Coverage Right For You?

    To determine whether you could benefit from an extended powertrain warranty, take an honest assessment of your car’s reliability and your finances. Below are RepairPal’s reliability ratings and average repair costs for the 15 most popular vehicles in the U.S.

    Vehicle Model

    RepairPal Reliability Score

    Annual Repair Cost

    Ford F-150

    3.5 out of 5.0

    $788

    Chevrolet Silverado

    3.5 out of 5.0

    $714

    Ram 1500

    3.5 out of 5.0

    $670

    Toyota RAV4

    4.0 out of 5.0

    $429

    Honda CR-V

    4.5 out of 5.0

    $407

    Toyota Camry

    4.0 out of 5.0

    $388

    Chevrolet Equinox

    3.5 out of 5.0

    $537

    Honda Civic

    4.5 out of 5.0

    $368

    GMC Sierra

    3.5 out of 5.0

    $727

    Toyota Tacoma

    3.5 out of 5.0

    $478

    Toyota Corolla

    4.5 out of 5.0

    $362

    Nissan Rogue

    4.0 out of 5.0

    $467

    Ford Explorer

    3.5 out of 5.0

    $732

    Toyota Highlander

    4.0 out of 5.0

    $489

    Jeep Grand Cherokee

    3.5 out of 5.0

    $666

    The average annual repair cost for all models in the U.S. is $652, and unexpected expenses go up as models age. While not all vehicles need extended powertrain warranties, it’s worth looking to see whether you could save money and reduce stress by purchasing one.

    Which Providers Have The Best Powertrain Warranty?

    In our review of the top extended car warranty companies, we compared the coverage plans, average costs, customer reviews, and industry reputations of every major provider. Based on this research, we found that Endurance, CARCHEX, and CarShield offer the best powertrain warranty plans.

    Endurance: 5.0 Stars

    Endurance offers some of the industry’s best coverage through its powertrain-focused warranties, the Secure and Secure Plus plans. Secure Plus is an enhanced powertrain plan, so it covers the powertrain along with various other important parts.

    Here’s a breakdown of what each Endurance powertrain warranty plan covers:

    Parts Covered

    Endurance Secure Plan

    Endurance Secure Plus Plan

    Engine

    Transmission

    Drive axle

    Transfer case

    Turbo/supercharger

    Brakes

    Electrical systems

    Air conditioning

    Steering

    We got a quote for an Endurance Secure warranty on a 2012 Subaru Outback with 88,000 miles. Here are the terms we were offered:

    • Plan: Secure
    • Term length: 5 years/50,000 miles
    • Financing: $69.96 for 36 months
    • Down payment: $152.55
    • Deductible: $100
    • Total cost: $2,671.11

    Learn more about the company by reading our full Endurance warranty review.

    CARCHEX: 5.0 Stars

    CARCHEX, which we named Best for Used Cars, carries both a Bronze powertrain plan and a powertrain-plus Silver plan. Here is a breakdown of each offering:

    Parts Covered

    CARCHEX Bronze Plan

    CARCHEX Silver Plan

    Engine

    Transmission

    Drive axle

    Fuel system

    Electrical systems

    Air conditioning

    We reached out to CARCHEX for Silver coverage on a 2012 Subaru Outback with 88,000 miles on it and were offered the following terms:

    • Plan: Silver
    • Term length: 6 years/60,000 miles
    • Financing: $108 for 24 months
    • Down payment: First month’s payment
    • Deductible: $100
    • Total cost: $2,592

    Take a look at our comprehensive CARCHEX review for more information on this provider.

    CarShield: 4.5 Stars

    CarShield often has the “best for your budget” warranty choices, as seen with its Silver powertrain plan and Gold powertrain-plus option. Here’s what each CarShield powertrain warranty covers:

    Parts Covered

    CarShield Silver Plan

    CarShield Gold Plan

    Engine

    Transmission

    Transfer case

    Drive axle

    Air conditioning

    Fuel system

    We asked CarShield for a quote with the Gold plan on a 2012 Subaru Outback with 88,000 miles and were offered the following terms:

    • Plan: Gold
    • Term length: Unlimited
    • Financing: $89.99 monthly
    • Down payment: First month’s payment
    • Deductible: $100
    • Total cost: Depends on coverage length

    With a month-to-month CarShield contract, you’re not locked into a long-term commitment, which adds flexibility to powertrain warranty coverage. Read more in our full CarShield review.

    FAQ: What Does A Powertrain Warranty Cover?

    • What’s included in the powertrain?

      The powertrain is made up of the key components that make a vehicle run, such as the engine, transmission, and drive shaft.

    • Are powertrain warranties worth it?

      While a powertrain warranty does cover new vehicles for the first few years, extended warranty coverage is often worth it to avoid the expenses of unexpected breakdowns as cars age.

    • How long is a powertrain warranty?

      Powertrain warranties vary in length depending on the automaker, but most last around 5 years/60,000 miles. Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, and Mitsubishi offer the longest powertrain warranties, at 10 years/100,000 miles. After a powertrain warranty expires, you can get an automaker or third-party powertrain extended warranty.

    • Does a powertrain warranty cover engine failure?

      Yes, a powertrain warranty does cover engine failure. Since the engine is one of the key components of your vehicle’s powertrain, you should receive full warranty coverage.