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What Does A Powertrain Warranty Cover?

Vehicle Maintenance, Extended Auto Warranty, Car Repair

By Jack Lightner | 8/9/19 5:00 PM | 0 minutes to read

If you're wondering what a powertrain warranty means, you've come to the right place.

A powertrain warranty protects all of the parts that make your car's wheels turn. Without your wheels turning, bad things are going to happen.

 

tenor

I think we can agree that having your front axle explode counts as bad.

The good news is, that if our friend from Formula 1 had a powertrain warranty, everything but his pride (and his tires) should be covered. But that raises the question: what's a powertrain warranty?

What is a powertrain warranty?

Your car's powertrain warranty covers:

  1. The Engine

  2. The Transmission

  3. Front and Rear Wheel Drive Systems

  4. The Transfer Case (For 4WD/AWD)

  5. Internal Parts, Seals, Gaskets, etc

Powertrain warranty coverage takes care of you in the event one of these components needs to be replaced. This can potentially save you thousands, as powertrain repairs tend to be the most expensive repairs you'll make on your car.

They also can give you piece of mind if you're worried the front end of your car might explode. It probably won't happen, but hey, you never know.

No two powertrain warranties are exactly alike. Your manufacturer's powertrain warranty may have slight differences from what we're talking about here, as well as from our policies.

At Protect My Car, we believe it's important to make sure the powertrain coverage you're paying for is what you're getting. Make sure you carefully read your policy!

With that being said, let's take a closer look at what is included in a powertrain warranty.

The Engine

Normal powertrain warranties cover the engine and all of it's components. Think of it as an engine warranty or engine insurance. This typically covers everything in the engine block including the cylinder block and heads, the engine's seals and gaskets (including the head gasket), the fuel injectors, and the water and oil pumps. A powertrain warranty also covers the timing belt for older cars.

Often, the wiring and sensors aren't covered under a powertrain warranty. These are considered wear and tear items, which are replaced with normal use. 

Common Engine Repairs:

  • Timing Chain: $1,223-$1,478

  • Water Pump: $479-$628

  • Fuel injector: $1,385-$1,611

  • Oil Pan Gasket Replacement: $474-$580

  • Camshaft Seal Replacement: $843-$1,053

The Transmission

Yes, your powertrain warranty DOES cover your transmission, which is good considering how expensive it is to fix!

The cost of a transmission replacement can be up to $5,000 dollars, although the average repair cost ranges from between $1,800 to $3,400.

The most of the transmission, specifically the mounts and torque converter are covered. Powertrain warranties can exclude cables and electrical items which are considered wear and tear items. Again, I recommend you read the fine print! The eyestrain is worth the peace of mind.

The cost of replacing a transmission can vary depending on what option you chose.

  • Salvaged Transmission: $800-$1,500

  • Rebuilt Transmission: $1100-$2,800

  • Re-manufactured Transmission: $1,300-$3,400

The cost of labor will vary depending on the state you live in, but expect between 4-10 billable hours, depending on the type of car. This can run all the way up to $1,400 dollars in labor costs alone. 

Transmissions are expensive, and they do give out more often from certain models. 

Front and Rear Wheel Drive Systems

Your front and rear axle shafts are covered under most powertrain warranties. The same is true of the internal parts and housings that make up your front or rear wheel drive. 

Common Front/Rear Wheel Drive System Repairs:

  • Axle Shaft Replacement: $1,164-$1,545

  • Axle Shaft Seal Replacement: $281-$332

  • CV Joint Replacement: $230-$1,180

Transfer Case (4WD/AWD)

The transfer case is covered under almost all powertrain warranties, considering it's a vital part of the powertrain. 

Common Transfer Case Costs:

  • Transfer Case: $2,610-$2,710

  • Transfer Case Shift Motor: $527-690

What is the power train on a vehicle?

Your car's powertrain is all the necessary parts needed to move your vehicle. According to Merrian-Webster, a powertrain is defined as:

the intervening mechanism by which power is transmitted from an engine to a propeller or axle that it drives also : this mechanism plus the engine

Raise your hand if that makes sense. 

Let me be the first to come clean. I didn't raise my hand. 

I called my mechanic at A&F Auto Repair here in St. Pete, and he was more than happy to clear up the confusion. 

Your powertrain is responsible for generating and transmitting power to the wheels. Whether you have a front/rear wheel drive, or a 4-wheel drive, your powertrain is responsible for keeping those tires turning. Without your powertrain, you might as well be on the Flintstones.

 

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Powertrain basics

The powertrain starts with the engine. Your engine is the difference between your ride and the Flintstonemobile. The engine intakes air and then mixes it with fuel and a spark to drive the pistons in your engine. These pistons move up and down, and in doing so they rotate the crankshaft.

 

shoptalk_rearwheeldrive

 

The crankshaft connects to the transmission when the car is in gear. The rotation of the crankshaft is then converted through a series of gears, clutches and electronics to drive your car forward.

If you have a AWD/4WD your transfer case allocates power between the front and rear wheels.

The transmission connects to the driveshaft which then transmits power to the wheels, if you have a front or rear wheel drive. If you have a AWD/4WD, the transfer case allocates power to the wheels.

The rotation of the driveshaft (axle shaft) rotates the wheels. Now all you need to do is hit the gas.

 

source

 

Just don't hit it THAT hard. Your powertrain warranty probably won't reimburse you for airfare.

How long does a powertrain warranty last?

Now that we have a better understanding of what's covered by a powertrain warranty, and what the powertrain actually is, let's get down to the dirty details.

Powertrain warranties are one of the longest lasting warranties, often lasting longer than the standard manufacturer's warranty. A standard powertrain warranty typically lasts up to 5 years or 60,000 miles, whereas a standard bumper to bumper warranty lasts around 3 years, or 36,000 miles.

There are some exceptions, including heavy duty trucks or fleet vehicles. The Dodge Ram Diesel line is one of those. 

Below are some of the most popular car brands and the length of their associated powertrain or other manufacturer warranty coverage. 

Manufacturer Warranty Period (2018 or newer) Notes
Acura 6 years or 70,000 miles  
Audi 4 years or 50,000 miles No specific powertrain warranty, only new vehicle limited warranty.
BMW 4 years or 50,000 miles No specific powertrain warranty, only a new vehicle limited warranty.
Buick 6 years or 70,000 miles  For all model years 2013 or newer.
Cadillac 6 years or 70,000 miles For all model years 2013 or newer.
Chevrolet 5 years or 60,000 miles  
Chrysler 5 years or 60,000 miles  
Dodge 5 years or 60,000 miles  
Ford 5 years or 60,000 miles  
GMC 5 years or 60,000 miles  
Honda 5 years or 60,000 miles  
Hyundai 10 years or 100,000 miles  
Infiniti 7 years or 70,000 miles  
Jaguar 5 years or 60,000 miles No specific powertrain warranty, only a new vehicle limited warranty. 
Jeep 5 years or 60,000 miles  
Kia 10 years or 100,000 miles  
Lexus 6 years or 70,000 miles  
Mazda 5 years or 60,000 miles  
Mercedes-Benz 4 years or 50,000 miles No specific powertrain warranty, only a new vehicle limited warranty.
Mitsubishi 10 years or 100,000 miles  
Nissan 5 years or 60,000 miles  
Ram         5 years or 100,000 miles (diesel)         5 years or 60,000 miles (gas)  
Subaru 5 years or 60,000 miles  
Suzuki 7 years or 100,000 miles  
Tesla 8 years or 100,000-125,000 miles No powertrain warranty, only a new vehicle limited warranty. Length of coverage depends on model purchased. 
Toyota 6 years or 60,000 miles  
Volkswagen 6 years or 72,000 miles No powertrain warranty, only a new vehicle limited warranty
Volvo 4 years or 50,000 miles  

 

All of these numbers are current as of 08/19! We still recommend reading the specific details to ensure coverage. 

What's not covered by a powertrain warranty? 

Powertrain warranties do vary by provider, and they can even vary by make and model such as with Tesla.  

While we've already gone over what is covered by most powertrain warranties, it's also important to consider what isn't covered. A powertrain warranty does not cover 

Engine Exclusions Transmission Exclusions Transfer Case Exclusions Drive Systems Exclusions
Engine Radiator Transmission Cooling Lines Transfer Case Cooling Lines Wheel Bearings
Starter Motor Hoses Hoses Front & Rear Hub Drive Bearings
Connectors Radiator Radiator Locking Hubs
Oxygen Sensor Sensors Sensors Drive System Cooling
Ignition Coils and Spark Plugs Wiring Wiring Hoses
Mass Air Flow Sensor Electrical Connectors Electrical Connectors Lines
Coolant Hoses Clutch and Pressure Plate Transfer Case Control Radiator
Coolant Heater Core Transmission Control Module Module Programming Wiring
Wiring Module Programming    Sensors
Pressurized fuel system     Electronics for the drive systems
Control Module     Drive Control
Module Programming     Drive Control Programming
Other sensors     Struts
      CV Joints

 

There are a number of other components to the powertrain, namely brakes, the clutch, batteries and other bearings. Even though these are considered part of the powertrain they are considered wear and tear items, and aren't covered under warranty. 

The same is true of other types of repairs including air conditioning, the exhaust, emissions, oil changes, power steering (and related components), the shocks, traction control, and the tie rods. 

Again, read your policy carefully. Most powertrain policies will explicitly outline what is not covered. For instance, our Ambassador policy very carefully outlines our coverage!

You also need to consider that powertrain warranties are meant to cover you for material defects in your car. In other words, it's meant to cover you in case your manufacturer has screwed up. 

This means a powertrain warranty likely won't cover you in case of:

  • An accident or collision, no matter who's fault it is. 
  • Failing to meet maintenance obligations. Some manufacturers, such as Volvo, have scheduled service dates. Even if your manufacturer doesn't, there's almost always a maintenance schedule in your car's handbook. Some factory warranties require you to adhere to this schedule in order to receive coverage. Check your specific policy for details.
  • Intentional misuse of your automobile. This extends to activities like racing, drifting, and offroading in a non-offroad car. 
  • Regular wear and tear. This is subject to the terms laid out in your warranty, but powertrain warranties usually do not cover general wear and tear items on your car. Refer to the table above for notable exclusions!
  • Environmental Causes. Your powertrain warranty isn't going to cover your car getting flung into outer space by a tornado. 
  • Using the wrong fuel. If you destroy your engine with the wrong fuel grade through willful negligence, it's unlikely that your powertrain warranty will cover the associated repairs.
  • Corrosion or Rust. Make sure you keep your car in a dry area where possible. If you live in an area with excessive snow and ice, have your undercarriage treated in order to minimize corrosion and rusting. 

The Powertrain Warranty vs. The Bumper to Bumper Coverage

The two most common warranty types are the Bumper to Bumper Warranty and the Powertrain Warranty. They both cover your car, and you often receive both when you're purchasing a new car. 

So, what's the difference?

The Bumper to Bumper Warranty 

Bumper to bumper warranty coverage

Sometimes I get frustrated with my car, and I'm tempted to give it a piece of my mind. It can get messy. Now I'm not saying my doors ever fall off, but if they did, they'd be covered by a bumper to bumper warranty, right? 

Not quite. 

The term bumper to bumper is misleading, because it doesn't cover everything in your car. In fact, there's no warranty that does! A bumper to bumper warranty, which can also be called a comprehensive warranty does cover many of the systems in your car. 

Surprisingly, this excludes your bumpers, which are body panels and are excluded from your warranty. 

A bumper to bumper warranty covers the powertrain, as well as the vehicle's electronics, any factory audio packages, the air conditioning, the majority of your suspension and other parts. The bumper to bumper warranty is meant to cover defective materials, and/or material workmanship issues. It's not intended to cover your car in the event of an accident, or a hurricane. Your manufacturer's bumper to bumper warranty is also almost always voided by any aftermarket additions or alterations you make to your vehicle. 

While that 8" lift kit might look sweet on your truck, it's going to void your bumper to bumper coverage. 

Much like the powertrain warranty, your bumper to bumper warranty does not cover you for routine maintenance, such as an oil change. It also does not cover wear and tear items on your car, like tires, brake pads, and windshield wipers.  

What's the difference between a bumper to bumper warranty and a powertrain warranty?

As bumper to bumper warranties are more comprehensive than powertrain warranties, they usually last less time. The industry standard for bumper to bumper warranty coverage is around 3 years / 36,000 miles, while the average powertrain warranty lasts around 5 years / 60,000 miles. 

There are exceptions, like Hyundai, which offers a 5 year / 60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. 

Powertrain coverage is meant to cover only the components that your car needs to move forward or backward. A bumper to bumper warranty includes the powertrain, and additional systems on your car that aren't required to drive, but are nice to have. 

Should I buy a powertrain warranty?

If you buy a new car, your powertrain is almost always covered under a factory warranty. It's also possible to buy a pre-owned car, as some manufacturers have fully transferable powertrain warranties. If your manufacturer warranty expires, or if you buy a used car, you have options.

You can buy a warranty from a trusted 3rd party service provider like Protect My Car. 

You also have the option of purchasing an extended warranty from your dealership, although these tend to be expensive as your car ages. 

Before purchasing a powertrain warranty, you need to ask yourself a few important questions.

  1. Would you feel better knowing that the most expensive car repairs won't be as expensive? 
  2. How long do you plan on keeping your car? As your vehicle ages, even with proper maintenance, it will inevitably need to be repaired more often. Having a powertrain warranty can take the bite out of some of the most expensive repairs. 
  3. How expensive is your vehicle as it ages? U.S. News has a great tool that lets you forecast out the cost of your vehicle as it ages. If you have a more expensive vehicle, it may be worth it to have a powertrain warranty. 
  4. Is powertrain coverage right for you? Depending on your needs, you may not want just powertrain coverage. A bumper to bumper plan covers more of your car, and may give you better peace of mind. 

Powertrain Warranties at Protect My Car

At Protect My Car, we have several extended service contracts that will help protect your car from some of the most costly repairs, including repairs to your powertrain. Our service contracts will also reimburse you for your rental car, as well as provide 24/7 roadside assistance, so you can drive with peace of mind.

VEHICLE SERVICE CONTRACTS

 
DRIVELINE
Protect My Car Select Policy shield icon with two stars.
SELECT
Protect My Car Supreme Policy shield icon with three stars.
SUPREME
Deductible $100 $100 $100
% Policy Pays Toward Repairs 100% 100% 100%
Engine Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Transmission Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Transfer Case Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Drive Axle Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Differential Assembly Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Front & Rear Suspension Red circle with X in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Cooling System Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Air Conditioning & Heating Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Electrical Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Select Brake System Components Red circle with X in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Timing Chain Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Turbo Charger Red circle with X in the center. Red circle with X in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Navigation Red circle with X in the center.  Optional
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS      
Roadside Assistance Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Rental Car Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center. Green circle with checkmark in the center.
Sample Policy VIEW VIEW VIEW

We also have plans designed specifically for older cars! Our Ambassador Policy changes the way your used car is protected. Our ambassador policies cover most vehicles, regardless of the year or miles. 

With The Ambassador Policy, You Can Enjoy

  • Guaranteed 25-50% off repairs.
  • Free Oil Changes & Tire Rotations
  • Guaranteed 24/7 Roadside Assistance
  • Lock Out Services
  • Assistance with Flat Tires
  • Rental Car Reimbursement

The Ambassador policy is a great fit for you if you have an older vehicle that's getting up there in mileage. It'll help reduce the cost of any repair you'll have as your car needs more repairs. 

giphy

Needless to say, being covered by one of our policies will make you feel pretty good. Consider this our permission to bust out your favorite dance moves. 

Wrap Up

We learned quite a bit today! Here's the cliff notes if you're in a hurry!

  • Your powertrain warranty covers the engine, transmission, front and rear wheel drive systems, the transfer case, and other parts related to the powertrain.
  • Your powertrain warranty does NOT cover wear and tear parts, like sensors and wiring. 
  • We learned that the powertrain is a machine that transfers power from the engine to the wheels. 
  • Your powertrain warranty will last on average, 5 years / 60,000 miles.
  • The powertrain warranty primarily protects against material workmanship defects, not acts of nature, or accidents. 
  • We compared a powertrain warranty to a bumper to bumper. We learned that the bumper to bumper warranty covers most components of your new car for around 3 years / 36,000 miles, which includes the powertrain. 
  • We talked about the reasons for buying a powertrain warranty, and if it's right for you.

 


Sources:

1: https://repairpal.com/estimator

Images:

  1. https://giphy.com/
  2. https://www.primermagazine.com

 

 

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