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Powertrain Warranty Guide

A powertrain warranty is a limited protection plan that covers vehicle repairs or replacement parts associated with the engine, transmission, and drivetrain.

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04/26/2024 12:00 AM

The Gist:

  • Manufacturers include limited powertrain warranties with new vehicles or you can buy extended powertrain coverage up to 250,000 miles from a third-party provider. 
  • A powertrain warranty past the factory coverage costs around $3,000 and may include perks like roadside assistance.
  • Both factory and extended powertrain warranties cover parts and systems your engine, transmission, and drive axles.
Reputation: 4.5/5.0
Coverage: 5.0/5.0
Price: 4.5/5.0
Customer Experience: 4.5/5.0
idée Endurance is our first choice for extended warranties
  • Best Plan Offerings
  • Mileage Covered: 200,000 miles on the odometer
  • Free Cancellation: Full refund within 30 days
  • Plan Options: 6 different plans to choose from
  • Longest Plan Term: Up to 8 years
  • Discounts: $300 same-day signup discount, $250 shopping voucher, and others
Plan coverage includes Endurance Elite perks™
Exclusionary plan One-year membership for free
Powertrain plan Tire repair and replacement
Maintenance coverage with Endurance Advantage Key fob replacement
Roadside assistance Total loss protection
Towing Collision discount
Rental car $250 rewards voucher
Trip interruption coverage Endurance Protect app

In this article, we will explore what a vehicle’s powertrain is, what powertrain warranties cover, and whether you should purchase this type of protection plan for your vehicle. If you decide it is worth it, we’ve reviewed some of the top reputable extended warranty companies so you can compare options.

What Is A Powertrain Warranty?

A powertrain warranty is a protection plan where the vehicle manufacturer or a third-party provider promises to pay for specific part repairs and replacement in the case of mechanical failure. This coverage applies to car repairs needed due to factory defects or faulty workmanship. 

Encompassing the vehicle’s engine, transmission, and drivetrain components, the powertrain generally involves all parts that work together to move your car.

Powertrain warranties are sold as limited or lifetime coverage.

Powertrain Limited Warranty

Limited powertrain warranties come with mileage and time restrictions for coverage. Once reached, protection for your vehicle expires. This type of warranty usually falls under a manufacturer’s original factory coverage for your car. You can also buy extended powertrain protection with higher mileage and time limits.

Lifetime Powertrain Warranty

On the other hand, a lifetime powertrain warranty covers your car as long as you own it. Lifetime coverage usually means the warranty is non-transferable if you sell your car and you’re required to have proof of regular maintenance to have repair costs covered.

What Is Included In The Powertrain?

Your car’s powertrain consists of the key components that generate power and keep the wheels turning. Core parts of this system include the engine, transmission, driveshaft, axles, and differential. Through these parts, the energy produced in the engine is transferred down to your wheels on the ground, allowing your vehicle to move.

Powertrain Warranty Coverage

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. Below we will go into detail about what is typically included in powertrain warranties and which exclusions may apply.

What Does A Powertrain Warranty Cover?

Here’s a list of the parts commonly included under powertrain warranty plans:

  • Engine (including internal parts)
  • Transmission
  • Drive Axle
  • Transfer Case
  • Front- and rear-wheel drive systems 

Engine parts that are typically covered include under a powertrain warranty include:

  • Engine block
  • Seals and gaskets
  • Water, fuel, and oil pumps
  • Fuel injectors
  • Valvetrain
  • Oil pan
  • Pistons
  • Other internally lubricated parts

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 comprehensive warranty plan.

What Is Not Covered Under A Powertrain Warranty?

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

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

Exact coverage under a powertrain warranty will vary by manufacturer or warranty company. You’ll find warranty details in the fine print of your contract. Still, almost no dealership or third-party powertrain warranty plan will cover:

  • Routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations
  • Glass parts such as the windshield and mirrors
  • Normal wear-and-tear parts like tires, wiper blades, and brake pads
  • Damage from collisions, 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.

How Long Is A Powertrain Warranty?

A factory powertrain warranty typically lasts 5 years/60,000 miles, but some can last up to 10 years/100,000 miles. Some providers also have unlimited powertrain warranty plans. However, the length of your factory powertrain warranty will depend on your automaker and whether your vehicle is new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO).

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 roadside assistance, towing, and rental car reimbursement benefits.

Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Vs. Powertrain

The main differences between a powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranty are length and amount of parts covered. A powertrain warranty covers fewer parts overall but lasts much longer. On the other hand, bumper-to-bumper coverage provides much more comprehensive protection with shorter terms.

Both types of warranties can come with new cars as part of a factory warranty or as part of a CPO vehicle purchase. While a powertrain warranty comes with less coverage overall, it is a cheaper warranty than other types of protection plans.

Tables showcasing the differences between powertrain warranties and bumper-to-bumper warranties, and what makes them different

Powertrain Warranty Cost

On average, the total cost of a powertrain warranty is $3,076.84. This is based on quotes we got from top warranty providers. However, your specific powertrain warranty cost depends on the plans offered and what coverage you would like. If you just want basic coverage it will be cheaper. If you want more parts covered, many warranty companies offer powertrain plus plans that include additional vehicle components but cost more.

Powertrain System Repair Cost

The cost of a warranty can definitely be worth it if an expensive powertrain part fails and needs repairs or a replacement. To put this in perspective, here are average replacement costs for common powertrain components:

Vehicle RepairAverage 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

Is A Powertrain Warranty Worth It?

Yes, powertrain warranties are typically worth it to help pay for expensive part repairs or replacements for a vehicle when you don’t have the money to do so. However, whether you should get a powertrain warranty hinges on your car’s reliability and your personal finances. Unless your current factory warranty has expired, typically you are covered with a bumper-to-bumper warranty plan, so it may be unnecessary to purchase additional coverage.

To help you determine whether you need coverage, below are RepairPal’s reliability ratings and average repair costs for the 15 most popular vehicles in the U.S.

Vehicle ModelRepairPal Reliability ScoreAnnual Repair Cost
Ford F-1503.5 out of 5.0$788
Chevrolet Silverado3.5 out of 5.0$714
Ram 15003.5 out of 5.0$670
Toyota RAV44.0 out of 5.0$429
Honda CR-V4.5 out of 5.0$407
Toyota Camry4.0 out of 5.0$388
Chevrolet Equinox3.5 out of 5.0$537
Honda Civic4.5 out of 5.0$368
GMC Sierra3.5 out of 5.0$727
Toyota Tacoma3.5 out of 5.0$478
Toyota Corolla4.5 out of 5.0$362
Nissan Rogue4.0 out of 5.0$467
Ford Explorer3.5 out of 5.0$732
Toyota Highlander4.0 out of 5.0$489
Jeep Grand Cherokee3.5 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 vehicles 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.

Powertrain Warranty: Our Take

Powertrain warranties can give you peace of mind if your most important car parts break down and require expensive repairs. While not the most comprehensive warranty available, a powertrain plan covers the basic parts you need to drive your car. We’ve provided some of our top recommended companies below, but we urge you to compare options to find the best deal for your personal needs.

Reputation: 4.5/5.0
Coverage: 5.0/5.0
Price: 4.5/5.0
Customer Experience: 4.5/5.0
idée Endurance is our first choice for extended warranties
  • Best Plan Offerings
  • Mileage Covered: 200,000 miles on the odometer
  • Free Cancellation: Full refund within 30 days
  • Plan Options: 6 different plans to choose from
  • Longest Plan Term: Up to 8 years
  • Discounts: $300 same-day signup discount, $250 shopping voucher, and others
Plan coverage includes Endurance Elite perks™
Exclusionary plan One-year membership for free
Powertrain plan Tire repair and replacement
Maintenance coverage with Endurance Advantage Key fob replacement
Roadside assistance Total loss protection
Towing Collision discount
Rental car $250 rewards voucher
Trip interruption coverage Endurance Protect app

Best Powertrain Warranties

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: Best Plan Offerings

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

In our review, the company earned an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars. Here’s a breakdown of what each Endurance powertrain warranty covers:

Parts CoveredEndurance
Secure Plan
Secure Plus Plan
Drive axle
Transfer case
Electrical systems
Air conditioning

We got a quote for an Endurance powertrain warranty on a 2022 Subaru Outback with 52,000 miles. Here are the terms we were offered:

  • Plan: Secure Plus
  • Term length: 2.5 years/40,000 miles
  • Financing: $95.84 per month for 30 months
  • Down payment: $124.84
  • Deductible: $100
  • Total cost: $2,904.20

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

CarShield: Month-To-Month Contracts

CarShield often has the “best for your budget” warranty choices, as seen with its Silver powertrain plan and Gold powertrain-plus option. The third-party provider, in business since 2005, earned an overall score in our review of 4.3 out of 5.0 stars.

Here’s what each CarShield powertrain warranty covers:

Parts CoveredCarShield
Silver Plan
Gold Plan
Transfer case
Drive axle
Air conditioning
Fuel system

We asked CarShield for a powertrain coverage quote for a 2016 Subaru Outback with 110,000 miles and were offered the following terms:

  • Plan: Gold
  • Term length: Unlimited; month-to-month
  • Financing: $149.99 monthly
  • Down payment: N/A
  • Deductible: $250
  • 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.

Carchex: High Mileage Limits

Carchex, which we named best for High Mileage Limits, carries both a Bronze powertrain plan and a powertrain-plus Silver plan. In our industry-wide research, Carchex earned a 4.4 out of 5.0-star rating.

Here is a breakdown of its plans:

Parts CoveredCarchex
Bronze Plan
Silver Plan
Drive axle
Fuel system
Electrical systems
Air conditioning

We reached out to Carchex for powertrain coverage on a 2013 Subaru Outback with 88,000 miles on it and were offered the following terms:

  • Plan: Silver
  • Term length: Unlimited years and miles
  • Financing: $139.99 monthly
  • Down payment: First month’s payment
  • Deductible: $100
  • Total cost: Depends on coverage length

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

Powertrain Warranty: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about powertrain warranties:

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 new car comes with a factory powertrain warranty, extended warranty coverage is often worth it to avoid expenses of unexpected breakdowns as the car ages.

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 your factory powertrain warranty expires, you can get a manufacturer-backed 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.

Is a catalytic converter covered under a powertrain warranty?

Catalytic converters can possibly be covered under a powertrain warranty, but it depends on the plan and provider you choose. This part may also be covered under your car’s factory emissions and exhaust warranty.

Is a starter covered under a powertrain warranty?

Starters, while essential to your engine’s performance, may not be covered under certain powertrain warranties. It may fall under electrical coverage for certain plans, but it is best to read the fine print of warranty terms to make sure.

Are sensors covered under a powertrain warranty?

Most sensors are considered wear-and-tear parts on a car and are not covered under any powertrain warranties. However, some powertrain warranty plans will cover sensors on your powertrain such as engine sensors.

Are tie rods covered under powertrain warranties?

Tie rods are not part of the powertrain and would be excluded in powertrain warranty coverage.

View Pricing from our #1 Provider – Endurance


How We Rate Warranty Providers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of extended auto warranty providers. While there are multiple qualities that make a warranty company successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Reputation: It’s important that an extended car warranty company is able to meet its claims obligations. Companies with a strong rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a long history of reliable service score well in this category. We also evaluate the availability and transparency of each company’s contracts, as well as whether each provider offers a money-back guarantee.
  • Coverage: Our team of experts looks at the number of extended warranty plans available, as well as term limits, exclusions, and added benefits like roadside assistance. Ratings also take into account the availability of maintenance coverage.
  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between providers because so many factors impact vehicle service contract pricing. To determine our cost score, we perform a secret shopper analysis for a variety of vehicles and plans and consider available deductibles.
  • Customer Experience: We listen to real customer sales calls and comb through reviews on sites like the BBB to learn about customer experiences. Warranty companies with a low volume of complaints score well in this area. We also consider the availability of mobile apps and chat features.

*Data accurate at time of publication