What is a Powertrain Warranty?


A warranty is a statement made by either the seller or the manufacturer of a product or service promising that the product will perform in a specified way for a specified period. This means that if the product does not perform in the way specified within the predetermined time, the manufacturer will repair or replace it. A powertrain warranty is just one specific type of warranty. In a general, it is a promise from the seller or manufacturer to repair or fix an issue with the parts of the powertrain should a malfunction arise.

The powertrain of a car consists of many components, including:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Driveshaft
  • Internal workings of the engine

Simply put, the powertrain is what provides power to the car. Here’s how it works:

  • The engine creates power for the car and transmits it to the driveshaft through the transmission.
  • The sensors that are generally included in a powertrain warranty provide input and output to and from the powertrain control module (PCM).
  • Some sensors send the computer information, which transcribes the information and sends it to output sensors.

A powertrain warranty covers almost anything that is used to bring power to the wheels. If one of these essential parts of the vehicle break down or become unusable, your powertrain warranty will replace or repair the part at no cost to you. These are some of the most important parts of the vehicle and, as a result, some of the most expensive to repair or replace. This is one of the biggest selling points of a powertrain warranty. It allows you to breathe easy knowing that your car’s most expensive systems are covered in full. Powertrain warranties have become essential in purchasing a car and most dealers now offer them in one form or another. Oftentimes they are one of the longest lasting warranties available. If a mechanical problem arises within the powertrain and the warranty states that it will cover it, either the manufacturer or dealership will have to pay for the repairs.

Of course, what the warranty covers varies greatly between vehicles, manufacturers, and dealerships. When looking to buy a vehicle, you should check the warranty carefully and be sure to understand all its terms and conditions. The fine print, like with any contract, is the main difference in your warranty. This means that different manufacturers and dealers will offer different kinds of coverage. Each party will have its own interpretations of what should be covered (but almost all will cover the parts listed earlier). One major difference will probably be the coverage of the engine. Some vehicles have “long block” engines, which means that the engine and everything attached to it cannot be removed. Others have “short block” engines where only part of the engine is removable. Since all engines are different, engine coverage in powertrain warranties will differ, as well. This is another reason to carefully examine the details of your warranty policy.

Another thing that will affect the powertrain warranty is the car itself. Does it have automatic or manual transmission? If you drive a manual, the warranty will probably differ. Check your warranty to see if important parts like the clutch are covered.


Lifetime and Limited Powertrain Warranties

Another difference between powertrain warranties is how long they last. A limited warranty will only provide coverage within a specified time period – usually five, seven, or ten years. A lifetime or full warranty, on the other hand, does not have a time expiration limit. It will cover you for the lifetime of your vehicle. A lifetime warranty, however, does not often cover parts that wear out from regular wear-and-tear, like clutches, boots, and CV joints.

For a more extensive list of what is covered by your powertrain warranty, contact your vehicle’s manufacturer or your dealership.