What is a powertrain warranty?

Matt Avatar By: Matt | Last updated January 14, 2020

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Whenever you purchase a new car, you will most likely be offered two types of warranties: a bumper to bumper warranty and a powertrain warranty. These types of warranties are limited and can be offered by your car dealer, by the manufacturer itself or even by third parties.

Bumper to bumper vs. powertrain warranty

The bumper to bumper warranty is basically the factory warranty that comes with your new vehicle. This warranty is really comprehensive and covers all the parts of your car, from bumper to bumper. However, as ironically as it may sound, it doesn’t cover your bumpers. The reason for that is that they are deemed wear parts and bumper to bumper warranties don’t cover those. The wear parts of a car are the ones that wear out over time and you have to change/replace constantly: tires, wipers, light bulbs, brake pads and so on.

What does the bumper to bumper warranty include?

The bumper to bumper warranty includes everything else though: engine, transmission, suspension, the heating and cooling system, the electronics, the air conditioning, the fuel system.

What does the powertrain warranty include?

The powertrain warranty on the other hand only covers the components/systems of your car that make the vehicle move forward and backward. The parts covered in this type of warranty vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and depends on the model of the car. But usually, the powertrain warranty covers the engine (with seals and gaskets, fuel injectors, water and oil pumps), the transmission, the transfer case, differentials, drive systems, axle shafts, wheel bearings and hubs.   

How long do bumper to bumper and powertrain warranties last?

Bumper to bumper warranties are more comprehensive in terms of coverage but they expire faster than powertrain warranties. Powertrain warranties last longer but they are more basic and cover fewer parts.

Powertrain warranties last from 5 years (or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first) and up to 10 years and 100,000 miles, although those are rarer. The length of the warranty depends on the manufacturer and model of the car.

Bumper to bumper warranties usually last approximately 3 years (36,000 miles) and can go as far as 5, 6 years, for some automakers. Volkswagen for instance offers a bumper to bumper warranty of 6 years (72,000 miles), Mitsubishi, Kia, Genesis and Hyundai, of 5 years (60,000 miles).

In most cases, powertrain warranties can be transferred from one owner to the other, although that depends on the dealer, manufacturer, etc. But as a general rule, if you purchase a car that is still in warranty, you will be able to benefit from the powertrain warranty.

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