Comprehensive Warranty vs Powertrain Warranty on Your Next Auto Purchase

There are a lot of exciting things about purchasing a new car, but one of the most exciting parts is knowing that it is under warranty. New-car warranties have improved greatly in recent years. Car companies even use them as selling points for their vehicles...but which warranty is right for you?

Why get a warranty?

We hear a lot about warranties and not just concerning vehicles. Any big ticket item can have a warranty, but what does it actually do for you? Well, you can think of them as a safety net. They are a bit like insurance policies that back you up if you are ever faced with expensive repairs. However, just like your insurance, they have their limits. Before you invest in one, you'll want to learn more about the coverage and limits to confirm the price will save you money. There are two you'll come across most when buying a car: powertrain and comprehensive.

Powertrain Warranties

There are several types of warranties, but the most common are powertrain warranties and comprehensive warranties. A powertrain warranty essentially covers your vehicle’s moving parts such as the engine, driveshaft, and transmission. If you have a powertrain warranty, it typically will repair or replace the following should they malfunction:

Engine components

The average cost for engine repairs:

  • Timing Chain Replacement: $1,200–$1,900

  • Oil Pan Replacement: $450–$1,100

  • Water Pump Replacement: $300–$650


The average cost for transmission repairs:

  • Engine Control Module: $900–$1,100

  • Transfer Case Replacement: $2,400–$2,900

  • Transmission Mount Replacement: $140–$270

Wheel Drive Systems

The average cost for repairs:

  • Axle Shaft Replacement: $480– $600

  • Constant Velocity Joint Replacement: $2,500–$3,000

  • Axle Seal Replacement: $150–$350

Seals and Gaskets

Seals and gaskets are sometimes covered but won't go into effect if they are leaking. You might find other parts are covered under this warranty like chains, sprockets, and gears.

Every warranty is different, so it's important to find out exactly what will be covered under the powertrain warranty offered on the car you are purchasing. You can use the average cost for repairs to determine if this type of warranty is right for you.

Will a powertrain warranty cover repairs?

Most of the time they will not cover repairs in the event of an accident, misuse, damage/corrosion, regular use, and other situations.

Get more information on what you can do if your warrantied product proves defective. 

Can I Afford an Injury Lawyer?

What is not covered under the powertrain warranty?

The answer will vary greatly on the warranty offered to you, but here is a list of standard parts that are not covered:

  • Sensors

  • Wiring

  • Hoses

  • Radiator

  • Coolant Hoses

  • Starter motor

  • Programming modules

  • Electric connectors

Comprehensive Warranties

A comprehensive warranty covers a lot more than the powertrain warranty. Comprehensive warranties are sometimes referred to as a "bumper to bumper warranty" and typically cover almost all systems and parts of your vehicle, excluding wear and tear items like tires and brake pads. Along with the powertrain coverage, a comprehensive warranty also typically includes:

  • Electronics

  • Air conditioning systems

  • Fuel systems

As with the powertrain warranty, these vary based on the manufacturer and vehicle type, so do your research on what you can expect from your specific comprehensive warranty.

How long do warranties last?

There are various lengths of warranties, but most last for a set number of years or a fixed number of miles, whichever comes first. For example, if you have a 5 year/100,000 mile warranty, your car will be covered for five years unless you reach 100,000 miles before those five years have ended.

Since powertrain warranties cover less, they typically last longer. The average length of a powertrain warranty is around 5 years/60,000 miles. Because comprehensive warranties tend to include more, they are usually shorter. The average length of a full warranty is three years/36,000 miles. It’s important to remember that these can vary based on the manufacturer and dealer.

If you feel you may need warranty coverage for longer than the standard warranty, you always have the option to purchase an extended warranty. Just keep in mind that you need the new one to have the same coverage as the one expiring. Take a look at the fine print to confirm you have the coverage you need.

Talk to your dealer about what extended warranties they offer to see if one may be right for you.

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