We depend on our vehicles to get us where we need to go and when we need to get there. Unfortunately, everything doesn’t always go as planned, as cars break down without prior warning. The natural response to this unpleasant scenario is to initiate repair. Unexpected repairs are usually expensive, but if you have a new car, warranties might cover the cost. For instance, your car’s drivetrain might malfunction. In that case, a drivetrain warranty might cover the expenses incurred for the drivetrain repair.
And if the drivetrain breaks down after the warranty expires, an extended drivetrain warranty can cover the repairs then. Are the lines between these warranties getting blurred already? Well, worry not. This article explores these warranties and how they work.
What Is a Drivetrain?
Before we delve into a drivetrain warranty, let’s explain what a drivetrain is. A drivetrain is a group of components that power your vehicle’s wheels. These parts include:
- Transfer case
What Is a Drivetrain Warranty?
A drivetrain warranty is a service contract that covers the repairs or replacement of drivetrain components. The contract might come from the manufacturer or a third party. That being said, an extended warranty is not part of the original warranty from the manufacturer.
What’s the Difference Between a Drivetrain Warranty and a Powertrain Warranty?
Regular folks often use powertrain and drivetrain interchangeably, but both terms aren’t the same. The powertrain includes the components of the drivetrain plus the engine. The drivetrain, on the other hand, does not include the engine.
By extension, their warranties are different. A drivetrain warranty covers different parts and components from those covered by a powertrain warranty. The latter essentially covers everything that makes your car move. These include the engine and all the parts that transfer power from the engine to the wheels.
Components Not Covered Under a Drivetrain Warranty
What a drivetrain covers may differ depending on the car manufacturer (in the case of the original warranty) or the company you purchase an extended warranty through. Given this variation in coverage, it’s important you read the contract thoroughly. Some components might seem like part of the drivetrain but will likely not be covered under any contract. These include:
- Air conditioning compressors
- Suspension components
- Power steering components
You can purchase an extended drivetrain warranty when you buy a new or used car. If the vehicle is pre-owned, the warranty will not cover any preexisting issues. For optimum coverage when you purchase the warranty, ensure all vehicle components are in good working order.
Also, these service contracts do not cover cosmetic damage from an accident, but your auto insurance will. Another way to look at it is, an insurance policy covers damage than can happen while a warranty covers parts that break down over time. Basically, a warranty works as a supplement to an insurance policy.
Do I Need an Extended Drivetrain Warranty?
Many drivers like the extended cost-saving benefits that an extended drivetrain warranty brings. Once the original warranty runs out, you could be left with expensive repairs that you’ll have to pay out of pocket. And if you purchase a used car, depending on how old it is or the number of miles on the odometer, you might not benefit from the original warranty.
But an extended drivetrain warranty is less expensive than a complete powertrain warranty. And considering components break down as the vehicle racks up the years or miles, this warranty will be an affordable alternative to an expensive out-of-pocket repair. This difference in expenses becomes apparent when you consider the plan’s cost against the real chance your drivetrain will break down later.
How Long Does A Drivetrain Warranty Last?
The manufacturer’s drivetrain warranty usually lasts for five years or up to 60,000 miles. However, it could be longer or shorter if obtained via a third party. If you decide to purchase an additional extended warranty, third-party companies offer different term lengths. The contracts often range from 24 months to about eight years. Keep in mind, though, that the longer the drivetrain warranty lasts, the more expensive it will be.
Pricing is an important piece of the extended drivetrain warranty coverage. Some factors that companies consider when providing a price include:
- The type of car you drive. Some cars have more expensive parts, and the cost of labor is higher.
- The car’s age. A vehicle’s age and mileage will impact its eligibility for a warranty and the cost of fixing damaged components.
- Your driving history. Some extended drivetrain warranty companies will look at your driving history to help determine the price. How you treat your vehicle and how likely you are to get into an accident can affect cost.
- The length of the warranty. Longer warranties cost more.
Where Do I Get a Drivetrain Warranty?
A new car automatically comes with a factory warranty, which is a bundle of warranties that includes a drivetrain warranty. Extended warranties are available through many manufacturers and third-party companies. If you choose the manufacturer’s extended drivetrain warranty, you’ll likely get it right through the dealership. This arrangement is common when you purchase a used car that is not certified pre-owned, which would carry its own warranty.
If you purchase an extended drivetrain warranty through a third-party company, you’ll most likely complete the process online. Look for companies that will provide a free quote so you can find out what the drivetrain warranty covers, how long it lasts, and how much it costs.
Some of the top providers of extended drivetrain warranties include:
A drivetrain warranty protects you financially if your vehicle needs repairs. While you get a limited warranty when purchasing a new car, you’ll most likely need protection after it expires. It’s important to know what your warranty covers and how it works before you find yourself in a situation where you need repairs.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.