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Exclusive Lifetime Warranty - Power train

A Subaru dealer in our state offers a lifetime warranty on the power train. (Factory is 5 yrs. 60,000 miles whichever comes first).

A gimmick to get customers? Make them think they are really getting something worth having. Or, is there really an issue with needing such a warranty after 5 yr/60,000 miles?

Here is exactly what it says and I’ve read through the whole thing…no limits, no catches, no extra fees etc.

Home of the Exclusive Lifetime Warranty. Unlimited Time, Unlimited Miles, for as long as you own the vehicle. It is provided on all new Subarus and many of our pre-owned vehicles at no additional charge. We hope you service with us, but you can service at any authorized Subaru service center in the U.S. or Canada,and keep the full warranty in effect. It is substantially stronger than any other Lifetime Warranty program, and we can prove it.

What do you all think? Thanks?

“I’ve read through the whole thing…no limits, no catches”

Perhaps I am just a perpetual skeptic, but if this is the full statement regarding the warranty, it is sorely lacking in details. Every warranty that I have ever seen makes mention of specifically what parts are covered and which are not covered by the warranty.

How often does the car have to be serviced?
Do they require service above and beyond the official Subaru factory requirements?
What parts of the Powertrain are not covered?

Unless you can get FULL details, including the points that I mentioned above and perhaps some other points that others will mention, I would be very skeptical.

Be careful with the “no additional charge” bit. It may be hidden in the price of the car. If it sounds too good to be true…

"but you can service at any authorized Subaru service center in the U.S. or Canada,and keep the full warranty in effect.

Sounds like you must keep up maintenance only at a Subaru dealer, vice an independent mechanic. I would like to know if there are any more “little details” in the agreement before I would consider it.

To a degree, I can see an allegation of abuse coming from the same dealer who is warrantor for the extended warranty if you need to invoke, and you would have no recourse. That appears to pose a major potential conflict of interest to me that might have to be overcome to get the warranty work done.

By comparison, we have 135K miles on a Legacy drive train, with no indications of future issues to come.

A local Jacksonville, FL Toyota dealership offers the same thing. I haven’t read the fine print, but in order to keep the warranty valid, I imagine I would have to get all of the maintenance and repairs done at the dealership. In your case, it means you have to get your service performed at a Subaru dealership, which, in comparison to cheaper shops, might cost more than a new transmission over the life of the vehicle.

Get the actual warranty terms, not the advertisement. Find out how they define powertrain. Were I offering such a deal, and were I of the mindset of a lot of car dealers, I’d define the power train as the driveshaft, and only the driveshaft. Why? Because it’s very rare for a driveshaft to break.

Or if I defined the powertrain as the actual powertrain (engine/tranny/etc), I’d put some sort of crazy restriction on it, like you have to have it inspected once every three months, at your expense, at the dealership, or the warranty is void. Since no one would actually do this, I’d get off scott-free.

I doubt that they warranty normal wear and tear. Check the warranty for exclusions, like this one. Of course it’s a gimmick to get customers. You just have to understand what the warranty actually means. BTW, do you have to pay MSRP to qualify for this warranty? If discounts aren’t similar to other local dealers, then there is a cost associated with the warranty.

Sounds like the “Lifetime Warranty” on a Cross pen. The refills cost at least twice what other refills the same size cost, and only Cross refills fit. So, they can basically give the pen away and live happily after on the refill profits.

If you have to bring the car into a Subaru dealer for all the specified and “dealer specified” work, it won’t be worthwhile.

Here is the what they say. I cannot find anything that gives “details” as to parts of the power train. Should I try to find it on the official Subaru web site?

“Should I try to find it on the official Subaru web site?”

No, because this warranty is NOT offered by the car’s manufacturer!
The only source of information on this warranty would be the dealership or the after-market company that provides the coverage.

Incidentally, the percentage of these after-market warranty companies that go belly-up within a year or two is astronomically high. That is simply because they cannot possibly provide the coverage that they claim to offer. For those who paid for one of these warranties, this situation means that all of their money is lost. In your case, you may not see an upfront fee but–trust me–you will be paying for this warranty in some way that is buried in the pricing of the car’s purchase.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Just like all extended warranties it’s worded by their legal staff and some definitions are a bit vague.

Powertrain to me denotes the engine only. The drivetrain denotes the transmission, axles, differential, etc.

Lifetime means what? The inferrence is that if the engine (assuming powertrain definition) ever wears out you will be entitled to a new engine free of charge for as long as you own the car. Good luck with that one.
(Remember the now forgotten Chrysler lifetime powertrain warranty from not too many years ago?)

Many would also assume (incorrectly) that a new engine would be granted even in the event that it was just flat worn out from high miles or went south due to lack or regular maintenance, abusive driving habits on the part of the owner, etc.

Original Subaru powertrain warranty.

Powertrain Limited Warranty

Powertrain coverage for all models is five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. It covers the major powertrain components listed below:*

Engine block and all internal parts
Cylinder heads and valve train
Oil pump, oil pan
Timing belts or gears and covers
Water pump
Intake manifold
Oil seals and gaskets
Turbocharger Assembly
Transaxle case and internal parts
Transaxle seals and gaskets
Axle shafts and constant velocity joints (except boots)**
Torque converter
Electronic transmission control unit
Transaxle seals and gaskets
Propeller shaft
Wheel bearings

Doesn’t sound too bad, probably based on the fact they do not expect the original owner to keep the car 20 years! In fact it sounds to good to be true, ask if they replace the timing belt for free if it has one at the recommended mileage.

Is there a neglect/abuse clause in the fine print? If the upper radiator hose blows off while travelling at 75 mph in the high speed lane in heavy traffic and the driver continues to drive for a few miles in an effort to get across 5 lanes to the shoulder the engine damage is due to abuse/neglect.

No you don’t have to pay MSRP and as a matter of fact their e-pricing was under another dealers price for the same vehicle, same options, etc.

Thanks all. I guess the real bottom line is the bottom line! What I’ll pay for the car and never mind the “gimmicks”. They all seem to have them one way or another which is why I HATE the whole car buying process (“Game”) and only do it once every decade! I keep my cars in good condition inside and out, get regular maintenance, and thus far have had very good luck. Thanks again.

You don’t have to buy Cross brand refills. There are a lot of alternatives that fit, usually available at office supply stores. That’s how I get my refills.

One way they get you is to deny warranty for parts that wear out and only fix items that fail catastrophicaly. One other way is no diagnosis time paid. I say there must be a catch.

EDIT: as always OK4450 nailed the “flat wear out” condition.

I’d like to reopen this discussion because I’d like to learn more about the real benefits of this “lifetime powertrain warranty”.
It seems to have been updated since your last discussion in which you could only get it serviced by a subaru dealer, they have emailed me to say that :

"The timing chain is covered! Yes, your regular mechanic can service or replace parts on the vehicle if they are a licensed mechanic. The Mechanic would then file a claim to the warranty company, and the warranty company would be responsible for paying the mechanic.

If the head gaskets leaking fail the car for state inspection, then it would be a failed component, which would mean the warranty would cover it.

Yes, the components would need to first not meet the state inspection for them to fall under a warranty claim. As with any warranty claim, the warranty company may have an inspector to go out and look at the vehicle at the time of a claim to make sure the vehicle has not been driven in a way that might be consider excessive or abusive. It is also required for you to follow the Maintenance Schedule per the Owner’s Manual (such as Tire rotations, Oil Changes, Filters, Brake inspections, etc.) and keep all the receipts for the service, and keep close records."

Does this sound legitimate to you? Would mechanics really be willing to let you have your vehicle back and then go ahead and bill the warranty company, hoping to get reimbursement? Since they have been offering the warranty since at least your discussion in 2011, is it safe to assume that the third party company isn’t going belly-up anytime soon? What are the catches? What should I be concerned about?

The reason I am asking is because the listed price for their vehicle is more than a couple of others I have found around the state. I am not sure the extent to which their prices are negotiable but is it worth the slightly higher price for the “lifetime powertrain warranty”.

Other subarus I have had ended up costing a lot in maintenance when the head gaskets leaked and the timing belts needed replacing…it sounds like these are paid for by the warranty? Or am I kidding myself? Is this too good to be true?

Thank you for any advice and words of wisdom on the matter!

The local Kia dealer also has warranty for life. You must have ALL service done at this location and you cannot do things like changing your own oil and keeping this valid. The guy told me it covers anything that touches coolant or oil.

I don’t know about other states, but in my state the annual safety inspection has NEVER included anything engine-related–except for emissions. They would check brakes, front end, exhaust system integrity, lights, wipers, glass, and–later–they began to include emissions. Nowadays, everything has been eliminated from their check list except for emissions.

So, my suggestion is for you to check with a state inspection station about whether or not they do anything in regard to engines when performing an inspection. Even if they do inspect your engine for leaks in your state, you should bear in mind that head gasket leaks are almost always internal and require specific mechanical checks in order to diagnose properly. The chance of this being done as part of a state inspection is somewhere between slim and none.

So, I believe that–as is typical–this extended warranty company is relying on lack of automotive knowledge in order to sucker people into giving them their money.