Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Powertrain Warranty

Generally, what is included in a powertrain warranty? I bought my car in 2009 when no one was buying cars because of the recession and they offered me a Lifetime Powertrain Warranty.

engine and transmission castings and internal parts excluding manual clutch. Drive shafts and u-joints or cv joints, differential drive axles and usually driven axle wheel bearings.

Engine, transmission, and differential(s).


That word “powertrain” might also be debateable depending upon which company is backing the warranty.

The word “lifetime” might also be debateable.

Any particular reason you ask?

Did you actually end up with the warranty? If so, the precise answer will be found in your paperwork.

Yes, I actually have the warranty. I was asking because I wondered if the underbody was usually considered part if the powertrain?

No, the underbody is not considered part of the powertrain

Why do you ask?

My buddy bought a 2 year old Mazda with low miles…with the extended power train warranty. from a dealer When the alternator failed they would not pay for it. It showed the covered parts "except the alternator " in the fine print…Go figure. and never had to use that warranty again…he got ripped off for the money he paid. He sold the car with 130k on it and was still running strong.

At GM I was told it was anything that touched oil. So any internal engine parts and any internal transmission or differential parts that were lubicated. The answer is in the fine print though.

For powertrain warranties, there’s the carefully-lawyer-prepared fine print in the contract. And then there is how the company chooses to interpret it.

If you have a mechanical problem that a warranty company chooses to not cover (and you believe it should be), you’ll need to spend lots of money and time fighting them - and you still might lose. Sadly I speak from experience.

"I wondered if the underbody was usually considered part if the powertrain? "

If you think about it, the answer is actually provided by the words themselves.
“Powertrain” means the parts that produce and/or transmit mechanical power to the wheels.

Does the underbody of the car produce or transmit power to the wheels?
I didn’t think so…


Our 1994 Nissan Sentra had a 7 year powertrain warranty. The radiator sprung a leak and they put a new one in at no charge since that was considered part of the powertrian. I believe the starter, but not the alternator were considered part of the powertrain.

On my 1965 Dodge Dart the front U joint failed at 49,950 miles. No problem with the then new 50,000 mile powertrain warranty.

I think it depends on the manufacturer. I have heard these extended warranty companies don’t cover wear items. When it starts burning or leaking oil, they consider rings and valve guides “wear” items. Rear seals “wear” items. Needless to say, the consumer gets screwed and they make alot of money.

I assume aftermarket warranty still requires you to perform maintenance on regular basis? You have receipts for any service? Warranties are nice. We bought a new car yrs ago and bought extended warranty. Than had trans issue. Dealer was surprised we had warranty. Zero deduc. Nice. Warranty was “cheap”. $500 or so. Trans tear down was certainly more expensive.

The only cars with a “lifetime” warranty that I know of were Chrysler products for a few years (including Jeep). The only problems I have heard of with this warranty is for parts that were made by outside suppliers who no longer make them.

The Buick dealer down the road (and maybe Chevy too) has a lifetime PT warranty advertised. Haven’t looked at it for the details at all so don’t the specifics of nation-wide or not etc. Lots of cars have a 70K PT warranty anyway so you have to get beyond that for it to kick in. Then its a potential sales lead if the guy brings the car in for repairs.

VERY variable from company to company.
PLUS they’ll debate every claim all the way down to the wrong number of miles between one of the oil changes !
Read you own paperwork.

Chrysler washed their hands of that lifetime warranty BS when they went to bankruptcy court a couple of years ago.

Well, my warranty is on one piece of regular paper, one-sided, and there’s no fine print. Hmmm… Could I have actually bought from an honest dealer!? :slight_smile:

The warranty is probably defined in normal sized print, does it not explain what is covered under the warranty?