Car manufacturers and dealers have long looked for ways to entice buyers into purchasing new and used vehicles.
One of the more common and effective strategies utilized by sellers is the offering of promotional packages including limited warranties, like powertrain warranties, designed to alleviate buyer anxiety about service and potential repair costs.
However, while these packages may appear extremely attractive to buyers, it is often confusing and challenging to identify what exactly is covered under these promotional packages.
If you have recently purchased a vehicle with a limited powertrain warranty and discovered a powertrain defect, it’s extremely important to understand exactly what services are and are not covered under warranty so you’re financially prepared for any potential repair costs that arise.
What Does “Powertrain Warranty” Mean?
Powertrain warranties are a type of limited warranty offered by manufacturers and vehicle sellers, which apply specifically to the components of the vehicle responsible for movement, known as the “powertrain.”
The components of the vehicle which make up the powertrain include the:
- Drivetrain/Drive systems
Powertrain warranties typically provide cost-free or nearly cost-free repairs and replacements of malfunctions, defects and damage to the powertrain components listed above.
What is a Limited Powertrain Warranty?
Technically speaking, most if not all powertrain warranties fall under the category of a “limited powertrain warranty,” as they have a specific period of coverage which expires after a vehicle reaches a certain mileage or age.
Conversely, full warranties have no period of coverage deadlines, as they never expire. Full warranties are also much rarer in automobile sales.
What Does a Powertrain Warranty Cover?
While each powertrain warranty package will differ slightly in terms of coverage depending upon the manufacturer and terms of each agreement, there are a series of components that are virtually guaranteed to be covered across all powertrain warranties.
Engine components generally guaranteed to be covered under powertrain warranties include the:
- Cylinder block
- Timing belt
- Exhaust valves
- Oil pan
- Water pump
- Fuel pump
- Oil pump
- Fuel injectors
Transmission coverage typically applies to all internal parts, like:
- Torque converter
Drive system coverage almost universally extends to:
- Axle shafts
- Axle housing
Most powertrain warranties include both mileage and year period of coverage, which expires upon reaching the first designated milestone. These deadlines are generally referred to as a “whichever comes first” period of eligibility.
Powertrain warranties typically have a larger period of coverage than standard bumper-to-bumper manufacturer warranties, with the standard warranty running an average of 5 years or 60,000 miles.
Manufacturers should cover all qualifying repairs and replacements during the period of coverage under the powertrain warranty at little to no cost to the vehicle owner.
While powertrain warranties are often marketed as fully encompassing packages allowing vehicle owners to operate their vehicles absent concern for repair or replacement costs, this is simply not the case.
In fact, many warranties feature a list of parts and circumstances explicitly excluded from warranty coverage.
Below is a list of the most common and significant exclusions found in powertrain warranties.
1. Non-Powertrain Components
This is relatively straightforward. As powertrain warranties apply exclusively to powertrain components – those responsible for movement of the vehicle – any component not associated with the engine, transmission, or drivetrain/drive systems is automatically ineligible for powertrain warranty coverage.
2. Parts That Wear
Powertrain warranties are carefully crafted to limit expected manufacturer expenses.
As such, powertrain components that require regular service and replacement, commonly referred to as “wear parts” are generally excluded from powertrain warranties.
Wear parts include:
- CV joints
3. Physical Damage
Powertrain warranties are not synonymous with car insurance and thus, do not cover damage to the powertrain caused by accidents, collisions, vandalism, vehicle theft, water damage, fire, or glass breakage.
What to Do if Powertrain Defects are Not Covered Under Warranty?
Vehicle owners with recurring powertrain defects not covered under their limited powertrain warranties may be eligible for financial compensation or vehicle replacement under their state’s lemon laws or via federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act breach of warranty claims.
Questions about Powertrain Warranty Coverage?
To determine the exact coverages, exclusions, and conditions under which manufacturers are responsible for repairs under your specific powertrain warranty, it may be helpful to review the terms of your agreement with a qualified attorney.
A qualified lemon law attorney can also assist vehicle owners in navigating the breach of warranty and lemon law claims process in the event of recurring defects not covered under warranty.
If you have questions regarding your vehicle’s powertrain warranty or are interested in discussing a potential lemon law claim, contact the Robison Lemon Law Group today via email or call us at (844) 214-6053 to schedule your free consultation.