You’re in the market for a new car, or at least a new-to-you car. And you’ve started hearing all these terms, like Powertrain warranty, Bumper-to-Bumper coverage, and extended vehicle warranties. What do you need? And where do you start? Can you get the warranty from your car dealership? Do you get them online? Do you even need a warranty? And what is a powertrain anyway?

It can be a bit of a maze, understanding all the terms and figuring out what you need. But that’s why you’re researching the issues now, before you go and buy that new car.

What is a Powertrain?

The powertrain of a car is the system of mechanisms that powers the vehicle. This includes the engine, the transmission, the differentials and the drive shaft, as well as the axels. The drivetrain of a car is everything described, minus the engine. Powertrains utilize a variety of energy types used to power motors. Things such as solar energy, kinetic energy and chemical energy can be used to power the engine in a powertrain machine.

What Does Powertrain Warranty Cover?

Your standard powertrain warranty, or basic warranty, covers the Powertrain system of your car. If any part of that system stops working, whether something is broken in an accident, or a manufacturer error, this warranty will cover the issues and get your car in shape again. When you purchase a brand new car, the manufacturer offers a Powertrain warranty as a part of the price of the car. These warranties usually last five years or 60,000 miles, maybe longer depending on the manufacturer. Once these manufacturer warranties run out, the components of the Powertrain are no longer covered, unless you get an extended powertrain warranty or a bumper to bumper warranty.

What is an Extended Warranty?

An extended warranty is that coverage that takes care of your car after the manufacturer’s warranty runs out. This warranty is purchased separately, either through the dealership where you purchase the car or through a third-party warranty company, like CarShield or Endurance Auto Warranties. This extended warranty can protect the powertrain basics or can be bumper to bumper.

Powertrain Warranty vs Bumper to Bumper

The question arises: which coverage do you need? If you’re buying a used vehicle, or know that you’ll be driving the new car you’re buying past the date of the manufacturer’s warranty, you’ll need to decide if Powertrain or bumper to bumper coverage is what you need.

The basic differences between Powertrain warranties and bumper to bumper warranties are fairly straightforward: the powertrain warranty covers the components of the powertrain system, while the bumper to bumper warranty covers that plus things like electronics, suspension and other vehicle systems.

How to Decide Which Warranty You Need

There are a few things to consider before you lock into that warranty.

1. The Warranty Cost

First off, you’ll need to know what cost the warranty will add to your car loan as you make this big purchase. Will the bumper to bumper warranty cost more than you can afford? Is the powertrain warranty enough for your driving habits? Powertrain warranties cover the basics of the car, so you can expect that the most expensive parts of your used car will be covered by the warranty.

2. Insurance Coverage

You should also examine the coverage you’ll have on your insurance, and the types of situations it will cover. If your state requires hefty insurance, or you naturally lean towards the stronger coverage, keep this in mind as you decide on the right type of warranty. You probably only need the Powertrain warranty if your insurance covers the majority of the issues that your car could face.

3. The Deductibles of the Warranty

Some warranties have deductibles, too, like your insurance does. Before purchasing any warranty, be aware of these items not covered, and, again, compare that warranty to your insurance coverage. You’ll need to make sure you can afford what needs coverage, or justify the warranty by the insurance.

Once you’ve got your car loan approved, and know the type of car you want to buy, check out the warranty options available. Know which kinds will supplement well with your insurance, and which companies offer what you need.

You may be able to get the right warranty from the dealership, or you may have to get that extended warranty via the internet or an agent. A powertrain extended warranty will cover your engine and moving parts, while a bumper to bumper warranty will cover that plus most other things.

Understand your needs ahead of time, and you’ll save yourself a lot of hassles on the car lot.

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