What’s The Difference Between Powertrain and Drivetrain?



Sometimes, car commercials and other ads throw around all kinds of jargon. Some of it you know, some of it you may not. So, let’s talk about the difference between powertrain and drivetrain, words you may encounter if you’re looking for a new car. The powertrain in a vehicle is composed of everything that makes the vehicle move. This includes everything from the engine to the transmission to all the parts that allow the power from the engine to get to the wheels. A vehicle’s drivetrain consists of all of the powertrain’s components except for the engine. Because the powertrain is such a vital part of a vehicle, maintaining it is also extremely important. Whether you do the maintenance yourself or have a service technician do the work, maintaining your vehicle’s powertrain is a must.



When maintaining a vehicle’s powertrain you want to look at several components. The four main areas that need your attention are the engine, transmission, transfer case, and the differential. The easiest way to keep all four of these areas of your vehicle in great shape is by maintaining the proper levels of fluids and by changing the fluids at the manufacturer’s specified mileage. Changing fluids can often be something you do yourself, but if there are signs of other problems or you do not want to do the maintenance yourself, you can pay a mechanic or service technician to do it. The most important thing is that your vehicle’s powertrain is tended to on a regular basis.



Many manufacturers provide their customers with a powertrain or drivetrain warranty. Powertrain and drivetrain warranties are an important part of buying a car because they cover arguably the most important parts of the car. There are many different types of warranties offered by manufacturers. Some warranties cover the entire powertrain while others cover only part of the powertrain or only the drivetrain. The duration of these warranties varies and is usually discontinued after a certain number of years or miles driven. Some powertrain warranties only cover certain parts of the engine or transmission. Be careful when looking over the warranty documents and never assume that a part of your vehicle will be covered by the warranty. While warranties vary in terms of how long or far they last and what they cover, they are always a good idea.


When was the last time you checked your vehicle’s fluids? What type of warranty do you look for when shopping for a new vehicle? Leave a comment in the box below. 

Posted in Engine, Maintenance.