Is an oil leak covered under warranty?

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Endurance Auto Warranty
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Oil leaks are common with older vehicles, but diagnosing and fixing them isn’t always a straightforward process, leading many to question if they are covered under their vehicle’s warranty.

We’ll cover the basics of car warranties, common causes of oil leaks and information on whether the top extended warranty companies cover them.


Key insights

Most car warranties offer coverage for oil leaks, but it depends on the cause of the leak.

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Practically all warranties come with lists of “covered” and “not covered” components, and warranties only protect you from factory defects, not abuse or misuse.

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Some extended warranties only partially reimburse significant repairs, even for covered components.

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Are oil leaks covered under warranty?

The short answer to this question is yes: Some oil leaks are covered under warranty.

The longer answer is that it depends on the coverage, the cause of the leak, how long it has been going on and related failures. (In some cases, a leak would be covered if another issue caused it — but not always.)

Your oil leak might be covered under warranty, but it depends on the specifics of your coverage and situation.

Oil leaks can result from several different issues, so it’s important to get the most thorough evaluation possible. If the failure is a straightforward gasket issue, your warranty might not cover the repairs because gaskets are considered wear items designed to degrade over time. (Warranties don’t always cover components like gaskets, tires, brakes and windshield wiper blades, as they’re designed to wear with use.)

» LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

Similarly, your warranty provider will likely deny the oil leak claim if you’ve damaged the oil pan or underside of the vehicle. Remember that warranties are not insurance, so they don’t provide coverage for damage caused by wrecks and other accidents.

You might also have difficulty getting coverage if your negligence caused the leak. If you forgot to get an oil change or have not kept up with routine maintenance in other areas, the warranty provider may balk at paying the claim, as regular care is required to prevent unnecessary failures.

» LEARN: What voids a car warranty?

The definitions in many warranty contracts are ambiguous enough to allow companies some wiggle room to avoid paying the entire repair cost. Many define gaskets and other oil-related components as “internally lubricated engine components,” which are generally covered. Still, there is no shortage of upset owners online complaining about their expensive oil leaks.

When it comes to gaskets, it’s worth checking the exact language in your warranty contract to see if you’re covered.

For example, an extended warranty reviewer from North Carolina told us: “The first time I took it in, they found I had an oil leak and it needed oil pan gaskets. They refused to pay for that. Although my warranty says gaskets and seals, they said, ‘That's normal wear and tear.’”

However, another reviewer said of the same company: “I had an oil leak two months ago. … When my pick-up was ready, Endurance already took care of the bill. I just took care of the deductible for the rental car myself. Everything went exactly as I expected.”

What types of warranties cover oil leaks?

All new cars sold in the U.S. come with a manufacturer’s warranty that protects the owner against defects for a period of time.

Automakers offer different lengths of coverage, but there are two main types of warranties. As the name suggests, powertrain warranties cover under-the-hood components, including your engine, transmission and other parts. The limited warranty, which some people call “bumper-to-bumper” coverage, protects most other features.

Extended warranties, on the other hand, offer more levels of coverage. Most warranty companies offer powertrain coverage, and their midrange options add protection for climate control systems, internal components, cosmetic pieces and more.

Some companies even offer exclusionary coverage, which means that the list of noncovered items is much shorter than the list of covered components. Exclusionary plans are usually the most comprehensive and offer the best protection at the highest cost.

» MORE: Car warranty guide: what you need to know

Does your extended warranty cover oil leaks?

Many extended warranty providers offer coverage for oil leaks, but it’s always best to check which plans best fit your needs.

How much does it cost to fix an oil leak?

Engine oil leaks can cost anywhere from $100 to more than $2,000 to fix, depending on the cause. While the parts might not be that expensive — gaskets and seats are often less than $100 — the labor involved can cause the price to climb. The more expensive repairs involve head gasket issues, crankshaft seats and timing system problems.

It’s also worth noting that determining the cause of the leak can require extensive diagnosis, which adds to the price of repair.

» MORE: Head gasket replacement cost

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FAQ

Are engine seals covered under warranty?

While wear-and-tear items like seals and gaskets aren’t covered under every warranty, some companies do cover them. You might need to check your warranty terms and get your issue diagnosed by a competent mechanic to know for sure.

Is an oil leak considered wear and tear?

Whether an oil leak is considered wear and tear depends on your warranty plan and the definitions it provides for wear items. Some plans cover oil lines, gaskets and other components that wear over time, while others do not. You may also have the option to add wear-and-tear protection for an extra cost.

Are oil leaks expensive to fix?

Some oil leaks are quick fixes. Others are involved repairs that take hours of diagnosis and work to correct. The most expensive repairs are for leaks involving your vehicle’s cylinder heads, timing system and other major engine components.

What can you do to get the most out of your extended warranty?

Many people will tell you that extended auto warranties are a waste of money, but the reality is that if they give you peace of mind, they could be worth the cost.

If you think an extended warranty could be the right choice for you, there are a few things you can do to maximize the returns on your purchase:

  • Keep up with regular maintenance: The best thing you can do to prolong your vehicle's life and ensure you get the most out of your warranty is to keep up with maintenance. This means oil changes, tire rotations, brake diagnostics and other upkeep. Warranty companies don’t look kindly upon vehicles that have been neglected, so your claim could be denied for failure to maintain the vehicle, even if the repair is for a covered component under the coverage plan.
  • Don’t modify your vehicle: While some warranty companies allow modifications like lift kits and aftermarket wheels, most deny coverage if there are more extensive modifications, such as added chip tunes, exhaust systems, intake systems, turbos and other mods. Even if you have them professionally installed, modifications can fundamentally alter the way your car works and cause failures that would have otherwise not been a problem.
  • Drive responsibly: You won’t get much mileage from your extended warranty if you race your car or use it for enthusiast events, even on the weekends. (Many warranty companies consider this abuse.) We’re not knocking high-performance driving; we’re just saying that it’s not a great way to preserve your warranty coverage.

Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. Endurance, “What Does a Powertrain Warranty Cover?” Accessed March 21, 2024.
  2. CarShield, “Powertrain Silver Coverage.” Accessed March 21, 2024.
  3. Valvoline, “Engine Oil Leak Causes and How to Fix Them.” Accessed March 21, 2024.
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