Shopping for the best tire value? Be sure to read the warranty.
A low price doesn’t always mean the tire you’re considering is a good value. Its advertised tread life and the warranty that backs it up are just as important. Should your tire fail, a good warranty can protect you from having to shell out full price for a replacement tire. But qualifying for that replacement tire isn’t always black and white. So, it’s best to study the warranty’s terms carefully.
A tire can have more than one warranty
It’s a crowded playing field in tire warranty land. Here’s a rundown of what’s available:
Protects you against prematurely reaching the tiremaker’s tread-life rating, generally set between 40,000–100,000 miles. Virtually every tiremaker offers some type of prorated tread-life warranty.
Protects you against flat tires from pot holes, debris, nails, glass and other hazards. Closer to an insurance policy than a warranty. Usually an add-on from the tire dealer that you can purchase.
Protects you against any defects in the manufacturing or materials used in the tire. Issued by the manufacturer of the tire, usually for the life of the tire.
More a money-back satisfaction guarantee than a warranty. Issued by the tire manufacturer for a limited period of time, usually up to 30 days after purchase.
Protects you from excessive vibration or ride disturbance caused by the tire if you notify the tiremaker within the first 2/32nds of an inch (approximately 6,000 miles) of tire tread.1
Prorated vs. free replacement
Most tread-life warranties will not replace a prematurely worn out tire at no cost. Instead, they offer a prorated replacement price, based on the mileage that remains. Let’s say you bought a tire with a 60,000 mile warranty and it wore out at 40,000 miles. That means you used 70% of the warranty mileage (40,000 ÷ 60,000 = .70). In this case, you would receive a 30% (1.00 - .70 = .30) discount on a new replacement tire.
It’s easy to void a warranty
The purpose of any product warranty is to give consumers peace of mind that the manufacturer stands behind its products and promises. While tread-life warranties do that, the tire buyer is responsible for maintaining the tires in warrantable condition. In fact, poor maintenance is the biggest reason warranty claims are denied. So keep your tires inflated to the recommended tire pressure to ensure even wear. And rotate them based on the tiremaker’s recommendation, keeping a record of the service. Hold onto your original purchase receipt, too, as you’ll need to prove when the tires were purchased.2
Keep both eyes on the road
A road hazard warranty doesn’t cover everything. Cosmetic and structural damage to tires caused by collisions with curbs or abnormal wear and tear is usually not covered. Nor are tire failures caused by accidents, theft, vandalism, misuse or negligence.3
Make proper tire maintenance a habit
Unless you are willing to check your tires’ inflation pressure at least once a month and get your tires rotated every 5,000 miles, you stand a chance of voiding your warranty.
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