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Tires November 15, 2019

How Do Tire Warranties Work?


Shopping for new tires too soon? Maybe you expected them to last another year or two, but the tire tread is already worn down and you need to replace them now. You could go buy new tires, but, first, check to see if your tires are still covered under the tire manufacturer’s warranty.

Unlike most consumer products that offer a 3-, 6-, or 12-month warranty, tire warranties cover tires for multiple years, typically until your tires reach a certain mileage or tread depth. They cover things like tread life, workmanship, materials, and uniformity.

Keep scrolling to learn more about the types of manufacturer warranties offered and to find out if your tires are under warranty.

Types of Tire Warranties

Mileage Warranty / Tread Life Warranty

A tread life or mileage warranty is the most well-known type of tire warranty. If your tires come with this type of warranty, the manufacturer will replace the tires at a prorated* value if the tire tread wears out before it’s supposed to.

It sounds like a great deal, but make sure to check the restrictions and exclusions for the offer. Typically, a mileage warranty only applies to the tires’ original owner and vehicle. Also, it is only valid if the claim is within a set time period (usually 6 years) and the owner followed manufacturer guidelines for tire rotations, wheel alignments, tire inflation and other maintenance services.

Most importantly, tread life warranties only allow you to claim a refund if the tire has 2/32” or less of tread left. This is less than the recommended tire tread depth and will fail a Virginia State Safety Inspection. You might be able to get a little money back by driving your tires until that point, but we think the safety risks outweigh any potential benefits.

*A tread life warranty does not give you cash back. The prorated amount is good for a credit off the standard retail price of a comparable tire from the same manufacturer.

 Workmanship & Materials Warranty 

A Workmanship and Materials Warranty protects buyers from issues or defects within the manufacturer’s control. This includes issues like irregular wear, tread separation or broken belts within the tire. If you submit a claim within 12 months of purchase and the tire has more than 75% of its original tread, they will usually replace it free of charge. Beyond that, you are compensated based on the prorated life of the tire.

Uniformity Warranty

The tire industry maintains tight quality control, but occasionally a tire will be out-of-round and cause a ride disturbance. Tire manufacturer warranties account for this possibility and will replace a defective tire. However, if the manufacturer deems that a defect is related to improper maintenance, vandalism, road hazards or an accident, the claim will be denied.

Because of their high level of quality control, manufacturers tend to believe that issues cannot exist on more than one tire, so they usually only grant coverage for a single tire. Also, make sure to submit your claim early. Most problems caused by these defects show up early in a tire’s life, so manufacturers assume that it should be identified and corrected early (within 1/32” to 2/32” of treadwear loss or six to twelve months of service).

Satisfaction Guarantee

Many manufacturers now offer a 30-, 45- or 60-day satisfaction guarantee. This guarantee allows customers to “test drive” their new tires. If unsatisfied, the customer can exchange the tires for a different set (of the same tire brand) within the set time frame. The guarantee becomes void if the tires are damaged by a road hazard, misused, or used in any racing-related activity.

At Virginia Tire & Auto, we go beyond what most tire manufacturers offer with our 60-Day Ride Guarantee. No matter the tire brand, if you don’t like the tires you bought from us, bring them back within 60 days and we’ll exchange them for a different set.

Manufacturer Road Hazard Warranty

A few tire brands offer a limited road hazard warranty that covers irreparable damage caused by potholes, nails, glass and other hazards. This type of limited warranty typically covers tires for one year or the first 2/32” of tread life, whichever comes first.

If your tires come with a manufacturer road hazard warranty, make sure you know what is covered and what is not. You may want to consider purchasing an additional road hazard warranty/tire protection policy from your tire retailer for extra protection.

Tire Protection Plan

Want more coverage? Consider adding our Tire Protection Plan (TPP) to your next tire purchase. Available on all tire purchases at Virginia Tire & Auto, our TPP provides free flat tire repairs for the usable life of the tire and tire replacement coverage for three years.

Read: Tire Protection Plan: Is It Worth It?

Claiming Your Tire Warranty

Here are some basic guidelines to follow to make sure you are able to claim your tire warranty:

  • Keep the original receipt from when you purchased your tires.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance guidelines, including regular tire rotations and alignments. Always keep your receipts/invoices as proof of service.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. We recommend checking your tire pressure manually at least once a month.
  • Regularly inspect your tires for damage or uneven wear. Make sure all tire repairs are completed according to Tire Industry Association (TIA) guidelines.

Shop Tires at Virginia Tire & Auto

At Virginia Tire & Auto, we make it easy to keep up with tire maintenance. That’s because every new tire purchase comes with tires&, our easy installation and worry-free driving tire bundle. It includes benefits like nitrogen inflation, Anytime Roadside Assistance, and lifetime tire rotations and wheel balances. It’s one more way we’re taking the stress out of car care! Check out our VTA Tire Collection or stop by one of our convenient locations to find the perfect tires for your vehicle.

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