Tire Warranty: How Does It Work?
Unlike most consumer products that offer a 3-, 6-, or 12-month warranty, tire manufacturer warranties and guarantees go well beyond the norm for consumable products, covering their product for multiple years. These warranties typically cover tread life, workmanship, materials, and uniformity. Manufacturers will honor their commitments as long as they are notified in a timely manner and the consumer can show that all of the manufacturer’s recommendations have been followed to keep the tires in top operating condition. Here is an explanation of the different tire manufacturer warranties and guarantees, along with some basic requirements and restrictions of each.
Tire Tread Wear / Mileage Warranty
Tread life is the most well-known standard and a popular way to market tires to consumers. If the tread wears out before it reaches its stated mileage rating, a manufacturer will replace the tires at a prorated value based on the shortened life. However, tire warranty for tread life has restrictions. The warranty doesn’t apply to tires sold on new vehicles, nor does it apply if the claim is past the coverage window stated by the manufacturer. It also only applies to the original owner and vehicle. Additionally, it is only valid if the owner has followed manufacturer guidelines for tire rotation, tire alignment and regular air pressure upkeep.
Workmanship and Materials
Tire manufacturer warranties cover the conditions that would require a tire to be removed from service due to defects in workmanship or faulty materials considered within the control of the manufacturer. If a claim is made while the tire still has more than 75 percent of its original tread and is within 12 months of the date of purchase, it usually will be replaced free of charge. Beyond that, the owner is normally compensated based on the prorated life*.
* Workmanship warranties can vary by tire manufacturer. Please consult your tire manufacturer’s website or your original invoice for details.
Many manufacturers now offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. This guarantee allows customers to “test drive” their new tires. If unsatisfied, the consumer can exchange their new tire for another tire (of the same brand) within 30-days of purchase. Like other tire guarantees, this offer usually has some limitations. The guarantee is void if tires were damaged by a road hazard, misused, or used in any racing related activity prior to exchange.
Even though tight quality control exists within the tire industry, occasionally a tire will get sold that is out of balance, out of round, or causes a ride disturbance. Tire manufacturer warranties account for this possibility and will replace the defective tire. Again, there are restrictions. Because they have tight quality control, manufacturers are not inclined to believe that the non-uniformity exists on more than one tire, and will generally deny multiple-tire claims. Also, since most problems caused by defects of this type manifest themselves early in a tire’s life, manufacturers assume that it should be identified and corrected early, usually within 1/32” to 2/32” of tread wear loss, or six to twelve months of service.
If the manufacturer deems that a defect is related to improper maintenance, vandalism, road hazards, or an accident, the claim will be denied. Even if none of those are shown to be the case, making a claim related to tire manufacturer warranties requires that the vehicle owner be able to prove that all necessary steps were taken to maintain the tires in proper operating condition. This includes proof of regular tire rotation, proper inflation records, and documentation of routine inspections of the tread surfaces for early signs of defects or unusual wear. Any claim made without this proof will likely cause it to be denied, so keeping good records and performing proper maintenance on tires is a must.
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