Monday, July 22, 2024

Tire Warranty: Understanding What’s Covered and What’s Not


Tire warranties play an important role in protecting consumers against premature tire wear and manufacturing defects.

Most new tires come with some type of manufacturer’s warranty covering defects for a set period of time.

However, not all warranties are created equal and understanding exactly what is and isn’t covered can be confusing.

This guide aims to provide an overview of common tire warranties – explaining what they typically cover, exclusions to be aware of, and how to get the most value from your tire warranty.

We’ll look at the key types of warranties like tread life and road hazard coverage, limitations on coverage, the claims process, and tips for extending the life of your tires.

With a clearer understanding of tire warranty policies, you can purchase and care for your tires confidently, knowing you are protected against early tire failure.

Tire warranties provide invaluable peace of mind for drivers, but decoding the fine print is essential to having realistic expectations and avoiding surprises down the road.

Types of Tire Warranties

When purchasing new tires, there are typically three main types of tire warranties to be aware of:

Manufacturer Warranty

This is the basic warranty provided by the tire manufacturer that covers defects in materials and workmanship.

The length can vary by brand, but is typically around 40,000-60,000 miles of use.

This warranty only covers premature tread wear and manufacturing defects – not damage from road hazards or improper use/maintenance.

Extended Warranties

Some tire retailers or dealerships offer extended tire warranties for purchase at an additional cost when you buy new tires.

These go beyond and extend the time/mileage of the manufacturer warranty.

Extended warranties vary in what they cover and typically have options for term lengths like 4 years/50,000 miles or 6 years/75,000 miles.

They provide extra protection, but read the fine print on exclusions.

Road Hazard Warranties

Road hazard warranties cover tire damage from hazards you may encounter on the road like potholes, nails, glass, etc.

This coverage is not included in the manufacturer or extended warranties.

Some dealers include it free for a set time period like 3 years with new tires, or you can purchase for longer terms.

There are often limitations on number of claims and repair costs.

What’s Typically Covered

Most standard tire warranties cover defects in workmanship and materials.

This means if there are flaws in the manufacturing of the tire that lead to premature failure, the warranty should provide a replacement or pro-rated refund.

Specifically, warranties typically cover conditions like:

  • Manufacturing defects that cause abnormal wear or tire failure. This includes things like air pockets, weak spots, or imbalanced components in the tire construction.
  • Uneven or irregular wear of the tread. If the tread wears unevenly or in an abnormal pattern, resulting in premature replacement, it would be covered. However, standard conditions like feathering or cupping from wheel misalignment or improper inflation would not be covered.
  • Sidewall bubbles, cracks, or belt separation. Defects that compromise the structural integrity of the tire would be covered.
  • Tread chunking or lifting. This is when pieces of the tread unexpectedly detach from the tire, which can happen due to manufacturing flaws.

So in summary, the tire warranty is designed to cover any inherent flaws in the materials or construction of the tire that lead to premature failure or abnormal wear and conditions.

Normal wear and tear or damage from external factors like underinflation, punctures, or driving conditions would not be covered.

The key is proving the tire failed due to a defect rather than customer use and maintenance.

Common Exclusions

Tire warranties typically do not cover certain types of damage or improper maintenance.

Here are some common exclusions to be aware of:

Knowing the common exclusions upfront can help understand what is and isn’t covered by a tire warranty.

Be sure to review the warranty details closely when purchasing new tires.

Road Hazard Warranties

Road hazard warranties provide additional protection against tire damage caused by road hazards like potholes, nails, glass, and curbs.

This type of warranty covers punctures, sidewall damage, and other hazards that regular tire warranties don’t.

Road hazard coverage is usually an add-on that you have to pay extra for. The coverage period can range from 2 years up to the life of the tire.

Many tire retailers and manufacturers offer road hazard protection plans.

With a road hazard warranty, you’ll be covered for the full replacement cost of the tire if it’s damaged due to a road hazard and can’t be safely repaired.

The warranty provider will typically replace it with a comparable new tire.

Road hazard warranties often limit the number of covered claims, such as only covering 2 tire repairs/replacements over a 4 year period.

They may also exclude damage that occurs during off-roading or racing. Make sure to read the fine print so you understand exactly what’s covered and what limitations apply.

The main benefit of a road hazard warranty is the peace of mind knowing you don’t have to pay full price to replace a tire damaged by a road hazard during the coverage period.

For people who drive in areas with poor road conditions or want maximum protection, it can be worth paying a little extra for this add-on coverage.

Warranty Limitations

Most tire warranties have limitations on coverage based on the age and use of the tires.

This is to prevent abuse and unreasonable warranty claims. Common limitations include:

Mileage Limits

Most tire warranties will only cover a tire up to a certain mileage, often between 30,000-60,000 miles.

Once the mileage limit is exceeded, the warranty expires even if the time limit has not been reached.

This accounts for expected tread wear over time. Driving habits and road conditions can affect how quickly the mileage limit is reached.

Time Limits

In addition to mileage limits, tire warranties also have a time limit ranging from 3-6 years.

The warranty expires after this time period, even if the mileage limit has not been reached.

This accounts for the fact that tires degrade over time naturally due to weather and aging.

Time limits prevent old tires from being warranted long after purchase.

Pro-Rated Policies

Many warranties have pro-rated policies, meaning the compensation offered diminishes over time or mileage.

For example, a tire might be fully replaced in the first 2 years/25,000 miles, but then only partially refunded based on tread wear after that.

This reduces costs for the warranty provider over the long run.

Understanding the mileage, time limits, and pro-rated policies can help consumers know what to reasonably expect from a tire warranty.

Carefully reviewing limitations prevents misunderstandings and ensures you can get the most from your warranty.

Filing a Warranty Claim

When it comes time to file a warranty claim on your tires, understanding the proper process and having the required documentation will help ensure your claim is handled promptly.

To start the claim process, you’ll need to take your vehicle and the tires to an authorized dealer for the tire brand.

The dealer will inspect the tires and determine if they are defective under the terms of the warranty.

Be prepared to show proof of purchase for the tires, as the warranty coverage period begins at the time of purchase. Retain your original sales receipt or invoice as proof.

The tire dealer will also need specific information to process the claim, including:

  • Your name, address, and contact details
  • Information about your vehicle (make, model, year)
  • The tire brand name, model, and size
  • The DOT tire identification number (located on the sidewall of the tire)
  • The position of the tire on the vehicle (front driver, rear passenger, etc.)
  • An explanation of the issue with the tire and why you believe it is defective

It can be helpful to take photos showing the condition of the tires when you take your vehicle in.

Document any visible defects, abnormal or uneven wear, or damage.

The dealer will assess if the tire damage is covered under the terms of the warranty based on the cause.

If approved, the tire will either be repaired or replaced. You may be responsible for any costs associated with regular tire maintenance, wear and tear, or damage not due to a defect.

Having the necessary information and documentation on hand will help make the claims process easier, and allow you to get back on the road safely with properly functioning tires.

Warranty Transfers

When you sell a vehicle, the tires and tire warranty may transfer to the new owner.

However, policies vary between manufacturers, so it’s important to understand the fine print.

Some tire warranties are fully transferable to subsequent owners with no mileage limits.

This means that even if you sell the car, the new owner enjoys the full warranty protection.

Other warranties have stipulations on transfers. For example, the warranty may only transfer if the tires have less than a certain amount of mileage on them (such as 30,000 miles).

So selling a car with high-mileage tires likely voids any remaining warranty.

Additionally, some tire warranties are non-transferable. Once you sell the vehicle, the new owner does not inherit any warranty coverage.

This is more common with older tires or basic warranties.

To find out if a tire warranty is transferable, read the fine print or contact the tire manufacturer.

When selling a vehicle, discuss any potential warranty transfers with the buyer.

Having warranty coverage remaining can increase the value of the tires and vehicle.

The best practice is keeping records of tire purchases and warranties. That way, if you do sell the vehicle, you can provide proof of warranty coverage to the new owner.

This helps ensure they can utilize the warranty if any issues arise.

Getting the Most from a Warranty

When you purchase new tires, you want to ensure you get the full use and lifespan out of them. This means taking steps to maximize and extend any warranty coverage.

Here are some tips:

  • Keep detailed records and receipts. Document the purchase date, tire brand, model name, size, DOT serial number, mileage at purchase, installer name, rotation records, and warranty paperwork. This provides proof of ownership and maintenance.
  • Follow the maintenance schedule. Rotate tires every 5,000-8,000 miles as recommended. Wheel alignment and balancing are also critical to prevent irregular wear. Stick to the manufacturer’s rotation pattern to equalize wear.
  • Watch tire inflation. Running on underinflated tires increases wear and can void the warranty. Check pressures monthly when tires are cold. Use a quality gauge for accuracy.
  • Inspect tires periodically. Look for any damage, punctures, or uneven tread wear which could limit warranty coverage. Address any issues promptly.
  • Keep within load limits. Overloading tires can cause damage not covered by warranty. Follow the recommended load capacity for your vehicle.
  • Mount tires correctly. Improper installation can lead to vibration, noise, or irregular wear issues. Use experienced installers who follow manufacturer’s procedures.
  • Drive responsibly. Avoid potholes, curbs, and hazards which can impact warranty coverage. Also modify driving habits like sudden acceleration or hard braking which increase wear.
  • Keep records of rotation. Some warranties require periodic rotation for coverage. Maintain invoices showing rotation every 5,000-6,000 miles.
  • Review warranty details. Understand what’s covered, exclusions, mileage limits, transferability, and claim procedures. Contact the manufacturer with any questions.

Following these tips will help you protect your tire investment and ensure you get the full benefit of the warranty coverage.

With proper care and maintenance, your tires can potentially exceed the warranty period.


When buying new tires, it’s important to understand what is and isn’t covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

While warranties provide valuable protection against defects, there are common limitations to be aware of.

Key takeaways:

  • Most tire warranties only cover defects in materials and workmanship, not damage from normal wear and tear or road hazards.
  • Warranty coverage periods, mileage limits, eligible vehicles, and other terms and conditions can vary between manufacturers.
  • Many tire warranties require proof of proper maintenance and exclude damage from improper use, modifications, accidents, etc.
  • Road hazard warranties provide extra protection against punctures, chips, and other damage but come at an additional cost.
  • Warranties are not automatically transferable if you sell the tires or vehicle. Check on transferability upfront if relevant.
  • Keep copies of your receipt, warranty details, maintenance records, etc to support a future claim.
  • Always read the fine print! Understand exactly what is and isn’t covered before buying tires or assuming you’re protected.

The warranty details can make all the difference in getting the most value from your tire purchase.

Taking the time to understand the limits and exclusions, as well as options like road hazard warranties, allows you to choose the right tires and coverage for your needs and budget.

The Tire Reviews Team
The Tire Reviews Team
Rev up your knowledge with The Tire Reviews, your one-stop pit stop for swift and concise tire reviews. We cut through the noise, delivering the lowdown on treads that matter. Whether you're chasing performance or seeking a smooth commute, join us as we navigate the world of tires.

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