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How Do Tire Warranties Work?

By Tire Agent Staff

April 27, 2023


A tire warranty can be thought of as somewhat of a guarantee from a manufacturer. When you buy a set of tires, for example, your warranty may state it protects your tires for 40,000 miles or 4 years, or some other time or distance. Basically, the manufacturer is implying, “Our tire is high enough quality that you should be able to use it for this period of time or this amount of miles before you need to get a new one, under normal driving conditions.”

But what does “protect” really mean when it comes to tire warranties? What do warranties cover? Can a warranty be voided?

This article will tell you everything that you need to know about tire warranties and what they may and may not cover. Tire warranties differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, but we’ll briefly review the different types of warranties and the benefits of each. 

What is a Tire Warranty?

Tire warranties typically cover the tread wear that your tire suffers under normal road use. As you drive, the rubber tread of your tire will wear down. If it wears down too much, the tire can no longer be used safely, as the tread is too thin. The point where it becomes dangerous may be indicated by a small rubber notch called a “tread indicator bar” in the groove of your tire tread. A tire tread almost always should be no lower than 2/32 of an inch deep.

Tire warranties are called limited warranties. This means that the warranty is active for a period of time or a specific amount of miles and will cover only the amount of time you have left in that period. So, what does this mean?

If the tire tread wears down to the tread indicator before the time period or mileage that your warranty indicates, you may be able to get a reimbursement for your tire. However, this reimbursement won’t be the full price you bought your tire for. Rather, it will be the percentage of the amount equal to the time or miles you have left of your warranty.  

As an example, let’s say you have a 60,000-mile warranty. Your treads have worn down to the point that it’s meeting the tread indicator at 50,000 miles. This means your tire lasted 83% of its expected warranty life. If you can provide proof that you were the original purchaser to the manufacturer, you might receive a reimbursement credit equal to 17% of the tire’s value. This reimbursement will usually go directly toward purchasing a replacement tire. 

If you buy from a third-party seller, such as Tire Agent, your tire will still be covered under manufacturer warranties, as long as you can provide proof of purchase. Tire Agent can help you out with the warranty claim process

Manufacturers' warranties vary, but in general, they all have these four requirements in common:

    • Purchase: You must be the original purchaser of the tires. Tire warranties don't transfer when you sell your vehicle. 
    • Installation: Tires must be installed by a licensed automotive repair facility (Tire Agent can help you find a qualified tire installer near you, and we can ship direct to them).
    • Maintenance: The customer (that's you) must get tire rotations every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, which will be specified by the manufacturer. Keep your receipts!
    • Tread depth: The tire must be worn down to 2/32nds of the tread.

Do Bumper-To-Bumper Warranties Cover Tires?

Are tires included in a warranty when you buy a new car or a certified used car? No, the bumper-to-bumper warranty that you may get when buying a car from a dealership does not typically cover tires. This is because tires are guaranteed to wear down over time and need replacement. Bumper-to-bumper warranties will cover miscellaneous components of the vehicle that are less likely to wear down and fail. 

What Types of Tire Warranties Are There?

We talked about how most tire manufacturers offer limited warranties before, but there’s actually a bit more about the different types of warranties that are offered. These warranties differ in what they cover as well as who they are offered by.

      • Tread Life/Mileage Warranty This warranty is what we covered above. It will cover a certain period of time or number of miles before the tire tread wears down. Also, this only covers driving under normal road conditions.
      • Road Hazard Warranty Covers a certain percentage of the cost to replace a tire if the damage is caused through non-negligent driving. This may cover punctures from a nail or road debris, but won’t always cover enough of the tire’s cost to be worth it
      • Manufacturer Defect Warranty Most warranties have a clause stating that if there’s proof that your tire has some sort of manufacturing defect, they’ll replace the tire outright. 
      • Roadside Assistance Tire Warranty Some tire manufacturers will package a roadside assistance service with their warranty. This may just cover flat tires or tire damage. But it can also cover any service that you need when stranded on the road.  

    Warranties can be handy for saving money on buying new tires, but what about voiding a warranty?

    What Voids a Tire Warranty?

    Many warranties have clauses that involve certain actions that could result in your warranty being unable to be claimed. Some warranties require proof that your tires were regularly rotated. Other warranties may be voided if the tire is under- or over-inflated. Finally, tires may have their warranties voided if you take them off-road or in conditions that are not normal use (driving on the road). Watch out for voiding conditions in your tire warranty to avoid unexpected costs. 

    To learn more about what differentiates good and bad tire warranties, consider checking out our article on the best tire warranties for trucks, SUVs, and cars.

    Photo 40625086 Kolotype |