The reality however is very different. There are many factors that can (and indeed should) influence your tyre buying decision. For starters, how often you drive, where you typically drive, your driving style, and what type of car you have, not to mention what you typically use your car for day to day. Since there are different combinations of answers for different drivers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that there are different tyres for all uses.
Tyre experts can offer objective advice on all of these crucial considerations to help you make an informed choice, but it’s also worth bearing in mind that the tyre you choose will likely come with a warranty.
If you’ve ever wondered what’s covered, what isn’t, or what you’d need to do if you felt a need to claim on your warranty, this article will help to explain the tyre warranty process and point out some important details worth knowing about.
So what does a tyre warranty cover?
Tyre warranties are somewhat complex. For starters they generally do not cover either of the following:
The required frictional contact and the interaction between the tyre and road surface means that the rubber compounds tyres are made from will wear over time. How quickly this wear happens depends on many variables, the consistency of the rubber compound, the performance priorities of the tyre, how you drive (aggressive driving really speeds up wear) and obviously how many miles you drive.The point is, wear will occur and is not normally covered by a tyre warranty because most factors that affect it’s rate are outside the tyre manufacturer’s control.
Maintenance and accidental damage
The driver has a key part to play and can influence how well the tyre performs and lasts. If you don’t look after your tyres, they can wear more quickly, have less grip and wear prematurely in key places. If you do not respect them and drive over kerbstones or sleeping policeman carelessly or are unluckily enough to strike an object in the road, they can show signs of damage. Again, the point is, any tyre expert will be able to spot this kind of premature wear or damage and – because it’s caused by a lack of maintenance (or bad luck) – it’s also not going to be covered by the warranty. You wouldn’t expect it to be.
tyre with worn tread
The normal tyre wear incurred through driving is not covered by a tyre’s warranty
So we now know what isn’t covered by a tyre warranty, so what is? The answer to this is quite simple. Once you have had your new tyres fitted, if you think something’s not quite right, like if the handling’s off, or if the tyres are excessively noisy, or you see something’s wrong, it’s time to act. But how?
If you suspect your tyres are faulty, here’s what you should do
These days, modern tyre design and production is extremely technology driven, and brands like Continental not only have very stringent quality control processes in place, they also test new tyre models extensively before they’re made available to buy. As such, manufacture defects are, certainly among the premium brands, very rare.
But not impossible. And in the case where a manufacturing fault has occurred, it’s important for you to know you have rights and there are established processes – laid down by the British Tyre Manufacturers Association (BTMA) – to protect you. The standard complaint process can be found along with the standard complaint form which can be downloaded directly from the BTMA’s website.
Here are the steps you should follow:
Consider what’s not covered by the tyre warranty (normal wear, and accidental damage) and make sure it isn’t due to these (your insurer may be able to help here) or poor maintenance on your part. If you’re satisfied it’s nothing to do with these things…
…don’t delay. The sooner you report a tyre manufacturing problem, the easier it will be to proove, That’s because over time it becomes harder to judge whether a problem is due to a fault or to normal tyre wear, so act quickly.
Go back to the centre where you bought your tyres (this also applies if you bought your tyres online – your rights are identical). Following an initial inspection of the tyre, if a fault can be found it may be that it needs to be returned to the manufacturer for a full technical examination before reaching a decision. You can also request this if you do not agree with the technician’s conclusion. There is no cost to you for this service but you will need to buy a replacement tyre while the tyre in question is sent back for inspection.
Following the technical examination of your tyre there could be any one of a range of outcomes – from a full refund/replacement tyre to partial compensation, or to rejection of the claim. If this happens, the retailer is obliged to explain the reasons to you. In some cases, if the tyre is sent back to the manufacturer for further examination then you should receive an explanation from them. For example in the case of a Continental tyre that has been returned for examination, you will receive a full written explanation with photographs of your tyre explaining the reasons for the condition for which the tyre was returned, if rejected, so you are fully informed.
If your car is new and you suspect the tyres are faulty, go back to your vehicle dealer. Tyres are not normally covered by vehicle warranties, but your dealer still has a responsibility to advise you on the next course of action and they also have the ability to return the tyre to the manufacturer, either through their tyre supplier or direct as in the above instance.