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Tread life warranty no tire guarantee

The five-year mark is the point at which summer and all-season tires should be carefully inspected for tiny hairline cracks on the shoulders and the inside of the tread grooves.

  • Bald tires

Q: I have read that tire compounds last about five years. Assuming I alternate use of my winter and all-season tires, which are each under warranty for 100,000 kilometres, and that most drivers put 20,000 km a year on their cars, in five years am I going to have to replace both sets of tires ?

Also, will the temporary spare in the trunk have to be replaced after five years?

A: The five-year mark is the point at which summer and all-season tires should be carefully inspected for tiny hairline cracks on the shoulders and the inside of the tread grooves. Once these cracks appear, the tire is toast.

Winter tires typically lose a serious amount of grip when the tread gets to about 50 per cent depth. How quickly a winter tire wears depends on how much driving is done on bare pavement.

The wear or mileage “guarantee” for a tire is really an advertising gimmick. The fine print essentially ensures that few people could ever make a successful claim.

For instance, if the tire wear is uneven, it’s the car’s fault. If the tires have not been rotated regularly, it’s the driver’s fault; if the tires show signs of scuffing, it’s the road’s fault, and so on.

If your car had perfect alignment and you kept all your paperwork, you’d still get trapped by the pro-rated clause.

If a tire with a 100,000-kilometre warranty wore down to the wear bars at 80,000 kilometres, you don’t get a free new tire.You would pay about 80 per cent of the cost of a new tire because you got 80 per cent of the original tire’s projected life.

Here’s the rub: Most tire shops use the full list price for the warranty adjustment. For example, if the tire list price is $150, you’d pay $120 for the new tire.

But most tires are sold at about 30 to 33 per cent off the list price. So if you didn’t make a warranty claim, you could buy this same tire for about $100.

Don’t worry about the spare. It is made of sterner stuff than regular tires. Keep it inflated properly and check for cracks.

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