Best car tyres – a warranty reveals a lot
Smart drivers take into account many things, such as their driving style (serene or aggressive?), how often they drive (occasionally or regularly?), their typical journey type (school run, local commute, or long distance motorway mission?), the mileage they rack up (a leisurely weekly run into town will differ considerably from foot-to-the-floor motorway free-for-all), and of course the type of car they drive (there are far too many engine sizes and vehicle types to mention here!).
Many drivers have found the tyre purchasing process exhausting, what with so many to choose from (especially online) so it’s little wonder that they consult with tyre experts, like the experienced, professional team at Protyre.
But one consideration that is often overlooked by drivers – but which can provide a valuable insight into a tyre manufacturer’s confidence in its own products – is the tyre warranty.
Hopefully you’ll never have need to use your tyre warranty, but if you had to would you know what to do, or even understand what it covers? Many drivers don’t, and can be left disappointed. If you want to be better informed and avoid any nasty surprises, read on as the experts at Protyre outline the essential ‘must knows’ of the tyre warranty process.
First things first: what’s covered?
The reality is that tyre warranties can appear complex. Here’s why:
- Normal tyre wear
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.
Normal tyre wear, such as worn down treads, is not covered by the warranty
- Tyre 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 unlucky 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.
Okay. That seems pretty clear. In short, everyday normal use and accidental damage – and the potential pitfalls failing to adequately maintain tyres – is not covered. So what exactly does that leave for a tyre warranty to cover?
Answer: if, once your new tyres have been fitted, you feel something’s not as it should be (for instance if your vehicle’s handling feels off, or they sound noisier than they should, or you see something that doesn’t look right) it’s time to act and implement your tyre warranty.
Faulty tyres? Here’s what to do
Premium tyre manufacturers like Continental
produce extremely high-tech products, made from the best materials and most in the most up to date facilities. Not only that, they employ very stringent quality control processes too, including testing
new tyre models extensively before they’re released for sale. So it should come as no surprise to learn that manufacture defects (from the premium brand tyre makers) are extremely rare. But they’re not impossible.
As such, 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 for the return of complaint tyres (SAF) which can downloaded directly from the BTMA's website.
Here’s a step by step guide you should follow:
- Be 100% sure that any problem with your tyres isn’t to do with normal tyre wear, accidental tyre damage (speak to your insurer about this, as they may be able to help) or poor tyre maintenance. If after due consideration you’re positive that the fault has nothing to do with each of these explanations…
- …don’t delay – get moving! The longer you fail to report a problem, the harder it will be to prove. Sooner really is better! Why? Because it becomes increasingly difficult over the course of time to determine whether a tyre problem is due to it having a manufacturing fault, or due to normal tyre wear.
- The first thing to do is return to the tyre retailer you bought it/them from. Whether you purchased from your local garage or online, contact them asap. With either kind of retailer, your rights are identical. The law states that your tyre retailer has a legal obligation to address your complaint, and to do so fairly.
After an inspection and discussion with the retailer it may be that they will wish to return the tyre in question to the manufacturer for a full technical examination before reaching a decision, or you may wish to request this if you do not agree with their conclusion. There is no cost to you for this and the retailer does not have to be a direct customer of the tyre manufacturer because all wholesalers have processes in order to return their customers’ tyres to the manufacturer, so there is no reason that the retailer you purchased the tyre from cannot offer this service.
- 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.
Tyre warranties can seem confusing, so speak to Protyre
At Protyre we have an unrivalled wealth of experience, including offering impartial advice on tyre warranties. Our professional tyre teams are here to help, so get in touch today for expert fitting solutions, tyre safety advice, tyre maintenance, and much more.
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