(Update: This post first ran two years ago. I’ve just been contacted by Consumer’s Reports, which is doing a tv segment on this subject (to be aired as a consumer spot on various networks) and wants me to be in the segment since they haven’t found anyone else that has regularly used tread-wear warranty adjustments on their tires. So if any of you have additional experience with tread-wear warranty adjustments, please let me know.)
How many people consider their tire’s tread wear warranty when they walk in a tire store to buy a new set of tires, and ask for the adjustment if their tires haven’t reached the full warranty distance (do they ever)? Doing so can really pay off.
I just bought a set of Michelin Defenders for the Forester in size 205/70R 15. The regular price at Costco for these is $491.96. The current set of Michelins only went about 40,000 miles before the tread wear indicator bars made themselves known, as have all the previous sets of tires on this car. The tread wear warranty on the old set was 80,000 miles, so the pro-rata mileage adjustment was $241.04. Costco currently has a $70 discount for buying a set of any new Michelins. That brought the final price to $180.92, or just 37% of the full price. And the new set has a 90,000 mile tread wear warranty. So if this new set lasts the same as all the rest, the adjustment may well be even more next time.
Moral: Know your tread-wear warranty and act on it. Keep your tires rotated as per the warranty requirements. And keep your paper work. It’s well worth it; the savings become considerable, especially, after a few sets of tires. Of course, your savings will depend on how many miles you get from the tires. But 90,000 miles?
Update: I just bought a set of new Michelins for my Scion Xb, to replace the ones that wore out after less than half the warranty period. The first counter person was quite negative, claiming the 5 year warranty had expired (it hadn’t), and again bringing up the issue of not having them rotated at Costco (I do it at home; quicker). He went off to talk to someone, and the guy that came back was super accommodating, and had it taken care of stat. It cost me $180 for a new set of Michelins. But I may start taking them in to be rotated by Costco (for free), just to make sure there’s no basis for them denying my claim the next time.