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When it comes to buying tires, two factors often come into play: the Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTOG) treadwear rating and the tire’s warranty. But what do these terms mean, and which one should you trust more when making your purchase?
Understanding UTOG Treadwear Rating
The UTOG treadwear rating, also known as a treadwear grade, is a number stamped on the tire sidewall that relates to expected tire life. In basic terms, the higher the UTOG treadwear rating, the greater the tire life. For example, a tire with a “600” treadwear rating is forecasted to last twice as long as a tire with a “300” rating.
However, it’s important to note that while the UTOG treadwear rating is mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The testing process is supposed to be the same for all manufacturers, but the NHTSA does not test tires and assign the ratings. This means that a “400” treadwear rating from one tire manufacturer doesn’t necessarily equal a “400” treadwear rating from another manufacturer. Therefore, treadwear ratings are most informative and helpful when comparing tires from the same manufacturer.
Understanding Tire Warranty
Most consumer goods are backed for their first 30, 60, or 90 days of use or up to one year from the date of purchase. Tires are typically backed by their manufacturer’s limited warranties for a period of 4 to 6 years from the date of purchase or until the tread wears out, whichever occurs first.
Tire warranties work like most product warranties — the owner files a claim, the manufacturer evaluates it and, if accepted, issues a replacement or a prorated refund to cover replacement. But unlike many warranties, tire warranties require some diligence from the owner. Tire warranties also span a few different types of coverages, including tread life, road hazards and workmanship.
UTOG Treadwear Rating vs. Tire Warranty: Which to Trust More?
Both the UTOG treadwear rating and the tire warranty provide valuable information when purchasing tires. However, they serve different purposes and should be considered in conjunction with each other.
The UTOG treadwear rating gives you an idea of how long the tire might last under ideal conditions. However, it’s based on controlled testing and may not accurately reflect real-world driving conditions. Furthermore, the testing is conducted by the tire manufacturers themselves, which could lead to inconsistencies between different brands.
On the other hand, a tire warranty provides a form of insurance against premature tire wear or defects. If your tires wear out or fail within the warranty period, you could be eligible for a replacement or a prorated refund. However, warranties often come with conditions and exclusions, and it’s up to you to understand these terms and maintain your tires properly to keep the warranty valid.
In conclusion, both the UTOG treadwear rating and the tire warranty offer valuable insights, but neither should be relied upon exclusively. The UTOG treadwear rating can give you a general idea of a tire’s longevity. The warranty provides a safety net against premature wear or defects. When choosing tires, consider both these factors along with other important aspects such as price, performance, and reviews to make the best decision for your needs.