A Time to Remember: the Tire Mileage Wars in the 1990s

Bob Ulrich
Posted on January 29, 2018
The new Goodyear Assurance MaxLife is backed by an 85,000-mile limited tread wear warranty.
The new Goodyear Assurance MaxLife is backed by an 85,000-mile limited tread wear warranty.

The new Assurance MaxLife, introduced at the recent Goodyear Dealer Conference in Nashville, is backed by what Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. calls the highest mileage warranty in its nearly 120-year history. It has an 85,000-mile limited tread wear warranty.

That reminded me of the “Mileage Wars” in the 1990s. When Michelin North America Inc. introduced its premium XH4 at the 1991 NTDRA Show in Chicago, it was backed by the industry’s first 80,000-mile warranty.

Other tire manufacturers and marketers followed suit over the next three years. There was the Bridgestone Turanza S in 1992, Hercules Mega TR and Toyo 800 Plus in 1993 and Pirelli P400 Aquamile in 1994, to name a few.

What wasn’t widely publicized at the time was the 85,000-mile warranty on the Sumitomo SC890. It was introduced in late 1992.

There was some initial outrage by independent tire dealers, but as usually happens, they found it wasn’t as big a deal as they thought and they adapted.

Warranties based on time, not mileage, then followed suit. In March 1996, Goodyear came out with its Infinitred, which was billed as “the last tire you’ll ever buy” (the company later backed off that slogan). It had a lifetime warranty; however, mileage wasn’t guaranteed. Goodyear only promised to replace Infinitred tires for free for the first three years regardless of mileage, provided they stayed on the same vehicle and they were maintained properly. After that, the warranty covered 50% of replacement costs.

The Bridgestone Turanza T also was backed by a lifetime warranty. The Michelin X One’s warranty covered the tire for six years.

Hankook Tire America Corp. eventually blew the mileage warranty competition out of the water when it launched the Mileage Plus GT all-season radial in 2000. It was backed by a 100,000-mile warranty.

To date, there are no tires with a mileage warranty greater than 100,000 miles. Both the Hankook Optimo H727 and Kumho eco Solus HM KR22 feature 100,000-mile limited tread wear warranties.

The only 90,000-mile warranty (or six years, whichever comes first) of which I am aware is the Michelin Defender Standard Touring All-Season tire -- in T- and H-rated sizes only.

Related Topics: Bridgestone Turanza, Goodyear Assurance MaxLife, Hankook Optimo H727, Kumho eco Solus HM KR22, Michelin Defender, tread wear warranty

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 3 )
  • See all comments
  • UZP Customs Inc.

     | about 6 months ago

    Using Nitrogen prevents tires from uneven wear due to the 4-7psi pressure change from a cold tire to a warm tire. Persons with no engineering of Scientific degrees argue against Nitrogen and the silly remarks about the air being 80% Nitrogen, but have no idea the tremendous expansion rate oxygen has when warmed only slightly. Secondary, Nitrogen inflation is NOT Set to what is on the door panel that says COLD, it is instead supposed to be set to HOT Inflation, which is what the tire is designed to be operated at, which is about 4-7psi OVER the COLD rating on the door of ones vehicle depending on the SIZE of the tire. Improper tire wear is due to the service personnel in the industry not being educated correctly, and Air Pressure is the #1 error that is easily correctable in America.

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