Tire & Rim Protection – Why Every Vehicle Should Have It
Show of hands...who has had this happen?
You are running down a rural road in your new truck and before you know it, hear the one sound everyone dreads...a flat tire. You pull over to confirm your suspicions and yep, it’s flat. You cringe at the thought of buying a new off-road tire but you don’t have much choice now. And it couldn’t come at a worse time financially.
Meanwhile, you still need to get the spare on and navigate the hassle of getting a replacement handled as quickly as possible. You can’t afford to have your Chevrolet Silverado out of commission for too long.
We’ve all been through something like this. But drivers who added tire & rim protection when they purchased their car would be a lot less stressed than those that declined the coverage when they had the chance to buy it.
What is Tire & Rim Protection Anyway?
Tire & Riml protection plans are offered by your local dealer through the Finance & Insurance (F&I) department. This protection is designed to help you replace tires and rims when they become damaged through no fault of your own.
It’s a relatively new product offered by today’s dealers but one that has grown in popularity in large part due to the enormous replacement cost of alloy rims and both high performance and specialty tires (all season, off-road, low profile).
Cost varies and many policies have different levels of protection.
What Does It Cover?
Here’s a basic list of what the typical tire & rim plan covers -
Tire repair/replacement (including mounting, balancing, and valve stems but excluding normal wear or dry rot)
Wheel repair/replacement (potholes, debris like glass, nails, tree limbs or anything on a public roadway)
Cosmetic wheel damage (repairs or refinishing chrome, chrome-clad, or steel wheels) - Sometimes a dealership will have appearance products that will cover cosmetic damage.
24/7 Roadside Assistance (helps with flat tire replacement, minor repair to get the car drivable enough to reach a dealer, short distance tow service, jump start, and lockout)
Depending on the specific plan, there is no deductible, Most plans are transferable to the next owner which can help resale value at trade-in or if selling privately. It can be sold on new, used, certified pre-owned, or leased vehicles.
Why Would You Need It?
A few simple reasons…
One, tires and rims are very expensive to replace. In 2020, the average alloy rim was $752 and the average moderately priced new tire was within a range of $100 - $300 each. High-performance tire or specialty off-road tire? Try $300 - $1000 EACH. Yikes.
Second, of all the components that can fail on your car, the tire and wheels are the most at risk for damage simply due to the unpredictable everyday road conditions we all have to navigate. You have a much higher chance of bending a rim or blowing out a tire than having your muffler fall off.
Ok, well that may be an extreme example but you know what we mean.
Lastly, if you are leasing your car or truck, the fine print in your agreement will mention ‘reconditioning fees’ or some similar language. That means when you turn in your vehicle, you could get charged for a bent or damaged wheel. Better to have coverage in place to replace it than have to absorb a few hundred dollars before you walk away from your lease.
The average driver puts about 17000 km on their car each year over roadways that are not always in the best shape. Tire & wheel protection is there to handle whatever the road throws at you and then some.
When you talk with the F&I manager or the salesperson about ‘optional’ tire & rim protection, don’t think of it as optional. Think of it as a must-have.