Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Do Kuhmo OEM Car Tires Even Carry a Warranty?

Thanks to a national representative of Kuhmo Tires named “Will”, I was educated on the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) obligation for tires on new cars with original owners concerning their tire obligation when something is not right with the tires on your new car.

Back in March of 2007, I bought a brand new KIA RIO5 hatchback and it was and still is the perfect little commuter car.  I haven’t had a problem at all with this car and recommend it.  I bought it right here in Baytown where I’ve bought my last 6 new cars.

The tires on my little car are for all practical purposes hazardously bald at 24,900 miles and after a trip to Discount Tires on Garth Road yesterday and consulting with Assistant Manager Jordan Arnett, a Marine and an Iraqi Freedom veteran, it was decided I should upgrade my OEM tires to a higher-rated Yokohama brand tire, which carries a real mileage warranty of 60,000 miles.

I asked him about the OEM warranty on my Kuhmo P195/55R15 Solus HP4 OEM tires and he suggested I check with the dealer on the warranty.  Well, being the kind of guy that I am, I had the original Warranty brochure which came with my KIA, but I also went onto the Internet to Kuhmo USA’s website  and downloaded the warranty .pdf file, located the appropriate person to call (Charles.  I was informed he handles literally all the OEM warranty calls across the USA) and called him.
After I left a message, called 3 more times until I got his personal number, he answered and handed me off to “Will” (last name not mentioned).  Will informed me my OEM tires did not carry a mileage warranty at all and furthermore, the reason Kuhmo’s aftermarket tires of the exact name, size and make carry a 50,000 mile warranty and these do not, is because the aftermarket tires are completely different materials than the ones shipped from Korea (that came with my car) and are actually of higher quality. 

They are not apples to apples and the (OEM – not the aftermarket) warranty brochure plainly states that if the tire fails due to workmanship within the first 25% of tread wear (only) then they will be replaced free of charge (minus mounting, balancing, etc. etc.), or prorated according to tread wear. 

In other words, it appears it is almost impossible to collect on an OEM Kuhmo tire warranty, due to the many sub-clauses, unless you have a major blow-out in the dealer parking lot as you drive off for the first time and one of the employees witnesses it and is willing to admit it to a Kuhmo Rep.

I asked “Will” a question.  I said this was false advertisement and akin to buying 2 boxes of identical cereal, one from the maker and one from the store – both in identical packages, but with different quality standards, but being passed off as identical products.  He told me “No, it isn’t, that’s just the way it is done in the auto industry.  These cars came from Korea anyway.  Do you expect them to live up to our standards?” 

I said “Yes, I do.”  OEM tires aren’t really meant to last at all it seems.

He told me the aftermarket tires are made of better materials and carry a mileage warranty so people will buy them over another tire.  I asked him to consider the fact that since Kuhmo is going to lose me as a customer for the rest of my life, would this alter his course of dealing with me as a consumer.  He said “No, it would not”.

If “Will” was my employee, he would find himself in a soup-line somewhere pronto, but maybe this is truly Kuhmo Tires USA attitude towards people as long as they can get the tire contract from the manufacturer of automobiles.


Baytown Bert said...

I wrote every Kuhmo Manager I could find and sent this Blog to them one week ago with no results.

It appears their silence verifies my final conclusion.

mfhy2k said...

Thanks for this. I have an '07 Rondo and this winter the ride went terrible. I checked the tires and couldn't believe with only 24,000 how bad the tread was worn down. I was hoping to get more milage out of this before I needed new.

Baytown Bert said...

Michael, I sent the address of my Blog post to every official at Kuhmo and to-date, not one follow-up from them.

mfhy2k said...

That doesn't surprise me. Low quality product and low quality support. I love the car but the tires stink.

What is all the fuss about?

I am seriously scratching my head over the state of our country and the political warfare between not only the 2 parties, but amon...