Tire problems are common — and expensive to take care of. In 2011, Autos.com ranked tires at number four in its list of most common repairs done at repair shops. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are approximately seven tire punctures every second in the U.S. This equals about 220 million flat tires every year. This may seem like a lot, but the average driver will experience only about five tire punctures in their lifetime.

Discount Tire’s Certificate for Repair, Refund or Replacement (we’ll call it the Certificate, for short) lets you repair or replace your tires within three years from the date of purchase. It’s Discount Tire’s own way of giving you a limited warranty on your tires. Here are the ins and outs of how the Certificate works and when its worth your while to buy it.

How the Certificate Works

With a standard tire warranty, whenever you need to replace your tires, you typically apply a prorated amount based on your remaining tire tread level toward new tires. Discount Tire’s Certificate for Repair, Refund or Replacement works differently. With the Certificate, if your tires fail due to defect or a non-repairable road hazard, Discount Tire will fully refund your purchase price with tax and will offer you new tires at the refund price plus tax. The Certificate lasts for three years and covers failed tires as long as they’re within the legal tread limit of 3/32 inches. It’s effectively like getting new tires for free or getting your money back.

The Certificate costs $15 per tire and you can either purchase it at the time you purchase your tires or return to get it within 30 days of purchasing the tires. If you need to use the Certificate, you can validate it for a refund and purchase replacement tires either at the store where you originally purchased the tires or at any other Discount Tire location. If you’ve moved somewhere that Discount Tire isn’t present, you can call Discount Tire to get assistance in redeeming your Certificate in your area.

Certificate Limitations

The Certificate isn’t valid for some forms of commercial driving and doesn’t cover tire damage resulting from fire, crime, vandalism, or improper use of the wheels. You cannot use the Certificate to fix problems of appearance after the first 10% of wear. The Certificate expires after three years from the date of purchase or when the tire’s legal tread depth goes below 3/32″ across the tread, whichever comes first. See more details about the Certificate on Discount Tire’s website.

Is the Certificate Worth It?

Before you decide if this Certificate is right for you, ask yourself: how often do you typically incur tire damage (for example, a flat tire) and how likely are you to need a repair or replace them in the next three years? Of course, you can’t predict every situation, but if you’re a daily driver, then you typically know what kind of wear and tear to expect and how often you might need repairs.

If you’ve had at least one case of non-repairable flat tires or other tire damage in the last three to five years, the Certificate may be worth it. But if you’re someone who can go years without needing to replace or repair your tires, then you’ll likely be throwing your money away if you purchase the Certificate.

Remember, the average driver gets five tire punctures in their lifetime, which is about one very 10 years (say you drive for 50 years, from age 18 to 68). Most flat tires are repairable, so you wouldn’t use the Certificate, but flats caused by punctures aren’t repairable.

The Certificate is a good business for Discount Tire because most people won’t end up needing to use it in those three years. On the other hand, the Certificate is often affordable, with the price starting under $10 per tire for the cheapest tires. With the highest end tires available — those that sell for near $1,000 each — the Certificate costs over $100 per tire. If you do end up using the Certificate, it will be well worth the money.

In Summary

Think about the Certificate as you would an electronic device warranty. For example, when you consider whether to purchase the warranty for your new laptop or cell phone, you think about how you use your device and whether you anticipate problems that will require repair during the warranty period. Are you one of the unfortunate who always ends up dropping their phone and cracking the screen? Then you’ll buy the warranty. The same principle applies to your vehicle and tires. If you know that you’re unlikely to need any repairs then you probably don’t need the Certificate. If you know you absolutely cannot afford to pay extra for new tires in the unlikely scenario that you need them, then buy the Certificate just in case. At only $15 per tire, the Certificate is valid for three years and covers repair or replacement costs for any tire damage as long as your tread is still within the legal limit of 3/32 inches.