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First off, Home Depot doesn't hold the warranty, Ridgid does! Check to see if you have a local Ridgid-authorized service center... the Ridgid vac has a "lifetime warranty" against defects in "material and workmanship".
The grabber here is that you haven't mistreated the vac, by not cleaning the filter and/or keeping the container emptied on occasion. A clogged basket or filter can burn out the motor. Beyond that, the "lifetime" (of which the warranty coverage is in effect) is defined by the motor "brushes". If they are worn to the point where they no longer conduct electricity to the motor's rotor... then the "lifetime" is deemed over. These brushes are not serviceable under the warranty and thier demise terminates the warranty. I believe these are rated at around 500 hours of service... IIRC.
I also have a shop vac problem. I can see that the bearings around the motor shaft are worn out. The shaft just flops around, but the motor still runs. Judging from your warranty definition, I would expect that I am still covered after 8 years since the motor will still start. Do you agree? My Ridgid vac was also bought at HD and is the 20 gal size.