By on May 3, 2018

This is TTAC, right? This is the place where we tell people they should learn how to swap out transmissions in their apartment parking lots rather than buy a new car, if I’m not mistaken. We love 11-year-old cars and we love buying used and we hate wasting money.

So I know you’re all going to be thrilled when you hear I spent some time at Michelin’s famous Laurens Proving Grounds in South Carolina last week learning about how tires perform when they are worn, because all of us are driving on worn tires. For real. The minute you drive your car away from the driveway where you mounted and balanced your own tires, your tires are wearing. But I have some wonderful news for you — you’re probably not using your tires long enough. So you could be saving even more money. And isn’t that exciting!

Of course, this assumes that you’re buying good tires to start with. Our good friends at Michelin, who were nice enough to pay for a flight, a night at the Greenville, SC Aloft Hotel, and a pretty good piece of chicken, want to start a dialogue about worn tire performance. I know this because they used the phrase “start a dialogue” at least 20 times over the course of the day. The reason they want all this dialoguing to happen is not only because they feel confident that their tires wear better than their competitors’ tires do, but also because they’d like to see some more standardized testing of worn tires as opposed to new tires.

I’m a Michelin fan, myself, having put 15k miles and two track days on my OEM set of Pilot Sport Cup 2s on my Focus RS, and I just replaced them with a set of Pilot Sport 4S, which appear to be performing quite well in many different applications thus far. But, according to Michelin’s experts, I may have replaced those PSC2s too soon (spoiler alert: I didn’t — they were fucking toast).

My day at Michelin’s testing facilities included two different tests with two different tire brands — “Brand A” (which was definitely not a Michelin product) and “Brand B” (totes not a Goodyear Eagle). The first trial consisted of driving a rental Nissan Juke around a small autocross-style course, complete with a slalom, in wet conditions. I don’t know what I did to offend the Michelin people.

Regardless, I was given four attempts at the course, with each successive attempt presenting the opportunity to try a different tire — Brand A in new condition, Brand A with 3/32 treadwear remaining, Brand B in new condition, and Brand B with 3/32 treadwear remaining. I wasn’t particularly surprised that “Brand A” performed better than “Brand B” when new — but I was surprised that Brand A’s worn tire was still better than Brand B’s new tire.

Everything I’ve ever been taught about tires tells me it’s always better to have full tread depth than worn tread when it comes to wet performance. However, the not-Michelin tire at 3/32 was significantly better at turning, braking, and holding steady state lateral grip than the not-Goodyear tire at full 10/32 tread depth. Does anybody else feel like you’re reading descriptions of videos on xHamster? No? It’s just me? Okay.

Brand B’s worn tire? That was a total and complete shit show when it came to handling, turning the little Juke into a Formula D car any time I dared touch the throttle. While it made for an entertaining drifting exhibition for those watching outside the car, I would be terrified to have my children riding in a similarly tired vehicle.

Next up was a straight line, wet conditions, 45-0 braking test in a rental Toyota Camry. (Poor Hertz.) Again, the surprise wasn’t that the new Brand A tires performed the best, stopping in 79.7 feet, but that the worn Brand A tires weren’t far off, stopping in 86.7 feet. Both were far superior to the new Brand B tire, which stopped me in 99.7 feet. Let’s not even discuss the worn Brand B tire, which required a whopping 124.7 feet to come to a halt.

Michelin’s whole point in setting up this exhibition? That not all tires wear equally, and that there’s no consistent, standardized testing for worn tires. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that they’re right, on both counts.

As you can see above, the design and tread of some tires is fundamentally changed with wear. Grooves fade or disappear entirely, preventing water from being channeled away from the surface. Since most tires are made of similar compounds, it’s the tread pattern that differentiates a tire — when that disappears, you have a real problem with grip, especially under wet conditions.

Fear of a Bald Tire is causing early removal and disposal of tires at a fairly alarming rate. According to Michelin’s estimates, as much as $25 billion is wasted annually because people are removing tires too early, costing drivers an average of $250 more every two years. The ecological impact is severe, as well. Michelin estimates that 400 million tires are being sent to the landfill unnecessarily each year. Holy smokes.

“This is information that we feel customers should have access to, and, currently, they don’t,” says Eric Bruner, Director of External Communications at Michelin. Well, customers, consider yourselves informed. Just because your tire depth is at 3/32, that doesn’t mean you need to go out and replace it with a sub-standard brand or grade of tire. You might actually get worse performance, waste money, and kill Mother Earth. And who wants to do any of that?

[Images: Mark “Bark M.” Baruth/TTAC]

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148 Comments on “Cheap Tires Are Costing You Money and Probably Also Killing the Planet...”


  • avatar
    derekson

    I was elated when the Potenzas that were OEM on my car wore out and I could replace them with some decent Michelins. I guess I could’ve just done it early but it felt awfully wasteful.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      You can always sell old tires on ebay. If they just have a few miles on ’em, you’ll probably get a decent price for them. Or even sell them to the tire store where you bought your Michelins.

      We got lucky because of this recently when we needed a new replacement tire for my wife’s X5. Someone apparently upgraded their X5 tires and sold a near new tire to them for basically nothing. The tire shop did us a solid and sold it to us for cheap as well.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        You can always have them recapped if the tire carcass is still sound.

        Truckers do this all the time, and it is pretty common for us in my region to send them to Ciudad Juarez in Old Mexico and have tires (of all sorts and sizes) recapped there.

        Dirt cheap, too! Like ~ $30 for a $100 tire.

        Personally, I have always been a fan of brand new tires on my passenger vehicles but I have bought retreads in the past for my utility vehicles that were for on-the-job or off-the-beaten-path use.

        Saved a ton of money that way and got decent wear out of them.

        And I wasn’t heartbroken when they incurred tire damage from road hazards.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Retreads don’t handle abuse/heat well. If a retread overheats the bonded tread will separate and you’ll get a nasty blowout. I know plenty of truckers who stay away from them for that very reason. I’ve never seen a personal use vehicle on retreads. odds are, if you see a tire carcass on the side of the road, it was a retread.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      “They’d like to see some more standardized testing of worn tires as opposed to new tires.”

      This public service is coincidentally provided by the tire maker who’s been marketing its “Evergrip” technology the last couple years as maintaining traction when the tire is older. Not that this is a bad thing, but c’mon, let’s provide a little more background texture and a little less press release copy/paste.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Interesting, but unfortunately for us, the only thing that matters to the normies is whether or not the tire holds air. I’ve seen tires worn so badly they’ve gone into negative tread space, and I know the drivers of those cars don’t have the skill to do any sort of maneuver to avoid an accident even if they had racing slicks.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup. Recently saw a set of new LingLong tires on a car….an otherwise mint e46. (Give me the cheapest tires you have ! Yes, sir…)

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Tire choice can be a red flag when looking at used cars. Crappy tires make all replacement parts suspect to me.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        I had Goodyear Eagle LS tires that were OEM on a new car. I would have traded those for Ling Long in a heartbeat. The tires were decent if it was sunny and 80*. If it were damp or under 60* it was as bad as if I were at a drivers ed slick track. Horrible, horrible tires. We did not keep them long. The BFG Comp 2 A/S in the wet are as good as the Goodyear in the dry at 60*. I am sure the Michelin would do as well or better.

        This is the second set of Goodyear performance tires that came OEM on a new car. There will not be a third.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        LingLong or any other Chinese tire = garbage.
        I see them a lot on cars that are about to be returned when the lease is ready to end. Why spend more on a tire when it is going back to the dealership anyway? Of course, the buyer of that car is going to have a heck of a handling “experience” with those….

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    Long before you reach the wear bars most tires become so loud and jittery you’d want to replace them. My last set of Michelins were deafening when they had about 5/32″ left. Also, if you live in a sunny / hot climate you’ll want to replace your tires sooner due to UV-related rubber damage. I think they recommend 6 years regardless of mileage if you live in the South.

    On a similar topic: I’ve learned to not cheap out on tires. The generic brands, contrary to what tire retailers say, are not equivalent to the name brands. The ones made in China are particularly bad. Just my experience, though.

  • avatar
    ScarecrowRepair

    So what’s the fix? Should we go out once a year and see how much distance braking takes? That doesn’t do anything useful for buying new tires. Does Michelin have any proposals? Have they submitted any testing plans to Consumer Reports or whatever federal agency sets marking standards for tires?

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      Obviously, Michelin would like you to buy new tires from them as frequently as possible. Just change them out once a year and no worries. Don’t carp about the expense, cheapskates – it’s for the children.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      The fix, according to Michelin, is to buy Michelin tires.

      This isn’t about studies of worn tires in general, it’s about Michelin trying to prove they have a superior product, and the price isn’t as bad as it looks because you can use them right down to the wear bars with minimal performance loss.

      Buy Michelin and you can buy fewer tires overall. Buy crappy tires and you have terrible performance even from new and you’ll be looking for excuses to replace them with 50% tread still remaining.

      In my experience, they aren’t wrong. I think Michelin makes fantastic tires that are worth the money.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I’m a real fan of Michelin, Pirelli and Yokohama tires. This after having had less-than-stellar experiences with OEM Goodyear, Firestone and Kumho tires.

        I’ve also had excellent experiences with Hankook tires on work vehicles and utility trailers.

        The rest I pretty much stay away from unless there is just absolutely no other choice, like a must-have while experiencing tire damage during a road trip.

        It all boils down to how much a driver wants to pay. IMO, Michelin, Pirelli and Yokohama just make better, longer lasting tires.

        That’s why I put my money on those three brands.

        • 0 avatar
          dantes_inferno

          Continentals have served me well over the years along with Michelin and Pirelli.

          My wife’s vehicle came with Kumho tires. After 30,000 miles they were ready for replacement. So I went with the Continentals (80,000 mile warranty). The difference in ride quality and road noise was night and day. The Kumho tires sound like a rocket booster when compared with the Continentals.

          Bottom line – you get what you pay for.

          • 0 avatar
            sutherland555

            Just got Continentals last year to replace the
            crappy OEM Bridgestone that came with my Mazda3. I’ve been quite impressed with them so far.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          Funny, we had two sets of Kumho summer tires on the truck and they have been great. They ride great, good traction, quiet and get decent mileage. We of course have Blizzaks for the winter!

          The Rogue had Kumho tires on it when we got it and they were almost as bad as the Goodyears for traction and worse for noise.

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            OEMs of any make usually suck. The car maker specs them for low rolling resistance and cheapness. I, too, had a very good experience with aftermarket Kumhos.

      • 0 avatar

        Michelin for the cars, love the a/s 3. Conti for the truck, the LX20….

    • 0 avatar
      redgolf

      one easy fix would be to lease a new car every 2-3 years keeping the mileage to a minimum therefore getting a brand new set of tires and car! don’t forget to keep the tire pressure and rotation checked, the dealerships usually offer this for free, along with oil changes ( for a limited time )!

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        Might be easy if you live in a lease-friendly state, but I’d rather spend a few hours buying a new set of tires once or twice during my ownership of the vehicle, versus taking the time to spend time with a salesman and an F&I guy.

        To make matters worse, Arkansas collects sales tax on the entire value of the leased vehicle at the time the vehicle is first registered, and not just a monthly sales tax paid along with the lease payments. AND…the dealers around here either can’t or won’t do the assessment and registration for you, as was the case in other states I’ve lived in. So there’s another two or three hours, at best.

        For being such a pro-business red state, I’m surprised at how difficult and it is to register a vehicle.

  • avatar
    18726543

    Given the cost of replacing a set of tires, I don’t think drivers are particularly eager to swap in new rubber, and given the fact that replacing tires takes special, expensive tools I don’t think most drivers are replacing them on their own. This article shows that tire shops are overly eager to recommend replacement rubber, and most customers don’t know enough to hold out for another season when possible.

    I drive about 21,000 miles a year and I’ve been running a set of Yokohama Avid Ascends for nearly 85,000 miles. They’re noisy as hell, but they’ve still got 3.5-4/32nds tread depth so I’ll keep using them!

  • avatar
    OzCop

    Why does the pic of the worn brand A tire appear to have twice the tread remaining as the brand B worn tire? Surely Michelin would never attempt to skew results of a tire test…

    That said, Michelin has indeed been the proven, go to tire for most of us, price be damned. I know I paid about 250 dollars more for replacement Michelin’s than I would have paid for the OE Continental’s that came standard on my wife’s Escape. Plus, that replacement came at 28 K miles, and I can assure you, even though tread was indeed as visible as the brand B worn, but they were awful in wet weather.

    My OE tires and wheels that came on my Focus ST are still like new, but only have about 4 K miles, maybe less, as I ran my 200 treadwear RE 71 R Bridgestones for nearly 3 K street miles and 10 autox events, including Nationals in Lincoln when new, and two other National Solo events, one of them being an SCCA Tour, and one a Pro Solo…on super grippy concrete. Those RE 71 R B’stones are still good enough for local events, but have new set of ‘stones for National events, such as the Texas Pro coming up early next month.

    BTW, if you want to fly in to DFW, I could use a co driver for that event…

    • 0 avatar

      I measured, they were the same.

      And as far as an arrive and drive…you had my interest, but now you have my attention! Barkm302 at gmail

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      OzCop, where is that event going to be held? It sounds like fun. My only Hollywood actor sighting happened at an SCCA Regional event, back in 1979 at the old Great Southwest Airport (Amon Carter Field) in Fort Worth. Paul Newman, working as a crewmember on a Formula Ford.

  • avatar
    silentsod

    I would love to see a database for tire performance over time in both mileage and age.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So Michelin are you going to disclose where your tires are made?

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      28 Cars, if you read carefully it says right on them. Most if not all Michelin tires for sale in North America are made in Canada or USA. If you have a smaller tire, like a 13 or 14 inch you could run into a Michelin made in Asia. I know they’ve stopped making 13-14 inch tires at the plant in Nova Scotia. Not enough demand for such a tire. Not too many people have early 90s Sentras and Tercels.
      Michelin is a superlative tire across most applications. I’ve had LTX Ms 2 for 75,000 miles and wore them down to 4/32s. Those tires were driven through Florida summers, then Canadian salty winters and brought back home to Florida. Never flinched. I’ve replaced them on wife’s SUV with the same.
      I’ve had Pirelli, Yokohama, GoodYears, Nokians, Bridgestones. Nothing compares.
      I’ve spoken with ex-Michelin engineers and they’ve told me their budget for R&D compared to their competitors is immense.
      For my commuter application 95 miles every day I probably won’t buy Michelins but I would definitely own a Michelin group tire such as BF Goodrich or Uniroyal…which I did exactly. Most of the goodness of a Michelin but without the expense.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      28 Cars, I frequently drive by a huge Michelin plant in Ardmore, OK. They have several others around the country.

      https://www.michelinman.com/US/en/why-michelin/about.html

      The Ardmore plant started out as a BF Goodrich/Uniroyal plant before Michelin bought those brands in 1990.

      https://siteselection.com/ssinsider/bbdeal/bd030310.htm

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Anecdote warning: My Pilot Alpin winter tires at 3/32s or 2/32s (wear bars and lower) on my Corrado in 205-50-15 ran better in the winter than Michelin’s Arctic Alpin (the non-Pilot snow tire) that I tried on my GTI 16v. Not only that, they ran nearly as well on dry pavement in the summer as some Kumho Z-rated tires I had tried. Confident at 100 mph, good cornering, etc. I was wearing out the tires because I was moving and selling the car..

    With the ’05 Legacy GT, the OEM Potenzas were bars of soap. Got a good deal on some Goodyears once – they were ok, but as soon as I went back to Michelin Pilot AS and now PSS, I knew what I had been missing. I might try some other brands for track/autocross tires just for the heck of it, but I’m sticking with top-of-the-line Michelin for all our road cars from now on. Just not worth the hassle trying anything else, IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Some snow tires become equivalent to all seasons at 50% tread life. Bridgestone Blizzaks are known for this, but there might be others. I wonder if the Arctic Alpins you had are in the same category.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        At 50% tread life Blizzaks have a regular winter compound instead of the special compound above it. So they are still a softer compound at 50% than an all-season.

        Another aspect is that at least in suv sizes, Blizzaks come with considerably more tread depth than X-Ices. The difference gives you more mileage before they lose their effectiveness as winter tires.

        When I bought my car it had brand new Chinese snow tires on it. They are loud and pound over bumps. Better than all- seasons in snow but not nearly as good as quality tires such as the Blizzaks. And one of them is out of round so it wobbles at low speeds. They can’t wear out fast enough so I can get rid of them.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Bridgestone Blizzaks are dual compound. Once the tire gets down to around 25% tread the compound does change to an “all-season” formulation.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          When I used Blizzaks I had an excellent ownership experience with them in snow country on 4×4 vehicles, including trucks and SUVs.

          I highly recommend Blizzaks. Not cheap, but well worth it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I prefer Michelin’s. They wear better and provide excellent grip. Snow traction isn’t the issue, a tire staying soft and pliable in cold weather is the issue. If you are consistently in 7C/40f weather then you should run winter tires (mountain and snow flake on sidewall).

    • 0 avatar
      peeryog

      I’m just impressed you have (or had) a Corrado

  • avatar
    dirkdundenburg

    Thanks for the infomercial, but I’ll continue to buy any brand of tires that meet my specific vehicle needs and that are independently tested and rated.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I believe that there are:

    1 – STUPID EXPENSIVE “HOLY F#CK” TIRES THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE WORTH IT

    2 – MEDIUM RANGE VALUE TIRES THAT ARE JUST AS GOOD AS #1

    3 – CHEAP A$$ TIRES NOT WORTH THE FUEL IT TOOK TO SHIP THEM TO THE STORE

    I’m not looking to buy #1 or #3.

    I’ve found Cooper and it’s associated brands to fall into #2 in my experience. The Michelin tires on my wife’s Terrain are great but I highly doubt I’ll be spending almost $100 per tire just to keep the Michelin brand on that vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      With you on this. I’m sure Michelin makes decent tires, but the ones I’ve had on various Acura’s (two TSXs and an RDX) were nothing special and extremely expensive to replace. I’ve been very happy with my Dunlop Direzza IIs on my S2000 so I bought another set of Dunlops for my TSX and have been perfectly satisfied with them. Likewise, my dealer had some Pirellie Scorpions for like 75% the price of OEM Michelin’s for the RDX, so guess what I got. When I get a 911 or equivalent I’ll get Pilot Sport Whatever’s but right now I’ll stick with name-brand tires that are $150/ea instead of $250/ea thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’ve bought two new sets of Michelin tires in my life and they came OE on my Charger.

      In all three cases they were fine, but I never experienced anything with them to justify their superlative internet reputation over any other “name brand” tire.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Agreed. Just bought a set of Cooper RS3-G1s (W-speed rated summerish tires)for my 9-5. After rebates, four cost about as much as one mid-range Michelin whatever. Or four for the price of one Pilot Sport SS before rebates. They seem entirely adequate. So were the Toyo whatevers that came on the car, but Mom killed one, both rears were almost done anyway (9-5 Aero suspension camber), and at 4 for the price of 2 after rebate I prefer matching tires on both ends.

      What I have found is that I LOVE the Pilot Sport line, and hate pretty much everything else Michelin makes. Especially anything they make with an extra-long mileage warranty – like having cast iron tires. But Pilot Sports are both expensive and quite short-lived, so not much point in putting them on cars that can’t take advantage of them.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Man, I can’t wear out the set of Coopers I have on our second car fast enough. Loud, rough, and one is out of round. To be fair this car had a worn tie rod end at one point several years back but I’ve rotated them and balanced them several times a year to even out the wear which it has.

      That said I will be buying replacement tires from your category #2 soon. Maybe another set of Coopers. Car is good but not worth much.

      I’m run alot of brands on my cars that didn’t last or wouldn’t stay smooth or reasonably quiet. I keep coming back to Michelin with good success. 75K-85K miles a set and I’m happy cost vs value.

      We bought a crossover about 15 months ago that came with two new off-brand tires on the back. Front were worn factory Continentals (smooth, quiet, grippy enough). Rear were “PERFORMER: CXV SPORT” tires. Eventually I added two new matching tires to the front. For a brand nobody has ever heard of these tires have been good for 10K+ miles. No grip problems, quiet, smooth. Maybe Chinese origin? Can’t find anything about these tires.

      I’ll prob replace them with Michelin again though unless these “other brand” tires continue to wow me for 60K+ miles.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Followup: these off-brand tires are warrantied for 40K miles I see now. I’ll definitely go for something a little longer lived next time. Still smooth and quiet but I’d rather have a 60K mile tire.

    • 0 avatar
      road_pizza

      I’ve had great luck with Cooper tires as well.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Crappy tires are just that… crappy. I learned this lesson with trailer tires. The cheap stuff had me suffering from blow outs and vibrations. Decent tires hold up better and my trailer tracks straight, its immediately noticeable.

    Since I track my car I keep a close eye on wear. But at some point the heat cycles do more damage then tread depth (or lack there of). I had a set of Hankook RS3 that had plenty of tread left but began to chunk apart. Some of the blame is not enough front camber but clearly they were “used up” despite not reaching the wear bars. I’ve switched over the magically RE71 and will see how they hold up since everyone raves about them.

    I’ve had good luck on my other vehicles with Firestone / Bridgestone brands. Michelin seems overpriced but maybe they are really higher quality and thus worth it, Porsche must recommend them for a reason. They also recommend Continental, Goodyear, Pirelli and Bridgestone, so I feel safe with those choices. I had a set of Generals Grabber UHP on my truck that were really good which was surprising since they kind of cheaper brand. I avoid any of those off brand Chinese tires and stick with the major brands. It is amazing the difference in grip levels from one tire to another due to compound and construction. Your average driver doesn’t push hard enough to really notice this but as mentioned the real challenge is wet braking. The difference of a few feet is enough to avoid a crash so I wouldn’t cheap out on tires.

    As far when to replace – I thought that was what wear bars were for. Most people don’t have a depth gauge and just use the penny trick. I tend to look at the wear bars as they marked in several places and across the full width of the tire.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Sadly, there’s no such thing as “good trailer tires” anymore. Practically all are Chinese (Taskmaster or Mastercraft), and you’re better off with passenger car or light truck tires, if you’re lucky enough that the rim diameter is still somewhat available in car or truck tires. If they’re 13s (like our boat trailer), you’re pretty much screwed, as there aren’t many 13s on the market now.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        BFGoodrich are the best trailer tires, if you can afford them.

        Otherwise, Hankook worked great for me on work and utility trailers but they will wear faster than BFGoodrich.

        Then again, Hankook are about half the price.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        WOAH their cowboy!

        Putting “Passenger car” or “Light Truck” tires on a trailer is VERY DANGEROUS. Your recommendation could be deadly.

        1. Passenger tires have flexible sidewalls and introduce trailer sway problems. I’m not exaggerating there… trailer safety is a big issue. You need to use the stiffer sidewalls of trailer tires.

        2. Passenger tires often have lower load capacities. Putting a tire with too low of a load capacity is extremely dangerous.

        3. ST tires (trailer tires) are designed for non-steering axle concerns, resist weather and ozone cracking, have thicker steel cords for higher tensile strength.

        If you take the “risk”, go with LT tires. They have stiffer sidewalls than P tires, and have thicker steel belts. They also have higher load ranges and can carry the heavier weights.

        I would never pull a trailer with passenger tires on it…

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Been doing it for more than 30 years in the construction/remodeling business.

          Yeah, if some fool overloads any tire, it can be dangerous.

          A little common sense goes a long way. Never had any problems, and numerous contractors I know do the very same thing.

          For some three-axle utility trailers Load Range E truck tires are also a very good sub.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “Been doing it for more than 30 years”

            Just because you got away with it doesn’t mean it is good advice.

            “A little common sense goes a long way.”

            A while back you were stating how much gravel you were hauling behind a pickup….. That alone makes me wonder!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Lou_BC, I’m not advising anyone on any tire matters but I was put in that situation because of road hazards causing tire damage.

            And as far as hauling gravel behind a pickup truck, again, it was because of circumstance and necessity. I didn’t have a dump truck and had to make do with what I had.

            In real life sometimes you have to improvise, adapt and overcome.

            That’s how I did it.

            I’m not selling anything to anyone.

        • 0 avatar
          John Horner

          We have had horrible results with “trailer tires”. Last straw was a Goodyear branded trailer tire throwing it’s tread at 3,000 miles even though always properly inflated.

          Load Range E truck tires are working much better.

  • avatar
    13kRPM

    I am no tire expert, but I think there is a little sleight of hand sales gimmickery going on here similar to the filter test done by Kirby vacuum reps back in the day. I would argue that this isn’t about brand at all, but instead reinforces the idea that there are performance impacts from tread design and rubber compound which could be found even with in the same brand. Tire Hardness rating has a significant impact on grip as does tread design depending on road conditions. With almost every manufacture’s tire range they offer a broad range of tread designs and tire rubber hardness ratings depending on the application you need tires for, so Brand has almost nothing to do with this discussion. Yes there are crappy brands out there that do not deliver on what they promises or result in NVH issues or premature failures, but most major brands could offer you two different tires from their range that would likely result in similar differences demonstrated here by Michelin. Case in point, I just replaced a set of Michelin energy savers (AKA Their crazy hard tires for low rolling resistance) which where like Barney Rubble Flintstones Tires. They still had a lot of tread after 70K miles of driving and I would not have replaced if not for the development of extensive sidewall cracks from age and Arizona heat. Anyways, they were great tire in many respects, but always a little iffy in wet conditions when you needed maximum traction. If Michelin was being honest they should do a comparo of their energy saver line vs. one of their softer compound, wet traction tread design tires. Guess what you would see a difference even comparing Brand Michelin to Brand Michelin.

    • 0 avatar

      The point of the whole thing was not to show superiority of Michelin product, but rather just to discuss tire wear. Hence the whole “Brand A” and “Brand B” nonsense. The brand labels had been buffed off of the tires.

      • 0 avatar
        Alfisti

        OH

        COME

        ON

        What the heck is going on around here lately? Something smells fishy and I am the last one to call conspiracy theory.

        • 0 avatar

          For real. I’m the one who went and pulled apart the tires on display that you see above. They made no mention of the Michelin brand the entire day.

          Now, I specifically asked them in the Q&A, “Is the reason you want to ‘start a dialogue’ that you think your tires perform better than competition when worn?” To which they replied, “yes.” I think a certain amount of salt has to be taken with any information provided by an manufacturer, and I understand that their ultimate purpose is to sell more tires.

          I mean, if you wanna see some really frothy reviews of this event, just google “the Truth About worn tires.”

          • 0 avatar
            Alfisti

            But you can’t just say “The point of the whole thing was not to show superiority of Michelin product” … it clearly was, i mean how could it not be?

            It likely is a superior product but you can’t write that this wasn’t their motive for the test.

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            I believe it though.

            I bought some “semi-brand name tires” (falken) and they were AWESOME on day 1. After about 5 years though, despite still having tread, they were awful, I’d slide around on dry days. The compound didn’t hold up over time.

            My wife’s car has 5 year old continentals and they still grip REALLY REALLY well.

            New though, those falkens were amazing…. but I think next time I’m going with a brand like Conti.

            The real problem though is that even within the same brand they use different compounds between tires… urgh.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            @arach: I generally don’t buy high mileage tires for my beater, but I do like (and need) treads up here in the Great White North. I bought a set of H-rated Falkens for the minivan, and for the first year or so, they were great! Now we’re into year three and good grief they are terrible! One has a balance issue I can’t seem to make right and they also seem to be magnetic, i.e., gathering nails and screws. Although that last part may just be bad luck…

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Can we be sure the tires tested had the same compound hardness?

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    There’s a lot going on here.

    Are we interested in testing tyres at certain wear levels or at certain number of KMS? Or a mix of both?

    My 9-3 wears Goodyear Eagle Sport rubber which has proven to be excellent value, an excellent three season tyre, especially at their price point. Our X# runs Pirelli something somethings and they are generally shite.

    For winter, both cars run Michelin X-Ice III’s, this is an excellent urban winter tyre as it is a million times better than an all-season (especially as they wear) but still handle better and are quieter than the Blizzacks which are the other leading winter option.

    I’ve never really considered the cheap asian brands just based on reviews because changing tyres is a PITA.

    Oh and my understanding was that grid pattern is secondary and the compound secret sauce is what separates the big brands from the crappy ones. I’d double check that info if i were the author.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Cheap tires aren’t, whether measured by the miles until the wear bars or the avoidable ditches and rear enders when you’re still driving on them after you get there. The marginal costs of good rubber are basically noise against all of the other costs of driving, but having to pay three or four years of it up front fools the future time averse every time.

    That said, the beater Sonata that I bought in the mid oughts for $16 flat came with Michelin Primacy tires which retailed for something like $180 a corner even back then, a pleasant surprise, and they were completely done in by 30K which was even more surprising and much less pleasant.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      Michelin OEM tires that come on a new car usually don’t have the full tread depth of the same tire non OEM. At least on Honda’s. I’m sure Hyundai is similar.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I believe it. The cost of the high end tires has definitely gone up, probably something to do with ever larger rims and higher input costs. At the same time, tread life on high performance tires seems to be improving. Michelin PS2’s were toast after 14000 miles, but I’m at 24,000 on some Pilot Super Sports right now and they drive fine/ are reasonably quiet at 3/32, dry or wet.

    Meanwhile, the Sumitomos on our van sound like a mud tire at any speed after only 20,000 miles.

    Bark, any opinion on Michelin Pilot Sports vs the 4S?

  • avatar
    gtem

    I’ve become a General man over the last few years, but acknowledge that in the long run, a well rotated set of Michelins will probably stay quiet and last longer (and stay performing well longer) than just about anything else.

    Speaking of sketchy worn tires, I’m hoping to scoop up a set of factory alloys with (used) Hercules P/4000s white walls for $100 for my beater Ranger this weekend, it currently has some pretty old Uniroyal Tiger Paws in front and a mis-matched set of Firestones (Destination LE on one side, an older balder Firestone on the other). I’m typically a stickler for this stuff but old pickup trucks for some reason change my mentality significantly, which I suppose does me no favors safety-wise.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      As long as the Hercules aren’t dry rotted, keep an open mind. I’ve liked the Hercules tires I’ve had and I believe they’re manufactured in Findlay, OH.

      (Although I’ve always used an appropriate tire for the situation – I doubt that a whitewall is LT rated.) ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Meh I don’t push the Ranger over the 1200lb payload anyways (done with big hauling for the season until my potatoes are ready to harvest, anyways).

        The Hercules refers to the P4000 line as “cosmetic performance” lol… should I be worried :p

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I just checked the website here’s what I get out of the description.

          “Friend, do you really want a BF Goodrich T/A for your vintage muscle car but can’t afford it?”

          “HAVE WE GOT A TIRE FOR YOU!”

          Would I have put them on my Cutlass Supreme in college? Sure. Would I put them on a truck that I was using as a truck? No.

          Until you really HAUL something, you’ll be fine.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            My ’97 before this ’94 actually had some slightly dry rotted and half-worn BF Goodrich T/As on it The ’93-’97 XLT Rangers really do look proper with some raised white letters to match the deep dish alloys.

            I’m not worried about blow outs, even loaded up to be honest. No LT tires necessary IMO.

      • 0 avatar
        road_pizza

        I think it’s Cooper Tires that are made in Findley, Ohio.

  • avatar
    incautious

    Sorry not buying it.Driving a German car with factory spec low profile tires(245/40/18) here in the potholed north east, is a recipe for disaster. Perelli, Continental,Michelin ,check had them all and every one developed side wall bubbles from potholes. What about road hazard? All wheel drive you can get one tire prorated, but your stuck buying another to get equal thread depth and not damage your AWD system.
    I buy Kumho’s now about $100, and you know what, not one Sidewall damaged in over 30K miles of driving. The low profile spec these German manufacturers are using is ridiculous. I owned a Ferrari and now a Lotus and never had this issue, because they spec’d taller sidewalls. No more German cars for me as long as they keep thinking that all of us Americans drive in Florida or California.

    • 0 avatar
      Alfisti

      I like 100 to 110mm of sidewall as a minimum, anything less and problems.

    • 0 avatar
      4drSedan

      @incautious

      I just bought a 4 DR 2017 Accord Sport ‘cuz I HAD to have a non-turbo engine with a 6 SPD. It has 235/40-19s stock. I am shopping for replacement wheels / tires.

      Don’t even get me started on the stupid, uncomfortable headrest er..head restraints.

  • avatar
    Tennessee_Speed

    The problems I’ve had with Michelins is Dry Rot.
    On my low mileage sedan (5,000 miles/year) after six years, two blowouts with lots of tread left.
    You could see the cracks develop on the sidewalls. I replace all tires after five years regardless of tread left on them.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      I have had similar experiences with Michelin tires. They work well and they wear wonderfully, but I have had to replace them because of sidewall cracking long before they were worn out. And this is on a daily driver, not a garage queen.

      I will still buy them because they really work great. But I will also shop other brands like Continental, Pirelli, or Goodyear. For a low-priced tire, I like Kumho or a few other brands, but will research those more carefully than the top brand tires.

    • 0 avatar
      crispin001

      Same here…such a waste to have to toss out low-mileage LTXs on my pickup at 5-6 years because of dry rot (two sets). I’m trying Uniroyals now (yeah, yeah, it’s a Michelin company but I always had good luck with Uniroyals before the LTXs). Search “MICHELIN TIRES HAVE A DISEASE!” on YouTube…….

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The only set of tires I have ever had to replace due to dry rot were the Michelins that came on my ’95 Disco when I bought it. I chalked it up to the truck having come from the So Cal desert. Plenty of tread, but they looked sketchy as all get out.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    Personally, I avoid Michelin tires after seeing all the issues with dry rotting their tires seem to have.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    I will never ever buy anything outside Michelins. They are simply the best tires on the market. For performance and for longevity. LTX on my trucks/utilities and sport cups on sports cars. Contrast that to Pirellis that are just not the same from wear or performance perspective.

    Yes Michelins are a little more expensive than other premium tire brands, but there is no comparison to what they bring to table. You get your money’s work EVERY SINGLE TIME.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Don’t understand why my company only replaces tires on its fleet with Blacklion tires.

    Are you trying to tell me they care more about the tire cost than the safety of its workers? Come on now!

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Well, their “About Us” script sounds mighty impressive:

      “Quality products, a team you can Trust and systems to Support our customers. Our product quality matches that of popular Tier 2 lines and represents the achievements of a global team of tire engineers. Our support systems are second to none. Our mission is to earn your trust as the value partner of the tire industry. Blacklion tires are manufactured in state of the art facilities under a high standard of excellence.”

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    3000 mile oil change – Same fallacy. It wastes money and harms the environment.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I was summer help at the local Coca Cola Bottling Co back in the 80s, and their fleet manager was in love with Michelin tires for company cars. If a brand new car came with anything but Michelin, they were replaced right away. They also replaced tires at 5/32s tread depth. I don’t know what they did with the trucks, but with cars, they were gung-ho on Michelin.

    I personally think Michelin had a big advantage over other manufacturers 40+ years ago, but today I couldn’t justify paying what they charge. I have had good success with Firestone/Bridgestone and put Sumitomo tires on the kids’ beater cars.

    Can’t stand Goodyear, they tend to wear funny for me, and had some Invicta GLs back in the 90s that were awful in the rain, but had good luck with Kelly-Springfield Navigators from that era (one of GY’s 2nd tier brands)

    I suspect that normal drivers would never know the difference, whereas an enthusiast might do better with a hyper-premium tire. As long as everyone avoids those tacky Vogue Tyres, we’re all set.

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      The love for Michelin goes back at least 40 years to the beginning of the radial tire. In the mid-70’s Goodyear, Uniroyal and especially Firestone had trouble with their radial tires. I personally had terrible luck with some Firestone 500’s on a Gran Torino. Many of my friends and co-workers were having the same problems such as radial tire pull, inability to balance, and even blow-outs. It was common knowledge back then that if you wanted trouble-free radial tires, Michelin was the way to go. That reputation lives on, real or not.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      I’m with you on Michelin. When their tires stopped lasting even 50% of the claimed mileage, and they stopped honoring treadwear warranties, I got off the bus.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    General Tire. Love em.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Owned by Continental.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Yep, good performance/price factor IMO. The Altimax RT43s are some of the better all seasons in regards to winter traction for folks uninterested in the dedicated winter tire route. Between my brother and myself we have at least 5 sets on our own cars, he puts them on customer vehicles all the time. I like the Altimax Arctics on my 4Runner as well, and my brother has a set on his Mystique. For SUVs there’s the Grabber HTS which is likewise a decent all arounder, although mine got a bit loud at 40mph on my 4Runner after about 35k miles. Walmart has their in-house Grabber SUV varianst (SRX?) for like $88 a pop in 265/70R16 which is an incredible deal IMO. I also have a set of Grabber AT2s in 265/70R16 that are currently on for the summer on the ‘yota, it’s a pretty aggressive all terrain and I pay for it with some road noise and decreased MPG, but that goes with the territory. Price wise they were once again and incredible bargain at $130 per tire on sale at wal-mart (I get the Toyota dealer to mount/balance with the correct Haweka adapter).

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Mark, I’m surprised you didn’t mention Michelin’s “EverGrip” technology, which is what the testing is supposed to demonstrate (tires performing as well as, or better than, when new). Did they talk about it in their presentations?

    I generally like Michelins, but their treadlife estimates are definitely estimates. We run Michelin Defenders on our ’08 Sienna, and we’ve never gotten anything close to 90,000 miles out of them – it’s more like 30,000. My ’13 Tacoma came with BFG (owned by Michelin) Rugged Terrain T/As, which I liked, but BFG discontinued their Rugged lines, leaving me without an option for a tire with an aggressive tread – I ended up buying Hankook Dynapro ATM RF10s.

    I avoid Chinese made tires like the plague, since there’s no telling what quality of materials, or process controls, they use. They do seem to be good at making up funny brand names, like Prime Well (sometimes also molded as “Primewell”), Dextero, Sailun, Sunny, and Crosswind.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      I get a kick out of seeing those guys with monster size wheels and they end up having some cheap Chinese tire on it.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Of course! When they hit a curb or pothole and destroy one (which they invariably will), they don’t want to have to pay big bucks to replace it.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Rugged Terrain T/As, which I liked, but BFG discontinued their Rugged lines, leaving me without an option for a tire with an aggressive tread – I ended up buying Hankook Dynapro ATM RF10s.”

      To be fair, the Rugged Trail (superseded by Rugged Terrain, which is still around btw) are largely regarded as mostly a “cosmetic A/T” where it looks kind of sort of like a real BFG K/O but optimized to deliver on Toyota’s EPA MPG estimates. I thought it was odd you say BFG left you without a tire option without an aggressive tread, as the current KO2 (and the KO before it) were more or less the standard bearers for sturdy and capable all terrain tires for the offroad crowd.

      FWIW Primewell (Firestone house budget brand) and maybe even Dextero I’d consider a minor step up from Linglongs and Sailuns and the like. By no means my first choice, but when they were running a sale at Firestone earlier this year a Primewell PS860 was the cheapest way to get a new raised white letter tire for my Ranger in the increasingly rare 225/70R14 size.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        The thing with the KO2s is that there’s no treadlife warranty (like there were on the Rugged lines), so there’s no prorating for treadlife.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        When I went to buy more Rugged Terrain T/As (they were the OEM fitment, and I had bought one set already), they were discontinued, according to Discount Tire. I confirmed it by visiting BFG’s Web site, and by an email response from BFG customer support. I also looked at Coopers, and Pathfinders (one of Discount’s in-house brands).

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      They name their tires after what creates dangerous conditions when you are driving with them on your vehicle (such as sunshine and cross winds), and the kinds of people likely to suffer the consequences of such lousy tires (Amazon Prime customers, right-handed people, and people with boats).

  • avatar
    hausjam

    I don’t buy any part of this article. I am running pep boys crappos on my Camaro SS. As long as I avoid the racetrack, they do just fine. They are even better on wet pavement than the name brand tires they replaced.

    As for the landfill of wasted tires, I don’t know a single person who buys new tires before they absolutely, positively have to. Some dangerously so.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Oh god “Dakotas” (Pep Boys in house brand) were the worst tire I’ve ever had when I had them on my pickup. That sucker would burn rubber like a top fuel dragster when the tires were wet and try to drift like Vin Diesel when the snow hit. All from a mighty 4.6 ltrs and 240-ish HP.

      NO THANK YOU.

    • 0 avatar

      Good luck with that.

      Question—why are you running discount tires on a performance car? You could have bought a Sonic and saved a lot of cash.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        Mark-

        I’m kind of on the “Cheap Tire on Muscle Car” train.

        This sounds like a trolling comment but I assure you its a not: If your goal is to feel like you’ve got a lot of power- You want to spin and squeal tires for example… then cheap tires are arguably a lot better than good tires. Your “reckless” at 25 MPH instead of 80 MPH.

        I don’t consider a camaro to be a ” high performance car”, its more of a “middle of the road car”. Its a “I want to have fun” car. You can have a lot of fun with cheaper tires. Its not about race track performance.

        No one is going to be impressed with your sonic. You won’t smile with glee burning out in a sonic. You won’t enjoy the feeling of losing traction in a sonic.

        • 0 avatar

          A Camaro SS isn’t a performance car? What a world we live in.

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            I get that different people can define things differently, but my point being 99% of Camaro buyers aren’t buying it for the actual performance, they are buying it as a “cool, powerful car”. They would be more impressed by a car that burns out and chirps the tires than handling G forces and cornering abilities… They value factors that cheap tires would actually enhance…

            I think that is significant, because I truly believe 99% of the buyers don’t care about its actual performance, they just don’t want to feel like they have a boring sedan.

            I’m a camaro guy myself… I’ve got a stack of SCCA trophies racing my Camaro SS and I’m a Camaro Club leader. Even within the club however, few people have ever been on a track or appreciate actual “performance”. I’ve had debates with owners about how many cylinders THEIR camaro had.. no joke! They don’t care about its actual performance- they crave perceived performance.

            I just disagree that camaro SS targets performance car buyers. Zl1 does, but not the SS. Swap out the factory P-zeros for a set of LionHearts and most owners will see the performance “improvement”. After all, their tires chirp around corners and leaving stop lights and they can finally burn-out with a minor clutch drop ;)

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      The Pirelli Pzeros that come on that camaro are great… as long as its dry out ;)

      • 0 avatar
        forum1

        “They would be more impressed by a car that burns out and chirps the tires than handling G forces and cornering abilities… They value factors that cheap tires would actually enhance…”

        Ugh. And these are probably the same people that think loud pipes and rolling coal are cool. While technically illegal where I live, unfortunately the laws aren’t well enforced. It’s definitely not a culture I revere. Give me a silent machine that challenges the human endurance of g-force.

  • avatar
    readallover

    The last set I put on my Mazda 6 was the Canadian Tire house brand made in the USA, the guy at the desk thought they were made by Cooper. Worn even and beyond my expectation for a tire that price.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Interesting test. Tires are complex and it’s hard to find enough information to assist in making purchasing decisions. Usually we have to just go with what we trust.

    I wouldn’t necessarily consider this an endorsement for running tires at 3/32″ though. Worn tires with a grippy base compound might be fine in light wet conditions, but with enough water depth to cause hydroplaning a new tire will be much safer.

    In Tire Rack testing (from 2007), in heavy wet conditions (with Michelin tires), a BMW 325i had the following braking distances from 70 mph:

    Full depth tread: 195 feet.
    4/32″ tread: 290 feet.
    2/32″ tread: 379 feet.

    The 2/32″ tread tire was still doing 55 mph when the full depth tire had stopped. The 4/32″ tires were doing 45 mph at that point.

    https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=85

    As I hope was the case in the test you participated in, Bark, the tires were shaved rather than being old, worn tires. So degradation and previous driving conditions were not a factor. This was all about hydroplaning.

    Be careful in the wet if you run tires right down to the wear bars. An inferior tire with less grip and more tread depth will still be more predictable in heavy wet conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      One thing Michelin has done in the mean time, at least on some of their A/S tires is to make grooves that widen as the tire wears.

      Some Continental tires actually have wear/suitability indicators. When the corresponding D, W, or S. So when your S goes away at 6/32″ they don’t recommend use in Snow. The W disappears at 4/32″ while the D goes when the wear bars show up.

      So yeah I usually replace tires at 4/32″ unless they get to that point at the beginning of Summer.

  • avatar

    “It’s the tread pattern that differentiates a tire — when that disappears, you have a real problem with grip.”

    That’s odd. My Hoosiers don’t have any tread pattern and I think they grip better than a PS4. At least in the dry. On a smooth surface. Above 50 degrees ambient.

    • 0 avatar
      geeman77

      ” … That’s odd. My Hoosiers don’t have any tread pattern and I think they grip better than a PS4. At least in the dry. On a smooth surface. Above 50 degrees ambient… ”

      They should … Rubber grips pavement. A tread pattern simply removes rubber that would otherwise be gripping the pavement, and induces tread block flex that lowers grip and creates heat. So, your Hoosiers, or any racing slick type tire, should have more absolute grip and stability than any tire with a tread pattern … ON DRY PAVEMENT !

      Wet roads are a different story. Water is non-compressible, and the tread pattern exists to give the water a place to go, allowing the remaining rubber to actually touch, and grip the road surface. Too much water, too little tread void or too much speed will lead to hydro-planing, as in ZERO grip.

      A damp road and a very wet road are two different scenarios as well. Many ultra-high performance tires work incredibly well on a damp road, where the rubber compound and hardness (softness…) are providing the grip. Add 1/2 an inch of water, and the tread depth and pattern become increasingly important to grip.

  • avatar
    TR4

    How come Michelin tested at 3/32″ instead of the legal limit of 2/32″? Trying to hide something?

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I think this all makes sense. Michelin didn’t DIRECTLY pitch Michelins. It did pitch them indirectly.

    Their point: Better tires last longer, you buy fewer, and thus fewer go into landfills, saving the planet.

    Better tires are, IMO, invariable ‘Name Brands’. Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Pirelli, Continental, Dunlop, even Toyo, Hankook, Cooper, and even…Firestone. I know I missed several.

    And Michelin enjoys the best reputation of the premiums…so they are pitching their product indirectly….”for the planet’s sake, please buy good tires! If not ours, then other good ones–not the cheap crap!”

    I’ve bought BFG Comp T/As before, for my VW GTIs, but their roots were pre-Michelin merger. I had Pirelli’s on my Cobalt SS that barely made it to 25k.

    My Malibu had Firestones that I replaced at 69k. They still had tread, but I live in Michigan, and wanted more tread with snow. I replaced them with the same Firestone factory tires (FR560?). The 2nd pair, I would be lucky to hit 50k with them.

    Why?

    I learned that, just like highway driving is easy on gas, it’s easy on tires. A 150-mile commute apparently helps your mpg numbers and tire life.

    Who knew?

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      One of the tough things I have with that argument is that I’ve never owned a car that outlasted its tires TWICE.

      I tend to go “cheap” with my second tires because the benefits of expensive tires aren’t worth it.

      • 0 avatar
        C W

        @arach:
        “One of the tough things I have with that argument is that I’ve never owned a car that outlasted its tires TWICE.”

        I’ve tried really hard not to go “cheap” on tires – and I’ve gotten a great long healthy life out of my car.

        Just last month I bought a set of four tires for it, at $125-per – its SEVENTH set. With 270,000 miles on the clock (all miles mine except for the first 6,000).

        Can I make it to EIGHT sets? Right now, I don’t see why not.

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          See, you rack ’em up (which is great).

          I think the most miles I’ve ever put on a car between buying it and selling it is around 27,000.

          So if it needs new tires after I buy it, it sure as heck won’t need another set before I sell it.

          But if your keeping a car 270k miles, I can see the math changes.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I’d love to see worn tire testing, the problem is they need to be road worn and aged to tell the full story, not just shaved. Tires harden with age but some less so than others and the softness or hardness of the rubber makes a huge difference in grip in any condition.

    Of course the problem is that by the time you get the story that particular model of tire has likely been discontinued or significantly changed.

    A couple of other things, replacing your tires “early” isn’t that bad of a thing for the environment and actually makes the roads safer. The used tire business is huge. A friend of mine owns a piece of commercial property that is leased by a used tire store. He has a stead stream of customers who are buying those 4-5/32″ tires one at a time, often replacing something that was completely bald.

    My problem is that many of my vehicles don’t rack up a lot of miles. Sure the Michelins make sense on the car that does 20K + per year but on something like my Pickup and Van that do 3-5,000 miles per year pretty much any tire will age out before it wears out.

  • avatar
    86er

    Are tire recycling programs across North America deficient to the purpose of processing them for the purposes of manufacturing new tires?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I very seldom wear out a set of tires anymore because I don’t put as many miles on my vehicles. For that reason I usually buy new tires every six years due to the compounds in the tires becoming unstable over a period of time. The one thing that should be mentioned is its not just tread wear but the date the tire was manufacture should be the determining factor as to when to replace it. You should buy tires closer to their production date you do not want tires that have been sitting in a warehouse for a number of years.

    @Lou BC–I remember retread tires being available for most passenger vehicles during the 60’s and 70’s and they were considerably cheaper, but as you stated before the treads can separate when they get hot which is one reason you don’t see them now. I have bought Michelins in the past but they are no longer available on my 2 trucks with 15 inch rims. I had to buy Goodyears because at the time they were the only ones available but I can get Hankooks for my S-10 so I might be buying those next time. What I usually do is when I buy new tires after 6 years I save the old tires for my landscaper who is a farmer and he uses them on his hay wagons–he has used every tire I have given him and it has saved him money while the tires don’t go to waste. Usually the tread is still good but I would rather buy new tires after 6 years regardless of miles and wear.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Jeff S – 15’s are getting harder to find. One might try finding a set of 16’s with the correct bolt pattern and offset to increase your tire choice.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    Leases are why people don’t buy tires, or buy the cheapest thing possible right before they turn in their BMWs.

    Me, I’m too poor to buy cheap.

    As Click and Clack always said, it’s the cheapest man who spends the most.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    I had a set of Michelins and while good, they were very noisy. We had yokahamas on our CX5 which wore too quickly. Replaced them with a much better set of BF Goodrich and they are fantastic.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Lou BC–Do you think the 16’s will clear the fenders? I could check and if so I will try the 16s with new rims and make sure the bolt pattern is correct. I have the same problem with my 2008 Isuzu I-370 crew cab which is the same as the 2008 Colorado and Canyon. There are about 4 choices of tire manufacturers on the 99 S-10 and about 2 on the 2008 Isuzu. Use to be able to get Michelin, BF Goodrich, and UniRoyal but now it is either Goodyear, Hankook, and a Chinese brand tire. I had to replace the Goodyears on the S-10 after 2 years because the sidewalls had bubbles in them. I might try the Hankooks next. Goodyear use to be a good tire company but not so much anymore.

  • avatar
    NoID

    I easily drive 25k miles a year, most of it highway. I don’t even start considering a tire swap until I’m at the wear bars, and I usually drag it out until I’m nearing (or arriving at) the cords.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I use to live in the country and at that time (15 to 20k) I would easily wear out a set of tires. Now I live in the suburbs and work at home most of the time and put about 3 to 5k on my vehicles in a year.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    This is the type of information I like to see here.
    Thanks.

  • avatar
    DavidB

    Recently installed new Michelin LTX MS on my ’05 Expedition at 112K miles. The same model tire these replaced still had plenty of tread, but the sidewalls were beginning to dry rot if you inspected them closely. They only had 56K miles on the tires, but were beginning to get noisy. In fairness, this car sits outside 24/7 in KC’s cold winters and hot summers and they were almost 7 years old. I bought the set $1,100 – gulp – installed, balanced with 4-wheel alignment at the dealer (price matched Costco) and Michelin had a $70 rebate. Then I sold the old set on Craigslist for $100 in less than 24 hours, so not bad, really. Should’ve priced them higher. If I drove more often and actually wore them out rather than Mother Nature doing the wear, I would’ve easily driven 80K miles on the last set, 90K miles if I were the type to see the wear bars at the end. The new tires made the old SUV feel almost new again. Significant ride improvement and virtually silent. My experience with Michelins over the past 3 decades has been great, once I get past the initial cost — purchase price does *not* equal cost to own. Plus they ride great..

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @DavidB–I have had good service out of Michelins. In a few years I will buy Michelins for my wife 2013 CRV which still has the original tires and only 16k miles. In another year I am going to give my nephew my 99 S-10 which has 115k miles and runs and looks like new. My nephew is retired from the Coast Guard and wants it as a toy (the S-10 has a 5 speed manual)–he has a 2014 Ram 2500 Laramie crew cab with a Cummins Diesel and a 2009 Honda Accord for his wife. He is going to build a big steel barn with a lift and I will give him most of my tools. I might use his lift once he gets it.

  • avatar
    JW9000

    My experience with Michelin backs up their claim of wet performance, but the last set I owned, MX4 Primacy, had a shitty, stiff ride.

    After they hit the wear indicators, I replaced with with General Altimax RT43’s and like the ride much better (and at about half the price). Nowhere near the wet handling as the Primacy, they actually felt like they were hydroplaning for about the 1st 1000 miles, but a helluva lot more comfy and quiet. (Which I need over the 3rd world streets of Bal’mer.) Wet traction is much better after the break-in period.

  • avatar
    la834

    OK, so has anyone here bought a set of Michelin Premier tires, the ones with the Evergrip good-grip-when-worn design, or have them on their new car or crossover? These had just become available when I needed new tires two years ago but with no online reviews yet decided to stick with the tried and true Primacy MXV4 which I knew had good all-around traction and a quiet ride, though sporty they’re not. If you have Premiers (A/S or LTX), what do you think of them?

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    Anybody have an opinion good/bad on Toyo tires? They’re one of the few that make a tire in a 245/55/R18 for the rear of a Marauder.

  • avatar
    J Dulmage

    Hi all this is Jen. I have read all of your comments and this seems like an informed space where I can get some good honest opinions, and some education. I have been told I need new tires as well as a new rack and pinion, new tye rod on the left, new ball joints, rotors changed on my front and tune up with brake system flushing. I have a 2001 Ford Ranger XLT 4WD with about 85,000 miles on it. I had a mobile mechanic work on it a while back to replace a pully and the belt. After he worked on it I overheated and had to replace the engine!!!!

    So….I love my truck and am on a budget. I want to get some new tires and it is Memorial Day weekend. All the sales are on etc. What would you guys recommend for a reasonable type of tire. I do not put tons of miles on this truck, but I would like something quiet. Thanks

    I know this is probably TMI, but wanted to give a good pic of what I am dealing with. Thanks

  • avatar
    J Dulmage

    Oh, I live in San Diego. How much do y’all think I should have to pay to get my front end up to speed? Thanks


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