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FAQ

The Michelin FAQ provides answers to many commonly asked questions about our company and our tyres

Winter Tyre FAQs

No it's not enough, summer tyres are not designed to provide a good mobility and optimal safety performances during winter. At any given speed and for all road condition (dry, wet or snow), a winter tyre will be safer than a summer tyre on a cold road.
Yes, as braking distances depend on road surface grip which depends itself on weather condition! As an example, in winter, braking distances can double comparing snow and wet condition. From 50 to 0 kph with winter tyre on a wet surface 12,5* metres will be required to stop a vehicle running at 50 km/h, 30* metres on snow.

It depends on your usages! All season tyres in Europe are generally more similar to winter tyres, and less similar to summer tyres in areas such as dry braking, longevity, & fuel efficiency. Michelin does not provide this category of tyres but offers specific solutions adapted to the various European consumers'usages :

  • For drivers who do not drive in wintery conditions (snowy, icy or cold wet roads, < 7°) and/or for drivers who seek the maximum level of handling & performance in milder months, Michelin recommends using summer tyres, which are designed to have optimal performance in warmer temperatures.
  • Their compounds & design enable good grip and handling on both dry and wet roads in warmer conditions, while providing higher levels of longevity, fuel efficiency & comfort.
  • For drivers who frequently face snow & ice conditions, Michelin still recommends using winter tyres, which are designed to have optimal all-around performance in every type of winter condition, whatever the severity.
  • Their compounds & design enable an excellent level of performance on snowy and icy roads; however, it makes them less suitable for driving in warmer conditions. Thus, these drivers need to use two sets of tyres (winter and summer)
  • For drivers who face unexpected weather changes and occasional snowfall, Michelin recommends using MICHELIN CrossClimate, the first summer tyre with an approved 3PMSF certification for winter use . This means that it offers the performance of summer tyres in wet braking, dry braking, longevity & fuel efficiency*, and the performance of winter tyres in traction and braking for consumers driving in cold or occasional snowy conditions.

*MICHELIN CrossClimate has a ‘C’ labeling score in fuel efficiency which is similar to most summer tyres which are B or C.

The only way to cope with your safety and mobility requirements during winter season is to fit adapted tyres based on your usages. Hence, if you frequently face snow & ice conditions, Michelin recommends you using winter tyres, which are designed to have optimal all-around performance in every type of winter condition, whatever the severity.In addition, the kilometres that you will drive on winter tyres are kilometres that your summer tyres will save.
If you face unexpected weather changes and occasional snowfall, Michelin recommends using MICHELIN CrossClimate, the first summer tyre with an approved 3PMSF certification for winter use .
If you do not drive in wintery conditions (snowy, icy or cold wet roads, < 7°) and/or if you seek the maximum level of handling & performance in milder months, you can keep your summer tyres, which are designed to have optimal performance in warmer temperatures.

Below 7°C, winter tyres guarantee the maximal safety and mobility performance either on dry, wet, snowy or icy roads. As an illustration, breaking from 80 to 0 kph at 5 °C, on wet roads will take 36 m with a summer tyre compared to 32 m with a winter tyre. On snowy roads, breaking from 50 to 0 kph at - 5 °C will take 60 m with a summer tyre compared to 30 m with a winter tyre*.

*Test realised by TÜV SÜD 2013 on dimension 205/55R16H.

Winter tyres are designed for optimal security on any winter road conditions – dry but also frozen, wet, icy and snowy roads. Winter tyres should be mounted on your vehicle as soon as the temperature falls consistently below 7° C, usually from mid October to mid April, depending on weather.

Tyres with "M+S" markings on the sidewalls are Snow tyres on a pure regulation point of view. Nevertheless, as this marking is not associated to any mandatory performance test, there is no performance garantee associated with M+S marked tyres.
3PMSF marked tyres are winter tyres that have been approved through a regulation test to garantee the right level of performance under winter condition. Michelin recommands you using 3PMSF marked tyres as winter tyres during winter season.

The "M+S" (Mud and Snow) marking on the sidewall of some tyres, indicates that these tyres are winter compliant according to the European regulation. However, bear in mind that these tyres are designed to have better performance than summer tyres in snow conditions but are not submitted to any kind of mandatory test for winter perforamances, contrary to tyres with the "3PMSF" marking (3 peak montain snow flake). Hence, the M+S marking does not guarantee you any minimal level of performance required on snow or ice.

3PMSF (3 Peak Montain Snow Flake) marked tyres are winter tyres that have been approved through a regulation test to ensure the right level of performance under winter condition.
The tests (braking on snow or traction on snow) are carried out by independent test organisations.

Winter tyres should be mounted on your vehicle as soon as the temperature falls consistently below 7° C, usualy from mid October to mid April, depending on weather.
Winter tyres are mainly designed to guarantee you optimal safety and mobility in winter conditions. These performances are brought to you through a rubber compounds which remains soft under low temperatures and a highly grooved sculpture. Thanks to leading technologies, Michelin winter tyres guarantee an excellent level of performance while maintaining longevity close to that of summer tyres.

Yes you do! To maintain a good control of your vehicle and to remain safe, we advise you to fit your car with 4 winter tyres. Just fitting two winter tyres on the drive axle , will guarantee you motricity for starting-up only.
Besides :

  • with winter tyres fitted on the front axle only, traction is unbalanced at the rear and the car might go from head to tail
  • a rear axle drive car with winter tyres fitted at the rear only is unbalanced at the front and risks going straight on in curves.
No, as with summer tyres, Michelin advises you to check air pressure once a month. The lower the temperature, the lower the air pressure measured in a tyre.
There is no legal obligation to mount four tyres of the same brand on a given vehicle. However in order to optimise the performances of our products and obtain a perfect homogeneity between the front and rear axles, we recommend that four identical tyres be mounted on a vehicle (same brand, same tyre model, same load and speed indexes).
No, if the size of your winter tyres is the same as that of your summer tyres, there is no obligation to change rims or wheels. If the size is different you may have to change rims. Check the size and diameter recommended for your car. On the other hand, investing in specific rims for your winter tyres today, can allow you to save money on fitting / unfitting costs when alterning summer and winter tyres in the future.
Yes, It is quite common and permissible during winter driving to use a winter tyre with a lesser speed rating than the O.E. tyre. If a lower speed-rated tyre is selected, then the vehicle top speed becomes limited to that of the lower speed rating selected. You must be informed of the new speed restriction.
Nothing has a greater impact on a tyre's safety, performance, longevity, tread-wear and even your overall vehicle handling and fuel consumption than tyre air pressure. As for summer tyre, winter tyre pressure should be checked every month.

Michelin recommands to use summer tyre in summer and tyres with winter certification (3PMSF)in winter. Summer tyre guarantee the maximal safety performance during summer either on dry and wet roads. As an illustration, breaking from 80 to 0 kph between 11 to 26°C, on wet roads will take 4 m shorter with summer tyres than with a winter tyres. On dry road, breaking from 50 to 0 kph under the same temperature condition will take 1.5m shorter with summer tyres than with winter tyre.

Test realised by TÜV SÜDin 2013 on dimesnion 205/55 16 H.

Have your tyre aspect checked regulary (during car maintenance). After 5 years, a tyre specialist should check your tyre every year. After 10 years, tyres should be replaced. As for summer tyres, winter tyres should be replaced when the legal tread wear indicator is reached (1.6mm remaining tread depth). In addition, for MICHELIN Winter tyres, a marking in the shape of a snow flake on the tyre sidewall indicates the location of a wear indicator at 4mm remaining tread depth. This intermediate wear indicator is usefull to support users in some European countries with special winter regulation . Nevertheless, thanks to the MICHELIN 3D sipes on the full tread depth, Michelin winter tyres maintain their winter performance below this indicator.

Not necessarily, fuel consumption depends on the kind of summer and winter tyres you compare. The European labelling indicates various tyre performance levels, such as the RR (Rolling Resistance) grade (A, B, C, E or F) associated to each tyre. In the same size, you can find summer tyres with a lower RR labelling score (hence lower fuel consumption) than a winter tyre, but the reverse is also true.
No, the European labelling for winter tyres is identical to that of summer tyres. However, the conditions for reaching the different grades regarding wet grip are different for each tyre category (winter/summer).

As for summer tyres, you should replace your winter tyres when the legal tread wear indicator is reached (1.6mm remaining tread depth). In addition, for MICHELIN Winter tyres, a marking in the shape of a snow flake on the tyre sidewall indicates the location of a wear indicator at 4mm remaining tread depth. This intermediate tread wear indicator is usefull to support users in some European countries with special winter regulations. Nevertheless, thanks to the MICHELIN 3D sipes on the full tread depth, Michelin winter tyres maintain their winter performance below this indicator.

For more information,click here

When moving to winter tyres, the only legal obligation is to fit dimensions homologated by the car maker. Some drivers, especially in Germany, choose to fit a smaller dimension for their winter tyres than for their summer tyres.For example 225/45R17 in summer and 205/55R16 or 195/65R15 in winter.
No performance improvement related to this "downsizing" has been demonstrated. The advantages of downsizing lie in the cost saving (at the expense of esthetism) as well as in facilitating chains fitment for some vehicles.
Please notice that some vehicles are homologated with specific dimension(s) for winter : the homologated dimensions are mentioned on the car door placard, on the registration card in Germany, in the maintenance booklet in France, and in all countries in the conformity certificate.

The regulation on winter tyres vary according to countries. Please refer to the map below :

For more information,click here

Ice tyres are designed for extemely severe winter conditions (snow - ice - very cold temperatures such as those encountered in Northern Europe).
There are 2 types of ice tyres : non studded ice tyres and studded ice tyres. They are designed to deliver maximum performances on icy roads.
Studded tyres usage is regulated by national or regional legislation. It is of upmost importance to enquire about it before fitting tyres.

For more information,click here

You should fit snow chains in these two situations :
- when snow chains fitment is mandatory, for example on some montain roads. Bear in mind that winter tyres are not recognised as special equipement.
- whenever the tyres fitted on your car do not provide enough motricity (for exemple on a very steep ramp).
In most cases, winter tyres enable you to drive safely and to be compliant with the regulation in winter. This does not prevent you from keeping some snow chains in your boot to face any axceptional situation.

Technical Info and Definitions

You can see a lot of inscriptions on the sidewalls of your tyres (letters, numbers, symbols…). These inscriptions all have a signification and contain important information. Here is way to decrypt them.
http://thetiredigest.michelin.com/an-unknown-object-the-tire-marking

The load index is a numerical code indicating the maximal load a tyre can bear at a given pressure. As an exemple, a load index of 105 means that the tyre can bear 925kg load at a pressure of 2,5 bars.

 

Load Index Load per tyre in kg Load Index Load per tyre in kg Load Index Load per tyre in kg
70 335 87 545 104 900
71 345 88 560 105 925
72 355 89 580 106 950
73 365 90 600 107 975
74 375 91 615 108 1000
75 387 92 630 109 1030
76 400 93 650 110 1060
77 412 94 670 111 1090
78 425 95 690 112 1120
79 437 96 710 113 1150
80 450 97 730 114 1180
81 462 98 750 115 1215
82 475 99 775 116 1250
83 487 100 800 117 1285
84 500 101 825 118 1320
85 515 102 850 119 1360
86 530 103 875 120 1400

Never exceed the load-carrying limits moulded on the sidewall of the tyres or the maximum vehicle axle load limit as shown on the vehicle tyre placard, whichever is less. Overloading builds up excessive heat in the tyre and could lead to failure.

 

Load Index Load per tyre in kg Load Index Load per tyre in kg Load Index Load per tyre in kg
70 335 87 545 104 900
71 345 88 560 105 925
72 355 89 580 106 950
73 365 90 600 107 975
74 375 91 615 108 1000
75 387 92 630 109 1030
76 400 93 650 110 1060
77 412 94 670 111 1090
78 425 95 690 112 1120
79 437 96 710 113 1150
80 450 97 730 114 1180
81 462 98 750 115 1215
82 475 99 775 116 1250
83 487 100 800 117 1285
84 500 101 825 118 1320
85 515 102 850 119 1360
86 530 103 875 120 1400

The speed index indicates the maximum speed that the tyre can bear in the conditions specified by the manufacturer.

Speed code Km/h Speed code Km/h Speed code Km/h
N 140 T 190 Y 300
Q 160 H 210 ZR(Y) > 300
R 170 V 240 ZR > 240
S 180 W 270  
N.B.: For the speed codes V, W and Y (whether or not marked ZR) restrictions concerning the load capacity appear: from 210 km/hour for the V code, 240 km/hour for the W code and 270 km/hour for the Y code.

The DOT inscription on the sidewalls of your tyres, provides information on place and date of production.
Example:
DOT FT WC 03RX 0113
The first two digits following DOT designate the tyre's manufacturer and plant code. The third and fourth characters denote the tyre size. The fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth (optional) characters identify the brand and other significant characteristics of the tyre. The ninth and tenth characters denote the week in which the tyre was produced. The final number(s) signifies the year in which the tyre was manufactured.

Please note that for tyres produced prior to the year 2000, the last 3 digits of a DOT number represent the week (2 digits) and the year (1 digit) of production. So if the last three digits are 439, the tyre was produced in the 43rd week of 1999.

 

Each tyre has a required Department of Transportation (DOT) number imprinted on at least one of its sidewalls. That number begins with the letters "DOT" and may contain up to 12 additional numbers and letters.
The first and last digits are the most important:

  • The first two letters or numbers identify the tyre’s manufacturer and plant code.
  • Prior to the year 2000, the last 3 digits of a DOT number represented the week (2 digits) and the year (1 digit) of production. So if the last three digits are 439, the tyre was produced in the 43rd week of 1999.
  • Tyres produced after 1 January 2000, have a 4-digit date code at the end of the DOT number. The first 2 digits represent the week of production and the last 2 digits represent the last 2 digits of the year of production. So, 0113 indicates that the tyre was produced in the 1st week of the year 2013.

 

The "GEEN X" logo appears on the new MICHELIN tyre ranges. It identifies green tyres with and an excellent level of energy efficiency. These tyres allow you to reduce your fuel consumption, offer a good longevity as well as a very good grip on wet roads.

It is mandatory that the replacement tyre speed rating be equal to or higher than that of the O.E. tyre-size speed rating. In case of winter tyre fitment, regulation allows to downgrade speed rating, if a lower speed-rated tyre is selected, then the vehicle top speed becomes limited to that of the lower speed rating selected. Your dealer should provide you a sticker (to be put in a visible place in your car) inidcaing the maximum speed of the tyre fitted.
Tyres of different size designations, constructions and stages of wear may affect vehicle handling and stability. For the best all-around performance, Michelin recommands that all tyres be of the same size, construction (radial,non-radial) and speed rating. If tyres of different speed ratings are mounted on a vehicle, the same size, type and speed ratings need to be placed on the same axle, the tyres with the lower speed rating will be the determining factor for permissible tyre-related vehicle speed. Never mix radial and bias-ply tyres on the same axle. Get specific information from your Dealer.

A run-flat tyre enables you to keep on driving for some kilometres, in case of a puncture or pressure loss. There are different kinds of run flat tyres on the market.

  • Michelin's solution is ZP (zero pressure) technology. The tyres with this technology have reinforced sidewalls designed to support the load in case of a pressure drop. You can keep on driving up to 50 miles/ 80 km (depending on road conditions and vehicle load) at a maximum speed of 50 miles/hour (80 km/h) with zero pressure inside.

In order to realise the zero pressure benefits, the tyres must be mounted on proper wheels and the wheels must be equipped with an operational, Michelin-approved low tyre air pressure warning system (TPMS).

  • Hence, with these tyres you benefit from additional safety in case of sudden air loss and you don't need a spare tyre.
  • Warning: Run Flat technology does not suppress the need to monitor tyre pressure on a regular basis.
Zero pressure tyres are designed to operate for a limited time with little or no air pressure without causing damage to the tyre casing. In order to realise the zero pressure benefits, the tyres must be mounted on proper wheels and the wheels must be equipped with an operational, Michelin-approved low tyre air pressure warning system (TPMS).
Avoid second-hand tyres – you can never know what hazards and abuse a previously owned tyre has suffered. Internal damage can lead to dangerous tyre failure.

Please remember, Plus Sizing must be taken with proper care. When replacing tyres with optional size designations, be sure to check the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations (found in the owner’s manual or on a door sticker). Interchangeability is not always possible because of the difference in load ratings, tyre dimensions, wheel-well clearance and rim size. However, if you can provide the original equipment tyre size and the tyre size that you wish to install, we can give you solutions and advice.

 
All tyre dimensions are associated to a range of rim width compatible with them
The rim width range is extremely important. This range represents proper rim widths that will assist the tyre/wheel assembly in meeting its performance potential. To achieve the best balance between ride, handling and tread wear, select a rim width in the middle the range.
To improve cornering traction and steering response, choose a rim at or near the maximum width. The wider the rim width, the straighter the sidewall and the quicker the steering response. Conversely, using a rim width at the low end of the range will cause the tyre to balloon or curve out, slowing steering response.
Please ask your dealer to get the rim width range associated to your tyre dimension.
On 4x4 vehicles, Michelin strongly recommends that tyres are used in identical sets of four (same size, make, pattern, load index/speed symbol). An exception is where the vehicle was originally fitted with different tyre sizes front to rear. The vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations should also be followed.
Mixing different brands of tyre or even different patterns of the same brand can result in the front and rear axles being forced to try and rotate at different speeds, potentially causing mechanical stresses in the transmission system, especially the central differential.
Comply with the vehicle manufacturer’s advice. This often covers subjects such as tyre specifications, tyre permutation, winter fitments, fitting snow chains, etc.
When fitting Cold Weather tyres, they should be fitted on all 4 wheels.
Tyres with directional tread patterns are designed to roll only in one direction. They must be mounted so that the primary direction of rotation matches the directional arrows on the tyre sidewall. If all four tyres are the same size, directional tyres can be rotated front to back.Tyres with tread patterns that are both asymmetric and directional require left and right specific tyres. Sidewall markings will identify the side of the vehicle and the primary direction of rotation for the tyre. If all four tyres are the same size, they can be rotated front to back.

Tread-wear indicators ("wear bars") are located on the tread pattern, at the base of the main grooves and are equally spaced around the tyre. The tread-wear indicators, which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread, will appear on the tyre when there is 1.6mm of tread depth remaining, which is the minimum legal threshold. When you see these wear bars, the tyre is worn out and it's time to replace it.
In addition, for MICHELIN Winter tyres, a marking in the shape of a snow flake on the tyre sidewall indicates the location of a wear indicator at 4mm remaining tread depth. This intermediate tread wear indicator is usefull to support users in some European countries with special winter regulations. Nevertheless, thanks to the MICHELIN 3D sipes on the full tread depth, Michelin winter tyres maintain their winter performance below this indicator.

Tyre Care and Maintenance

Never try to mount your own tyres. Tyre mounting is a job for people who have the proper equipment and experience. If you try to do it yourself, you run the risk of serious injury to yourself as well as possible damage to the tyre and rim.

Yes. Here are several tips to help increase the life of your tyres:

  • Don’t speed. High speeds can generate excessive heat, which can increase the rate of tyre wear. Drive at the safe, legal speed limit.
  • Avoid fast turns on curves and around corners.
  • Avoid fast starts and panic stops.
  • Don’t ride on the edge of the road or drive over kerbs, potholes or other obstructions.

For more driving tips, such as seasonal driving, click here.

Special treatment is not required for your new tyres. However, drive carefully while you get accustomed to them. You may feel a difference when accelerating, braking, cornering or possibly driving in wet conditions.

Properly maintained tyres can help to give you a more comfortable ride and a longer tread life. So:

  • Check your tyre pressure monthly with a tyre-pressure gauge (and make sure that the tyres are cold – at least 3 hours after driving).
  • Check your tyres frequently for any cuts, snags, punctures, any other injury, or irregular tyre wear.
  • At the first sign of irregular tread-wear, have your alignment checked.
  • Make sure that the tyres are balanced when they are mounted on the wheels.
  • Rotate your tyres following the schedule in your vehicle owners manual or as required by the tyre manufacturer’s warranty.

For more tyre maintenance tips, click here.

Tyres should be stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight, sources of heat and ozone such as hot pipes and electric generators. Exposure to these elements during prolonged periods of time will exhaust the tyre's oxidation and weathering agents within the rubber compounds and result in cracking. Be sure that the surfaces on which the tyres are stored are clean and free from grease, fuel or other substances that could deteriorate the rubber.
We recommend using a soft brush and mild soap to clean tyres. Tyre dressings that contain petroleum products or alcohol can accelerate the ageing process and contribute to cracking.
Michelin does not endorse the use of after-market conditioners. The effects of such products are unknown as it would be impossible to test all of the products on the market today.
We cannot test all products being marketed today, and do not certify or endorse any of these after-market products for efficiency or compatibility.

Because some of these products may degrade the inner liner of tyres, caution should be taken. The long-term effect of these products is unknown (chemical reaction when exposed to pressure, temperature and time). 

Because some of these products may be flammable, we strongly urge you to advise a tyre dealer of the use of these products before having the tyre and wheel serviced. Failure to do so could lead to serious injury or death.

Please refer to the warnings and instructions provided by the manufacturers of these products regarding their use. 

We neither approve nor disapprove the use of these products.

We advise you to rotate your tyres regularly according to your car manual instructions or else once a year or every 7000-10000km.
Why permute tyres ?
To improve safety, longevity and road holding of your tyres through :

  • minimising abnormal and uneven wear phenomenon
  • preserving transmission elements on 4x4 vehicles

Please refer to the car manufacturer’s instructions regarding permutation. In the absence of such specific instructions, the following illustrations indicate the permutations between front and rear tyres to be done according to vehicle and tyre types.
We advise you to have this done by a professional who will be able to check your tyres and guarantee their good operation on the vehicle.

 

Each tyre has a required Department of Transportation (DOT) number imprinted on at least one of its sidewalls. That number begins with the letters "DOT" and may contain up to 12 additional numbers and letters.
The first and last digits are the most important:

  • The first two letters or numbers identify the tyre’s manufacturer and plant code.
  • Prior to the year 2000, the last 3 digits of a DOT number represented the week (2 digits) and the year (1 digit) of production. So if the last three digits are 439, the tyre was produced in the 43rd week of 1999.
  • Tyres produced after 1 January 2000, have a 4-digit date code at the end of the DOT number. The first 2 digits represent the week of production and the last 2 digits represent the last 2 digits of the year of production. So, 0113 indicates that the tyre was produced in the 1st week of the year 2013.

Many factors can affect the tread life of your tyres, such as:

  • Tread compounds
  • Construction features
  • Vehicle application
  • Tyre maintenance
  • Geographic conditions
  • Atmospheric conditions
  • Driving habits
  • And more

That’s why exact mileage is impossible to predict. Take special care when braking, accelerating and cornering, etc., to help increase the life of the tyre.

After 5 years of use, your tyres should be inspected by a professional at least once a year. If it is necessary to change them, follow the recommandations of the car manufacturer regarding the replacement of original equipments. By precaution, tyres should be replaced after 10 years even if they seem in a good general shape and they have not reached their tread wear threshold. (to know the manufacturing date of a tyre please refer to the question How can I find the date of production of my tyre?

Tread-wear indicators ("wear bars") are located on the tread pattern, at the base of the main grooves and are equally spaced around the tyre. The tread-wear indicators, which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread, will appear on the tyre when there is 1.6mm of tread depth remaining, which is the minimum legal threshold. When you see these wear bars, the tyre is worn out and it's time to replace it.
In addition, for MICHELIN Winter tyres, a marking in the shape of a snow flake on the tyre sidewall indicates the location of a wear indicator at 4mm remaining tread depth. This intermediate tread wear indicator is usefull to support users in some European countries with special winter regulations. Nevertheless, thanks to the MICHELIN 3D sipes on the full tread depth, Michelin winter tyres maintain their winter performance below this indicator.

 

Tread-wear indicators ("wear bars") are located on the tread pattern, at the base of the main grooves and are equally spaced around the tyre. The tread-wear indicators, which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread, will appear on the tyre when there is 1.6mm of tread depth remaining, which is the minimum legal threshold. When you see these wear bars, the tyre is worn out and it's time to replace it.
In addition, for MICHELIN Winter tyres, a marking in the shape of a snow flake on the tyre sidewall indicates the location of a wear indicator at 4mm remaining tread depth. This intermediate tread wear indicator is usefull to support users in some European countries with special winter regulations. Nevertheless, thanks to the MICHELIN 3D sipes on the full tread depth, Michelin winter tyres maintain their winter performance below this indicator.

While most tyres will need replacement before they achieve 10 years, it is recommended that any tyres in service for 10 years or more from the date of manufacture, including spare tyres, be replaced with new tyres as a simple precaution even if such tyres appear serviceable and even if they have not reached the legal wear limit.

For tyres that were on an original equipment vehicle (i.e. acquired by the consumer on a new vehicle), follow the vehicle manufacturer’s tyre replacement recommendations, when specified (but not to exceed 10 years).

The date when a tyre was manufactured is located on the sidewall of each tyre. Consumers should locate the Department of Transportation or DOT code on the tyre which begins with DOT and ends with the week and year of manufacture. For example, a DOT code ending with “2204” indicates a tyre made in the 22nd week (May) of 2004.

Never choose a smaller size than those that came with the car. Tyres should always be replaced with the same size designation - – or approved options – as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer or authorised dealer

When moving to winter tyres, some drivers, especially in Germany, choose to fit a smaller dimension for their winter tyres than for their summer tyres.For example 225/45R17 in summer and 205/55R16 or 195/65R15 in winter. The only legal obligation is to fit dimensions homologated by the car maker.
No performance improvement related to this "downsizing" has been demonstrated. The advantages of downsizing lie in the cost saving (at the expense of esthetism) as well as in facilitating chains fitment for some vehicles.
Please notice that some vehicles are homologated with specific dimension(s) for winter : the homologated dimensions are mentioned on the car door placard, on the registration card in Germany, in the maintenance booklet in France, and in all countries in the conformity certificate.

If a tyre loses all or most of its air pressure, it must be removed from the wheel for a complete internal inspection to be sure that it's not damaged. Tyres that are run for even short distances while flat are often damaged beyond repair. Most punctures, nail holes, or cuts of up to 0.6 cm (1/4 inch) - – confined to the tread - – may be satisfactorily repaired by trained personnel using industry-approved methods. Don't repair tyres with tread punctures of larger than 0.6 cm (1/4 inch), or any sidewall puncture. Also, never repair tyres which are worn below 1,6mm tread depth. Your best bet is to make sure that your spare tyre is always ready to do the job. Check it regularly for proper air pressure and be sure that it is in good shape. If your car is equipped with one of the several types of temporary spares, be sure to check the spare tyre's sidewall for the correct inflation pressure, speed and mileage limitations. See your dealer for expert tyre repair.

The vehicle manufacturer selects the size and type of tyres optimal for their vehicles. They perform the necessary testing to establish the vehicles’ optimised operating tyre inflation pressures, which you can found on the vehicle placard (located on the inside of the driver's door) and in the vehicle owners’ manual.

If the tyres on your vehicle are the same size as the original equipment tyre, inflate them to the pressures indicated on the placard.

If the size of the tyres is different than the size indicated on the placard, please contact us via phone or e-mail for a pressure recommendation. We will need the following information from the tyre and wheel placard:

  • the original equipment tyre size
  • the vehicle manufacturer's inflation pressure.
This information can be found on the vehicle placard (located on the inside of the driver's door) and in the vehicle owners’ manual.

The tyre size and tread design that was originally equipped on your vehicle may be used on other vehicles, some of which being heavier than others, therefore requiring higher air pressure for additional load-carrying capacity.

The maximum pressure on the sidewall of the tyre is the maximum pressure for the tyre. The manufacturer of the vehicle has determined the appropriate air pressure for the application based on vehicle weight, to provide the best ride, tread wear, performance, etc. For applications such as towing, pulling and hauling, etc., air pressure should be increased accordingly.

You need to respect the tyre pressure recommended by the car manufacturer.It can be found on the vehicle placard (located on the inside of the driver's door) and in the vehicle owners’ manual.
Air pressure in tyres, including the spare, should be checked at least monthly and always before extended driving. Tyres should be checked when they are cold (at least three hours after the vehicle has been stopped and before it is driven more than one mile or two kilometres). Do not reduce pressure when tyres are hot; use an accurate air-pressure gauge to check pressure and maintain it at the level recommended on the vehicle tyre vehicle placard or in the vehicle owner’s manual. Under-inflation produces extreme flexing of the tyre and builds up heat to the point that tyre failure may occur. Over- or under-inflation may adversely affect vehicle handling. Cold tyre pressures should never be higher than the limit moulded on the sidewall.
When installing a different size than the original equipment tyre, all vehicle manufacturer specifications must be maintained. The replacement tyre should be inflated to provide the same load capability of the original tyre size at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.

Please contact one of our Consumer Care agents to determine the correct pressure for the optional tyre size that you are installing or visit your local tyre retailer for assistance.

Nitrogen is an inert gas. It is simply dry air with the oxygen removed (air contains nearly 79% Nitrogen). The physical properties of nitrogen reduce the pressure loss due to the natural permeability of the materials of the tyre. Unfortunately, there are other possible sources of leaks (tyre/rim interface, valve, valve/rim interface and the wheel) which prevent the guarantee of pressure maintenance for individuals using air or nitrogen inflation. Tyres manufactured by Michelin are designed to deliver their expected performance when inflated with air or nitrogen, as long as the user respects the pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer on the vehicle's placard or those of the tyre manufacturer. Whether they are inflated with air or nitrogen, regular pressure maintenance remains critical because under-inflated tyres lead to:

  • a reduction in road holding
  • a reduction in wet traction capability
  • an increased sensitivity to road hazards
  • a reduction in tread-life
  • an increase in fuel consumption
  • a reduction in tyre life due to excessive heat from over deflection
A vehicle is said to be properly aligned when all suspension and steering components are sound and when the tyre and wheel assemblies are running straight and true. Proper alignment is necessary for even tread wear and precise steering. Uneven front or rear tyre wear, or changes in your vehicle's handling or steering response (i.e. pulling to one side) can indicate misalignment. Many vehicles today are equipped with rear suspensions that can be adjusted for alignment. Your vehicle many need a "front-end" alignment or a "four-wheel" alignment, depending on the symptoms you are experiencing. The moderate cost of having your vehicle aligned can more than pay for itself in tyre mileage, performance and comfort.
Proper balancing is critical for optimal vehicle performance, especially at today's higher motorway speeds. When tyre and wheel assemblies are unbalanced, a vibration can result from wheel and assembly shimmy (shaking from side to side) or wheel assembly tramp (tyre and wheel hopping up and down). Therefore, it is important that these assemblies are in both static and dynamic balance.
In addition to performing regular maintenance, you must also keep an eye out for potential problems that might affect your tyres. Regular inspections can help you prevent tyre trouble, and keep you rolling safely down the road.
When inspecting your tyres, look for:
Uneven tread wear
This can include more wear on one tread edge than the other, a rippled pattern of high and low wear, or exposed steel wire. Uneven wear can be caused by problems such as under-inflation, misalignment and improper balancing.
Shallow tread.
Bald tyres tend to skid and slide on the road, and are more likely to be damaged by potholes and other road hazards. The tread on your tyre should be at least 1.6mm (1/16 of an inch) deep. If it isn’t, the tyre must be replaced. To help you see tread problems, tyres have built-in “tread-wear indicators”. These are narrow bars of smooth rubber that run across the tread: When the tread is even with the bars, it is worn down to the minimum level and must be replaced immediately.
Troublemakers.
Check for small stones, pieces of glass, bits of metal and other foreign objects that might be wedged into the tread, and carefully pick them out. They can cause serious problems if they are pushed further into your tyre as you drive.
Damaged areas.
Cracks, cuts, splits, punctures, holes and bulges in the tread or on the sides of the tyre can indicate serious problems, and the tyre may need to be replaced.
Slow leaks. Tyres lose some air pressure (about 2 psi) over the course of a month or so, but if you find that you have to add air every few days, have the tyre, wheel and valve checked – and if necessary, repair or replace the tyre.
Valve caps.
Those little caps on your tyre’s valve stem keep moisture and dirt out, so make sure they are on all your tyres. Also, when you have a tyre replaced, have a new valve stem assembly installed at the same time.
Driving on a damaged tyre can be dangerous. If you see something that you’re not sure about during your inspection, have it examined by your tyre dealer. Any time that you see damage to a tyre, don’t drive on it – use a spare if you need to go somewhere. And finally, pay attention to the “feel” of your tyres as you drive. A rough ride may indicate tyre damage or excessive wear. If you notice vibrations or other disturbances while driving, and/or you suspect possible damage to your tyre or vehicle, immediately reduce speed, drive with caution until you can safely pull off the road and stop, and inspect your tyres. If a tyre is damaged, deflate it and replace it with your spare. If you do not see any tyre damage and cannot identify the source of the vibration, take the vehicle to a tyre dealer for a thorough inspection.

If replacing only two new tyres, be sure that the new tyres are the same size & tyre type as the current tyres and that the dealer always installs the new tyres on the rear axle of the vehicle. Click here for more information.

Why Put the Two New Tyres on the Rear Axle?

  • The New tyres will provide better wet grip than your half-worn tyres.
  • It will help to reduce the potential for the vehicle to fish-tail and lose stability in wet conditions.

Tyre Replacement

Tread-wear indicators ("wear bars") are located on the tread pattern, at the base of the main grooves and are equally spaced around the tyre. The tread-wear indicators, which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread, will appear on the tyre when there is 1.6mm of tread depth remaining, which is the minimum legal threshold. When you see these wear bars, the tyre is worn out and it's time to replace it.
In addition, for MICHELIN Winter tyres, a marking in the shape of a snow flake on the tyre sidewall indicates the location of a wear indicator at 4mm remaining tread depth. This intermediate tread wear indicator is usefull to support users in some European countries with special winter regulations. Nevertheless, thanks to the MICHELIN 3D sipes on the full tread depth, Michelin winter tyres maintain their winter performance below this indicator.

Here are a few things to look at when choosing tyres :

1. Your tyre size
When changing your tyres, make sure they're the same as your vehicle's original equipment tyre size. If you're not sure about the right size, use our Tyre Selector to find the right tyre for your vehicle or read the sidewall of your existing tyre.

2. Your climate and usage condition
You won't need the same type of tyre if you never, occasionally or often encounter winter conditions.
Besides, if you enjoy driving in a sporty manner, your tyres should have the necessary characteristics to assist you - consistent with road safety rules or consistent with track day requirements


3. Watch the performances
Once you know which type of tyre is suitable for you, compare the different performances such as braking under different road conditions, handling, …but also other important criteria such as longevity and fuel efficiency which will help you make savings in the long run. The European labelling can help you to assess the wet grip, fuel efficiency (rolling resistance), and noise performance.

If tyres of different speed ratings are mounted on a vehicle, the lower speed-rated tyres should be placed on the front axle. This is to prevent a potential over-steer condition. Vehicle handling may be affected, and the vehicle’s speed capacity is now limited to the lowest speed-rated tyre.
If the tyre have no M+S marking the Speed index must be at least egual or superior than the Speed index of the original fitment. Please consult your local regulation.

For the best all-around performance, the same type of tyre should be used on all four wheel positions. Tyres of different size designations, constructions and stages of wear may affect vehicle handling and stability. NOTE: Some vehicles are intentionally fitted with different size tyres on the front and rear.
For four-wheel drive vehicles, if no instructions for tyre mixing appear in the vehicle owner’s manual, adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Do not mix sizes. All four tyres must be branded with the same tyre size.
  • Do not mix radial and bias-ply tyres. All four must be either radial or bias-ply.
  • Ensure that the outside circumference of all four tyres is within 2.5 cm (1”) of each other.
  • Do not mix different tread patterns.
When replacing speed-rated tyres, you must use replacement tyres with ratings equal to or greater than those of the original equipment tyres, if the speed capability of the vehicle is to be maintained. The handling of a performance vehicle may be different when the replacement tyres are not the same speed rating. Refer to the vehicle owner’s manual to identify any tyre speed-rating restriction that could affect the operation of the vehicle. If you fit winter tyres (with M+S marking ) you have de possibility to decrease the speed-rated tyre , the vehicle’s speed capacity is now limited to the lowest speed-rated tyre of your car. Please consult the winter parts to get some details regarding speed-ratings and winter tyres.
Never choose a tyre that is smaller in size or has less load-carrying capacity than the tyre that came with the vehicle. Tyres should always be replaced with the same size designation – or approved options – as recommended by the vehicle or tyre manufacturer. The correct tyre size can be found on the door placard of the vehicle or by consulting your local authorised Michelin retailer. Your current tyre's size can be found by reading the markings on the sidewall.
When moving to winter tyres, some drivers, especially in Germany, choose to fit a smaller dimension for their winter tyres than for their summer tyres.For example 225/45R17 in summer and 205/55R16 or 195/65R15 in winter. The only legal obligation is to fit dimensions homologated by the car maker.
No performance improvement related to this "downsizing" has been demonstrated. The advantages of downsizing lie in the cost saving (at the expense of esthetism) as well as in facilitating chains fitment for some vehicles.
Please notice that some vehicles are homologated with specific dimension(s) for winter : the homologated dimensions are mentioned on the car door placard, on the registration card in Germany, in the maintenance booklet in France, and in all countries in the conformity certificate.
Michelin recommends replacing all four tyres at the same time, however if replacing only two new tyres, be sure that the new tyres are the same size & tyre type as the current tyres and that the dealer always installs the new tyres on the rear axle of the vehicle. Click here for more information.
  • The New tyres will provide better wet grip than your half-worn tyres.
  • It will help to reduce the potential for the vehicle to fishtail and lose stability in wet conditions.

The European labelling, now present on all new tyres for passenger cars and light trucks, brings you information on tyre safety (wet braking) and the tyre’s impact on the environment (rolling resistance and external noise).

Use this diagram to see how a tyre performs on fuel consumption.
Fuel-efficiency is graded from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).

Save up to 80 litres of fuel over the life of the tyres. That’s for a car fitted with four A-rated tyres driving at 50mph – it uses 7.5%1 less fuel than with G-rated tyres.
Results can vary with type of car or climatic conditions but the performance gaps are proven.

1)Performance measured in accordance with the testing methods set by Regulation CE 1222/2009. European Commission’s Impact Assessment SEC (2008) 2860.

This chart grades a tyre on how well it brakes in wet conditions. Performance scales from A (the safest, stopping in the shortest distances) down to G (least safe, with longest braking distances).

Stop up to 4 car lengths shorter. For a car fitted with four A-rated tyres driving at 50 mph, stopping distance can be up to 18 metres or 30%1 shorter than with G-rated tyres.

1)Performance measured in accordance with the testing methods set by Regulation CE 1222/2009. European Commission’s Impact Assessment SEC (2008) 2860.

This diagram shows you a tyre’s noise level in decibels (dB). The 3-wave pictogram tells you how it rates in relation to European mandatory limits. Tyre noise heard outside the car doesn’t necessarily relate to what you hear inside the car.

3 black waves = Noisier tyre. Level greater than the future limit but complies with today’s noise regulation
2 black waves = Average tyre. Noise level equal to or below future limit by up to 3 dB (A)
1 black wave = Low noise tyre. Noise level 3 dB (A) or more below future noise limit

3dB doesn’t sound much but it is actually double the noise level!

Labelling is a good start, but 3 other performance factors are just as important for you:

Tyre longevity: a longer-lasting tyre can cost you less in the long run. The right tyre could give you more than a year of extra driving compared to another tyre.

Road handling performance: 25% of accidents1 are on bends.

Dry braking performance: 70% of accidents1 occur on dry roads.

1)Verkehrsunfallforschung (VUFO) and Technical University of Dresden: 10,000 accidents analysed over 10 years.

Company Information

Please visit our corporate site at www.careers.michelin-us.com. There you can view all the current job openings, build a profile and learn what Michelin has to offer you.
Our strategy is to manufacture tyres in Europe for the european market whenever possible. In fact, the vast majority of our products sold in Europe, are built in our plants in Europe . And we have more than 30 different european sites on our continent.
However, we are an international company, with manufacturing operations at 68 plants across 17 countries around the world. To meet the needs of our customers by providing more specialised tyre lines in smaller quantities, some tyre lines can be imported into Europe .
Please be assured that no matter where your tyres are manufactured, they are built to the Michelin standards that have made our products the benchmark for the industry.

Tyre Problems

Michelin recommends following the vehicle constructor's technical specifications. However, a vehicle originally equipped with Michelin ZPs can be fitted with 4 standard tyres if the same speed and load indexes are maintained (except for winter tyres where the speed index can be reduced, but in this case the speed of driving must be adapted to this lower limit).
As a result, of course, the driver’s mobility will be impaired as driving on a flat standard tyre is impossible.

Road hazard damage is damage that occurs when a tyre fails as a result of a puncture, bruise or break incurred during the course of normal driving on a maintained road. Nails, glass and potholes are the most common examples of road hazards.

Avoid running over objects (e.g. chuckholes, rocks, curbs, metal, glass, etc.) which may cause internal tyre damage. Internal damage, not visible without demounting the tyre, may be caused when a tyre runs over an object. Continued use of a tyre that has suffered internal damage (which may not be externally visible) can lead to dangerous tyre failure. Determination of suspected internal damage requires demounting the tyre from its rim and examination by a trained tyre personnel.

When the center tread wears faster than the adjacent tread surfaces, possible causes include over inflation for load carried, rim width too narrow, misapplication, smooth wear after spin-out, improper tyre rotation practices, aggressive acceleration or under inflation for certain tyre types, such as performance tyres. 

If the tread depth is at or below 1,6mm in any groove or if cord material or under tread is exposed, the tyre must be replaced. If sufficient tread remains, verify proper rim width and vehicle fitment as well as verify/adjust inflation pressures, then rotate the tyres for maximum wear.

When the shoulder of the tread on one side of a tyre wears faster than the adjacent tread surface, this can result from a variety of conditions, such as front and/or rear misalignment (example, toe or camber), loose or worn suspension components, hard cornering, improper tyre rotation practices, misapplication, high crown roads or non-uniform mounting. 

If the tread depth is at or below 1,6mm in any groove or if either cord or under tread is exposed, the tyre must be replaced. If sufficient tread remains, verify that the tyre has been properly mounted, then rotate the tyres for maximum wear.

When tread is worn in one or more spots around the tyre circumference, this can indicate brake lock/skid, improper balance, localized underlying separation, loose/worn suspension components, improper bead seating/mounting, progression from initial tread cut/chip/road hazard injury or chemical contamination. Surface texture may have initially shown abrasion marks from the tyre sliding on the road, but the surface may have since worn smooth.
Feathering is a condition when the edge of each tread rib develops a slightly rounded edge on one side and a sharp edge on the other. The most common causes of feathering are incorrect toe-in setting or deteriorated bushings in the front suspension. The toe setting should be as close to 0 as possible for the optimum wear.

The tyres should be inflated to the pressure as indicated on the sticker on the inside of the driver’s door. The vehicle manufacturer has determined this pressure is optimal for load, ride, handling, rolling resistance and tread wear performance.

The brownish color on the sidewall of your tyres is not a defect. The source of this discoloration can be varied. One possibility is that the tyres contain an anti-ozone agent in their rubber compounds to slow down the ill effects of exposure to ozone in the air. This anti-ozone ingredient will migrate to the surface of the rubber and leave the appearance of a brownish dust. This is completely normal and technically is no cause for concern. In time, depending on usage, it will disappear.

Other possibilities for discoloration can be simply dust that is picked up from normal driving or brake dust which is generated by the abrasion of the brake pads against the brake rotor. This latter condition is more prevalent when the brakes are new or have recently been relined. In all cases, we recommend that you continue to clean your tyres with a mild soap and water.

Treadwear or life expectancy is determined by many factors:

Driving habits and style of driving, geographical location, type of vehicle, type of tyre, how vehicle is maintained, how tyres are maintained, etc.

As a result, mileage expectancy is impossible to determine.

We suggest that you have the tyres/vehicle inspected by a tyre retailer in your area to determine if there is perhaps a mechanical or maintenance issue that could be contributing to a rapid or irregular wear pattern.

An inspection of your tyres must be performed by a dealer.

Factors that can affect rapid tyre life are:

  • tyre maintenance (inflation and rotation)
  • vehicle maintenance (alignment and suspension)
  • driving styles and habits 
  • materials used in road surfaces
  • topography of the area the vehicle is driven in
The condition, sometimes referred to as sidewall undulations, is a common characteristic of radial tyre construction and are purely a visual characteristic and will not affect the performance of the tyre. These indentations are more noticeable in larger/wider radial-ply tyre sizes and become more visible with higher inflation pressures. The joining of the ply material in the sidewall area may cause a slight indentation or wavy appearance on the sidewall surface of the tyre when it is inflated. However, if bulges, rather than indentations appear on the sidewall of the tyre, or if there is any question concerning any sidewall indentations, please contact a tyre dealer for a tyre inspection.
Noise is most commonly due to an uneven or irregular wear pattern that has developed on the tyres. 
We suggest that you have the tyres inspected by a tyre retailer in your area.

The cause of Inside and Outside shoulder wear is normally due to improper inflation pressure, hard cornering, frequent mountain driving, improper tyre rotation practices or a rim width too wide for the tyre. Commercial delivery service vehicle tyres frequently experience this type of wear pattern. 

If the tyre's tread depth is at or below 1,6mm in any groove or if cord material or under tread is exposed, the tyre must be replaced. If sufficient tread remains, verify proper rim width and vehicle fitment as well as verify/adjust inflation pressures, then rotate the tyres for maximum wear.

A separation between the tread rubber and the underlying belt may be the result of cumulative poor inflation maintenance, improper inflation pressure, repair or storage, excessive load, speed or heat, prior impact damage, tread cut or puncture or run flat.

A tyre exhibiting this condition should be permanently removed from service.

The tyre industry refers to tyres in this condition as "run flat" which refers to a tyre that has lost air, whether it is from a slow loss or an immediate loss, and then subsequently run on. As the tyre continues to operate or "run" with significant amount of air loss, it reaches the "runflat" stage, where serious internal damage is caused by the excessive deflection of the casing. If the air loss continues, the inside of the deflected sidewall can actually rub against itself. When the internal abrasion weakens the casing sufficiently a blowout can occur. Additional damage is often done by the relatively sharp rim flange cutting into the fully deflated casing as it is driven after the blowout, even in the short distance it takes to drive the vehicle to the side of the road.

We are not indicating that the tyre was not maintained, but simply that it lost air. Some of the many factors which can cause a tyre to lose its inflated air pressure are penetrations, cuts, snags, impact breaks, valve stem leaks, incorrect mounting, just to name a few. While it may not be possible to pinpoint the cause of initial air loss, we know the outcome is underinflation damage.

The life of a tyre cannot be measured by miles /km alone. tyres are composed of various types of material and rubber compounds, having performance properties essential to the proper functioning of the tyre itself. These component properties evolve over time. For each tyre, this evolution depends upon many factors such as weather, storage many factors such as weather, storage conditions, and conditions of use (load, speed, inflation pressure, maintenance etc.) to which the tyre is subjected throughout its life. This service-related evolution varies widely so that accurately predicting the serviceable life of any specific tyre in advance is not possible. 

It is impossible to predict when tyres should be replaced based on their calendar age alone. However the older a tyre the greater the chance that it will need to be replaced due to the service-related evolution or other conditions found upon inspection or detected during use.

While most tyres will need replacement before they achieve 10 years, it is recommended that any tyres in service 10 years or more from the date of manufacture, including spare tyres, be replaced with new tyres as a simple precaution even if such tyres appear serviceable and even if they have not reached the legal wear limit.

Cupping can be attributed to bent or worn suspension parts, wheel misalignment, an imbalance of the tyre/wheel assembly, etc. Once this type of wear pattern has occurred, it is irreversible and the tyres will continue to wear unevenly.
Vibration is an indication that your car has a problem that needs attention. The tyres, steering system and suspension system should be checked to help determine the possible cause and correction of the vibration. If left unattended, the vibration could cause excessive tyre and suspension wear. It could even be dangerous.

Incorrect alignment settings can adversely affect handling. Tolerable camber, caster and toe settings can be verified by a print-out from your alignment/tyre shop or vehicle dealer. 

If the tyres are evenly worn, the alignment is in order and there is still a pull, the front tyres should be criss-crossed (as long as they are not a directional tread design) to see if the pull changes directions. 

This should be performed by a professional.

Cord material may become visible at the base of tread grooves or slots due to under inflation, misalignment, loose/worn suspension components, hard cornering, improper tyre rotation practices, misapplication, high crown road or non-uniform mounting.

If cord material is visible, the tyre must be replaced.