Michelin North America Inc. is using its stage at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to talk about worn tires, and the company wants tire dealers and the entire tire industry to follow its lead.
In the industry, safety is typically described through braking distance, and especially wet braking. Tests results show that braking performance among new tires is not equal. But Michelin's internal tests show that worn tires are even more unequal in their braking performances.
Michelin conducted internal tests that compared braking distances among specific tires in new and worn conditions to reveal how safety performance changes over time. The "worn" tires were buffed to the tread wear indicator, near the end of the tire's useful life (at 2/32-inch, as defined in many states).
The tests showed that some worn tires deliver wet-braking distances that are about the same or better than other new tires.
Making tires that offer good performance over the life the of the tire also brings other benefits — environmental and financial, Michelin said.
- Removing tires prematurely costs drivers more than $25 billion globally, accounting for increased fuel consumption and unnecessary tire purchases, according to independent research by EY.
- Early tire removal also wastes roughly 400 million tires a year worldwide, a massive impact on landfills and other end-of-life disposal networks.
Here's a video by Michelin that demonstrates the company's wet braking testing:
It was at the 2014 NAIAS that Michelin first started talking about the performance about worn tires — with the introduction of the Premier A/S tire.