As parents, especially first-time parents, we research everything that involves our children, right? From the types of diapers to use to the best car seat. We want to make sure they stay safe at all times — at least as much as we can control. But, have you ever spent a lot of time researching tires for your car? The one that transports your baby, your child, your family?
Behind the Truth About Worn Tires
When you stop to think about it, you bet your life on your tires every time you climb into your vehicle. Your child’s life. In fact, once you really stop and think about it, do you also realize that your tires are only new the day you purchase them? All of us are driving on worn tires. Michelin, in an effort to open the conversation, recently invited a group of us out to authentically share the truth about worn tires. Starting simple, what are worn tires by definition?
Worn tires = when grooves are the same level as tread wear indicators (3/32 for testing purposes); often referred to as near the end of its life
Michelin believes “long-lasting performance is delivering good, consistent service or a period of time.” They know that the technology exists to design and manufacture tires that perform well in wet conditions – even when worn. Michelin also believes a tire design should be maintained throughout the life of the tire. They even admit, it’s “not rocket science, but it is science that all of us can understand.”
Given that statement, what did we learn while in South Carolina with Michelin?
Three Components of Good Wear Adherence by Design
- Adherent tread rubber (what’s it made of)
- Effective tread pattern (what does it look like)
- Proper contact patch shape (what’s is the shape of the portion touching the ground)
So, how do tires get good adherence? According to what we learned with Michelin, through the tread compound. Adherent tread compounds start with using the right materials, proper formulation, and the right mixture of each.
Fun Fact: Michelin was the first tire manufacturer to add silica to tires. They discovered that silica content is key, especially for wet traction. Therefore, when you begin researching tires, you need to think about the entire life of the tire. How will that tire perform when worn? Most consumers rarely look past how it feels driving on them the first few times.
What is the truth about worn tires?
- Some worn tires are better than other new tires
- Worn tires should be tested and drivers should have this information
- Replacement of tires prematurely has considerable financial and environmental impacts
- You can’t take tread components in isolation; it takes all three
- A rounded contact patch is going to be most efficient, even as the tire wears
- Good tire design maintains its shape and distributes stress evenly throughout the contact patch
The bottom line? All well-maintained tires should be designed to perform to the tread wear indicator. Tread depth alone is not a good indicator or performance. Just because tires perform well leaving the showroom floor, it doesn’t mean they will perform well worn. Consumers should know how well their tires will stop their vehicle in wet conditions when worn.
Ask your tire dealer the hard question:
How do these tires perform when worn?
One of the most significant takeaways from the event was this:
Brakes stop the wheels, the tires stop the cars.
Your tires are what hold your car on the road. They are a key component you rely on when you start your engine and begin driving. Don’t you think they deserve more than a casual glance at the price tag at the store? Think about it next time you’re shopping for tires. I know I will be!
More about the truth about worn tires with Michelin.