Do I need new tires?
What are the basics?
There is no way to tell exactly how long a tire lasts. The lifespan and mileage of a tire depends of a combination of factors: its design, the driver’s habits, the climate, the road conditions and the care that's put into the tires.
A few milestones and tips:
1- Keep five years in mind
2- Ten years is a maximum
3- Proper care expands a tire’s lifespan
How to check the manufacturing date
After five years or more in use, your tires should be thoroughly inspected at least once per year by a professional.
If the tires haven't been replaced 10 years after their date of manufacture, as a precaution, Michelin recommends replacing them with new tires. Even if they appear to be in usable condition and have not worn down to the tread wear indicator.
This applies to spare tires as well.
You can increase your tire's longevity by maintaining the correct air pressure, performing regular tire rotations and vehicle maintenance.Check our Scheduled care tips
For original equipment: follow the vehicle manufacturer’s tire replacement recommendations.
Look for the DOT number on your sidewall.
What damages tires?
- Wear and damage
- Potholes, obstacles,curbs ,sharp objects, speed bumps
- Extreme temperatures
- Rain, snow and ice
- Oil, grease and other chemicals
- Strong sunlight and ozone
- Quick starts and emergency braking
- Driving on damaged roads
- Failure to notice a change in handling, noise or vibration
- Failure to consult a professional when something changes
Neglecting basic tire maintenance:
- Air pressure
- Not routinely checking for wear or damage
- Alignment and rotation
- Neglecting to get a professional tire inspection in the event a tire has been impacted or sustained damage
- Not balancing tires after they are installed
- Improper tire storage
- Use of sealants that have not been approved
- Using summer tires on snow and ice
- Mixing tire types
- Using tires on damaged wheels
- Using wheel and rim sizes that are not compatible
- Fitting tires that do not have a speed capability and load index at least equal to or higher than those originally specified by the vehicle manufacturer
- Reinflating a tire that has been run flat or seriously under inflated
- Using a spare tire of a different size at speeds in excess of 50 mph
Is my tire worn out?
We recommend to replace your tire if:
- The tread is worn beyond the recommended tread depth levels
1- Inspect your tire regularly and look for:
- Uneven tread wear
- Shallow tread
- Troublemakers (rocks, nails, etc.)
- Damaged areas
- Damaged valve caps
2- Pay attention to the “feel” of your tires as you drive.
- A rough ride may indicate tire damage or excessive wear.
- If you notice vibrations or other disturbances while driving, immediately reduce speed, drive with caution until you can safely pull off the road and stop, and inspect your tires.
- If a tire is damaged, deflate it and replace it with your spare. If you do not see any tire damage and cannot identify the source of the vibration, take the vehicle to a tire dealer for a thorough inspection.
3- See a professional
- If you see something you’re not sure about during your inspection, have it examined by your tire dealer.
To identify a specific problem.
How do I inspect my tire?
1- Check your air pressure
- It’s quick and can prevent many problems
- Do it once a month
2- Check the tread wear with one of the three methods:
- With a tread depth gauge
- With the tread wear indicators
- With the penny test
One easy way to check for wear is by using the penny test. All you have to do is grab your spare change and follow 3 easy steps.
- Take a penny and hold Abe's body between your thumb and forefinger.
- Select a point on your tire where tread appears the lowest and place Lincoln's head into one of the grooves.
- If any part of Abe Lincoln's head is covered by the tread, you're driving with the legal and safe amount of tread. If your tread gets below that (approximately 2/32 of an inch), your car's ability to grip the road in adverse conditions is greatly reduced.
3- Inspect your tires for wear and damage problems
We’ve created an easy-to-use online tool to help you identify issues and learn how to fix them.
When should I inspect my tires?
- Once every month
- Before you go on a long road trip.
Next steps :
- Any visible perforation, cut or deformation must be checked thoroughly by a tire professional.
- Only a tire professional can tell you if your tire can be repaired or has to be changed.
Spare tire: can I use it on a day-to-day basis?
Temporary spares have lighter construction to limit their weight on your vehicle so they don’t have the same speed or mileage capabilities. This could affect your vehicle’s stability. The only exception is if your spare tire is actually a 5th full-size tire that exactly matches the tires on your vehicle.
All-season / Summer / Winter tires: what is the difference?
To make sure that you are always safe, your tires need to be adapted to your current weather conditions.
The most popular tire on the road, built to handle “everyday” driving conditions. Its tread provides balanced dry and wet performance levels, as well as acceptable snow traction in regions with light winter weather. All-Season tires are a practical solution designed for year round usage with typically a long tread life.
These tires are primarily designed for high-performance vehicles and provide optimized dry and wet performance levels in a temperate environment. Summer tires are designed for year round usage but should not be used during the winter season where temperatures are colder and approach freezing consistently as their performance would be less than optimal.
3- Winter tire:
These tires are specifically designed to offer optimal levels of traction on ice, snow, and slush in addition to wet and dry road surfaces in severe cold weather conditions. Severe cold weather conditions are defined to occur when ambient temperatures are consistently below freezing and/or there is substantial winter precipitation. Winter tires are not intended for year round usage. All winter tires exhibit the Mountain Snow Flake marking indicating suitability for winter application.
These are off-road tires designed to give you excellent grip in mud, dirt and rocks. They can be driven on the road, but offer a louder ride noise than most other tires, along with less treadwear due to their unique tread design.
Do I need winter tires?
Yes, if you live in an area where the ambient temperature regularly approaches freezing point below 44°F or gets heavy snow or ice then you will likely need winter tires. At that temperature, the rubber on standard tires starts to harden and can lose its grip.
Winter tires vs. Summer tires in winter weather
- Winter tires are designed to perform better at lower temperatures and in a wide range of conditions such as wet roads, snow and ice. The difference in braking between winter tires and summer tires can be startling: a typical car travelling at just 31 mph on snow will take 52 yards to come to a full stop with summer tires – a scary 26 yards more than if the same car is equipped with winter tires.
When is it time to change my seasonal tires?
When the temperature regularly approaches freezing, replace your standard tires for winter tires.
Put your all-season or summer tires back on when the temperature regularly warms back up.
Can I use a high performance tire if my vehicle doesn't require one ?
- If you prefer a sportier look or feel to your drive, you may choose to upgrade your tires to “high-performance” tires with a higher speed rating.
- High performance tires are designed to give you higher speed.
- But to get that extra grip, you may give up some tread life.
*Exceeding the safe, legal speed limit is neither recommended nor endorsed.
Fuel consumption: how does upgrading impact it?
- High-performance tires with higher speed-ratings are designed to provide more grip. By definition that means comparatively lower fuel efficiency than for standard tires since more grip often means more rolling resistance and more effort needed from the engine to move the car forward. However, thanks to our Michelin Total Performance philosophy, we strive to deliver both great handling and fuel efficiency in our high-performance tires.
I want a bigger tire size: what do I need to know?
What is it?
Some performance-minded drivers upgrade their original equipment wheels with wider, bigger wheels. It’s called tire upgrading or plus sizing.
Why do it?
- It offers better handling when done properly
- It can make the vehicle look sportier
Two ways of doing it:
1- Plus 1, 2, Etc.
The most popular form of plus sizing is increasing your vehicle’s wheel diameter and your tire’s rim diameter. An example is changing from a 14” wheel to a 15” wheel. This is called “plus 1.” (Going from 14” to 16” is plus 2, etc.) To make plus-sizing work, the tire’s aspect ratio decreases while the wheel diameter increases. (Note: The overall diameter of the tire never changes, just the wheel diameter.)
2- Plus Zero
If you want to leave your wheel diameter the same, you can still change to a wider tire. (Note: You may need a wider wheel as well.) An example is going from a P195/75R14 tire to P215/65R14 tire. What this means is that your tire width will be wider (195 millimeters to 215), your aspect ratio will be smaller (75 to 65) but the wheel diameter stays the same (14 and 14). Why do this? A wider contact patch on the road can mean better grip and handling.
What Is Staggering?
A staggered fitment is putting larger wheels on the back of your vehicle than the front of your vehicle. This specification comes from the vehicle’s manufacturer, and is designed to improve performance on vehicles with rear-wheel-drive.
Very Important Plus-Sizing Legal:
Michelin recommends checking with the vehicle manufacturer to identify any restrictions to an alternate tire size. Changes in the tire/wheel diameter can affect vehicle systems such as gearing, traction and stability control systems, braking and speedometer reading. Some manufacturers have already tested and approved multiple wheel diameters, so be sure to ask your authorized MICHELIN tire dealer on any sizing needs.
What are run flats and who can use them?
What are "run flat" tires?
Run flat tires have specific technology to allow you to drive for a limited distance at a reduced speed after a puncture or a drop of tire pressure. MICHELIN® Zero Pressure (ZP) tires provide run-flat technology that allows you to drive up to 50 miles at 50 mph with a flat tire.
Can I mount run flat tires on any vehicle?
No, only vehicles that originally were equipped with run flat tires should mount them – these vehicles have some suspension and chassis modifications designed for run flat tires.
Can I mix run flat tires with normal tires?
- Never mix run flat tires with tires that do not have run flat technology (conventional tires) - unless in an emergency situation on a limited, temporary basis. The conventional tire should be replaced with a run flat tire as soon as possible.
- It is also not recommended to mix different run flat technologies/products together.
My run flat tire has been punctured. How long can I drive on it?
Run flat tires only allow you to drive for a limited distance and reduced speed after a puncture or other event has resulted in either a drop in tire inflation pressure or a complete loss of inflation pressure. If you have MICHELIN® Zero Pressure (ZP) tires, you can drive up to 50 miles at 50 mph with a flat tire.
My tire is low: what should I do?
A tire is low (or underinflated) when it doesn’t have sufficient air pressure to meet the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended psi (pressure per square inch). Underinflated tires lead to flats and tire blowouts.
Add air to your tire until it reaches the proper air pressure (in psi, as measured by an air pressure gauge). To find the air pressure recommended for your tire, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or find your recommended psi on the sticker on your door.
Never use tires that have driven with very low pressure unless they have been thoroughly examined internally and externally by a tire professional.
Internal damage is not visible while the tire is mounted; only a professional can tell whether the tire can be safely used again.
I need to replace my tire. Any advice?
- Michelin recommends replacing all four tires at the same time for maximum safety, to maintain even wear and traction on all four tires.
- Take time to research. You can replace your original equipment tires with the same tire or another tire that meets the original equipment specifications. See How to choose a tire
- See a professional to mount and align your new tires.
Replacing only two tires
When replacing two new tires instead of four, be sure that your new tires are the same size and tire type as your current tires, and that your dealer always installs the new tires on the rear axle of your vehicle.
Can I mix different speed-rated tires on my car?
If tires of different speed ratings are mounted on a vehicle, the lower speed-rated tires should be placed on the front axle. This is to prevent a potential oversteer condition. Vehicle handling may be affected, and the vehicle’s speed capacity is now limited to the lowest speed-rated tire.
What guidelines should I follow when mixing tires on 4WD vehicles?
If no instructions for tire mixing appear in the vehicle owner’s manual, adhere to the following guidelines:
- Do not mix sizes. All four tires must be branded with the same tire size.
- Do not mix radial and non-radial tires. All four tires must be either radial or non-radial.
- Be sure that the outside circumference of all four tires is within one (1) inch of each other.
- Do not mix tread pattern types such as all-terrain and all-season.
Watch the video below for more information:
Why Put New Tires on the Rear Axle?
- New tires will provide better wet grip than your half-worn tires.
- When new tires are installed on the rear, it helps reduce the potential for your vehicle to oversteer and loss of vehicle stability in wet conditions.