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I bought brand new michelin tires january 2006 bought them with 138,000 miles on my car and tread is nearly gone by 155,000 worse tires i have ever bought when i went back to the store. they quickly blamed my alignment but when i provided paper work of my alignments every year they soon sang a different song got the alignment done by mercedes itself they still refused to exchange the tires, michelin lost alot of points with me as a tire company but who can blame me they dont recieve good reviews by anyone basically
I will begin by saying that however much of a motoring enthusiast you are - or you are not, if you are a driver, then the four rubber bands between you and the road surface are, in terms of safety, the most important component on your whole car.
This being a "RICHADA" review, and to reinforce my point above, a short sharp shock story before arrival at the crux of the actual product review ..
.It makes me wince when I see people abusing tyres by bashing them over curbs or leaving a car balanced precariously on a curb, with only half of the tyre supporting maybe as much as 500kg in weight. I know a gentleman who does just this, and then his wife comes out with a horror story about suffering:
"A terrifying blow-out at 70mph in the outside lane of the M25".
Well dear, if he didn't bash the front nearside wheel over the curb every night when he came home then this frightening experience would have been avoided!
"How did YOU know that it was the front passenger side tyre that blew-out?" She asks.
"Oh, just an educated guess" say I as diplomatically as I can.
The best tyres in the world will not protect a serial abuser from harm; Mr Blow-Out's tyres were actually manufactured by Pirelli, a very good make of car tyre indeed.
A serial abuser? Yes, I am afraid so. Obviously I am not going to name and shame him, but one evening, some months after the blow out incident, we drew up and parked behind Mr Blow-Out's car. My wife, who does not even drive, had her attention drawn to a white ring around the outside tread band of the rear nearside tyre. Closer inspection revealed strands of steel, fully visible. I am not going to go into the technical details of tyre construction here, save to say that the inner steel bracing was visible on his tyre and that the rubber was fully worn away.
Apart from them being serial tyre abusers, we like our neighbours sufficiently well to knock on their door and point out the fact that the rear tyres on their (company owned) car were worn to an extremely dangerous extent. I kid you not, following that conversation it was SEVERAL weeks before those tyres were replaced!
For goodness sake, they did not even have to put their hands in their pockets to pay for replacements. They also have two children.
This is not a "discussion" piece, but it does pose a moral dilemma here: should I, or should I not, for the safety of not only those children, but also that of the general road using public, have contacted the police regarding this flagrant breach of the law?
TYRES AND THE LAW:
The law actually states that there should be 1.6mm, or more, of tread visible over at least 75% of the central tread area of the tyre. It also states that no part of the "ply or cord" should be visible. The fine is punitive; up to £2500 and three licence penalty points PER TYRE that breaches these important safety laws.
It also states that there may not be any splits or bulges in the tyre wall and that inflation pressures should comply with the manufacturer's recommendations.
OK, hands up! So far off subject, but I am hoping that a vital point has been made as strongly as I am able to do so, using real life, anecdotal evidence.
TYRES ARE A VITAL SAFETY COMPONENT ON ANY CAR!
Attempting to save money, by driving either on over-worn tyres, using cheap re-moulds or buying counterfeit tyres from dodgy outlets is potentially tantamount to suicide.
My advice, fit the best tyres that you can afford!
Once fitted get into the habit of checking them regularly, both the pressures and for visible signs of damage - after all your life, and the lives of those you hold dearest, could one day depend upon it.
OK, that is the legal and safety lecture out of the way then.
What a lot of people do not realise is just how important the choice of tyre fitment to their car is in terms of dynamic behaviour. The same car can actually "feel" quite different to drive depending on what brand and tread pattern of tyre is fitted to it.
Before launching a new car, motor manufacturers generally do extensive testing with two tyre manufacturers to ensure optimum handling and safety characteristics. In some extreme cases, a manufacturer will work with a tyre manufacturer to specifically tailor or design a tyre for their particular car. We are generally talking about very expensive, exotic sports cars and extraordinarily expensive tyres here though.
For the majority of us we are faced with a choice of several different "household name" brands of rubber with which to fit to our car. Do we simply replace the car makers' original choice of tyre like for like - not a bad idea usually - or do we seek a better, cheaper or more up to date alternative?
My recent cars have tended to come already shod with my favourite make of tyres, so come replacement time, the decision has been a bit of a 'no-brainer' really, until now!
MICHELIN PILOT PRIMACY
Well then, here is a challenging review subject! Car tyres! Not just any old car tyres, but in my opinion, the best - Michelin.
Michelin are a very old and famous French tyre company, founded in 1889, who are also extremely well known in the field of (excellent) maps, travel guides and gourmet associated hotels and restaurants. This is not however a review of Mr Bibendum's (that's the Michelin Man to you) travels around Europe, increasing his already substantial girth, but of his notably good tyres.
The specific tyres that I am reviewing here are not the very latest, most hi-tech available on the market. Six years ago my previous car, a Vauxhall Omega was delivered from the factory on them, as was its' successor, my now 20 month old Honda Accord Diesel.
That tyre is the Michelin Pilot Primacy. Both cars have 16 inch alloy rims, and a 55 percent profile, the Honda's being slightly narrower at 205, in lieu of 225 (mm) on the Omega.
Hold on a minute, 55% PROFILE, what is that?
You have probably seen car manufacturers boasting about low profile tyres in their glossy brochures. The profile of a tyre is quite simply the depth of the tyre, measured between the wheel rim and the road, expressed as a percentage of the width of the tyre. Therefore the two cars referred to here both have a tyre "wall" height of 55% the width of the tyre. 20 years ago a 55 profile tyre would have been regarded as very low profile and sporty, now a 40, or less, profile tyre is regarded as truly "low profile".
In terms of weight distribution and on the road dynamics, these two cars are very different. The Honda is a front wheel drive car with approximately 60% of its weight over the driven wheels, the Omega an almost perfectly balanced rear wheel driven car.
Looking at Michelin's comprehensive website, I see that they are recommending the Pilot Primacy for "high mileage" motorists. Well, covering around 30,000 miles a year I guess that I am the kind of driver they have in mind - I have certainly had some experience with testing different tyres over the years!
These particular Michelin tyres, along with most other manufacturers these days, are referred to as "directional". In simple terms this means that you (well the tyre fitter really!) can only mount the tyre on the rim one way around - the tread pattern is different on one side to the other - a look at the pictures below should clarify this.
Well, theoretically, the tyre manufacturers are attempting to offer you the best of both worlds, good and safe handling characteristics and a quiet and comfortable ride. A tyre specifically designed to be excellent in just one of these elements, by nature will not be very good at the other. Therefore, just like several of its competitors, the Michelin Pilot Primacy offers two entirely different tread patterns over the width of the tyre.
Having driven many different cars on both directional and non-directional tires I can vouch for the best of all worlds quality of the Michelin tread pattern as fitted to both of my recent cars.
Of all the tyre manufacturers, Michelin has without doubt the finest reputation for longevity. But so they should have, they are priced at the top end of the market when compared to all of their household name competitors.
MICHELIN PILOT PRIMACY 225/55 VR16 - FITTED TO 1999 VAUXHALL OMEGA V6.
As already mentioned the Omega is a car driven by its rear wheels. This will cause the tyres to wear in a different manner to those on a front wheel driven car. From my practical experience, with three sets of tyres in total on this car, the Michelins will last for approximately 40,000 miles, a little more on the rear wheels which do not steer.
For the record, one of the three sets of tyres put onto this car were Pirelli P6000's, a very good tyre, but nowhere as long lasting (just under 30,000 miles) and providing neither the ultimate grip or steering response provided by the Michelins.
In short the Michelins got the very best in terms of ride, handling and noise suppression out of the Omega, the Pirellis quite noticeably by comparison did not!
The Omega was a notorious model for tracking problems (otherwise known as wheel alignment). In 105,000 miles of motoring, I had the tracking checked and adjusted just once - at 70,000 miles, when the Pirellis came off and were replaced with Michelins. How much of this is down to the quality of the tyres and how much down to my respectful treating of them is hard to say!
I can tell you that the Omega was a much better car to drive on Michelin Pilot Primacy's than Pirelli P6000's and that the £120 saving on the full set of Pirelli tyres was more than lost due to their faster wear rate.
The Omega, as with our current car, was not only used extensively on business in this country, but was making two annual journeys across Europe to Poland. This journey involves every conceivable type of road surface - some even without surface - and during the summer, extensive use of the "de-restricted" German autobahn. That includes cruising speeds of above 120mph. These tyres are certainly well up to continental touring.
I would remind you of the need here, whatever make of tyre is fitted to your car, to increase the tyre pressures according to the car makers recommendations if you are intending to cruise at speeds in excess of 100mph on the continent.
MICHELIN PILOT PRIMACY 205/55 VR16 - FITTED TO 2004 HONDA ACCORD DIESEL
New car, new model, same tyres!
This being a front wheel drive car, a heavy front end at that, with a lot of torque (251lbs/ft) being delivered through the steered wheels, I expected the front tyres to wear much more quickly than on the Omega. This indeed has proved to be the case.
In 20 months and 44,500 miles of driving, the front tyres have just been replaced for the second time, the rears for the first. 22,000 miles is quite good going for the front tyres on a largish saloon such as this - there was possibly another 1500 miles wear left in them, but I never run them down to the 1.6mm "legal minimum".
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN TO CHANGE THEM?
Well obviously you keep a visual eye on them; you can visibly see the tread becoming less deep on tyres. The Honda also makes me very much aware of its desire for new rubber - especially on the front. In the autumn with greasy, leaf strewn and wet roads you can feel the ABS system occasionally coming into action. Likewise you see for the very first timer the "TC" (Traction Control) light flash for the first time. More obvious than that, even to passengers, is that you can hear the tyres squeal as you round roundabouts at even modest speeds.
As tyres wear down, particularly below about 75% worn, even Michelins loose their efficiency slowly, in the summer it is less apparent, in winter as I have said, the car actually has its own little ways of telling you!
The rear tyres, at 44,500 miles were equally as worn as the front tyres and strictly speaking would have been legal for another good 3000 miles or so. However, on this particular car we suffered a little problem with the Michelins on the back wheels.
In the summer, on continental roads which are much smoother than ours here in England, we suffered some alarming road noise from them. So much so that the rumbling sound that the (well over half worn) tyres were making, lead me to believe that the Honda had a wheel bearing in imminent need of replacement.
My wife called the local Polish Honda dealer in Rzeszow to obtain advice. He sent us to a tyre dealer nearby. They looked at the Honda, asked how many kilometres it had covered (almost 50,000) saw the Michelins and said (naturally in Polish - I'll do you a favour and translate!): "Oh they all do that sir!" - Yes those immortal words alive and well in deepest eastern Poland!
They were a friendly bunch, a mine of information in fact. With the Michelin tyres approaching half worn, Japanese cars - particularly Honda Accords and Toyota Avensis models, suffer from this road noise. He assured us that it was in no way detrimental to the safety or performance of the car, and suggested that to drive peacefully on Polish roads that we chose Goodyear or Dunlop tyres as replacements .
and against my better judgement, last Saturday that is just what we did, replaced the Michelin Pilot Primacy tyres with the very latest Dunlop Sport SP01 tyres - all four of them.
Only time will tell, and in a couple of weeks we make that journey to Poland on the new tyres. Yes, they were half the price of the Michelins at £72.50 each but in all truth I did not question the price, the manager at Iverson Tyres in Chiswick West London also gave them a glowing recommendation in terms of noise reduction and wet grip.
So far I can only speak as we find and that is that there is very little, if any road noise reduction due to the fitment of these new tyres. More than that, currently, I am not going to say - a review on the Dunlops will follow when I have had more experience with them.
Whilst Michelin Pilot Primacy may not be the ultimate choice of tyre for every car, it is a very sensible, safe and long lasting choice on the cars that I have recently owned. Shop around for prices - they vary hugely on car tyres, you can pay anything from around £125 to £175 each for the 205/55 VR 16's for the Honda, but whatever you do pay for Michelins, as a premium over any other make of tyre, look on it as an investment and you will not go too far wrong!
Car: MG ZT 1.8 Turbo
Tyre: Michelin Pilot Sports 225/45R 18inch
For any of you that have read my review of my life with the MG, you may be surprised to learn that the two of us are still together after two and a half years. In fact, it shortly will have to undergo its first MOT, I having originally bought it as a 6 month old demonstration car. Despite all the initial problems, since it has had its second engine (under warranty before MG Rover went bust), it has not missed a beat. It is still, to drive, one of, if not the best car I have ever driven.
I have gone through two complete sets of tyres on this car. It was originally supplied with the Michelins. When they wore out I replaced them with the same again. I had little choice. 18 inch tyres are not a common size and when it came to replace them the first time the only choice I had was Michelins or Continentals. My favourite tyre shop (Roadwheel in Fleet, Hampshire), advised that, although the Continentals would be cheaper, they wouldnt last as long as the Michelins, so I chose the Michelins.
The Pilot Sports tyres are directional, in other words, they can only be fitted to the rim one way round. This means that you cant change the wheels to the other side of the car. It also means that you have a problem with the spare. It will only fit on one side of the car. However, as the MG doesnt come with a spare, only a re-inflation canister, this isnt a problem. However, feeling uncomfortable with this as my only fallback, I actually bought a spare wheel. So far I havent had to use it but should I ever need to do so I will keep the speed well down.
The tread pattern on the two sets of tyres that I have used is a sort of V of grooves, with the point of the V more or less in the centre. I guess the intention is to force water out to the edges of the tyre so as to disperse it. The grooves have the Replace Me bumps in them. When the tread wears so that they are level with the rest of the tread, this is when you need to replace the tyres.
The car is front wheel drive and its only real fault is that it has a tendency to pick up the inside wheel when turning sharp left or right as in pulling out of a side road. Pulling away under power whilst still turning sharply can cause lack of traction on the inside wheel with inevitable axle tramp. If ever there was a car which needed a limited slip differential its the MG.
Other than this the Michelins handle well. Taking winding roads at speed is effortless in the dry. In the wet the Michelins do exhibit a little sensitivity but not unduly so. I can honestly say that I have never got into any trouble in any conditions so I suppose that does say a lot about the capabilities of the Michelins. However, how much is due to the tyres and how much to the car is difficult to say.
Thats the good news. The bad news is the cost of these tyres. They are unbelievably expensive. The first time Roadwheel replaced them they were priced at £178 a tyre. That was the best price I could find. Roadwheel were £50 a tyre cheaper than anywhere else! The last time I came to replace them the best price they could find was £185 a tyre.
The other bad news is that I am only getting 20,000 miles out of a set of tyres. Now, I dont think I am particularly brutal with my tyres but 20,000 miles is not good. My last car was a Merc and I had Michelins on that as well, though not Pilot Sports. I was getting 35,000 miles out of the tyres on that.
One other thing I noticed with the Michelins is high road noise. On some surfaces the noise from the tyres became quite intrusive, sometimes even making it difficult to maintain a conversation with a passenger or requiring the radio to be turned up a bit louder.
So, in summary I can say that the Michelins have been satisfactory but no more than that. When it came to replace them this time I decided to change manufacturer. A new maker has entered the market for this size of tyre, Bridgestone. I have had the Bridgestone Potenza tyre fitted this time, not particularly because Im a Ferrari fan, Im not. Our company sponsors MacLaren and they are a Michelin company. No, the reason I chose Bridgestone was that they were £45 a tyre cheaper than the latest Michelins.
So far my experiences of the Bridgestones are good. They actually seem to be a better performer than the Michelins. They seem more sure-footed in the wet and appear to suffer less from axle tramp. In the dry they appear to enable even better cornering. They also seem a bit quieter than the Michelins.
A full report when they wear out.
When my OEM-fit Bridgeston Potenza RE040s finally made it down to the tread-wear indicator I had them replaced with a pair of the new Michelin Pilot Exaltos. In a 205-45/17 fitting these are fairly intimidating beasties and at £140 per tyre, so they should be! None of your swoopy curves and slashes that look all sexy. Oh no. These purposeful hunks of rubber have three MASSIVE channels running around the tyre combined with some fairly agressive lugs (sipes?) around the outside edge. The mention of an outside edge indicates that these are directional tyres but maybe not in the strictest sense. The Bridgestones had an arrow indicating the direction of rotation the tyres should be mounted in, which ultimately meant that you could only swap the tyres along the same side of the car. The Pilot Exaltos, on the other hand, have an outside and an inside edge. Obviously you will always fit the outside edge to the outside of the wheel, so it is possible (in theory at least), to swap the left and right fronts without problem. This asymmetrical tread design has some rather neat features. First off, the three central channels provide a HUGE capacity for evacuating water. Performance in the wet has so far (2,000 miles) been exceptional. They seem to cut through surface water and the compund is surprisingly grippy when wet, which is a bonus. Certainly in the torrential conditions we've experienced recently they have proven sure-footed. Better perhaps than the Bridgestones, but my memory may have been tainted by the minimal amount of tread I had been driving with towards the end. The other feature of the asymmetrical pattern is the aforementioned "outside" edge. this is an agressive pattern of lugs that is supposed to move closer together when cornering, allegedly giving a constant sized "contact patch" and maximum grip around bends. With the sole purpose of testing the tyre for fellow DooYooers, I've been putting this aspect t
o the test around some sharp bends in warm weather and an pleased to report that they do actually work rather well when cornering at speed. All this is well and good, but have I noticed any real difference between the Michelins & the Bridgestones? Yes is the simple answer. In a straight line, from a standing start the Michelins offer considerably less grip. It may be that the water-shedding design sees less rubber on contact with the ground. It could be that the silicone-rich compound that's so good in the wet is just less sticky in the dry. Whatever the cause, the bottom line is that my Civic Type-R looses traction far more easily with the Michelins than it ever did with the Bridgestones. And it's not your squealing, burning rubber type of wheelspin caused by youthful show-boating, it's the soundless scrabbling for traction as wheels spin helplessly and apparently without friction. Related to this is the tyres amazing ability to stay cool under stressful conditions. Even after a frantic, wheel-spinning scramble away from a junction the tyres either won't get hot or won't retain the heat, which could well be partly to blame for the lack of grip. Whereas the Bridgestones were so grippy they used to pick up paint from the road and get almost uncomfortably hot to the touch, the Michelins just pick up dust and barely get warm enough to resemble a badly made cup of tea. On a cold, damp morning they are bordering on troublesome to drive, with wheelspin being possible all the way up to 3rd gear. I've not had to put their stopping power to test for real but have tried a few emergency stops so that I could know what to expect and each time I am pleased to say that they have behaved well, with the ABS coming in to play only once. So that's the general stickiness/wet performance stuff out of the way, is there anything else you might want to know? In terms of noise, they're slightly quieter than the Bridgestones producing just
a dull roar as opposed to a deafening one. They are also a lot better behaved in a straight line across bumpy/rutted roads. Whereas the Bridgestones used to wander where the road wanted them to go, the Michelins stay pointed in the direction I want them to. General coenering is excellent, steering response is easily on a par with the Brodgestones. Kerb-protection is also pretty good for a low-profile tyre, but I still wouldn't want to bump up a kerb higher than 2 inches and certainly at no more than a crawl. Overall then, it's a fine tyre for a middle of the road family hatchback. Stick them on your Focus (assuming it's not a Focus RS) and you should be more than happy. They perform well in the wet and corner with ease. For a car with a little more "oomph" they are not ideal. For all their excellent design and high-tech rubber compound, they are somewhat lacking in the plain, old-fashioned grip department. Consequently it's hard to give a single rating so I've split it into two: If you have a "regular" family car, consider the score to be 5 stars. If you have a performance car, consider the score to be 2 stars. The average is somewhere between to I've given an overall of 3. If only I could have another set of Bridgestones for the summer and these for the winter, maybe I'd be alright...
I have had Michelin tyres on my past 3 cars and to be honest, I think they are ok, but they quite often look like they need a bit of air in them. The French car manufacturers all use Michelin on their new cars, perhaps because Michelin is a French company. I find michelin to be good tyres on dry roads, but they can skid a bit on wet roads, and I really don't like using Michelin tyres on snow. The best michelin tyres I have had have been the Michelin Energy, these have been on the market for a while, they are reasonably priced and they can be easily found and fitted in most places that sell tyres across the UK. I find these tyres to be soft and they can wear easily, especially on the front wheels of a Front Wheel Drive vehicle, so regular rotations are necessary.
There is a company in Hampshire called Micheldever Tyres (tel no. 01962-774437 .) I have used them before to buy Michelin Sport tyres and they were considerably cheaper than any other tyre supplier that I know. It is worth me searching around for my car tyres as they are £203 per tyre at Kwik Fit and £157.5 at ATS, whereas at Micheldever they cost £122 per tyre. The particular tyre is the '225/45 ZR17 sport.' I would like to point out that they are very very cheap for all tyres and not just those made by Michelin. If you are about to buy some tyres, give them a call just to see what there quote is, you could always get your current supplier to match Micheldever's price!