Its goal: To ensure that everyone can insist on tires that are safe to the last kilometer... and beyond.

Given that wet braking performance, which is vital for safety, decreases as tires are driven, the EU institutions’ initiative* to introduce worn tire testing should be hailed as a positive step. While some manufacturers do currently design tires that are safe up to the wear limit (1.6 mm), nothing prevents from marketing tires whose braking performance drops sharply with use. The lack of regulatory minimum performance requirements for worn tires can therefore lead consumers to remove their tires before they reach the legal wear limit. But contrary to popular belief, tread depth doesn't guarantee safe tires.
Cyrille Roget, Michelin Group Technical and Scientific Communication Director

The difference is in tire design!

Safety is about more than just tread depth, it depends on the tire’s overall performance  —and how a tire performs up to the legal wear limit depends on the manufacturer’s design choices.

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The technologies and design rules needed to design tires that stay safe all the way to the legal wear limit are available to all manufacturers. The difference lies in their willingness to apply them and to go a step further by investing in research to enhance safety.
Cyrille Roget
  • Did you know?
    • To maintain a tire’s performance and keep it safe throughout its useful life, tire manufacturers simultaneously work on:
        • the materials
        • the thread sculpture
        • the shape of the tire’s contact patch


    • Michelin invests over 600 million euros in R&D every year


    • More than 6,000 engineers contribute to developing new blends and technologies, particularly by developing hi-tech materials for better safety and environmental performances.

Environmental and consumer budget benefits

In addition to safety, the Long Lasting Performance approach also helps reduce the tire industry’s environmental impact while saving money for consumers - two of Michelin’s core values.

Having tires that are still safe when worn would mean changing our tires less often. That would be better for the planet, since it would save resources and reduce CO2 emissions.
Cyrille Roget
  • Did you know?

    In Europe alone, the tires replaced before reaching the legal wear limit of 1.6 mm would annually represent up to:

     

    • 128 million* extra tires produced

    • 6.6 million* metric tons of CO2 emissions2 émises

    • 6.9 billion* euros in excess consumer costs

       

    *Data from the Ernst & Young report “Planned obsolescence is not inevitable” - May 2017.

Awareness campaigns by Michelin and other tire and car maintenance professionals

Michelin and other tire and car maintenance professionals and vehicle fleets  recently published a manifesto to raise public awareness of the importance of worn tire testing and in support of the European Union’s initiative. (link to the manifesto). The movement is particularly strong in France and seven other European countries: Germany, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, and Romania. Other countries have also announced their willingness to adopt this approach.

How should worn tire performance be measured?

We believe that the test currently used for new tires can also be used for worn tires, since it corresponds to the real risks that drivers face on the road. We demonstrated that in early July, with tests held on the OAMTC track in Teesdorf, Austria, near Vienna.
Cyrille Roget

The wet braking test for new tires consists of measuring the deceleration distance for a vehicle going from 80 km/h** to 20 km/h on a standard road surface covered with 1 mm*** of water

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*The EU institutions affirmed the importance of testing worn tires during the revision of the General Safety Regulation, which is slated for formal adoption this fall, and a UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) working group has been formed to define the test procedures, benchmark tires, and regulatory requirements.

**With regard to the use of 80 km/h, the data from Gidas (German In-Depth Accident Study project) shows that in 90% of accidents on wet roads, the car was moving at a speed of 80 km/h or less before the accident began (e.g. before the driver hit the brakes or swerved).

 

*** In Germany, for example, 99% of driving is done on roads that are dry, damp, or covered with less than 1 mm of water.

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