High-performance tires up to the legal wear level
Tires that are as high-performing as they are efficient in terms of driving pleasure and grip, despite the miles traveled and right up to the legal wear level... Michelin has been working on this key objective since its very beginnings. Proof in ten dates.
1920s: until completely worn
In the 1920s, Michelin’s engineers improved tire qualities for road handling, braking and more. The promise of lastingly performing tires was already a key concern for the Group. A little red badge representing the Michelin seal of quality guaranteed our customers great tire performance "until completely worn".
1930s: The Michelin Stop anti-skid tire
Launched in the 1930s, Michelin Stop promised its customers anti-skid tires even on wet ground, until the tires are completely worn. To achieve this, the tread had undulating sipes which never completely disappeared, their edges getting sharper with use.
1949: The radial revolution
On 4th June 1946, Michelin filed the first patent for a tire with a radial body. But it was only three years later in 1949 that the first radial touring tire was sold under the name MICHELIN X. It was safer, more economic in terms of fuel and increased the tire’s lifespan. With 2 to 4 more miles traveled by drivers, in full comfort and safety.
1960s: Always further
Whilst other manufacturers were adopting their radial technology, Michelin set about improving it. The X tire, available for all vehicles, offered even better performance which was great because of how long it lasted, as shown by the advertising at the time: “With Michelin tires, there’s no end in sight!” “Michelin. Quality that lasts.” and also “Michelin. Discover the secret of longer life”!
1980s and 1990s: angled siping for snow tires
With the invention of angled siping, Michelin deeply changed the snow tire market. With far more flexibility and maximum efficiency in winter conditions, this technology quickly deposed snow chain technology. After progressive undulating sipes, in 1988 Z sipes appeared. They kept the maximum amount of rubber in contact with the ground for acceleration and braking. In 1989, Y sipes (an exclusive Michelin patent) became available on the XM+ S Alpin tires. Why were they so good? Their three-dimensional structure provided lasting grip as the tire was worn. After a certain amount of wear (around 30%), the Michelin XM+ S Alpin had remarkable grip thanks to the “claw” effect accentuated by the double siping.
1992: the first green tire
Made of sand, silica has properties that have been recognized for many years and in particular, it can improve the tear resistance of rubber mixtures. In 1992, Michelin made a significant breakthrough by combining an original silica with a synthetic elastomer using a chemical binding agent in a specific mixing process. The resulting mixes made tires that had low roll resistance (35% less than regular tires of the time, representing potential fuel savings of around 5%) and excellent grip on cold surfaces whilst maintaining exceptional performances over time. This innovation was the cornerstone for low roll resistance green tires. The Michelin Energy range was born.
2000s: 3D siping
L’une des nouveautés technologiques des années 2000 est à rechercher au niveau de la sculpture des pneus avec l’arrivée des lamelles 3D. Conçues en trois dimensions, elles procurent une excellente tenue de routes sur les routes hivernales. Appelées lamelles « boîte à œuf », lamelles « double vague »… elles permettent aux pains de gomme de rester rigide et de maintenir ces niveaux de rigidité quand le pneu est neuf ou usé.
2014: EverGrip technology
Presented at the Detroit Motorshow in 2014, the MICHELIN Premier A/S tire inaugurated the EverGrip technology that gives drivers a durable and high-performance tire. Safety, maximum grip, longevity...the tread regenerates itself over the miles providing high level grip even when the tire is worn.
2016: Performance over time, from the first to the last mile
In 2016, Michelin confirmed its commitment to high-performance tires up to the legal wear limit (minimum of 1.6mm). The Group also went up against early tire changes, advocated by some tire industry operators. This commitment is a reflection of Michelin’s desire to promote sustainable mobility that is safe, efficient and economical in terms of natural resources, a desire it has had since its very beginnings. Early tire replacement would lead to the use of 128 million extra tires a year in Europe, or 9 million tons of extra CO2 emissions every year. Beyond the environmental impact, replacing partially used tires represents a significant and unjustified increase in cost for consumers.
2017: Worn tires: the big performance test
Braking on dry or wet surfaces, lateral grip on wet roads and roll resistance... Tests carried out in May 2017 at our Ladoux technology center confirm that a tire performs well when it is worn, if it is a good quality tire. No need for early replacement. New tire performance cannot predict the performance of the same tires worn, which is why Michelin recommends worn tires are tested today.