Safe Driving

Can I buy a tire size different from the one that was original equipment on my vehicle?

For maximum safety, Michelin recommends only replacing your tires with the same size recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Hopefully Some advice
  • Never choose a tire that is smaller in size or has less load-carrying capacity than the tire that came with the vehicle.
  • Tires should always be replaced with the same size designation — or approved options — as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • The correct tire size designated for your vehicle should always be verified with the information in your vehicle owner’s manual in the glove compartment or on the tire information sticker on your driver’s side door.

Can I mix different types of tires?

  • For maximum safety and best all-around performance, the same type of tire should always be used on all wheel positions.
  • Mixing tires of different size designations, constructions, and stages of wear may affect vehicle handling and stability.
  • The one exception to this rule are vehicles that were intentionally fitted by the vehicle manufacturer with different size tires on the front and rear axles.
Four-wheel drive 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 the same tire size.
  • Do not mix radial and bias-ply tires. All four must be either radial or bias-ply.
  • Be sure that the outside circumferences of all four tires are within 2,5 cm (1") of each other.
  • Do not mix tread patterns, such as all-terrain and all-season.
Don’t mix radial and non-radial tires
  • However, if mixing tires is unavoidable, the two radials must be installed on the rear axle and the two non-radials on the front axle.

Can I buy tires with different speed ratings?

Yes you can buy tires with equal or greater speed ratings than your original equipment tires.

However, tire speed ratings make a difference not only in regards to speed, but in regards to ride comfort, wear, and cornering ability.

The impact of a higher speed rating:
  • Typically, the higher the speed rating, the better the grip and stopping power, but the lower the tread life.
The impact of a lower speed rating:

Although we don’t recommend it, if you use a tire with a speed rating lower than your vehicle’s original tires, you will reduce your vehicle’s top speed limit to the tires’ speed rating. The handling of a performance vehicle may be different when the replacement tires are not the same speed rating. Refer to the vehicle owner’s manual to identify any tire speed rating restriction that could affect operation of the vehicle.

Can you mix different speed ratings on your vehicle?

For best performance, use the same size and type of tire on all four wheel positions. But if you do mount tires with different speed ratings on your vehicle, make sure that:

  • The lower speed-rated tires should always be placed on the front axle. This is to prevent potential over-steering (your vehicle doesn’t follow your steering, turns more sharply and may spin).
How to read speed ratings:
  • Tire speed ratings range from A (the lowest) to Y (the highest). However, the chart is not completely in alphabetical order. For example, H for high speed is between U and V.
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Can I mount tires with a different load capacity?

  • You can only mount a tire of equivalent load or higher load than indicated for your vehicle.
  • The higher the tire's load index number, the greater its load carrying capacity. Typically, the load indexes of the tires used on passenger cars and light trucks range from 70 to 130.
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Can I mount just two new tires?

Yes – however, Michelin recommends replacing all four tires at the same time.

Some advice
  • When replacing only two new tires, be sure that the new tires are the same size and tire type as the current tires.
  • Make sure that the dealer always installs the new tires on the rear axle of the vehicle. The new tires will provide better grip in wet conditions than your older tires. This will help reduce the potential for the vehicle to fishtail and lose stability in wet conditions

Should I buy used tires?

Avoid used tires. You can never know what hazards and abuse a previously owned tire has suffered. Internal damage can lead to dangerous tire failure.

What is my tire's production date (DOT)?

DOT means:

Department of Transportation Safety Code

After the DOT insignia is your tire’s identification number:
  • The tire’s manufacturer and plant code where the tire was manufactured (two numbers or letters).
  • The week the tire was manufactured (the ninth and tenth characters)
  • The year the tire was manufactured (the final number(s))

DOT signifies that the tire complies with the United States Department of Transportation and Transport Canada tire safety standards and is approved for highway use.

Example:
DOT M5H3 459X 065

The first two digits following DOT designate the tire's manufacturer and plant code. The third and fourth characters denote the tire size. The fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth (optional) characters identify the brand and other significant characteristics of the tire. The ninth and tenth characters denote the week the tire was produced. The final number(s) signifies the year in which the tire was manufactured.

For Michelin brand tires, DOT markings related to the week and year of production will have an additional symbol for the decade of the 1990s. It will be shown as a triangle following these last three numbers.

Beginning in year 2000, an additional digit was added to the serial number to allow the year of production to have two digits.