Traction or grip
Remember – the tires are the only contact your vehicle has with the road, so their grip plays an essential role in your safety. Your ability to brake, to turn, to accelerate or to stay stable at higher speeds all depend on your tire’s grip. Each type of tire is designed to provide grip in specific types of weather and road conditions. That’s why it’s so important to think about how and where you will be driving and what type of grip you’ll need when you choose your tires.
How long a tire lasts before wearing out its tread is an important element to ensure you are getting the best value for your money. There can be huge differences in the tire mileage you will receive based on the tire's design and quality of the tire. High performance tires tend to have lower tread life than standard passenger car tires because the focus of the design is grip and performance instead of longevity. How and where you drive and whether or not you take care of your tires will also impact how long they last. (See tire safety tips on proper tire maintenance).
Did you know that 1 out of every 5 tanks of a vehicle’s fuel is used up by the tires’ friction on the road? Tires can have a big impact on your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Some tires have specific construction and materials that help to reduce the friction with the road (called rolling resistance). Buying fuel efficient tires that offer low rolling resistance can help you save on fuel – another way to give you good value for money.
Handling is how your vehicle responds to the demands of the driver (such as steering, accelerating, braking) and to road conditions. Great handling tires can enhance safety – by keeping the vehicle stable and the driver in control – as well as driving pleasure.
The tire plays a very important role in handling:
It transmits the driver’s instructions from the wheel to the ground. In general, sporty high-performance tires are designed to maximize handling performance and deliver precise steering and cornering.
Comfort and Noise
Driving comfort refers to how the tire cushions the driver from the irregularities of the road. Tires that are optimized for better comfort have specially designed construction to help absorb bumps and provide a smooth ride.
Another important element for an enjoyable drive is a quiet ride. This is determined by a tire’s tread design – the amount of grooves in the tire and their positions. In general, the more aggressive a design looks, the higher the probability that it may generate noise. But remember that the grooves have an important role to play in delivering grip – decide if that additional traction is worth a little more road noise.
Tires need to be able to resist whatever the road brings. A tire’s robustness, or toughness, is its ability to overcome everyday road hazards. If you often drive on damaged or unpaved roads, look for tires with reinforced construction.
Do I have to choose between all these performance characteristics?
Tires are designed to optimize certain performance characteristics. Most tires do this by sacrificing other characteristics. But at Michelin, our product design philosophy is to always deliver MICHELIN® Total Performance™: bringing multiple performances together with innovative technologies to deliver the total performance all drivers need. We try to cover all your driving needs so you don't have to compromise.