Did you read tire safety guidelines that came with your car and fall asleep?
Hang with me for 5 minutes. I promise NOT to put you to sleep. On a recent trip with Michelin Tires, I was completely shocked when I learned about the dangers of mis-aligned tires.
QUICK: Answer me! Don’t look it up. And no Google cheating.
WHERE DO YOU PLACE TWO NEW TIRES? Front Or Back?
Right. I had no idea either.
Let’s say you haven’t rotated your tires. (And let’s face it, who does that? Okay, I don’t.) Like me you find your front wheel drive vehicle has worn down the front tires faster than the rear tires. This is normal.
To be clear: BUYING all FOUR new tires is the safest bet. But you want quality tires and can’t afford four so you opt to replace just the two worn down tires. Even Michelin admits this happens a lot, you aren’t the only one. Give yourself a break.
Back to the question: Where do you put these NEW tires?
If you get nothing else from this article… get THIS:
Two New Tires Should Be Placed on the REAR of a Front Wheel Drive Vehicle. NOT THE FRONT!!
I was confused too. Doesn’t it seem like the place where the tires wear down the fastest should be where you put the new tires?? Here’s the safety part… and forgive my non-technical car-speak.
Your car’s steering wheel is equipped with a fancy schmancy ability to talk to your front tires. It magically knows when the road conditions are crappy like a wet road, high speeds or corners. The front tires feed information about the road condition to your steering system. It’s called ‘Under-Steering’. And your steering wheel lets the driver know when she needs to slow the crazy thing down because it’s not safe!
If tires on the front have deeper tread (therefore more ‘grippy’) they will tell your steering wheel the road is safer than the REAR tires can handle– remember the ones in back with less tread to deal with wet corners?
Guess what happens when the rear tires have less tread than the front tires?
DANGER Happens. That’s what!
Michelin put a few bloggers onto a test track with exactly these dangerous conditions to prove the point. THEY WHAT?? I know! Get into a car they just told me was the least safe way to drive on tires. On a wet, circular track… oh by the way…. drive at least 50 MPH and see what happens!
And the crazy thing is… we all did it. And just like they KNEW would happen we each spun out our rear tires less than half way around the track. And my steering wheel never told me a stinkin’ thing. It thought the tires could handle it. Imagining that happening with my kids inside and on a busy roadway, and I nearly threw up I was so freaked out.
We tested a ‘Safe Tire’ configuration with lower tread in the FRONT. And the weird thing is you could feel the wheel start to shimmy around 48 miles per hour. It was screaming at you: SLOW DOWN, you idiot! The road is wet! You’re going too fast! And THESE are corners for pete’s sake! The test driver assistant in the car with me literally had to coax me into going fast enough to really feel the ‘Under-Steering’.
I felt it firsthand. I watched it happen with 13 other drivers. I’m convinced. New Tires in BACK=SAFE. I might even go get my tires rotated people!!
Stopping Distance = Better Than Other Brands
Michelin has a new tire line out this year with a super-secret new technology called Ever-Grip and that means simply… as the tires wear down the tread actually gets wider.
Compared with brand new tires from other companies these new Premier® Michelin tires stop faster EVEN WHEN WORN DOWN HALF WAY.
Let me repeat that.
Take a Premier Michelin tire and wear down its tread to half of what it is when new. And because of the ‘emerging groove thing’ even worn down is safer. Then drive at 50 miles per hour and THROW DOWN YOUR BRAKES as hard as you can! Measure how long it takes to come to a complete stop and then compare that to another brand’s tires except use NEW tires from the competition.
Guess how much faster the Premier tires stop? 15-20 FEET faster! Half worn! Unbelievable? I tested both tires myself on another wet track with a GPS monitor to gauge the stopping distance. Driving used Premiers, the Caddy’s simply stopped faster. In the other brand’s new tires… we hit the imaginary dog we were trying to avoid.
Pop Quiz… were you listening?
Answer me one more time:
WHERE do you put 2 new tires?
Altogether Now: ON THE REAR of the VEHICLE!
Disclosure: Michelin invited me over to their test track down here in South Carolina. I was their guest for a day and was reimbursed for my travel. My opinions and new found knowledge (NEW TIRES IN THE REAR PEOPLE!) are all my own.