A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about the best performance all-season tires as selected by Consumer Reports. What about the best standard all-season tires? Consumer Reports has done extensive testing of all-season tires for older cars as well — tires that generally have a “T” speed rating (118 mph or 190km/h).
The best standard all-season tires as determined by Consumer Reports are Michelin Defender tires. These tires are also highly rated by the testers at Tire Rack.
Michelin is on a roll here.
In addition to performing well, Michelin Defender tires come with a 90,000-mile treadlife warranty from Michelin. Let me repeat that: 90,000 miles. Your car may wear out before these tires do.
My personal experience with Michelin Defender tires over several thousand miles of driving is that they are a confidence-inspiring tire with good all-around performance, both wet and dry. They’re not too noisy and they transmit about the right amount of road feel (they do certainly let you know when you’re going over expansion joints on the Interstate). Compared to a cheaper model of Michelin tire I previously had on my Toyota, they are definitely a step up.
Though the full impact of the engineering wizardry that went into Michelin’s new standard touring all-season [tire] may be lost on most consumers, a few things caught our attention.
Michelin’s data showed that car owners were keeping their cars longer, meaning vehicles on the road are racking up more miles and conceivably going through more tires than before. To appeal to this increasingly common customer, Michelin launched its Defender line of standard tires earlier this year, which lasts longer and nets better fuel economy compared to the tires it replaces. The Defender has a 90,000-mile/6-year treadlife warranty, and replaces the previous Harmony and HydroEdge series. Michelin says the tire’s silica-based compound offers good all-season grip and stopping performance, while also providing low rolling resistance for higher efficiency and longer service. Though the compound itself was fascinating, the Defender’s innovative tread design is what sets it apart from its predecessors.
One thing Michelin had to explain to us was the advantages and disadvantages of sipes, the grooves cut into a tire’s compound that make up its tread pattern. A sipe creates an edge that can bite into a surface, providing better grip especially in snow or dirt. Sipes are also good at removing water from the contact patch, and help prevent hydroplaning. But cut too many sipes into a tire, and the tread begins to lose rigidity. Michelin attempts to address this problem with its Intellisipe Technology, which strengthens the tread by molding the sipes in a way that interlocks the tread blocks. By doing so, Michelin can cut many more sipes into a tire without sacrificing rigidity. This feature by itself isn’t new, but Michelin combined it with its Variable Thickness Sipes (VTS) technology, to further stiffen the Defender’s tread.
In particular, Motor Trend pointed out how the Michelin Defender would not only save car-owners money by lasting longer, but also by saving up to $250 in fuel costs over the life of the tire, as compared to competing tires from other manufacturers.
Consumer Reports selected the Michelin Defender as the best all-season tire with a score of 70 points. Coming in second in their testing was the Continental ProContact EcoPlus tire, with a score of 68.
You can get both the Michelin Defender all-season tires and Continental ProContact EcoPlus tires from Tire Rack. Tire Rack offers a number of advantages when it comes to shopping for tires. For one thing, they offer enough information, test data, and reviews that you will certainly know what you’re getting and how the tires should perform on your car.
In addition to Michelin Defender tires, Tire Rack offers all-season tires from other top brands such as Goodyear, Bridgestone, BF Goodrich, Dunlop, Hankook, and Pirelli. They frequently offer buyer incentives and special deals so you’ll often save money by shopping at their site. Click here to see all the current deals being offered by Tire Rack. They also carry wheels, brakes, suspension parts, and other automotive accessories, all backed by impeccable customer service. If you have any questions about the tires, wheels, or parts you’re shopping for, use the online “Chat” feature on their site. Or give them a call.
Put the best all-season tires on your car — the Michelin Defender — and hit the road with confidence this summer.