Problems With Michelin Tires

by Genevieve Rice

Tires can affect your stopping distance, traction, handling and even gas mileage. So it's important when purchasing tires to ensure the tires you are purchasing for your car work well with factors that affect your driving, including local weather conditions, area terrain and how much you typically use your vehicle. As the second-largest tire manufacturer in the world--and one of the most trusted and established--Michelin offers a wide selection of tires to fit all types of automobiles, so it's worth researching. But consumers have reported some problems with the Michelin brand, which you should know about before selecting your tires. To keep your tires in the best condition possible, experts recommend that consumers keep their tires properly inflated, check tires for wear on at least a monthly basis, rotate tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles and avoid driving at excessive speeds.

Recent Recalls

Certain models of Michelin tires have been recalled in recent years. In 2004, tire model 305/50R20 120H was called back for not carrying enough weight, which could result in failure in case of road hazards. Commercial truck tire model XDE was recalled in 2004 for an irregular inner liner, which could lead to rapid tire pressure loss, which in turn could cause blowouts. In 2005, Michelin Pilot Sport tires were called back because the tires tended to blister in the sidewall, which could lead to rapid tire pressure loss and, as a result, loss of control of the vehicle. The Pilot Power 2CT, a motorcycle tire, was recalled in 2007 for tread separation, which can cause the car to lose control and crash at high speeds.

Sidewall Cracks and Bulges

Some consumers have reported problems with the sidewalls of Michelin tires. The sidewall separates the tread from the wheel, aids in creating traction and supports the load of a vehicle. The most vulnerable part of a tire to punctures, premature sidewall cracking can worsen, leading to dangerous blowouts.

Rapid Tread Wear

Another problem reported by some Michelin consumers is the tire tread wearing out too rapidly. Depending on the tire model, Michelin tires are designed to last between 45,000 and 90,000 miles, and some drivers have noticed their tires are bald (meaning tread-less) or close to bald after only 25,000 miles of driving. Tire tread provides traction for the car, so wear-and-tear of the tread increases stopping distance and affects how well the car handles in wet and icy conditions.

Uneven Tread Wear

Some Michelin tire users have reported uneven tread wear. Properly functioning tires should wear evenly across the tire and the entire set of tires. Unbalanced tires will affect how the car handles, throwing off the alignment and causing the car to ride rough or shake while driving.

Reporting Problems With Michelin Tires

If your car has been outfitted with Michelin tires and you are experiencing problems beyond normal wear-and-tear, contact Michelin immediately to report the problem. U.S. drivers may call 1-800-847-3435, write to: Michelin North America, Inc., Attention: Consumer Relations Department, Post Office Box 19001, Greenville, SC 29602-9001, or contact the customer relations department through the contact us form provided on Michelinman.com. Canadian consumers can call (888) 871-4444, write to: Michelin North America (Canada) Inc., 3020 Jacques-Bureau Avenue, Laval, Quebec, H7P 6G2, or email the company through the form provided on Michelin.ca.

About the Author

Genevieve Rice is a freelance writer currently living in Phoenix, Ariz. Rice has been published in a variety of publications, including the "Oklahoma Gazette," the "Oklahoma Daily" and "Boyd Street Magazine." She earned a Bachelor of Science in multidisciplinary studies from the University of Oklahoma.