Michelin is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and brands of tires.
Based in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin boasts sales of around 20 billion Euros a year in their many types of tires and related products.
This article explains “Do Michelin Tires Dry Rot?”…
Do Michelin Tires Dry Rot?
While it’s true that Michelin has suffered some complaints from customers about dry rot in their tires over the past 10 years or so, there is no conclusive proof that they dry rot any more or less than their major competitors’.
Like many tires, too much exposure to UV radiation, heat, and not keeping the tires at the proper level of inflation can cause dry rot. Michelin tires are no exception to this rule.
How Long Should Michelin Tires Last?
Michelin tires should last as long as their warranty claims they will last, which according to Michelin tire warranty information is anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 miles.
It depends on the tire type.
Michelin makes dozens of different tires, including ultra-high performance sport tires, touring tires, winter tires, customer-specific tires, passenger car and minivan tires, light truck tires, SUV tires and so on.
Tires for different uses and applications have different mileages for their limited warranty.
For example, passenger car tires — the most common type — are all-season tires and usually carry the Energy or Defender product name. These are warrantied from 50,000 miles to 80,000 miles.
Trucks, SUVs and crossovers are warrantied from 20,000 to 70,000 miles, but the wide range is due to there being about 20 different tire names in that range.
Winter tires, which are popular in places like the northeast United States, the midwestern US, and Canada carry warranties from 25,000 miles to 40,000 miles.
How Long Do Other Brands Usually Last?
Most tire brands are guaranteed for 6 years or as part of a limited warranty like that of Michelin.
Goodyear, for example, offers mileage warranties quite similar on its tires, from 30,000 to 85,000 miles in total.
Firestone’s basic warranty covers most of its tires from 40,000 to 80,000 miles. Bridgestone offers the same range of mileage on its tires that are covered by that same basic warranty.
The industry advice to vehicle owners is that tires in general need to be replaced after about 5 years from purchase, regardless of their apparent condition.
There are many ways in which tires can degrade, and they don’t have to be used on the road to become unusable or unsafe.
With any major brand of tires, therefore, you should expect at least 5 years of regular use.
With How Many Miles Do Michelin Starts Dry Rotting?
Those customers who have complained about the problem of dry rotting in their Michelin tires have said that it started around the end of the second year and/or the beginning of the third year.
Different stories of dry rot in tires will tend to have different time frames, however, because most dry rot is caused by factors such as improper inflation, which is down to the individual driver or fleet manager to maintain.
The other big factor is climatic conditions, over which owners have no real control.
In a place with high o-zone levels in the air and strong consistent UV radiation from the sun, dry rotting is bound to happen faster and more commonly than places with low pollution levels, cloudy skies and cooler temperatures.
Are Michelins More Prone To Dry Rot Than Its Competitors?
No, it would not be fair to say that Michelin tires are more prone to dry rot than their competitors.
There have been some years in particular where Michelin received very strong criticism from customers regarding tire quality issues.
Some particularly bad years were 2013 and 2016.
In these 2 years, Michelin tires were the subject of numerous prominent complaint threads on major forums, which did at the time cause some to believe that Michelin tires were more prone to dry rot, but this isn’t the case.
Some regulations have caused many tire manufacturers to suffer more from dry rot than they did in the past, but all brands are subject to these same rules.
In the European Union in particular there are regulations that prevent certain protective chemicals from being used within tires to protect them from certain wear and tear, including dry rot.
In the absence of these chemicals, it is easy to see how dry rot could occur more frequently than before, but Michelin is not alone in this type of problem.
Do Weather And Time Have An Effect?
Yes, and in fact, weather and time are arguably the biggest factors in dry rot, and a much more relevant factor when looking at dry rot rather than brand name or quality assurance.
Without the protection of now-curtailed substances that were once used to protect the integrity of tires, weather and time have even more impact on tires than ever.
The biggest impacts come from hot and dry weather, especially where there is intense sunlight and little cloud cover or shade.
The combination of UV exposure and dry conditions will accelerate the formation of problems such as dry rot.
Tires sitting for long periods of time in such conditions are far more likely to prematurely suffer from dry rot than other tires.
The heat also causes air in the tires to expand, which affects the inflation of the tires and can see them overinflated, which causes additional wear and tear.
In addition, tires sitting idle and not being used will also dry out and begin to suffer from dry rot.
It’s not just time itself, but rather a long period of time where tires and vehicles are left idle that affects the tires more.
Is There Something I Can Do To Prevent It?
The first thing you can do to prevent dry rot is take your vehicle out on the road regularly.
You might think you’ll save the tread if you don’t overuse the tires, but dry rot will happen with too long a period of idleness, so owners need to strike a balance.
Another prevention method is to store your vehicle and/or tires out of the way of the sun’s UV radiation and in a cool, shaded area.
If you can keep tires in an air-conditioned space that maintains an ambient temperature below 25 degrees celsius, then tires will resist dry rot for longer.
Next, keeping an eye on air pressure in the tires and ensuring that the tires always meet the required air pressure for the brand is important.
When tires are not properly inflated — either underinflated or overinflated — they suffer additional wear and tear, and a more worn tire is even more prone to dry rot.
Is It Possible To Fix A Dry Rotted Michelin Tire?
If you notice the dry rot on your Michelin tires very early on in the development of the problem, then you can work on it with water-based restorative products.
These do not always work, however.
Even if and when you manage to fix a tire with dry rot, it remains a bad idea to drive a car that has had dry-rotted tires, especially if it has already reached a serious degree of rot.
Is It Safe To Drive With Dry Rotted Tires?
Put simply, no it is not safe. It doesn’t matter what brand of tires you are using, dry rot affects just about all manufactured vulcanized tire rubber in a similar way.
Dry rot means that your tires’ integrity has been seriously compromised.
Some think that if you catch the dry rot in the very early stages of treatment and fix it with restorative products, the tire is made safe again.
It might extend the life of your tire a little, but it also depends on the circumstances of the dry rot.
If the rot has come from the tires being subject to harsh conditions or long periods of idleness, then it will come back soon after you “fix” the tire anyway.
The best rule to follow is not to drive on tires with dry rot. Instead, the tires should be replaced.
Dry rot is not covered by most limited warranties unless it can be shown to be due to a manufacturer defect that happened, which is extremely rare.
What Are Michelin Tires Made Of? And Its Competitors?
Michelin tires are made from 5 main component groups, namely: natural rubber, synthetic rubber, carbon black and silica, metallic and textile reinforcement cables, and chemical agents designed to improve roll resistance and traction.
Michelin’s competitors use the same basic group of components, but likely differ in certain precise makeup in things like chemical agents used, as well as the exact balance and composition of the other component groups.
Tread patterns are also different.
Michelin is sometimes criticized even by its “fans” for having what are regarded as some of the dullest and least interesting-looking tread patterns of any brand.
Michelin are quick to point out, however, that looks are not everything.
Does Michelin Warranty Cover Dry Rot?
No. The main Michelin mileage warranty is only designed to cover tread wear, and not problems like dry rot.
The main issue is that so much dry rot is caused either by natural conditions or a certain degree of negligence on the part of the owner.
For these reasons, dry rot is hard to claim as a manufacturer defect, and for this reason is not covered by any part of the limited warranty.
Michelin’s warranty set does include an option that can provide up to 3 years of roadside assistance, so if you were to have a blowout because of dry rot, then you could get up to 150 miles of free towing to the nearest service center.