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Michelin Launches Info Drive on Real State of Tires

When you buy food, naturally, you’ll check the ‘Best Before’ date to ensure you’re not purchasing an expired product. But do you do the same for other products you buy, like your car’s tires, for instance? Do you find yourself checking the DOT tire ID number—the text on the tire’s sidewall that identifies the date of manufacture—to learn about the tire’s fabrication date and believe that newer is better?

Yes, everything has an expiry date, but French tire manufacturer Michelin wants to remind you that products don’t deteriorate equally. That’s why the company recently launched a new info to provide car owners with better information and understanding about the ‘freshness’ of the tires they buy. Dubbed the “Tires Are Not Bananas Campaign,” the info drive aims to tackle the common misunderstanding that tires are only good when they’re new.

Unlike the banana fruit, you don’t need your car to have the newest tires you can find to ensure your safety on the road. In fact, it’s more important for you to focus on when you installed your tires than their date of manufacture. Michelin states, that a tire doesn’t start aging with its date of fabrication, but rather, when the tire is inflated and installed on the car. The company explains that tires only start to endure stress with usage and not while in storage.

Once you install your new tires onto your car, they begin to be subjected to stresses that come from normal usage such as stop and go, acceleration, high speeds, friction, rough roads, sharp objects, extreme weather conditions, heavy loads, and more. Even when you leave your vehicle parked and stored for a length of time, the wheels can still suffer because it continues to carry the weight of the car.

Michelin’s chief Philippine representative Michael Nunag identified three separate studies conducted in Germany, Korea, and Saudi Arabia that showed no difference in performance between new tires and old ones that remained unused for three years. “The Saudi Arabia study showed that a tire used on a vehicle for one year had equivalent aging to a tire in storage for 10 years. In terms of the characteristics of the tread rubber, it took 20 years in storage at 40 degrees Celsius to reach the same characteristics as the tires used at 40,000km, showing that tires do age more rapidly when used than when stored,” he explained.

Nunag also shared the findings of the Korean and German studies. The Korean study compared how new and three-year-old tires would perform in a series of controlled high-speed and stepped-speed tests. In Germany, researchers studied similar tire sets for rolling resistance. The result? Both studies discovered that new and three-year old tires performed identically.

Nunag says that basing tire purchases on DOTs is not only misguided, it can also turn dangerous. According to him, consumers tend to be complacent about maintenance when they know their tires are recent manufactures. They might also choose the wrong dealers if they prioritize a tire’s DOT instead of the quality of service that the dealer provides. Instead of putting too much importance on DOT, Nunag recommends that consumers focus more on “maintaining correct tire pressure, proper alignment, inspection for damages, and tread depth measurements.”

According to Nunag, Michelin recommends retiring tires older than 10 years. “The recommendation is precautionary and not technically based,” he said. “Tires endure lots of different stresses during their life on a vehicle. Sometimes the vehicle may be out of alignment, or the tire may be under-inflated. Road obstacles, potholes, floods, extreme heat in the summer all take their toll on the tires.”

Nunag said that this is the reason the tire maker regularly conducts the ‘Michelin: Safe on the Road’ global initiative that promotes road safety and constantly reminds the public about proper tire pressure as well as other safety concerns. To further prove their point, Nunag emphasized that Michelin offers a full six-year warranty for replacement passenger and light truck tires that activate on the date that you have them installed on your vehicle.

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