Michelin car vs. truck tires: cracking

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Jun 24, 2004
Top of Virginia
I tried, in my mind, to chalk it up to something else (like sun, tire "protectant" products, etc). But a trend has developed that is frustrating to me. Pretty much every Michelin car tire I've owned (including two sets of the old Pilot XGT H4, two sets of the Energy MXV4 Plus, two sets of the X Radial DT, one set of the old Agility-now-WeatherWise-II, and now one set of the Energy MXV4 S8) has showed weather/ozone checking on the outboard sidewall at the base of the sidewall, down by the bead. This has happened to every single one of them, and it's in the same place every time...down in the inch closest to the bead. It's never produced any ill effects that I know of (leakage, blowouts, etc), but it's bothersome to me. I've owned two sets of Michelin light truck tires now, including an 8-year-old set of the LTX M/S (on my old Nissan) and now two sets of the CrossTerrain SUV on the Acura MDX. None of the light truck tires have developed any of this cracking or checking, and the sidewalls of the light truck tires remained very pliable and "healthy" for years into ownership. In fact, even to the point of removing the tires due to wear, there were no signs of rot at all on the truck tires. I've cared for all of my tires in a similar manner, and in fact, I've begun to stray away from tire dressings in the last few years. These Energy MXV4 S8 tires have seen few applications of dressing...maybe 2 or 3 times in their life. I've read that dressings (especially those with petroleum distillates) can degrade rubber. Regardless, I'm using Michelin's own branded dressing, so that pretty much removes the dressing as a variable. As the OEM Energy MXV4 S8 tires on my Camry wear down to around 7/32" at the 12,000 mile mark, I'm starting to consider replacement. This time next year, they'll likely be at 4/32" and I'll be wanting to switch them out. Normally, I'd default to a Michelin tire, but I'm not liking this trend I'm seeing with their passenger car tires. My go-to tire would be the Primacy MXV4, but I'm beginning to think that I'll start seeing this checking or cracking shortly after purchase of those tires also, and I'd hate to see that after such a purchase. Any comments on this trend? Has anyone else noticed the same? Am I simply worrying about nothing?
We've had multiple sets of Energy MXV4's for over 8 years without any dry rot issues. The LTX A/T's I've used dry rot in about 5 years. So I guess my experience is the opposite of yours. The same tire protectants used on both, and both are kept outside.
I got some Micheln XCX APT LT 235 75 15 (made for Sears) in mid 2003 that were made in late 2002. By 2005 there was sidewall cracking. I figured it was due to cheap tire clean shine products, and high speed washboard driving at lower PSI, and a sunny environment. The inside of the tires are not really cracked/ I've got 65k+ miles on them now. The sidewalls are pretty bad. There is still an incredible amount of tread left.
Every time I rotate my tires (5k miles), I take each tire/wheel down to the bottom of the driveway and scrub the inner sidewall and wash the brake dust out of the wheel. So I get a good look at the inner sidewall as well and it's still in good shape. So I'm sure it's an environmental factor (sun, etc), but the trend I've experienced doesn't inspire confidence for a new Michelin passenger car tire purchase. All of my vehicles are garaged. And the last set of X Radials I had were on our minivan, which LIVED most of its life in the garage, rarely even venturing out during the day except for short jaunts to preschool a few times a week. My car parks outside at work all day in a hot parking lot, but that doesn't seem to have an effect on the cracking, for better or for worse.
I say all this because no other tires I've really owned or experienced have done this. The Firestone Indy 500s on my old Dakota LIVED outside (full sun all the time) and even after 3 years, they were 100% still. None of the tires on the vehicles at work have done this, and none of them are Michelins, except for the Energy MXV4 S8s on the new Fusion Hybrids, but they're only 6 months old. The Yokohama Avid TRZs on my Corolla didn't crack either, but I did only have those a year.
You might put a call into michelin and see what their response is to this issue. I have emailed them before and their response was fairly quick <12hrs.
I had the same Pilot XGT H4's on my 1996 Contour. After 9 years there was NO rot or cracks in the sidewalls. At 50,000++ miles there was plenty of tread but the tire compound became hard and the ride quality deteriorated, especially in the rain & snow. Maybe using those tire shine products causes problems. I NEVER used them. Weather wise we have hot summers in NJ as you do in NC. The biggest difference in weather is our winters are longer. We do this by skipping Spring and plunging directly into Summer from Winter smirk. Whimsey
None of my Michlin truck tires show any checking. The ones that came with the truck 6 yrs ago, or the army surplus ones that are 10 or 15 yrs old. They are real truck tires, 395/85R20, 4 steel ply tread + 1 steel body ply. Charlie
The last set of Yokahama Avid Touring tires I bought had at least half tread on them, but I replaced them because the cracking of the sidewall was severe. BF Goodrich tires I have not might not get any tire dressing. That's what I was thinking caused the cracking.
Currently running 4 new sets of LTX M/S2's and will be watching them closely now. Almost every truck we own has them on it or will soon. The sets replaced had about 2 years and 60k + miles on them, absolutely no sidewall deterioration. Park in any potentially corrosive environments? Ozone? Chlorine?
No environmental factors that I can tell, besides sun/heat. What makes it more noticeable is the fact that other tire brands I've owned (under the same conditions) haven't done this. It's only the Michelin passenger car tires. The light truck tires have been fine. Almost as if they have additional protectants in them or something. I do believe I will contact Michelin. I've contacted them many times before and they've often been responsive. I'll post back with what they say.
I have a set of Primacy MXV4's on my Civic that were installed in October 2007. They are badly cracked just as the OP described. The car is outside but this has somewhat soured me on Michelin. I have a set of Firestone Destinations on my Jeep that were installed in November 2007 that do not have any cracks. Both vehicles sit in the same driveway.
Originally Posted By: 190E26FTW
Does Michelin warranty tires for cracks? How does it work?
Few tire companies, do, including Michelin. From their warranty brochure, available at this link (pdf):
WHAT IS NOT COVERED Tires which become unserviceable due to: - Road hazard injury (e.g., a cut, snag, bruise, impact damage or puncture); - Incorrect mounting of the tire, tire/wheel imbalance or improper repair; - Misapplication, improper maintenance, racing, underinflation, overinflation or other abuse; - Uneven or rapid wear which is caused by mechanical irregularity in the vehicle such as wheel misalignment, (a measured tread difference of 2/32nds of an inch or more across the tread on the same tire); - Accident, fire, chemical corrosion, tire alteration or vandalism; - Use in commercial applications for treadwear; by this warranty for 6 years; - Flat spotting caused by improper storage or brakelock; - The addition of liquid, solid or gaseous materials other than air, nitrogen or carbon dioxide (for example, waterbase sealers or balancing substances); - Ozone or weather checking; - Use of Michelin Self-Supporting Zero Pressure (ZP) tires without a properly operating low air pressure warning system.
I wrote Michelin last night in an email to let them know about the condition of my tires and they actually called me today and asked that I bring the car to a local Michelin retailer (and they gave me one they recommend) for a tire safety inspection, on their dime, and for them to contact Michelin with what they see. I thought that was a nice act of good will so far. I will update with the outcome, as soon as I can get it done.
Michelin did the same for me with my bad set of defective tires. They sent me to Discount tires for a warranty check up. The place I got it from Wheel Works....just did not want to warranty my tires. They just kept balancing the tires- 9 times. I got a new set of Michelin Pilot Exaltos now.
I'm fairly certain the shop will say the cracking is cosmetic. And I'm fairly certain that it IS just cosmetic. Still, I'm disappointed that it's appeared so quickly, and this gets feedback in to Michelin, in case they were already looking at a potential bad batch or bad formula or something.
There are a few up in the Raleigh area, which is one-and-a-half hours away. If we had one in Fayetteville, I'd try one.
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