Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No Longer a Michelin Snob

When I worked at Michael for 6 years right out of college, designing some pretty cool custom tire making machinery, I also was exposed to multiple reports on test track data and destructive testing on Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodrich, Yokohama, Pirelli, Dunlop, Continental, Goodyear (good for one year), and Uniroyal [listed, intentionally, in descending order, from best to worst - you can argue with me if you want, but I've seen the data] on touring car tires (tourisme), truck tires (poids lourds), sport car tires (performance), and light truck (camionette) tires.  Seeing all of that data, and driving on Michelin Tires exclusively on my cars and my immediate family's cars (we got really great deals for family members), I was convinced that Michelin makes the best tires in the world, and I would Only place my own life and safety, and that of my wife and son, on Michelin or Goodrich (Michelin bought Goodrich in the early 90s) tires.  For two dozen years, I adhered to this belief and practice.

Then my Mazda 6 needed a new set of tires.  The Michelin OEMs had nearly 60K miles on them, and had performed very well, as Dr Desert Flower commuted to work each day on the 120F pavement of the I-10 for 4 years.  I checked Costco (within walking distance) and for $165 + $30 mounting and disposal, they would mount a new set of Michelin MXV4s.  Then I went over to Discount Tire (also within walking distance),and they were going to beat the Costco price by $5.  Sweet.  I return the next day to D.T. with my M6, and POOF, they are out of Michelins...  grrrr... but they have a set of Yokohamas, for $10 less.  Since this is post Tsunami, I figure "ok, I can help the Japanese economy" and I skeptically get the Yokos. An hour later, I am home, tires mounted, and we've driven it to 90 mph without any pulling or vibration.  A hundred miles later, they're doing fine, and they handle well in the dry  - though we've not had a chance to try them in the desert rain yet.  Il faut voir! =)

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