Tires wear out. It’s a fact of life. And as tires wear, their effectiveness diminishes.
This is most apparent when it comes to wet weather performance. All tires (aside from racing slicks) have grooves built into them that channel water away from the tire’s contact patches to help ensure maximum traction with the road. When a tire is brand new, these grooves are at their deepest and most effectiveness. As the tire wears, the grooves become shallower and the amount of water that can be evacuated diminishes.
So what if a tire could actively compensate this wet weather performance loss as it wears down? That is the idea behind Michelin’s new EverGrip technology. As the tire wears down, the rain grooves will actually expand to offset the water evacuation diminishes caused by the shallower channels. The more the tire wears, the wider these grooves become.
As well, extra grooves have been built into the tire hidden under the initial layers of rubber. As the tire wears down, more than 150 hidden grooves emerge to help channel even more water away from the contact patches. So a nearly worn-out Michelin Premier A/S tire will have a different looking tread pattern than a new one.
Good New or Used
Michelin is claiming that the Premier A/S will provide shorter stopping distance on wet roads even when approaching the end of their tread life than some of the leading competitors’ brand new tires. Part of this also has to do with the rubber compound. The Premier A/S uses heavy amounts of silica and sunflower oil. Silica is used to provide high levels of grip to the road in wet conditions while sunflower oil maintains the tire’s grip on wet roads at lower temperatures.
These tires do indeed sound revolutionary, but leave us with one question. As the tires continue to wear and create more/wider rain grooves, the contact patch is diminishing as well. How does this affect dry weather grip and handling? There is only one to find out and that is with a long term tire test. AutoGuide has already began to talk to the folks at Michelin to set one up soon.
See Also: Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Winter Tire Review
The Premier A/S will be available this spring, initially in 32 sizes ranging from 185/65R15 to 245/45R18. A limited 60,000-mile warranty is included with the tire that will be manufactured in four plants across North America. Expect a crossover/SUV tire using this technology to follow later this year.
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