The Truth About Worn Tires - What Happens As A Tire Wears?
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Do tires get better or worse with wear? What's the difference between a new tire and a worn tire? As a tire wears, you may be surprised to learn that its dry performance actually improves. Braking distances tend to get shorter, and cornering grip tends to increase.
The opposite, however, happens in the wet. As the tire nears the wear bars, braking distances increase and cornering grip decreases? Well, why is this? And what can you do to prevent wear from ruining a tire’s performance?
First off, we need to break down how a tire gets its grip, which can be grouped into three categories: construction, compound, and tread pattern. A tire’s overall grip is a combination of all three. The construction of the tire provides the overall shape of the contact patch, and how it interacts over bumps and imperfections.
The compound obviously plays the most critical role; how well the compound sticks to the road determines how well the tire performs. And what’s cool about compound is that it doesn’t change as the tire wears, so you want compound grip to be as high as possible for both wet and dry grip.
And finally, we get to the tread. Tread patterns are great for wet grip, they improve traction in the wet by evacuating water away from the road contact to help prevent the tire from hydroplaning. So it’s logical then, that as the tread wears away, wet performance wears away with it.
In the dry, however, that tread pattern reduces the amount of rubber contacting the road, and decreases the rigidity of the tire, allowing it to flex and squirm. As the tire starts to wear away, the tread pattern wears away with it, and the response and grip of the tire improve. This is why in racing, when it’s dry, you’ll see tires without any tread pattern at all, just a smooth, sticky, flat surface for the tire to clench the road.
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I have those Michelin Premier A/S on my Impreza, they are amazing on wet.They are now at 4-5/32.
Only complain is, they are 8/32 when new, and I'm no wherenear the 100 000km thread life. I went from 7/32 to 4-5/32 in less than 40 000km. I've only done 40 000km since I got the car used, and 6 months per year we have winter tires that are mandatory by law here, so I might have put 25-30k kilometers at most on those tires.
Will not rebuy because of short life.
Might try the Nokian zline A/S that got released last yearor the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 when my Premier dies.
Jason, How about doing a whiteboard about replacing one partially worn tire on an all wheel drive car. Say 1/32 worn, 2/32s worn etcetera. After getting a flat, the tire salesman wanted to sell me four new tire because my tire had worn 3/32s and he said it would be unsafe for me to replace just one tire. Please talk about the differential, the transmission, and tire ware. Is it really unsafe, will I damage my transmission like he said? As always, great work, Keep it up!
I have a pajero that had tires 265 x 65 x R70. Now my new tires are 265 x 70 x R70. Will it make difference? One thing I have noticed is that b4 my GPS used to show that actual speed is 7km less than shown on speedometer. Now speedo & gps showing same speed. Please advise if u can. Thanks.
I used to work for a Tire cord company that supplied polyester cords to virtually all tire manufactures on the planet.
Michelin always demanded the best performing cords with strict quality control. The quality demand by Michelin was quite difficult to meet in most times. So I tend to trust Michelin as a consumer.
Some major tire companies (North American brand, sorry) were not really interested in the best quality cords. Instead they wanted cheaper versions.
The other tire company that demanded quality cords were Hankook tire as well as Nexen. So I trust this company too. But when it comes to compound technology, Michelin is the best.
I just bought Premier A/S last November and ran them through most of the Canadian winter. They had very good start/stopping traction in the snow (for all seasons) but understeered quite a bit when turning. Tread design probably affected this the most as they are designed for water not snow. No issues with wet traction or wear so far.
Overall they are decently quiet and I am happy with them.
Again, this guy cuts corners. I would claim a tyre is much more likely to loose dry grip in time span since the rubber dries. Sure, if you wear it out quick enough the treadblocks become stiffer due to higher width/height ratio and you get better steering feel but every heat cycle dries the tyre, as does light and ozone.
I just swapped a six year old PS2 to new. There is definitely more grip with the new ones. Of course drying is related to time and heat cycles rather than to kim/miles. Sure you need to break the surface to get the best grip since there is mould release agent penetrated to the surface of the rubber. But after a couple of hundreds of km/miles the the tyre peaks (IMO).
And, silica penetrating water! This I have not heard before. Silica is an abrasive. It is very hard particle and is good at penetrating the tarmac microsurface and gives thus a lot of abrasive grip. Why would a silica penetrate the water better than say carbon black - as they are part of the tread material. Is he trying to say that water has lesser surface tension with silica. I am not saying he is wrong but I’d like to know the arguments for that claim.
In my old sporty car i have tried several tyres to finally find the one GODLIKE for it. dimensions were R15 205' 55. I originally had goodyear and my god they were horrible. I was having excellent grip for 1-2 corners then they would overheat. then I tried Yokohama, they were consistent but I wasn't really satisfied with the amount of grip they provided. Michellin's were a bit worse but then I got some Pirelli Drago P5200, the grip was not only simply amazing grip but also consistent and only a bit worse than the Yokohama in the wet. I must say however that where I live the temperatures in the summer may peak to 45C during the day and 30+C in the night. There is little rain in the winter and autumn so I was focusing mainly on dry and hot weather conditions... I could do that because at the rate I was consuming tires at the time I needed new tyres every 6 months lol without even burning tyres, just from cornering
AH, I ain't worries about a little water, it is snow. Even a tire at 1/2 its life will decrease performance in snow. Then add a big torque monster engine and 255's on the driving wheels and you have a new contestant in the automotive Luge. Great video -- I like Engineering Explained !!!!
That’s the longest tire commercial I’ve ever watched. Enjoyed the video but hoped it included more generic qualities to search for instead of Michelin specific features. Had a “why we’re so much better buy our product now” vibe to the script. Does the tread pattern matter? Are directional tires any better? Is the speed rating any indication of the tire’s true performance?
Any thoughts on a good tire for a Subaru WRX? Even stock suspension height I am finding the insides wearing out almost twice as fast as the outside tread... regular rotations and been to 3 shops for alignments, including a performance shop.
The car just likes to eat the inside tread...
Switched to coilovers recently and I am having the same issue, though a little less than before even with a half inch drop.
You really going to be a shill now? Wtf. I might just be a mechanic but I can tell you're being false by omission. Tire compound changes over time. Nothing is immune to entropy. You're telling people they're safe with worn tires when that's not true.
I like hearing your informative stuff, even when it leaves out the details, but this is just plain false nonsense.
Great vid. In my dry weather driving (rear wheel drive grip) experience with tires, when the tire wears and the tread depth is reduced and more actual rubber is touching the ground grip is reduced when compared to a newer tire with deeper tread, I’ve always thought that maybe the compound is harder the more the tire wears but according to your video there should be more grip the “balder” the tire is. I’ve also thought that maybe the actual flex of the deeper tread allows the rubber to get a better hold on the rough asphalt surface, allows it to kind of dig in because there is more material to conform. I’d like to see a side by side grip comparison with a low tread performance tire and a brand new tire of the same make/model, I still feel like the new tire would provide more grip...
I run Michelin CrossClimate Plus on my car, and man they are good. The dry grip is fantastic. The wet grip is even more fantastic as it is just not expected. I have had UniRoyal RainMasters in the past (I am in the UK, so tires with good wet driving properties is important to me. I just wish other people were of the same mind. It boggles me how some people buy just on price, and the cheaper the better. Some tires may just as well be a ring of teflon for the amount of grip they have, both wet and dry.), and the CrossClimate Plus outperform them in all areas.
For my bike though, I have found Pirelli to be the best, namely Angel ST. Epic tire for knee down hooning, and muchos grip and confidence in the wet.
Another great video Jason. You never fail to be informative and articulate. You also seem to have lowerd your voice too, so that is great :)
Michelín says "you're 4 times more probably to crash when the way is wet" told by development and innovation department of Michelín, and spent 1 million dollars to say this. Yeah they have the best engineering department
The problem is that i cant really differentiate between your product placement (which im not really against, its gives you the opportunity to talk about car stuff) and your spin on it. Sometimes it seems like youre just reading scripts the companies give you.
Tire compound does change as the tires goes through heat cycles. Depending on the tire that can affect dry traction to a noticeable degree. Proper heat cycling (esp. for racing tires) can affect tire life as well. Michelin should have told you that or maybe they didn't want you bringing that up. Oh well.
Hi from a little town in Australia. I’m trying to work out the max CFM intake of my 4wd, and work out what it can actually receive through a 3” snorkel and standard filter. How do I work it out? It’s turbo and intercooled
TL:DW Worn tires in the dry act like slicks, more surface area making contact in the same contact patch. This give more friction and better performance.
Worn tires in the wet lose their ability to properly displace water, which allows the tread better contact to the pavement. The non-displaced water now has a bigger pooling effect making hydroplaning easier and decreasing friction. Thus less lateral grip and increased breaking distance.
Hey Jason, wouldn't the degradation of the tire compound of a worn tire effect the grip quite alot and offset any gains to be had through the increased surface area? Most guys I know that go racing shave their tire to get better lap times, but after a certain amount of heat cycles they either scrap the tires or sell them for cheap. Can you elaborate on this?
My experience has always been that new tyres have better dry weather (and definitely wet weather) grip than worn. Is it possible that the compound deteriorates over time due to kinetic and thermal stresses to be less effective?
can you please explain to chris from B Is For Build why he needs BOTH the rubber components for his engine mounts on his 240Z? Asking you since you've already commented on his video and if you comment again on a future video he will be more likely to see it (I really don't want to see his channel or his build fail). thanks bro
Hey Jason, great video! I definitely learned something new. Isn't it true though that higher performance tires, such as slicks, decrease in grip as they wear, due to the fact that less rubber means that they can hold less heat?
Go Bridgestone Tires! I bought some BF Goodrich tires about a year ago because they were known for good wet grip and living in South FL its always raining ( its raining right now ). I have to say these are very good wet grip tires, they give me a great boost of confidence when driving in the rain. the tires are BF Goodrich G Force Comp II . My favorite grip tires so far are Bridgestone Potenzas.
Had a set of Premier AS thrown into my Grandmother's Mercedes to replace the stock ContiProContacts. Night and day difference in rain & snow as well as being massively quieter & more comfortable to ride, but did suffer a 1MPG loss in fuel economy. Still overall they are an excellent tire.
This is a great video. The best tires I have ever used have been specified police interceptor tires (very expensive, but great performance....not so great wear) and Michelin and Continental passenger tires (very good performance and better wear). Overall, I think Michelin makes the best passenger tires, followed by Continental. The Firestone Firehawk police pursuit is the best police tire.
all that technology and yet they still dry rot quicker than most tires out there including the cheapest tires you can buy hence why i refuse to buy michelins and if a vehicle has them when i buy it then i replace them as soon as possible. personally i had rather buy a fusion or a kelly tire above most others out there.
Last time I made an enquiry to Michelin their customer service guy didn't know what rotational tires were. I tried to explain how rotational tires were either left or right handed, but he refused to believe it. I bought Continentals in the end.
Great Video, I was just wondering, why do Car tires have a lot less tread depth = equals less useful tire-life compared with Light Truck tires ? So far I haven't see any car tire with deeper tread then like 10mm. On my truck I can buy road tires with 20mm and All terrains with 25-35mm deep treads.
I wouldn't say dry performance increases as tyres wear. Quite the opposite. Especially when using ultra high performance tyres & tracking them frequently.. Graining/blistering affects the compound in a irreversible way. The tyres have limited heat cycles as well. The best laptimes (which means highest dry grip) come when you have fresh tyres.
Great explanation, you left out a discussion of changes to cross linking and structure as tires age/heat cycle, and a number of other fun things like shaved tires, but you hit the main points spot on. Great video
Hello Jason, I was just talking to my race team and we have a question on this subject. We agreed more worn or less tread tires will preform better on the track on a dry day. However, I was wondering, what if tire manufacturers have the compound change so that when the tread is worn off, the compound changes to a hard rubber. This would make it harder for a irresponsible driver to have a blowout if they wear their tires down past the tread. Do tire manufacturers do this? If so, it could mean that the tires perform worse on a dry day after being worn. FYI some of us can't afford non-DOT AutoX tires. Thanks, Brian
I had those Michelin Premiere A/S tires on my Accord and didn't need winter tires at all. It had gone through 10+ inches of snow without issues and fuel consumption was awesome and just as good as my Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3's. It's an awesome all season tire and if you don't get much snow then this is the best you're going to get for an all season tire!
Disappointed by Michelin. Through their website I chatted with a rep regarding which Pilot Sport 4S tires would fit the factory wheels of my 2016 Forester XT. I was advised that the correct size tires would not be available for a couple months, so I waited. When the tires arrived I e-mailed Michelin to ask about the recommended air pressure. I was told that I should not run Pilot Sport 4S tires on my Forester, and should choose an appropriate all season tire. FU Michelin! I wanted the best ultra high performance summer tires for a resson.
you are talking about new tires that are not worn and tires that are new and worn-because both tires are new ,performances on dry and warm is better for worn tires.
If you tested new tires (not worn) and old tires that are worn you would noticed that old tires are always worse because compound is changed by time -rubber became solid. I had 25000km/6 years old worn toyo proxes and I slided around the street in dry conditions
When you say that worn tyres perform better in the dry, do you mean when the tread is 100% worn away [which you almost never see, and is illegal]? That's the only point that would allow more tread contact right?
Even then I'm not entirely convinced, as worn tyres have been subject to heat cycles, and I'm sure many other kinds of degradation that would hinder grip, similar to how racing slicks lose grip during a race.
I just feel like it is a misleading statement as treaded tyres are never intended or allowed to be used bald.
One thing I have read elsewhere is that tire tread blocks squirm around less as the tread wears down which may result in slightly more responsive steering. Once you get to evenly bald the tires do great on clean dry roads, but behave badly in other road conditions.
Good video Jason.
In Australia here compound is near on ignored both at the consumers end and tyre shop.
There is no such thing as a winter tire or sumer tire here, and the tyre manufacturer just goes and picks the best one to suit them, normally a hard compound to last long.
For some unknown reason, tyre life in thousands of kilometres is a major reason for buying a certain tyre here. So you have brands bragging bout 80000 km life.
This ofcourse is a winter trade off in grip.
For example, the 17in bridgestone at dualers for my dads land rover discovery have that hard of a compound that in our cold weather of 5 degrees ,they nearly turn into slicks and become very unpredictable, almost like drivig on 2mm of tread in the rain. Ofcourse same applies for there purpose of off road when your on rocky ground when cold you end up doing burnouts everywhere.
I believe they did this because the first batch for that size and load rating( the discoverys are a rather wieghty car at 2600kg full spec) was too soft in summer and lasted but 20000kms for a few early customers.
I mean for average driving of 13000km to 20000kms a year making a 4 to 5 year life span on tyres really that bad that they do these silly decisions over here( cooper tires are also bad for this)
Hi. First of all I like your channel a lot and thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. I live in Baku, Azerbaijan and drive Volvo. We have a snow only several times a year (let's say several times in one or two months max) and the rest is sunny, cloudy and rainy weather with the prevalence of the sun. For instance this winter we had no snow in Baku (unfortunately) at all. My question is, what would be your advice on preference between all season tires and season oriented ones for these kind of conditions?
Thanks in advance.
My cousin lives in Chicago. Illinois, USofA, similar to the weather you have, and I noticed he had put Michelin Premier all season tires on his daughters Toyota RAV4 2WD. He said the tires did fine in Chicago winters and that he appreciated not having to switch to dedicated winter tires like our fathers and grandfathers used to back in the 1960s and 1970s. Now he does not let his tires get down to the 2/32 wear bars, so she is not driving on low tread tires in the winter. They are probably changed at 4/32 tread depth. About 50% of the original 8.5/32(17/64).
there is absolutely a compound difference on the inner and outer part of the thread's on some tire's. the inner part's is often for stability etc and never ment to drive on. so they r hard and terrible to drive on. as soon as you hit this part of the tire you will see it. if you were it down on a side of the tire all around it will become a ring around the tire that is distinkt. on the last set i took down to this part it was covering the complete tire at about 2-2.5 mm thread left. the rest of the tire was a soft compound so it needed this to stay gridet.
Usually there is a sticker in the driver's door area that tells what the vehicle manufacturer reccomends. It is also in the vehicle manual. Just because the tire has a maximum pressure rating of 32 does not mean that is the optimum for that vehicle. I made that mistake once by over-pressurizing a set of tires and ended up with the center of the tread wearing out far faster than the outer edges of the tread.
It’s not often that you’re incorrect about anything, Jason. But the tire compound gets worse grip as it ages. It does degrade with age. Perhaps this is negligible while going for groceries, but it is a noticeable change during performance driving. My Pilot Super Sports last me three warm seasons. Each season after the first the tires are noticeably harder and get less grip than the previous year. At least the tread is worn out after the third year, since they’d be getting annoyingly harder by that point anyway. Haha
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