I did not experience this when I was using Goodyear tires but I noticed this now with the Michelin tires. It is said that tire ageing is the common cause of car tire sidewall cracking as it is subjected to all sorts of harsh road conditions and weather. Image source: Reddit
I did not realise this but after the screw up with the car battery, I opted for my other car service centre to double-check everything end to end. The mileage was also ripe enough for scheduled minor car service & change of oil engine.
The good people in the car service centre took extra precautions with temperature check, sanitizing of both one’s hands and also the car itself after the end of service. And they also enforced social distancing with setting the chairs for the customers far apart.
During this time, the customer service personal highlighted several times that the car tires is also due to change as it has come to 5 years from the date of manufacturing. In fact, before the start of the lockdown, I was already planning to change the tires but since then, the car hardly moved and the tire treads were still good.
Prolong lockdown was something I did not expect and this impacted my plan to get a new set of tires.
But now, the age of the tires have been specifically pointed during the car service, I now noticed the minute cracks on the Michelin XM2 tires but since the change of the tires was already part of my original plan, this factor simply enforced my original plans.
Further with all tires shops are now finally opened for business under the conditional lockdown, I am pretty sure they are hungry for business. Perhaps I could tempt them for a good bargain.
Speaking about the minute cracks (some calls it dry rot), I double-checked if this is something I need to be concerned driving with or I can disregard it as a cosmetic defect. Further research on the net indicated these symptoms:-
Tire dry rot is also known as sidewall cracking. As the term suggests, dry rot is primarily characterized by cracks in the tire rubber. If one or more of your tires has developed dry rot, you may notice the following warning signs:-
Brittleness. Dry rot dries out your tires. As essential oils leech out of your tires, you may notice that they appear and feel more brittle. You may even observe small pieces of rubber breaking away from the tire.
Cracks on the tread. Advanced dry rot can cause small cracks on the outside edges of your tire tread. These cracks can affect your car’s handling, even if your tread still has adequate depth overall.
Cracks on the sidewall. Even in minor cases of tire dry rot, you may notice cracks on the sidewall of your tire. These cracks may appear in an isolated area or extend around large portions of your hubcap.
Faded color. If your tire begins to look more gray than black, it may be developing dry rot. Fading may appear before or in tandem with cracking.
Inspect your tires for signs of dry rot at least once a year. Plan to inspect your tires in the early spring or early fall since winter and summer conditions can contribute to the development of dry rot.
Michelin XM2 Plus
My initial plan was to change to the same tire brand – Michelin Energy XM2 but now they have moved on with the next update, Michelin Energy XM2 Plus. Checking with the tire shop, they quoted about RM260 per tire but separate charges for alignment & balancing.
While it sports the same tread pattern as its predecessor, the XM2+ features a newly-formulated full-silica tread compound that Michelin says is highly flexible, enabling micro-scale contact with the ground and ensuring better grip throughout the life of the tyre.
It is also claimed to have a stronger bond that makes it more durable, resulting in minimised wear and thus, longer mileage.
As such, the tyre is said to allow for wet weather braking distances some 1.5 metres shorter than tyres from other premium manufacturers, extending that lead to 2.6 metres when worn.
It also delivers up to 25% greater mileage compared to other tyres, according to Michelin, and it wears the same Green “X” marking as its predecessor, indicating optimised fuel efficiency as a result of low rolling resistance.
(Image & Text Source)
Curious, I decided to see what other offers I have especially from Goodyear – tires that I have used in the past.
Goodyear Triplemax 2
The call to a nearby Goodyear tire shop got an offer of RM190 per tire for their newer level entry tire – Goodyear Assurance Triplemax 2 and this included alignment & balancing. Against the offer for XM2 Plus, I stand to save about RM300 in total using Goodyear tires.
The successor to the original TripleMax, introduced in 2013, this new mid-range passenger model boasts improved wet braking performance as well as increased durability.
The company says that the new compound formulation increases stickiness, while the optimised microstructure delivers better grip and braking performance in the wet.
The HydroTred Technology is also claimed to optimise the tyre’s footprint and provides more effective contact pressure, with the resulting increase in tyre cornering stiffness and steering precision ensuring better handling performance.
Meanwhile, the new tread pattern is designed to minimise pattern noise throughout the life of the tyre for a smoother, more comfortable ride.
Lastly, Goodyear has introduced additional technical features, construction technologies and materials to the sidewall for increased impact resistance.
(Image & Text Source)
As much as I want to maintain to use Michelin tires, considering that Goodyear seems to have parallel quality tires and it is cheaper, I decided to save up this time and go for Goodyear tires instead. Further, I already got “burned” with substantial repairs recently including new battery and rear brake rotors, I can do with some savings.
However, based on my experience in the past with Goodyear tires, I will expect that the tire tread to worn off faster before the 5 years is up. And I have to live with an ugly looking car for the time being – Michelin tires are better looking one compared to Goodyear from the side.
Note to myself – moving forward, I will need to stay away from any cheap tire cleaners and shampoo to avoid them causing cracking.