Need Tires??? | MomsCharlotte.com

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Need Tires???

By Carolina Sonshine on 04/10/14 10:53
Charlotte Observer

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You don’t know what you don’t know…until you know.  I was extremely uninformed until I had the opportunity AND actually took the time to learn.

 

Like most of the women in my world, I’ve never given much thought to tires.  Unless I picked up a nail from the road, was due for the state-mandated vehicle inspection, or it was time to purchase a new set (because my grandfather / father / husband said so), tires didn’t rate anywhere on my list of considerations.  Basically, I figured if they were attached, inflated and the wheels went ‘round, all was well…

 

Call me blissfully ignorant until two weeks ago when I received a long overdue education.  Michelin invited me to attend and take part in an event held at its test track outside of Greenville, SC; it was designed to enlighten the participants about the important role tires play in safe driving through a series of discussions and hands-on experiences. 

 

Wow.  Eye-opening doesn’t come close to describing it…

 

I am known for my passion about teen driver safety and distracted driving… Now that I’ve been schooled, I’ve added tires-quality and maintenance-to the cause…

 

Since returning, I’ve worn my family out with tales from the track. And I’ve caught myself covertly examining tires on cars parked in front of the grocery store…

 

Do you need new tires?  Read on to learn how to win a set of four, courtesy of Michelin…

 

Most people believe the vehicle itself dictates how it performs and handles.  The first track exercise had us compare the differences between driving a Toyota Sienna van with OEM tires versus a BMW 328i sports sedan with tires from the less costly end of the retail price spectrum. The track was curvy and wet from a continuous water spray; the goal was to navigate the course of orange cones as fast as possible. It took four circuits in both vehicles before the Michelin test driver riding shotgun thought I’d pushed beyond my comfort level…  Guess which ride performed the best?

 

The second test of the series started with a question: if you could only replace two worn tires on your vehicle, where should the new tires go?  On the front end or the rear?   We drove Toyota Camrys to solve this riddle, one with a new set up front, the other with a new pair on the back.  The track was a large concrete oval, slick from continuous jets of water; cones lined the outer track limit, indicating a road shoulder… I volunteered to go first, driving the new ‘rear’ and then the new ‘front’… Like before, the Michelin test driver had to keep urging me to speed up.  I finally did and for the first and hopefully LAST time in my life, I hydroplaned, completing two 360-degree revolutions before finally stopping outside of the cones.  Definitely something I never, ever want to do again.  The solution to the riddle wasn’t what you may expect…

 

After an excellent lunch, we listened to a brief informational session about Michelin’s latest tire innovation, the Premier A/S, before heading out to another track, this time to learn about wet braking.  Visualize three Cadillac Sedans in a line, each equipped with different sets of tires: new Bridgestone, new Goodyear, and worn (5/32” tread depth) Michelin Premier A/S.  I took the Caddy up to 52+ mph, set the cruise control and at a predetermined spot, slammed on the brakes… I locked it down and held on for dear life, feeling and seeing for myself the distance required to stop on wet pavement…  The results were pretty amazing…

 

The last exercise didn’t involve us driving; on the final track, I got to be the passenger.  One of Michelin’s expert test drivers took me for a ride, and what a ride it was!  A Mustang Boss, outfitted with Premier A/S tires pushed to the limit of the wet conditions…  It was my favorite of the four tests, hands down…

 

For the record, I’ll go ahead and declare the obvious: Michelin is in the tire business and its latest tire-the Premier A/S Tire-debuted on April 2nd...  As stated in their press packet, “Michelin has a long history of introducing breakthroughs in the tire industry… Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle…”

 

I am by no means an expert in tire technology; however, I know what I saw and experienced; there were clear, noticeable differences between the tires.  Please check out the link below to see a Mitch Butler video explaining the technical aspects of why Michelin Premier A/S tires are different…

 
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLiMlHt2SLIsQsU7lCojA0j2qpZWkp0dY3&v=ZYPsKVe-Py0

 

As for the outcome of my test track experiences: 1) the Sienna van blew the Beemer away in speed and handling; 2) new tires in the front = no warning before losing control; 3) wet braking distance: the new Bridgestone average stopping distance was 115.2 feet; new Goodyear-avg. 120.2 feet; worn Michelin Premier-avg. 104.8 feet; and 4) I now understand the allure of NASCAR speed and the need for five point harnesses and helmets…

 

I would like to add that at no time before, during or since this event has there been any pressure or influence exerted upon me to agree with or support any of Michelin’s statements. Absolutely none. The entire event was designed to educate and demonstrate through direct experience the differences between tires and more specifically, in tire technology. 

 

The outcomes of the tests I participated in told me all I need to know.

 

The next time we’re in the market for tires, the new Michelin Premier A/S will be at the top of our list for consideration. The experience there made that much of an impression…

 

Now, for the best part!  Michelin is so confident about their new Premier A/S Tire, they have provided a certificate for a FREE SET OF FOUR (the suggested mfg. retail price is $156 each) for one lucky reader!  Go here to upload a picture of your worn tires and enter the contest:

 

http://charlotteobserver.upickem.net/engine/Welcome.aspx?contestid=126548

 

Remember!  The contest closes at noon on April 16th!  Good luck! 

 

P.S.  Don’t forget to check your tire pressure before hitting the road!

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Wishing you blessings and hope…tg

 

Tammy will update her blog weekly…

 

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