Michelin addresses industry proposal to increase minimum legal tread depth.
Michelin is disputing those in the tyre industry that want to increase the minimum legal tyre tread depth from 1.6mm to 3mm.
The French manufacturer said in a recent statement there is no link between tread depth at 1.6mm and increasing accident rates. The company claims changing tyres at 3mm would cost the motorist money and increase carbon emissions. An Ernst & Young report commissioned by Michelin found that changing tyres at 3mm instead of 1.6mm would cost EU drivers an extra €6.9 billion a year in unnecessary tyre purchases and additional fuel consumption. Instead, Michelin is calling for a change to the tyre-testing protocol to reflect wet braking performance at 1.6mm.
The company says modern tyre technology makes it possible to provide high levels of performance and grip throughout a tyre’s life down to the legal tread wear limit. Changing tyres before they are fully worn, according to Michelin, does not guarantee greater safety, and no current studies have established a direct link between accident levels and tyre tread depth. Suggesting that tyres need to be changed before they reach the current legal limit or before the tread wear indicator is reached is enforcing a form of planned obsolescence, Michelin says. The company believes consumers would have to make unnecessary purchases, which would adversely impact on the environment.