The legal minimum of thread on a tire stands at 1.6 mm of tread, but common sense and numerous experts have thought us to replace the rubber when the patch has around 3.0 mm of thread.
Now Michelin, in an unusual move – as they would benefit from people applying this rule – has decided to warn people that it’s actually pointless to swap your tires earlier than required by law. The tire manufacturer has decided to lash against the common belief that tires are at their efficiency peak when they have most of the thread, explaining that a premium tire like their own will always perform better even with 1.6 mm of tread than a wide range of cheap brands with full thread. The French component maker also added the tire actually becomes more fuel efficient as it wears off and rolling resistance decreases, meaning drivers could be saving fuel by not changing the tires so early.
The statistics are also pretty obvious – if everyone in the European Union would change tires when they reach 3.0 mm wear instead of the minimum of 1.6 mm, the bill would stand at €6.9 billion per year, factoring in the unnecessary tires and the added fuel consumption. This would also bring 128 million additional tire usage on the Old Continent – which is bad for the environment because it would add nine million tons of additional CO2 emissions every year.