Michelin says new tire gets better with age

The tire maker's "Evergrip" technology uses more silica.

DETROIT -- Michelin said it has developed a tire with tread that changes as it wears to reduce stopping distances.

A tire's grip usually deteriorates as the tread wears down. But Michelin says its engineers have figured out how to preserve wet weather road-holding on tires that have tens of thousands of miles on them.

Michelin introduced the tire today at the Detroit auto show.

The tire maker's "Evergrip" technology uses more silica, which helps the tires adhere to the road, sunflower oil, which improves cold-weather grip and grooves that expand as they wear.

Tiffane Thompson, Michelin's country operations manager for North America, said the rain grooves in traditional tires get narrower as the tire ages. The rain grooves on Michelin's Premier A/S tires have been designed to expand with wear.

"The wider grooves help channel water away from the tire," she said. Another innovation: new grooves that appear as the tires ages. The added grooves also help improve the tire's grip in wet weather.

In wet weather testing comparing new and worn Premier A/S tires, Michelin says the stopping distance is reduced by about a car length.

The new tire will be available this spring as a replacement. Michelin is negotiating with several unnamed automakers to install the tires as original equipment.

You can reach Richard Truett at rtruett@autonews.com