Michelin has rejected calls from parts of the tyre industry for an increase in the minimum legal tread depth from 1.6mm to 3mm.
The tyre manufacturer says there is “no link” between tread depths at 1.6mm and increasing accident rates. In addition, Michelin claims that changing tyres at 3mm would cost fleets money and increase carbon emissions - especially as a tyre becomes more fuel-efficient as it wears.
A report, ‘The Truth About Worn Tyres’, from professional business services company EY commissioned by Michelin found that changing tyres at 3mm instead of 1.6mm would cost European Union drivers an extra €6.9 billion a year in unnecessary tyre purchases and additional fuel consumption.
Suggesting that tyres needed to be changed early - before the legal limit/tread wear indicator was reached - was akin to enforcing a form of planned obsolescence, said Michelin.
As a result, Michelin said that premature removal reduced the useful life of tyres and would increase the frequency at which they were replaced. Not only would vehicle owners have to make unnecessary purchases, but it would also have an adverse impact on the environment.
Michelin concluded: “[Drivers] should think carefully before changing tyres earlier than the legal tread limit as they will be removing the tyre when the dry braking performance and fuel efficiency will be at their peak. A premium tyre, worn to the tread wear limit can perform as well as a brand new lower performing tyre.”