Michelin Destiny Tires

We recently purchased Michelin Destiny tires for our 1990 Civic, tires that

the store (Discount Tire) recommended. However, we are concerned about the

handling. On the plus side, the (manual steering) car is extremely

easy to steer now, whereas before, it took a lot of effort. (The previous set we purchased were Yokohama Avid Touring.) On the

negative side, my subjective fear is that the tires are not

grabbing the road. Furthermore, when swerving on the freeway the

other day, the car did not seem to respond quickly as I tried to

correct myself after swerving out. In fact, for a brief moment I thought

the car was sliding out of control. I am concerned what could happen

on wet pavement, which is what we usually have here in Seattle. I don’t know much about cars - does this sound like a problem, or maybe I’m just worrying unnecessarily. Thanks for any thoughts on this.

The first thing to do is to check the tire inflation pressure. The type of handling problem that you describe can be caused by overinflated tires. Check the pressure when the tires are “cold”, i.e., before you have driven more than a couple of miles at low speed. Be sure that they are inflated to the car manufacturer’s specifications (listed on the driver’s door jamb and in the Owner’s Manual), and DO NOT use maximum pressure listed on the tire sidewall.

If the tires have not been overinflated, then it just may be that these tires have very different handling characteristics than your old tires, and you will have to drive accordingly.

I was going to say the same thing except that the new tires are probably proerly inflated and the old ones were underinflated.

Nevertheless, check the pressure: On every vehicle sold in the US, there is a sticker commonly - called the vehicle placard - that lists the original tire size and the proper pressure for that size. The placard is usually located on a doorpost or in the glove box ? but sometimes it is located in the trunk or on the fuel filler door.

If you are using the same size as listed on the placard, then the placard pressure is appropriate.

The tire pressure posts are spot-on, and I liked Capriracer’s thought that the old one’s may have been underinflated. I just wanted to emphasize that even if all the pressures are and were right different tires can have a dramatically different feel, as well as dramatically affecting ease of turning. Chances are excellent that this is what you’re feeling, a simple difference in tire characteristics.

Be sure all the pressures are correct, and if you’re still uneasy have the alignment checked. Then enjoy your Civic without worry.

Michelin Destiny are super high mileage tires 80,000 mile tires. Why would one put such a tire on a 18 year old car? I suspect you are feeling the handling characteristics of a long tread life tire.

That is a very good point. Tread life of 80k most likely indicates that a very “hard” rubber compound has been used for the tread. The downside is less traction, particularly on a wet surface.

Everything is a matter of give and take, and while tires with a very long tread life can be very economical in the long run, you usually sacrifice some handling and roadholding ability in the process. Using the ratings and consumer reviews of particular tire models on the Tire Rack website prior to purchasing tires is a very good idea, even if you are buying the tires elsewhere.

From what I recall, you went from a good to really good gripping tire in Avid Touring to a mediocre gripping tire in the Destiny, assuming all tires were inflated properly. Discount tire offers some level of satisfaction return policy if you act quick enough. If you are unhappy with the grip, get rid of them now if you can under a trade. If you now understand and appreciate the Avid touring, stick with it or its new equivalent, price considerations aside.

Thanks much for all your thoughts - I’ll try those out.

I have Dunlop D65 tires on an 93 Caprice, these tires are alos rated for 80k. On the plus side, the tires handle well in dry conditions and have very low rolling resistance. I average 21-22 mpg in local driving (suburbs). This isn’t bad for a 2 ton+ car with a V8. On the down side the wet traction isn’t the greatest and snow traction is nonexistent. Interestly, I plan on replacing the tires (due to age) with Yokohama tires to improve wet and snow traction, so your post helped me with my choice.

Ed B.