Next to oil changes, getting your tires changed is one of the most expensive common maintenances tasks we undertake when owning a vehicle. For that reason, we want to be sure that we are purchasing the right tire and brand, so let’s take a look at two of the tire brands in the top ten.
Michelin and Hankook both have a long history in the tire industry. Michelin may be the more well-known and trusted brand throughout the world as the second largest tire company, but they are also known to be expensive. Hankook is, on the other hand, much more affordable, along with some interesting developments for the tire industry.
What's In This Guide?
Though Hankook tires may not be known very well by most people, the company is in fact the seventh-largest tire company in the world. The company is from South Korea and was founded on the 10th of May, 1941.
Having been founded during World War II and Having gone through the Korean War, the company saw much hardship and struggled. However, throughout these challenging times, the leadership never gave up and took every opportunity they saw to make the company what it is today.
At the end of the war, Hankook’s company culture drove them to develop good quality tires and tire technologies all with the goal to develop Korea’s industry and technology. This common goal that many Koreans share has made Seoul the most technologically advanced city in the world.
Today, Hankook has gone above and beyond its original goal of providing Korea with high-quality, reliable tires. Hankook now sells tires to many different areas including Asia, Europe, The Middle East, and North America.
Hankook’s Tire Families
Being the seventh-largest tire company in the world, Hankook has a good selection of tires. Though they do not have as many as Michelin, they do have a large emphasis on sustainability. From their iON tire designed for electric vehicles to their award-winning, fully sustainable tire, Hankook is pushing the boundaries of tire technology.
The iON tire line is designed for the new age of automobiles in the form of electric vehicles. This is important because the desirable traits of a tire for an electric vehicle are a little different from conventional combustion vehicles.
The perfect tire for an electric vehicle is quieter, can support a heavier load, responds better to higher torque, and has lower rolling resistance. The iON tire is created to have all of these characteristics so that the customer can make the most of their EV vehicle.
The Ventus is Hankook high-performance tire, optimized for excellent high-speed driving and stable handling. There are seven variants of the Ventus tire. They are all good at high-speed handling but the Ventus S1 AS is the best for handling in all weather conditions. Additionally, there is one tire in the line that is designed for SUVs.
Like the iON, the Kinergy is a step forward into an eco-friendly world. These five tires are primarily designed as all-season, grand touring tires for a variety of vehicles. Though quality tires in these regards, the main accomplishment of these tires is their eco-friendly design.
The Kinergy tire is entirely designed from eco-friendly materials and has obtained an ISCC PLUS award for being the very first sustainable tire in the entire industry.
Consisting of six tires, the Dynapro tire line is designed for the ultimate off-road experience. Created to deliver strong driving and braking performances for all conditions including on and off-road for SUVs and light trucks.
These are Hankook’s Winter tire line. There are five tires in this line which is more than most companies offer when it comes to winter tires. There usually isn’t much to say when it comes to winter tires, however, the i*cept is quickly gaining notoriety due to excellent test results from the Technotrack located in the far northmost part of Finland.
As the world’s second-largest tire company, Michelin is formidable. Being founded on May 28th, 1889, by brothers Édouard and André Michelin. Through the many years of Michelin’s tire existence, they have achieved many key milestones which have put them on the map.
The birth of the company is thanks to the first of these milestones because it is the reason the brothers founded Michelin tires. Before the brother’s intervention into the tire industry, if a tire was punctured and need repair, many hours would be lost.
This was because tires were glued to the rim, which lead to extremely long repair and wait times for tire repairs. The brothers had a firsthand experience of this when they took on a client that need a bicycle tire repaired.
They agreed to repair the tire and set to work. It took them 3 hours to remove the tire because of the glue. Once it was removed and repaired, they glued it back on and then had to wait many hours for the glue to dry.
Finally, the glue was dry and one of the brothers tested it out, to which the tire promptly failed. Two years later in 1891, the Michelin patent for the removable pneumatic tire was published. That same year Charles Terront won the world’s first long-distance cycle race with the removable pneumatic tire.
By 1934 Michelin introduced the run-flat-tire. Though this was an early version and not much like anything we see today, it was still an important innovation. The tire sported a special internal foam that would take the load of the vehicle if the air pressure of the tire was lost.
Today not many people use run-flat tires, nor do they see the use for them. A combination of modern-day tires and roads means that punctures are not that common. In those days, however, punctures were far more common due to road conditions and the fact that all tires were non-radial.
This was just the beginning of Michelins climb to power. In 1946 Michelin invented the radial tire. Since its inception, the radial tire has changed the tire world. The radial tire is much stronger than a non-radial tire. This is due to two design features.
First, a radial tire has a steel belt running under the tread in parallel to the direction of tire rotation. The main job of this steel belt is to provide strength and support to the treaded area, which vastly improves puncture resistance.
The second feature is the nylon fibers that run from bead assembly to bead assembly (the parts that touch the rim). These nylon fibers are sometimes called the body plies and are aligned perpendicularly to the rotation of the wheel.
The nylon fibers give both support and flexibility to the sidewalls of the tire. Because the tread and sidewalls are supported by different systems, the radial tire can make the most of both material’s properties where it is most needed.
Michelin has been such a successful company over the years, they even had their stint in the pinacol of motorsports, Formula One. The constructor’s championship was won four times with Michelin, an accomplishment most drivers don’t even achieve.
Their successes, however, were not without hardship. In 2005 Michelin tires were experiencing catastrophic failures and over half the grid protested, refusing to race on the dangerous tires. This all happened at the US Grand Prix and is now known as the US Grand Prix debacle.
After further disagreements with F1’s governing body, the FIA, Michelin decided to withdraw from F1 for good at the end of the 2006 season. Today Michelin is only second to Bridgestone. The company is extremely reputable and is advertised as using technology and innovation to make its products and services stand out.
Michelin Tire Families
With Michelin having been so much more impactful throughout the tire world, they have many more tire options to pick from. Though this can be overwhelming as you might feel as though you have too many choices, it actually means that you can pick that tire that meets your exact needs.
The four CrossClimate tires are all-season tires that are more capable in the snow than most all-season tires as they have the three peaks symbol. With their unique tread pattern, they will not only turn heads but all last a long time, especially compared to other tires that have the same winter ratings.
The Defender is Michelin’s long lasting tire that can go anywhere. Design to operate in just about any condition, these three tires all come with a warranty up to 80,000 miles. Many claim that the defender is the best long-lasting tire on the market.
These three tires are designed to improve your fuel efficiency, whether it be on the family car or a small sports car. The tires can be used all-season round and they save fuel by keeping the tire cool due to a unique silica-based rubber.
Consisting of six tires, the latitude line will provide winter, summer, and all-season tire requirements to SUV, CUV, and light truck owners. There are three basic areas which these tires cover: touring, sport, and winter.
The Primacy tire line is the all-day everyday tire from Michelin. With seven tires in the line, you can customize your pick to best fit your needs. The main goal Michelin has with this tire line is to provide safety and comfort to the user in all conditions.
The Pilot is one of Michelin’s biggest attractions. With a whopping eighteen tires in this line, you can truly optimize your vehicle’s boots in order to maximize all of its potential. Most of these are summer tires with a small amount of grooving, however, if you want some wet and wild fun or a bit of fun in the snow, the pilot line has it all.
As you can probably tell from the name, these are Michelin’s most luxurious tires. There are only two tires in the line, one for passenger cars and luxury performance cars, and the other tire is for SUVs and Crossovers. Both tires will substantially reduce road noise and provide a smooth ride.
The LTX tires are all about “bigger is better” as both tires in the line are made for light trucks and SUVs. One tire is aimed at the all-terrain experience while the other tire leans more toward commercial usage.
Finally, the X Ice is all about winter. All three tires are winter only tires. All of these tires use studless winter tire technology where the main difference is the vehicle they can be fitted to.
Differences Between Hankook and Michelin
The differences between the two companies are marginal. Both companies have over a lifetime of experience, and they are both pushing the boundaries of tire technology, all be it in different areas. Michelin is more dedicated to increased tire performance, whereas Hankook is leaning more in the direction of sustainability.
The main difference when it comes to a direct comparison between similar tires is the price. Michelin is well known in the tire industry to be one of if not the most expensive brand, whereas Hankook is considered an affordable brand, somewhere in the middle of tire prices.
Both companies provide high mileage warranties for their tires, but Michelin really stands out when it comes to performance handling. At the end of the day, you do get what you pay for when it comes to Michelin. That being said, what you get from Hankook price is also a good value for money.
Advantages of Hankook
- Good variety for sedans and passenger vehicles
- Great tread life warranties
- Widely available
- Well reviewed by users
- Great environmentally friendly choices
Advantages of Michelin
- Good variety for tire types
- Innovative fuel efficiency technology
- Extensive testing for consumer models
- Some of the longest treadwear warranties in the industry
Which Brand to Choose
Picking either of these tires can be the right choice for you, it all depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for a tailored performance tire to maximize your vehicle’s potential, then go with Michelin.
If you want a tire designed for your electric vehicle or you want to be able to say you have a 100% sustainable tire, they go with Hankook. Additionally, if you want to lessen the impact on your wallet, Hankook is a good pick.
It’s all up to you and what you are looking for in your next tire.