Buying new tire can be a stressful situation. There are so many brands and tires to choose from. One question I have asked myself is: Is it better to go with a well-known, large company, or a smaller company? Let’s take a look at Yokohama and Michelin.
In this case of David vs Goliath, Goliath wins. On almost every front, Michelin is the better tire. The only area where Yokohama is better is with winter tires. Though Michelin is the winner, it is only by a small amount, so if you prefer the Yokohama brand, then you aren’t missing out by much.
What Is Yokohama?
The Yokohama Rubber Company, Limited was founded in 1917 on the 13th of October. The Japanese company began as a joint venture between Yokohama Cable Manufacturing and B.F. Goodrich. By 1969 the company had expanded into the United States and their success is largely thanks to the Aspec A300 tire.
Additionally, Yokohama has had a lot of success with its ADVAN tire line. This line became so popular that the company would often use it as branding, instead of “Yokohama.” Though not one of the top five biggest tire manufacturers, Yokohama has over 100 years of experience and is currently the 8th largest tire manufacture, so you know they can be trusted.
What Is Michelin?
Michelin is currently the second-largest tire manufacturer. Found 132 years ago, on the 28th of May 1889, by the Michelin brothers, Édouard and André. Michelin’s success can be attributed to the key technologies they invented which drastically changed the tire market.
The first major technology they introduced was the removable pneumatic tire, which was patented in 1891. Before this, if you wanted to fix a flat or change a tire it would take up to three hours to remove the tire because it was glued to the rim.
Then you would have to wait a full day for the glue to dry. When the brothers went through this whole process for a client, just to have the tire fail within minutes, they came up with the removable pneumatic tire.
A few months after the patent Charles Terront won the world’s first long-distance cycle race with the removable pneumatic tire. Some thirty years later the company introduced another iconic tire technology.
In 1934 Michelin introduced the run-flat-tire. They did this by designing the tire with a special foam lining that would support the tire if it was punctured. Their most influential invention, however, was yet to come.
In 1946 Michelin invented the Radial tire. The radial tire, without a doubt, revolutionized the tire industry. The radial tire introduced the steel belt that runs the circumference of the tire, under the tread.
The tire also has nylon fibers in the sidewall to give structural support. The fibers are aligned 90 degrees to the tread which provides both flexibility due to the material, and stability due to the alignment. Because the tread and sidewalls are supported by different systems, the tire is more durable because advantages can be garnered from both systems.
Michelin even had their stint in Formula One, taking four constructors’ championship wins. These victories were not without hardship, however, as Michelin was at the heart of the US Grand Prix debacle in 2005. After many disagreements with the FIA, Michelin finally pulled out of Formula One at the end of the 2006 season.
With Michelin only second to Bridgestone, they are a reputable company to buy tires from. Their tires provide some of the best performance in all areas and they are reliable. Michelin’s strategy is to “use technology and innovation to make its products and services stand out.”
What Are the Pros and Cons of Yokohama?
- Wide tire variety
- Sustainability focus
- Strong industry standing
- Average affordability
- Average tread life warranties
What Are the Pros and Cons of Michelin?
- Many tire types are available
- Innovative fuel efficiency technology
- Extensive testing for consumer models
- Some of the longest treadwear warranties in the industry
- One of the most expensive tire brands on the market
What Are the Main Differences Between Yokohama and Michelin Tire?
Comparing two companies that are so closely matched is difficult. They both have over a century in the business with a good track record. When comparing two companies that are so closely matched, I like to examine them to three key areas: pricing, warranties, and key technologies.
When looking at comparable pairs of tires, one from each company. Yokohama comes out as the cheapest tire almost every time. I was not surprised by this as I have heard time and time again that Michelin, alongside Goodyear, are the most expensive tire brands.
Warranties are a good way to determine how a company feels about its product, the more miles a company gives you under a limited warranty, the more confidence they have in their tire. However, in some cases, companies put so many clauses in their policies that when you need to use your warranty, you are not eligible.
Fortunately, after some research, neither of these companies seem to be trying some funny business with the warranties and they seem pretty standard. So, let’s have a look at which company gives us the best warranties.
For this comparison, I took the Yokohama Geolandar X-CV and the Michelin Crossclimate SUV. I chose these two because they would be my pick from these brands for my 2011 VW Touareg. Both have a limited warranty of 50,000 miles, so dead even on that front.
A key difference comes in with the company’s “satisfaction guaranteed” warranties. Yokohama gives a standard of 30 days satisfaction guaranteed plan. Michelin on the other hand gives a 60-day satisfaction guaranteed warranty. This tells me that Michelin is more confident, but at the end of the day, there isn’t that big of a difference in warranties.
When it comes time for me to buy a tire I like to see where a company is going and what its plans are for the future. Key technologies both currently in use and up and coming are a good way for me to determine where I want to do business.
Let’s have a look at Michelin first. Other than the standard technologies which all tire companies are constantly working on, such as tire durability, less roll resistance, and better traction, Michelin is working on Four Technological Innovations in the tire industry.
With the current push for a greener future, one of Michelin’s main goals is to work towards more sustainable development. To do this, they have set out six major ambitions for themselves:
- Customer Satisfaction
- Personal Well-being and Development
- Financial Performance
- Product Performance
- A Responsible Manufacturer
- Communities & Sustainable Mobility
I believe that product performance and responsible manufacturing are the most powerful ambitions on this list. The better the tire performance the less frequent a buyer will need to replace their tire, all the while saving the customer fuel while using the tire.
Responsible manufacturing is also massive because that is where most of the pollution to the environment comes from. This also goes into logistics and purchasing which, when done correctly can save a massive amount of resources.
Though Track Connect technology is not revolutionary in the realm of safety, saving the environment, or fuel-efficiency, it is revolutionary on the track. Have you ever been on the track and wished that you had an F1 crew letting you know what your tires’ temperatures are and how they are performing? Well with track connect you have that team, but in your phone.
Track Connect is an app that works with the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Connect tires to help improve your track times and tire performance. The tires have temperature sensors inside them which connect to a receiver and your phone.
Through the app, you can select the track you are driving on which will give you tips to improve your lap times. This technology is indeed futuristic, and it will be interesting to see where else it can be applied, such as on normal road driving conditions.
Michelin’s self-seal tires are the next evolution of the run-flats. They work as advertised, by sealing a puncture before it becomes a problem. Michelin says that the “technology uses sealant permanently installed inside the tire to surround the object and fill the hole, preventing air leakage and maintaining pressure.”
The sealant is made primarily out of natural rubber which is not harmful to the environment. This means that if the sealant were to come out of the tire, it wouldn’t be the same as an oil spill. Michelin also states that the sealant does not negatively affect the performance of the tire.
One major fact that companies list on their tire statistics is noise. Unless you drive a luxury car, you know road noise is annoying. Most of this noise actually comes from your tires due to something called cavity noise.
Michelin has taken a big step in reducing this cavity noise with their acoustic technology tires. They have achieved this by essentially just adding some foam. This achieves two things which lowers the noise produced.
The first is to make the cavity smaller, thus less cavity noise, and secondly, the foam absorbs some of the sound which is created. Obviously, it’s a little bit more complicated than just adding some foam because they need to find a balance so that performance is not impacted.
Though Yokohama doesn’t have any game-changing technologies like Michelin does, they are not dead in the water. They strive to improve on technologies that already are in wide use, such as bead winding, perfecting calendaring, extrusion, and curing.
Additionally, Yokohama winter tires are surprisingly good. In some tests, they were found to be better than Michelin tires. Unfortunately, due to Yokohama’s size, they are not pioneering any new technologies.
Popular Yokohama Tire Lines
- AVID Touring-S
- Geolandar A/T G015
- Parada Spec-X
- ADVAN Sport A/S
- AVID Ascend GT
Popular Michelin Tire Lines
- Michelin Defender T+H
- Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus
- Michelin Premier A/S
- Michelin LTX M/S2
- Michelin Pilot Super Sport
- Michelin X-Ice Xi3
Yokohama and Michelin have about the same level of customer service. Your experience might differ depending on the representative which is assigned to you.
Use Yokohama If:
Yokohama has shown better traction on icy roads. With cheaper prices and better grip in icy condition, use Yokohama for winter tires.
Use Michelin If:
Unless you need winter tires, especially for icy roads, you should use Michelin. They have better performance on all other metrics, particularly in wet conditions. They might be more expensive, but if you want the best tire, they have your back.
Though Michelin is better on almost every front, they are quite a bit more expensive. With the difference in performance only marginal, is it worth spending money on Michelins? Well, I would say yes, you will get more value out of Michelin tires than Yokohama tires.
At the end of the day, your tires are the only thing keeping your vehicle connected to the road, which is why I never go cheap with tires. On the other hand, if you want to save some cash, Yokohama is not a bad brand, it just isn’t as big.
To sum it all up Michelin is the winner in this head-to-head. Not only do they have better performance in almost all metrics, but their key technologies bring unique benefits to the table. Michelin is more expensive, but that extra cost is well worth it.
Yokohama is not bad though, so if you need to save some money you can rely on Yokohama. They are on the cheaper side as far as tires go, but they are not garbage like some other cheap tires. Whichever brand you pick, make sure that you use the correct size and PSI to get the most out of your tire.