2008 Honda Pilot EX-L
Yes to a minimum test standard, but not all tires are created equal. Also comparing one set of tires to another brand isn't quite the same. Better test would be comparing the performance of a 3yr old tire to the same 6yr with the same treadwear amounts, compounds, etc. Sure Michelin and a lot of other big brands advertising costs account for a portion of their tire's prices, but also tire compounds, and tread designs have come a long way over the last 20 years (a benefit of R&D, and the wonderful world of fluid simulations). Like little channels that open up as the tire wears down, to help disperse water out the sides better.Remember, any tire sold has to meet DOT specs. So in reality, besides advertising all tires are the same.
Per (Uniform Tire Quality Grading) - "Traction Grades are based on the tire's straight line wet coefficient of traction as the tire skids across the specified test surfaces. The UTQG traction test does not evaluate dry braking, dry cornering, wet cornering, or high speed hydroplaning resistance. The Traction Grade is determined by installing properly inflated test tires on the instrumented axle of a "skid trailer." The skid trailer is pulled behind a truck at a constant 40 mph over wet asphalt and wet concrete test surfaces. Its brakes are momentarily locked and the axle sensors measure the tire's coefficient of friction (braking g forces) as it slides. Since this test evaluates a sliding tire at a constant 40 mph, it places more emphasis on the tire's tread compound and less emphasis on its tread design. "
For Traction of current tires in production:
- 3% are rated “AA”
- 75% are rated “A”
- 22% are rated “B”
- only 1 line of tires rated “C”
"A" is over 115mph
"B" between 100 and 115
"C" Between 85 and 100
"Every tire sold in the United States must be capable of earning a "C" rating which indicates the ability to withstand 85 mph speeds. "
As for the Treadwear Grades "are based on actual road use in which the test tire is run in a vehicle convoy along with standardized Course Monitoring Tires. The vehicle repeatedly runs a prescribed 400-mile test loop in West Texas for a total of 7,200 miles. The vehicle can have its alignment set, air pressure checked and tires rotated every 800 miles. The test tire's and the Monitoring Tire's wear are measured during and at the conclusion of the test. The tire manufacturers then assign a Treadwear Grade based on the observed wear rates. The Course Monitoring Tire is assigned a grade and the test tire receives a grade indicating its relative treadwear. A grade of 100 would indicate that the tire tread would last as long as the test tire, 200 would indicate the tread would last twice as long, 300 would indicate three times as long, etc. "
So really, the only thing the DOT appears to care about is that Tires can withstand the 85mph speed test 🤣.
On another note, when I lived back up in Seattle, the Les Schwab offers a Tire Siping service that actually does help with traction a noticeable amount. Surprised I don't see the service at other retailers, nice item they could use to increase revenue, and offer the customer improved durability and traction.