- Helping you drive happy

Michelin X-Ice 3 winter tire test

The new yardstick? Automotive columnist: , Updated:

As with car makers, tire manufacturers do their darnedest to cater to what consumers want and ask for. Michelin is to tires what Toyota is to hybrid technology; they are at the forefront, leading the way and by example.

Michelin X-Ice 3
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre/

What example is that? Setting standards by which all other tire brands will be measured. Michelin is not simply content with offering a good tire that will perform well in Canadian winters. There are other manufacturers that do exactly this but Michelin throws in peace of mind. Lots of it.

Michelin is a rare tire maker that actually rates the life expectancy of their winter tires and also gives you a tread life warranty. You read that right. The all-new Michelin X-Ice 3 winter tire has a 60,000 km warranty and this, in either the T or H speed ratings.

Peace of mind comes in many shapes. Another such point comes in the form of trust. Consumers want a winter tire that will last 3 or 4 seasons but unfortunately, come winter #3, the vast majority of winter tires will have lost a large part of their properties, especially where ice traction is concerned.

The Michelin X-Ice 3 is designed to perform in all conditions even when worn down to a tread depth of only 4/32. As you can see in the picture gallery, some of the Xi3's competitors’ tread blocks actually melt away into solid bands of rubber or their all-important sipes all but disappear. The Xi3's sipes and blocks are still quite visible and therefore, functional.

Oh, and if you're not happy with your Michelin tires, you have a 30-day exchange satisfaction warranty. That's right; Michelin will trade your tires for whatever you want in the same size. As well, with every set, the buyer gets 3 years of roadside assistance.

When new, the Xi3 comes with 10.5/32 of tread depth. Compared to many of its competitors that will offer up to 13/32 of tread, 10.5 doesn't seem like much. Like cheeseburgers, not all are equal. A Five Guys burger is not tantamount to a Big Mac but they are referred to as same. They are not. Tread depth is not the be-all end-all of how to measure a tire's worth. The quality of the actual materials and tire make a huge difference.

Michelin X-Ice 3
Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre/