Corvette Owners Take Notice: Michelin Summer Tires May Fracture

2015-chevrolet-corvette_100452508_lWhile the initial excitement seems to be simmering down around the new C7 models, at least in the media world, these cars are still very early in their production. People are still getting their very own, brand new Corvette Stingrays and Z06s as you’re reading this. Appropriately, what is the first thing you want to do with a new car? Drive it! Unfortunately, for much of the country the timing of their car deliveries has not lined up well with mother nature, and she’s trying to take her toll.

050211_1When Corvette Online visited Funfest 2014 we had the opportunity to sit in on a lecture titled, “Corvette STINGRAY, 2014 and Beyond,” which was presented by Paul Koerner and Brittany George; both of which are highly trained Corvette technicians. Being the subject matter experts, Paul Koerner explained their position as, “the last line of defense before the troubled car goes back to engineering.” The team was able to answer many of the audience’s questions in addition to a handful of major tips for the then, new owners.

As far as the tires were concerned Koerner provided the following advice.

  • Should your car come equipped with the Michelin “Summer only” tires, they have an effective operating range down to 40 degrees fhareneheit. From 40 to 20 degrees, they may still be used, but the driver will experience some loss of grip.
  • If the temperature falls below 20 degrees, DO NOT move the vehicle until the temperature increases. When subjected to that kind of cold temperature, the tire becomes relatively brittle and can experience microscopic fracturing.

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Unfortunately, not everybody may have received such advice and/or were unable to protect their tires. Corvette Forum reached out to Michelin’s Lead Engineer for Corvette, Lee Willard who provided them with the following statement:

“This winter has been extremely harsh in much of the country and some recently shipped Corvette tires may exhibit cracking. In general, summer tires should never be driven on or moved in temperatures under 20°F because they may crack. Tires should be carefully inspected at the dealership before taking delivery of a vehicle. Never use a tire with freeze cracks, breaks, or damage to the sidewall or tread. For those residing in colder climates, Corvette owners should have a plan for vehicle storage during cold winter months. If your garage drops below 20°F regularly, consider removing tires and storing them inside. If you live in colder climates and want to drive your vehicle in temperatures below 40°F we strongly recommend investing in a set of winter or all-season tires.”

corvette_z06_tire_cracksHopefully those of you that have the “Summer only” tires on your cars have been able to protect them appropriately. While it may seem like an inconvenience to some, the type of traction available from these tires simply must come at a compromise. We have driven the base model Stingray through the Z07 equipped Z06 with a range of the available tires from Michelin and have been very satisfied with the results.

While we don’t know how each individual case will handled for those with tire cracking, we recommend you inspect them carefully. Purchasing replacements or buying a winter set of tires certainly isn’t cheap, but it is nothing worth risking your own safety and the safety of other motorists.

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About the author

Brent Davis

Brent was born and raised in Southern California. After earning a Bachelors Degree in business marketing from California State University San Marcos, and a project management certificate from the University of California at San Diego, he decided to turn a lifelong passion for automobiles and motorsports into a career. Brent has a specific passion for diesel-powered and all-terrain vehicles that have helped him haul and recover recreational toys over the years.
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