Does the Michelin Defender T+H offer value for money? This Michelin Defender T+H review has all the information you need, to make an informed buying decision.
The Michelin Defender T+H is a great tire choice for someone who is looking for all-season tires. It delivers reliable traction, quiet and comfortable handling, and its braking distances are among the shortest in its class. However, its performance in icy or snowy conditions is disappointing.
In this Michelin Defender T+H review, we will take a closer look at its key features, its treadwear and durability, its performance on different conditions and surfaces, noise and comfort levels, responsiveness and handling, compatible vehicles, available sizes, warranty and guarantees, as well as its pros and cons.
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About the Michelin Defender T+H
Launched in 2017, the Michelin Defender T+H has established itself as one of the most reliable and capable tires on the market.
Unlike the previous iteration that had some treadwear issues, the current version has been significantly enhanced, to ensure it meets your expectations.
Michelin has undertaken some improvements on the Defender’s tread design and compound, making it a great all-around option.
The Michelin Defender T+H may be slightly more expensive than other tires in its class. However, what you get is a sturdy and reliable tire, which can deliver a great performance in almost all weather conditions.
If you are looking for a touring all-season tire that you can use in almost any passenger car, then you can never go wrong with the Michelin Defender T+H.
Furthermore, it’s available in a wide range of sizes, meaning it shouldn’t be hard to find a tire size that fits your car.
Since it was released a few years ago, the Michelin Defender T+H has undergone several enhancements, to ensure reliable performance on the road and long tread life. Some of its key features include:
Comfort Control Technology
Michelin has equipped the Michelin Defender T+H with comfort control technology, designed to deliver a comfortable ride over a wide range of road surfaces and conditions.
So, what exactly is comfort control technology? Comfort Control is a proprietary Michelin technology, where the tire delivers a higher level of road grip without corresponding increases in noise levels.
As noted earlier, some consumers complained that the previous iterations of the Michelin Defender didn’t meet the expected treadwear mileage.
However, you will not experience such issues with this tire, thanks to the Maxtouch technology.
It distributes the tire’s contact forces evenly on the road, thus helping to minimize stress points inside this tire while helping it to last longer.
Safety is one of the most important considerations when it comes to buying tires. And as you may expect, the Michelin Defender T+H doesn’t come up short when it comes to safety. Some of its safety features include:
If you take a closer look at this tire, you will notice distinct zigzag sipes, which come with the required biting edges to deliver exceptional grip even when you are driving on slippery surfaces.
So, if you encounter light snow when you are riding on these tires, they will keep your car moving comfortably, without any noticeable loss of grip.
High Silica Content
Michelin has further equipped this tire with a higher level of silica content than the previous iterations.
The higher silica content is designed to ensure the tire maintains a higher level of traction even on wet roads.
Another unique feature of the Michelin Defender T+H is the presence of circumferential grooves, which help to prevent hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning usually occurs when a water layer forms between the road surface and the wheel, thus removing traction. And when that happens, the wheel will lose its grip and the vehicle will experience control issues.
The Michelin Defender comes with two speed ratings, which are T and H. Most of the larger tires are T-rated while the majority of the smaller ones are H-rated. So, what exactly do these ratings mean?
If the Michelin Defender has a T-speed rating, then it means it can maintain an average speed of approximately 118mph safely, over an extended duration. Tires with this rating are ideal for vans, sedans, as well as other vehicles.
The H-rating, on the other hand, can comfortably deliver a maximum speed of approximately 130mph. So, if you own a sports coupe or sedan, then the Michelin Defender H-rating is ideal for your driving needs.
Treadwear and Durability
Similar to other tires from this brand, the Michelin Defender T+H delivers even treadwear. And considering its price compared to its competitors, you should not expect anything less.
As highlighted earlier, the Michelin Defender T+H distributes its contact forces uniformly on the road surface, which helps to promote even treadwear while maximizing tread life.
In terms of durability, this tire lives up to its expectations. It features Michelin’s proprietary EverTread compound, which plays a significant role in its durability.
It also comes with double internal steel belts, which are then reinforced with a 1-ply of polyamide. And when you throw in its two-ply body casing, you can expect nothing less than long-lasting performance.
Just like other all-season tires in its class, the Defender T+H comes with all the industry-standard TWI’s or tread wear indicators. And these indicators are usually placed there to help the driver assess the remaining treadwear, for maintenance and safety purposes.
Tread wear indicators are extremely important when it comes to vehicle safety. If a tire doesn’t have ample tread depth, then it will not direct water through its grooves.
And this will negatively affect its performance on wet surfaces. Furthermore, the lack of adequate tread depth may reduce a tire’s hydroplaning resistance, leading to loss of traction.
The minimum tread depth on the Defender T+H is 2/32, which is usually the legal requirement in most jurisdictions.
The tread wear indicators on the Michelin Defender T+H are narrow rubber bars, which have been strategically positioned inside the tire’s circumferential grooves.
If these narrow rubber bars flush with the tire’s surface, then the Michelin Defender T+H has attained its minimum tread depth, and it needs to be replaced.
If you fail to replace the tires at this stage, then their braking, handling and performance on wet surfaces will be severely compromised.
The Defender’s tread wear indicators usually become visible after the tire has hit approximately 80,000 miles, which is one of the longest mileages in the industry.
The Defender T+H performs remarkably well when driven on wet surfaces and slippery roads. And this can be attributed to a combination of different features and technologies.
First, there is the IntelliSipe technology, which gives the tire zigzag sipes. These sipes interlock beneath its surface, thus optimizing the Defender’s road contact.
And as noted earlier, the Michelin Defender T+H comes with a higher silica content, which further enhances the tire’s grip, especially when you are driving on wet and slippery surfaces.
Its traction is reliable, its braking distance is one of the leading in its class and its cornering grip is highly secure. Hence, if you are looking for a tire that can comfortably handle rainy conditions or light snow, then the Defender T+H will be an ideal choice.
When assessing a tire’s performance on paved roads, you need to consider its stability and grip at high speeds as well as its braking power.
The Defender T+H ticked all these boxes as far as driving on paved roads is concerned. Considering that these tires are mainly designed for slippery surfaces, their independent blocks deliver extra biting power when you are driving on dry roads.
And even when you are navigating tight corners, the Michelin Defender T+H doesn’t lose its grip or skid away from its axis.
So, if you have a knack for driving at high speeds, then the Defender is capable of maintaining high speeds for a longer duration, without losing traction or grip.
Furthermore, its braking distances on paved roads is one of the shortest in its category. Overall, this tire delivers one of the best performances on dry surfaces. It brakes sharply, sticks to the road and delivers a responsive ride.
As much as this tire rides well on wet and slippery surfaces, its performance in snowy conditions is underwhelming.
The biting edges that deliver remarkable performance on wet and slippery surfaces don’t offer any grip when you are driving in icy conditions.
But if you are driving on light snow and you stick to safe driving, then these tires may help you to arrive at your destination safely.
Simply put, these tires are not recommended for snowy or icy conditions. Therefore, if you live in an area that experiences heavy snowing, then you should consider other options.
The Michelin Defender T+H is mainly an all-season touring tire. Therefore, it’s not recommended for off-road driving.
While you can use this tire on hard-packed surfaces, you may end up damaging its tread and shortening its lifespan.
Furthermore, it will not provide you with the traction that you want, especially when you are driving uphill. Similar to other all-season tires, the Michelin Defender T+H will always be outperformed by off-road tires.
Noise and Comfort
Michelin is renowned for manufacturing tires that deliver comfortable and refined handling. And the Defender T+H is no exception.
Its ride quality is refined, even when you are driving on uneven or rough roads. Some users have noted that the Defender T+H is one of the quietest tires they have used.
Hence, if quiet and refined driving is what you are looking for, then the Michelin Defender T+H will not disappoint you.
However, some consumers have complained that the Defender T+H is wobbly and noisy. But in most situations, wobbling and noise are usually due to improper balancing when the tires were being installed.
Therefore, if you experience such issues when you are riding on the Michelin Defender, then it’s highly likely the problem is caused by improper installation.
The Michelin Defender T+H is compatible with a wide range of vehicles, most notably sedans, pickups and SUVs. Some of the vehicle models that you can use the Michelin Defender T+H include:
- Chevrolet Impala, HHR, Cobalt, Malibu, Venture and Cruze
- Buick Regal, Park Avenue, Century, LeSabre and Lacrosse
- Chrysler Country, Town and Sebring
- Ford Fusion, Focus, Taurus, Freestar and Crown Victoria
- Dodge Stratus, Charger, Avenger, Magnum and Grand Caravan
- Hyundai Santa Fe, Sonata, Genesis and Elantra
- Honda Civic, Accord, Odyssey, CR-V and Insight
- Lexus ES350, ES330, and LS430
- KIA Soul, Optima, Amanti and Forte
- Mazda6, Mazda 929, and Mazda5 MPV
- Subaru Outback
- Nissan Quest, Maxima, Altima, Versa, Cube and Sentra
- Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Touareg and Jetta
- Toyota Prius, Avalon, Camry, Corolla and Sienna
Other vehicles that can use these tires include the Cadillac DeVille, Lincoln MKZ, Lincoln Town Car, as well as Scion xA and Scion xB, just to name a few.
Sizes and Specs
The Defender T+H comes in various sizes and specs. It’s available in 13-inch, 14-inch, 16-inch, 17-inch, and 18-inch. Here are some of the available sizes:
- 175/70R13 82T BSW
- 175/70R13 82T BSW
- 195/70R14 91T BSW
- 185/70R14 88T BSW
- 175/70R14 84T BSW
- 185/65R14 86T BSW
- P205/70R14 93T BSW
- 175/65R14 82T BSW
- 195/60R15 88T BSW
- 185/60R15 84T BSW
- 215/60R15 94T BSW
- 205/60R15 91T BSW
- 185/65R15 88T BSW
- 195/65R15 91T BSW
- 205/65R15 94T BSW
- 215/65R15 96T BSW
- 205/70R15 96T BSW
- 235/60R16 100H BSW
- 205/60R16 92H BSW
- 215/65R16 98H BSW
- 215/65R16 98H BSW
- 225/60R16 98T BSW
- 215/55R17 94V BSW
- 225/55R17 97H BSW
- 225/50R17 94T BSW
- 235/55R17 99T BSW
- 235/50R17 96H BSW
- 225/55R18 98T BSW
- 225/50R18 95T BSW
- 215/55R18 95T BSW
The Michelin Defender T+H goes for approximately $106 to $202. The actual price will depend on the actual model or type that you are purchasing.
However, most tire shops normally offer coupons, discounts and special offers, which can help to lower the cost of purchasing these tires.
If you opt to purchase these tires, you will get an 80,000-mile warranty. Michelin guarantees the uniformity of these tires for the first 2/32-inch of their treadwear.
Apart from the 80,000-mile warranty, the Michelin Defender T+H also comes with a 6-year materials and workmanship warranty, featuring a free replacement for the tire’s first 2/32-inch of wear.
The 6-year materials and workmanship warranty is offered on a prorated basis, meaning you will be compensated for the remaining mileage.
The Defender T+H also comes with a 3-year flat tire changing service, as well as a 30-day customer satisfaction guarantee. Therefore, if you are not satisfied with these tires, you can return them and get a full refund or choose a different model.
- Reliable traction on wet and dry surfaces
- Comfortable and quiet ride
- Enhanced tread life
- Not ideal for snowy conditions
- Not for off-road driving
The Michelin Defender T+H is a great tire choice for most vehicles. It performs great in dry conditions and extremely well on wet surfaces. On the other hand, as much as it’s designated as an all-season tire, its performance is underwhelming on icy or snowy roads. And while it may be slightly more expensive than other tires in its category, you are assured of getting value for your money.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding