Many friends, especially Americans, often ask me which brand is better – Goodyear or Michelin? And, to that, I have no direct answer. Both companies are among the largest tire manufacturers in the world and offer a wide variety of products. Thus, it’s hard to give an opinion based on the performance of that many tires, since every single one has different characteristics.
Besides, Goodyear vs Michelin are very popular and have a very rich history, meaning they already have a cult following. There are people that prefer Goodyear as a brand, and it’s the same with Michelin. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the companies and how they compare. Each brand has its own advantages and disadvantages, no matter how good are the products they produce.
Just like in our comparisons between Michelin and Bridgestone and Michelin and Pirelli, I’ll try to give you a general overview of the brands. Of course, you can use it the next time you purchase tires, but I still recommend reading the review of the particular tire because in some categories, Michelin is better, and in others, it’s Goodyear that wins.
So, without further ado, let’s dig into the matter!
- Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company History
- Michelin CA History
- What are the Qualities that Both Companies Share?
- Are there Advantages to One Brand Over the Other?
- Goodyear Tire Categories
- Michelin Tire Categories
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company History
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company is an American manufacturer of tires and rubber products based in Akron, Ohio. It was established back in 1898 by Frank Spielberg and today is the third-largest tiremaker in the world, only behind Bridgestone and Michelin.
Quickly after establishing the brand, in 1901, Spielberg started manufacturing racing tires for Henry Ford. Later, in 1908, Goodyear manufactured tires for the Ford Model T, the best-selling car of its era.
The brand is named after Charles Goodyear, the man that invented the vulcanized rubber, which completely changed the tire industry for the better. Goodyear is also one of the most innovative and successful tire brands in history, with most Formula 1 starts, wins, and constructor’s championships in history. Goodyear withdrew from the competition in 1998, making the results even more significant. Today, the brand is the sole tire supplier of NASCAR.
Before WWII, Goodyear also manufactured a fleet of zeppelin airships, and some of them fly to this day. The brand uses the aircraft mainly for marketing purposes today, but it still manufactures them in collaboration with the Zeppelin Company.
Michelin CA History
It’s safe to say that Michelin is by far the most innovative tire company in history. The French brand is the most important for the creation of the modern tubeless radial tire, which has almost 100% market presence today. These things aren’t a surprise since the company was established by the Édouard Michelin and André Michelin brothers, which were prominent innovators in the 19th century.
The first and perhaps most important innovation from the brothers was the removable pneumatic tire. Before that design, vehicle owners needed to replace the whole wheel after a puncture. Michelin’s design was much more convenient but also lighter and provided better stability.
Michelin’s innovation didn’t stop there. In 1934 the French tiremaker introduced the run-flat tire, more than 50 years before it first reached the market. This innovation shows how ingenious the Michelin brothers were and how far in the future they looked. Today, most premium car brands offer run-flat tires as an OEM solution, offering drivers peace of mind after the tire is punctured.
Another key Michelin innovation was the radial tire, which the company announced in 1946. Radial tires are much lighter and last much longer than bias-ply tires, and today they are the only choice for passenger-car drivers. Michelin was so ahead of its time that competitors, such as Goodyear, needed almost three decades to catch up.
The brand is also known for the Michelin Guide for drivers, which is established to give drivers a restaurant guide when they hit the road. The Michelin Guide was the “Trip Advisor” of the 1920s to 1950s, and it’s still the most important award a restaurant can get today.
Michelin gives stars to restaurants - a restaurant with one star is a very good one in its respective category. A two-star restaurant means “excellent cooking, worth a detour,” while a three-star restaurant means “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”
It’s safe to say that without Michelin, mobility, and transportation as we know might not have been on the level it is today.
Goodyear vs Michelin pride themselves on producing high-quality tires. Both brands invest significantly in research and development, often moving the boundaries of what’s possible. Moreover, they do that in every category, including passenger car tires, motorcycle tires (only Michelin), and commercial tires.
Michelin and Goodyear produce premium tires, meaning they usually come at higher price points. However, in return, you get products that perform well across the range. Tires from both brands are very durable, provide excellent traction on the surfaces they are intended for, and ride comfortably and quietly.
Overall, you can go wrong with either. With some small exceptions, like Goodyear’s tires made for Walmart, both tiremakers produce tires without significant disadvantages, unlike cheaper tire options. Thus, Goodyear and Michelin’s tires are great options if you value safety and reliability.
Are there Advantages to One Brand Over the Other?
While both brands focus on delivering the best possible tires in each category, there are still some differences to be found.
In my experience thus far, Goodyear produces better off-road tires. The Wrangler family is superior to Michelin’s LTX family of all-terrain and off-road tires. The American brand is very popular in the off-road community and puts a lot of effort in designing such tires. Don’t get me wrong – Michelin’s off-road tires are still outstanding, but Wranglers have a slight edge.
On the contrary, Michelin produces slightly better on-road passenger car, crossover, SUV, and truck tires. The differences aren’t very big, but you can expect better overall traction, especially in the rain, longer treadlife, and better comfort. Goodyear’s on-road tires are excellent as well, but here Michelin has the edge.
In the high-performance category, Goodyear and Michelin are much closer. At the moment, I prefer Michelin’s Pilot Sport tires, since they offer a more balanced set of qualities. However, some drivers prefer the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric tires due to their aggressive nature.
Goodyear Tire Categories
1. Passenger-Car Tires
- Assurance is a family of all-season and all-weather touring and grand-touring tires from Goodyear. It is known for excellent durability, good overall traction, and outstanding comfort and quietness.
- Eagle is Goodyear’s sub-brand that focuses on high-performance tires. It comes both in all-season and summer tread compounds and offers an outstanding driving experience with excellent responsiveness and steering feel.
- Wrangler is a family of highway, all-terrain, and off-road tires for SUVs and trucks. It is known for exceptional durability and toughness, outstanding off-road traction, and very good on-road performance.
- Efficient Grip and Excellence are low-cost touring all-season tires from Goodyear that focus on efficiency, durability, safety, and comfort.
- Ultra Grip is Goodyear’s family of winter tires. It consists of high-performance winter tires (Eagle Ultra Grip and Ultra Grip Performance), passenger-car winter tires (Ultra Grip Ice).
- Winter Command is a lineup of winter tires for trucks and SUVs.
2. Aircraft Tires
Goodyear has the largest range of aviation tires, including general aviation, commercial aircraft, and military aircraft tires.
3. Commercial Tires
Goodyear has a full range of commercial tires for vans, long-haul trucks, regional trucks, mixed-service trucks, and buses. The American tiremaker also offers OTR (Off the Road) tires for industry use and RV and trailer tires. Goodyear’s commercial tires are known for excellent durability and value.
Michelin Tire Categories
1. Passenger-Car Tires
- Defender – a family of touring and highway tires for passenger cars, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks. Michelin Defender tires are extremely durable, comfortable, quiet, and safe on most surfaces.
- Primacy is a range of touring and grand-touring tires for passenger cars, minivans, and crossovers. The Primacy sub-brand is all but discontinued today, but there are still some models on sale. They’re known for exceptional driving comfort and high levels of traction in dry and wet conditions.
- Premier is a sub-brand of touring and grand-touring tires from Michelin and a successor to the Primacy line. Michelin Premier tires offer outstanding traction on dry and wet surfaces, a very comfortable and quiet ride, and reasonably good treadlife.
- Pilot Sport is the high-performance lineup from Michelin. It consists of both all-season and summer tread compounds and offers outstanding grip and responsiveness but also reasonable on-road comfort. It competes directly with the Goodyear Eagle F1 family.
- CrossClimate is a family of all-season tires with a slightly larger focus on snow traction. The tire industry also recognizes them as all-weather tires.
- Latitude and Alpin are winter tires from Michelin, all providing outstanding performance of snow, ice, and slush. Michelin’s winter tires are also the most durable on the market.
2. Motorcycle Tires
Unlike Goodyear, Michelin has a comprehensive portfolio of motorcycle tires, covering every type of bike that you can find. Specifically, Michelin offers Cruiser, Enduro, MX, Roadster, Sport, Sport Touring, Trail, Trial, Rally, Scooter, and e-Bike tires.
3. Commercial Tires
Michelin has one of the best-selling commercial tire portfolios, which consists of a commercial van, semi-truck, and bus tires. The brand’s commercial tires are known for extreme durability and value.
If you are currently shopping for new tires, both Michelin and Goodyear have great options on offer. I can’t think of any significant disadvantage of products from these brands, other than possibly the high price.
However, if it was up to me, I would stick to Goodyear Wrangler if I needed the best off-road traction and to Michelin Premier and Defender if I needed excellent on-road traction and comfort. As for high-performance tires, both Goodyear and Michelin have outstanding options.