Choose a language


Browse Glossary:

A | B | D | E | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W | Z


Air Pressure

The amount of air inside the tire pressing outward on each square inch of tire, which is expressed in pounds per square inch (psi) or kiloPascals (kPa), the metric designation for air pressure.

Airtight Synthetic Butyl Rubber

Formulated with virtually impermeable butyl rubber, this material replaces the inner tube in modern, tubeless tires. Check you air pressure monthly, as some air loss occurs over time.


When all wheels on the vehicle are adjusted so that they are pointed in the optimum direction relative to the road and each other.

All-season high-performance tires

Tires that deliver a measure of traction on light snow without sacrificing dry performance driving capabilities.

All-season tires

Tires that provide a good balance of traction in moderate rain or light to moderate snow with good tread life and a comfortable, quiet ride.

All-season traction

Indicates the tire's ability to provide a balance of traction in wet, dry, and light to moderate snow conditions.


An extremely dangerous situation where water builds up in front of the tires resulting in the tires losing contact with the road surface. At this point, the vehicle is skimming on the water surface and is completely out of control. Also called hydroplaning.


A synthetic fabric used in some tires that is (pound-for-pound) stronger than steel.

Aspect Ratio

The relationship of a tire's sidewall height to its section width.

Asymmetrical Tread Design (AD)

Different tread patterns featured on either side of the tread that enhance and optimize performance for both wet and dry handling. The inside shoulder has more grooves for water evacuation and massive tread blocks on the outside shoulder make for maximum handling.



The state in which a tire and wheel spin with all their weight distributed equally. To correct an imbalance, a trained mechanic will add weights on the interior or exterior of the wheel.

Banded At Zero Technology™

Michelin® BAZ Technology™ uses spiral-wrapped nylon strips applied in the tread area atop the steel belts at zero degrees. BAZ Technology™ opposes centripetal forces that can cause tire distortion at high speeds1. BAZ Technology™ optimizes high-speed handling and durability.


The section of the tire that sits on the wheel. Inside, there is a round hoop of steel wires, wrapped or reinforced by body ply cords, that clamps the tire firmly against the wheel rim.

Bead Chafer

A key component of the tire that is the contact point between the tire and the wheel, designed to withstand forces the wheel puts on the tire during mounting as well as the dynamic forces of driving and braking.

Bead Filler

Responsible for transferring propulsion and braking torque from the wheel rim to the road surface contact area.

Bead Tension Structure

Two sidewall plies wrapped around each bead wire in opposite directions providing lateral stability but flex to absorb road irregularities.


A rubber-coated layer of cords that is located between the body plies and the tread. Cords are most commonly made from steel but may also be made from fiberglass, rayon, nylon, polyester or other fabrics.


A type of tire with crossed layers of ply cord running diagonally to the center line of the tread.

Bolt Circle

The diameter of an imaginary circle drawn through the center of each lug nut hole and then measured from two holes that are directly across from each other. The measurement is used in selecting the proper wheel for replacement.

Braking Torque

A technique practiced by drag racers and road testers to improve their off-the-line acceleration; applying the brake and throttle at the same time, increasing the engine rpm until release of the brake.


A term used to describe a loss of traction when negotiating a curve or when accelerating from a standing start. The tires slide against, instead of grip, the road surface.

Butyl Rubber

Synthetic rubber used to create today's tires. It is virtually impenetrable to water and air.


C3M Technology™

A manufacturing process that permits precise placement of different tire components and multiple rubber tread compounds.


A wheel's inward or outward tilt from vertical, measured in degrees. The camber angle is adjusted to keep the outside tires flat on the ground during a turn.

Camber Thrust

Side or lateral force generated when a tire rolls with camber, which can add to or subtract from the side force a tire generates.

Carbon Black

This is a reinforcing filler which, when incorporated into the tire rubber compound, gives it a high resistance to wear.

Carrying Capacity

At a given air pressure, how much weight each tire is designed to carry. For each tire size, there is a load inflation table to ensure the inflation pressure used is sufficient for the vehicle axle load.


The supporting structure of the tire consisting of plies anchored to the bead on one side and running in a radius to the other side and anchoring to the bead. Also called casing.

Casing Ply

Made up of thin textile fiber cables bonded into the rubber. These cables are largely responsible for determining the strength of the tire.


The angle between a line drawn vertically through a wheel's centerline and the axis around which the wheel is steered; improves a car's directional stability and on-center feel.


An imaginary line down the center of the vehicle. Alignment tracking is measured from this line.

Centrifugal Force

The sideways acceleration, measured in g's, of an object in curvilinear motion. As a car traverses a curve, centrifugal force acts on it and tries to pull it outward. To counteract this, the tires develop an equal and opposite force acting against the road. Also called lateral force.

Cold Inflation Pressure

The amount of air pressure in a tire, measured in pounds per square inch (psi) before a tire has built up heat from driving.

Comfort Control Technology™

Uses precision manufacturing to ensure an ultra-high level of tire uniformity, while also employing powerful proprietary tread design technology to minimized tread acoustics.

Compliance Cushion

An added rubber tire component between the tread and belt that absorbs road irregularities for a smoother ride.

Contact Patch

The area in which the tire is in contact with the road surface. Also called footprint.


The strands of fabric forming the plies or layers of the tire. Cords may be made from polyester, rayon, nylon, fiberglass or steel.

Cornering Force

The force on a turning vehicle's tires - the tire's ability to grip and resist side force - that keeps the vehicle on the desired arc.

Cross Z-Sipes Technology

A sipe 3D pattern that provides lateral and longitudinal stiffness within the tread block.

Crown Plies

Provide the rigid base for the tread which allows for good fuel economy. The plies also provide centrifugal and lateral rigidity to the tire, and are designed to flex sufficiently for a comfortable ride.

Curb Weight

Weight of a production vehicle with fluid reservoirs (including fuel tank) full and all normal equipment in place, but without driver or passengers.



The tread and sidewall flexing where the tread comes into contact with the road due to the load on the tire.

Directional Stability

The ability of a vehicle to be driven safely and with confidence in a straight line and at high speed without being affected by pavement irregularities, crosswinds, aerodynamic lifting forces, or other external influences.

Dog Tracking

Track is the width between the outside tread edges of tires on the same axle. Tracking, or more specifically Dog Tracking, refers to a condition in which the vehicle is out of alignment, and the rear wheels do not follow in the path of the front wheels when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. Also called tracking.

DOT Markings

A molded marking into the sidewall of a tire signifying that the tire complies with U.S. Department of Transportation motor vehicle safety standards.


Drift refers to a vehicle deviating from a straight-line path when no steering input is given. Also called pull.


Tires placed side by side on an axle to increase both carrying capacity and traction capability; four tires across an axle, usually on a pickup truck.

Dual Tread Compounding

Employs two compound types across the tread, the outside for dry traction and the inside for wet traction.


A compound technology that allows a tire’s sidewall to stay a rich black during the entire life of the tire.

DuraGuard Technology™

Includes various features, such as two sidewall plies and hight strength steel belts under the tread.


An instrument used to measure hardness. Specific to tires, a durometer typically measures the hardness of the tread compound. Durometer can also refer to the hardness result, as in The tire's durometer is 60.

Dynamic Balance

Exists when the weight is equally distributed both around its circumference and on either side of its centerline. A tire and wheels assembly that is out of dynamic balance will produce a wobble effect or a shaking from side to side.


Eccentric Mounting

Mounting of a tire wheel assembly in such a way that the center of rotation for the assembly is not aligned with the center of rotation for the vehicle’s hub.

ECE Symbol

The Economic Commission of Europe develops motor vehicle requirements. ECE-approved tires must meet standards for physical dimensions, branding requirements and high-speed endurance regulations.

Extra Load

Tires that are rated to carry a higher load by virtue of having a maximum inflation pressure higher than the standard maximum.


Filament at Zero

Individual, spiral-wrapped nylon or aramid/nylon reinforcing filaments can be precisely placed in specific portions or across the entire tread area atop the steel belts banded at zero degrees. Not only does this help retain tire shape, but it also enhances ride quality and steering precision.

Fore-and-Aft Weight Transfer

Transfer of weight from the front axle to the rear axle (or vice versa) caused by acceleration or braking. Acceleration causes weight transfer from the front axle to the rear axle. Braking causes weight transfer from the rear axle to the front axle.


A handling term describing a car with its front and rear tires sliding in a controlled manner. The driver uses both throttle and steering to keep the vehicle on a prescribed path.

Free Radius

The radius of the tire/wheel assembly that is not deflected under load.


Green X®

The Michelin® Green X® label guarantees a level of energy efficiency among the highest in the market and reduced CO2 emission while maintaining all the legendary Michelin advantages of long wear, safety, and other performances.


The space between two adjacent tread ribs; also called tread grooves.

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)

The maximum weight that can be distributed among the tires on a given axle.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)

The weight of the vehicle and its contents (fluids, passengers, and cargo).

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

The maximum weight allowed for the vehicle and its contents. This value is established by the vehicle manufacturer and can be identified on the vehicle door placard.


High Flotation Sizing System for Light Trucks

Tires with lower sidewalls and wider treads that yield better traction on surfaces such as sand and soft soil found in watery, off-road situations.

High Modulus Undertread™

Layer of rubber below grooves that anchor the tread blocks to the casing plies for increased grip, steering response, and optimal handling.

High-performance tires

Also called maximum performance, ultra-high-performance, etc., offer a superior degree of handling, grip, and cornering ability than standard tires. High-performance tires are also rated for operation at higher speeds than non-high-performance tires.

Highway tires

Also called summer tires; designed for wet-and-dry weather driving, but not for use on snow and ice.


Wheels are manufactured to fit either the hub or the lugs. Hub-centric wheels match the hub hole of a custom wheel perfectly to the diameter of the hub of the vehicle.


When rubber stretches and compresses, it does not render all the energy applied to it because energy is lost due to internal friction. The mechanical energy is transformed into thermal energy and the heat produced leads to both damage and energy loss.



A normal, safe occurrence in a tire’s sidewall where overlapping splices of fabric cords form indentations. This cannot occur on tread due to steel cable implantation.


The act of putting air into tires.

Inner liner

The innermost layer of a tubeless tire, compounded with virtually impermeable butyl rubber. Some air loss over time will occur. Check your pressures monthly to ensure safe reliable operation of your tires.

Interlocking Sipes

S-shaped sipes that interlock, creating greater sipe length for extra tractive grip.


Kilopascal (kPa)

The metric unit for air pressure. One psi is equal to 6.9 kPa.


Lateral runout

Side-to-side wobbling of a wheel as it rotates; a shimmy.

Lateral weight transfer

When a vehicle travels through a curve, weight is transferred from the wheels on the inside of the curve to the wheels on the outside of the curve. This is a result of the centrifugal force, or lateral force acting on the vehicle.

Life Maximized Adherence™ Compounding

A street-optimized compound for predictable handling, sustained levels of grip, and excellent traction throughout the tire’s life.

Light truck

Automotive industry term for smaller trucks, pickups, passenger vans, CUV’s or SUVs.


A term used to characterize steering response.

Load-carrying capacity

Indicates how much weight a tire is certified to carry at maximum inflation pressure.

Loaded radius

The measurement in inches from the wheel axle centerline to the ground when the tire is properly inflated for the load.

Loaded section height

The height of the section of the tire that is making contact with the road.

Load index

An assigned number ranging from 0 to 279 that corresponds to the load-carrying capacity of a tire.

Load range

Defines a range of maximum loads that tires can carry at a defined pressure.


Wheels are manufactured to fit either the hub or the lugs. Lug-centric is matching the lug holes of a custom wheel perfectly to the lug pattern of the vehicle.

Luxury performance touring tires

Generally designed for luxury sedans, this breed of tires blends performance handling with a comfortable, smooth ride.


M+S, M/S or M & S

All-season rating designation for tires that can perform at certain levels in mud and snow conditions. Meets the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) definition of a mud and snow tire.

Match mounting

Technique that matches the harmonic high point of a tire with a low point of the wheel to insure optimal ride performance.

Maximum inflation pressure

The maximum air pressure to which a cold tire may be inflated; can be found molded onto the sidewall.

Metric tire size system

One system used to describe a tire’s size. It is the standard system of the ETRTO (European Tire and Rim Technical Organization).

Michelin Man™

The Michelin Man™ has represented the Michelin corporation for more than 100 years.


The result of your vehicle’s front and/or rear suspension not being properly aligned.


This is the act of putting a tire on a wheel and ensuring that the assembly is balanced. When you purchase new tires, they need to be professionally mounted. It is also standard for the tire dealer to charge a nominal fee for a valve stem.


Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.


Michelin Total Performance.


Negative camber

Alignment setting where the tops of the tires are leaning toward the centerline of the vehicle; racers use a negative camber angle for maximum cornering potential.

Negative offset

When the wheel mounting face is closer to the brake side of the wheel, moving the tire and wheel assembly out of the fender well.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Nominal Rim Diameter

The diameter of a tire rim, given in nearest whole numbers (e.g. 15 in.).



The offset of the rim is what locates the tire/wheel assembly in relation to the suspension. A wheel with zero offset has a mounting face that directly aligns to the wheel’s centerline.

Off-the-car balancing

To achieve the optimal weight balance between the tire and the wheel, the assembly can be taken off the vehicle and balanced to eliminate both side-to-side shimmy and hopping up and down.

Original Equipment

Tires selected by a vehicle manufacturer that best match tire performance to vehicle performance characteristics. Also known as OE.

Overall diameter

The diameter of the inflated tire, without any load.

Overall width

The distance between the outside of the two sidewalls, including lettering and designs.


Too much air in the tire, resulting in premature wear in the center of the tread.


The tendency for a vehicle, when negotiating a corner, to turn more sharply than the driver intends. The rear end of the vehicle wants to swing toward the outside of a turn. A handling condition in which the slip angles of the rear tires are greater than the slip angles of the front tires. An oversteering car is sometimes said to be “loose,” because its tail tends to swing wide.


Rust process that takes place in the steel belts when moisture, via damage, is allowed to get inside the tire. This can result in the tire becoming unserviceable before normal replacement time.


Penny Test

A simple, commonly-used test to check the proper tread depth on a tire with an upside-down penny. To learn how to use the Penny Test, click here.


An option allowing drivers to customize their vehicles by mounting low-profile tires on wider rims (one or two inches greater in diameter), usually enhancing vehicle appearance, handling, and performance.


A rubber-coated layer of fabric containing cords that run parallel to each other and make up the structure of a tire. Layers of this material are called plies, and they extend from bead to bead, between the inner liner, and belts or tread. Plies are usually reinforced with either textile or steel cords.


Uniform designation of tire sizes, in metric measurements originally introduced by American tire manufacturers in 1975; commonly called P-metric series. A typical P-metric tire is P205/70R14 93S.

Pneumatic tire

A tire designed to be filled with air.

Positive camber

Alignment angle that makes the top of the tires farther apart than at the bottom; tires are tilted out from the centerline of the vehicle.

Positive caster

Alignment setting when the steering axis is inclined rearward at the top.

Positive offset

The mounting face of a wheel is toward the wheel’s street side, moving the tire and wheel assembly in toward the vehicle.

Proprietary Blended Compounding

Technology that creates a uniform compound blend that helps provide outstanding all-around performance in wet and dry conditions.


Abbreviation for pounds per square inch, which is the automotive industry’s measurement of the pressure in a tire.


A condition in which a vehicle swerves to one side without being steered in that direction, as a result of irregular tire wear, improper front and/or rear wheel alignment, or worn or improperly adjusted brakes.


Radial ply tire

A type of tire with plies arranged so cords in the body run at 90-degree angles to the center line of the tread.


A racing-derived compound optimized for on-track performance and designed for maximum dry grip and repeated heat cycles.

Revolutions Per Mile (RPM)

Also called rpm. Measured number of revolutions for a tire traveling one mile. This can vary with speed, load, and inflation pressure.


A pattern of tread features aligned around the circumference of a tire. There are usually multiple ribs across the tread area of a tire.

Ride height

The distance from the ground to a fixed reference point (differs by automaker) on the vehicle’s body. This dimension can used to measure the amount of suspension travel or the height of the body from the ground.


That portion of a wheel to which a tire is mounted.

Rim diameter

The diameter of the rim bead seats supporting the tire.

Rim Drop

Also called drop center, a change (drop) in the rim profile between the rim flanges in which the bead area of a tire is placed during the mounting process. This allows the tire to be mounted on the rim.

Rim flange

Surface of the rim of the wheel that contacts the side of the tire bead.

Rolling circumference

The linear distance traveled by a tire in one revolution (its circumference). This can vary with load and inflation. Rolling circumference can be calculated as follows: 63,360 divided by revolutions per mile = rolling circumference in inches.

Rolling resistance

The force required to keep a tire moving at a uniform speed. The lower the rolling resistance, the less energy needed to keep a tire moving.


The changing of tires from front to rear or from side to side on a vehicle according to a set pattern; provides even treadwear. Rotating your tires on a regular basis (every 6,000-8,000 miles) is a simple way to add miles to their life. See your tire warranty for more information on recommended rotation.

Rubber compound

A combination of raw materials blended according to carefully developed procedures. The rubber compound is specially adapted to the performance required of each type of tire.

Run Flat Technology

Tires that are designed to resist the effects of deflation when punctured, and to enable the vehicle to continue to be driven at reduced speeds and for limited distances.


The amount a wheel moves in and out, away from its true center as it is rotated. If runout is excessive, the wheel can be seen to wobble as it rotates.


Section height

The height of a tire, measured from its rim to its outer tread.

Section width

The distance between the outside of a tire’s sidewalls, not including any lettering or designs.

Self-aligning torque

When the tire is cornering, torque created at the road contact patch acts at a point somewhat to the rear of the actual wheel center due to pneumatic trail. This has the same effect as positive caster and tends to force the wheel back to the straight-ahead position.


Tires with the same aspect ratio, or relationship of section height to section width.

Service description

Numbers and letters molded into the sidewall indicating the load-carrying capacity, load index, and the speed at which the tire can carry a load under specified conditions, or the speed rating. Also known as load index and speed symbol.


Wobbling of wheels from side-to-side on a vehicle. Shimmying can be caused by a variety of factors, including improperly balanced tires, poor alignment, and bent wheels.


The area of a tire where the tread and sidewall meet.

Side-To-Side Wobbling

Also known as dynamic imbalance, this is when weight is not evenly distributed around a wheel’s circumference or its centerline. The result is a feel of the car shaking from side to side.


That portion of a tire between the tread and the bead. Protects the tire against impacts with curbs, etc. This is also where the sidewall markings can be found which tell you important information regarding the tire.


In 1992, Michelin discovered how to incorporate this new reinforcing filler into the rubber compound of tires. The discovery paved the way for compounds that provided resistance to wear, low rolling resistance, and good road-holding grip.

Silica Tread Compound

A compounding of silica with a specially formulated synthetic elastomer for exceptional grip on cold and wet surfaces, as well as reliable durability.


One tire mounted on each side of an axle (two tires per axle).


Special slits within a tread block that open as the tire rolls into the contact patch then close, breaking the water tension on the road surface and putting rubber in contact with the road to maintain adhesion, increasing wet and snow traction.


The combination of tire width, construction type, aspect ratio, and rim size used in differentiating tires.


The difference between the linear speed of the vehicle and the rotational speed of the tire. For example, if a tire is locked and sliding (e.g., not rotating) while the vehicle is still moving, then it is operating at -100% slip.

Slip angle

The difference between the direction the wheel is traveling and the direction the vehicle is traveling.

Snow tire

Also called winter tire; a special type of tire with a tread pattern and compound that gives better traction in extreme snowy and icy conditions; identified by the 3 peak mountain snow flake symbol on sidewall.

Speed rating

An alphabetical code (A-Z) assigned to a tire indicating the range of speeds at which the tire can carry a load under specified service conditions.

Sprung weight

The parts of a car that are supported by its springs, including the frame, engine and body.


Flexing of the tread blocks between the belt package and the road surface. Less squirm means better steering response; more squirm means worse steering response.


Situation in which the driver maintains control of the vehicle.


A staggered fitment is having different tire sizes on the back of your vehicle than the front of your vehicle.

Standard load

The amount of weight a given size tire can carry at a recommended air pressure.

Star pattern

A pattern for tightening the lug nuts when mounting the tire and wheel assembly to the vehicle. This pattern assures uniform pressure, prevents misalignment, and helps keep the wheel centered.

Static balance

Exists when the weight mass is evenly distributed around the axis of rotation. Static imbalance can be detected from vibrations through the seat, floor and steering column.

Static loaded radius

Distance from the wheel axis of rotation to supporting surface at a given load and stated inflation pressure.

Steel belt

The combination of steel cords covered with rubber that forms a strip or belt placed under the tread rubber and on top of the casing (carcass); ensures uniformity when the tire is rotating and helps prevent flats.

Steering response

A vehicle’s reaction to a driver’s steering inputs. Also the feedback that drivers get through the steering wheel as they make steering inputs.

Steering system

The entire mechanism that allows the driver to guide and direct the vehicle; includes the steering wheel, steering column, steering gear, linkages, and wheel supports.

Step groove

A design feature at the base of the groove that generates an additional gripping mechanism in deeper snow.

Stress Equilibrium Casing™

A radial casing design that more evenly distributes the forces of acceleration, cornering, and braking throughout the contact patch, allowing for design enhancements in the shoulder and the use of softer, better gripping compounds.


The way in which a tire carcass is constructed. Radial structure tires can be identified by the word radial or by the letter R and today account for the majority of vehicle tires.

Supporting Knobs Technology

Small bumps in the shoulder grooves help to provide lateral block rigidity.


The various springs, shock absorbers and linkages used to suspend a vehicle’s frame, body, engine, and drivetrain above its wheels.

Symmetrical Tread Design

Uniform tread pattern on both sides of the tread for better performance in specific conditions and on specific roads.

Synthetic rubber

Man-made, as opposed to natural, rubber. Most of today’s passenger car and light truck tires have a relatively small amount of natural rubber in their content.


T & RA

Tire and Rim Association.

Tensile Strength

An object’s resistance to stretching or breaking when placed in tension. Steel belts in a tire are characterized and compared based on their tensile strength.


Also called pneumatic tire, a precisely engineered assembly of rubber, chemicals, fabric, and metal, designed to provide traction, cushion road shock and carry a load under varying conditions.

Tire Designation

An code molded into the sidewall of the tire that describes the tire’s size, including width, aspect ratio, rim diameter, load index, and speed rating.

Tire Mixing

A situation in which tires of various brands, types, or sizes are mixed on a vehicle. This can lead to variations in the vehicle’s ride and handling characteristics.

Tire Placard

A metal or paper tag permanently affixed to a vehicle, which indicates the appropriate tire size and inflation pressures for the vehicle. The placard can ordinarily be found on either the driver’s doorpost, the glove box lid, or the fuel-filler door.

Tire Pressure Gauge

Tool used to properly measure the air pressure in a tire.


The difference in distance between the front and rear of a pair of tires mounted on the same axle.


The fronts of two tires on the same axle are closer than the rears of the tires.


The fronts of two tires on the same axle are further apart than the rears of the tires.

Toe-Out Turns

Also known as Ackerman Angle. A vehicle’s wheels on the inside of a turn follow a smaller radius than the tires on the outside of the turn, because the two front wheels steer at different angles when turning.


Turning or twisting effort, usually measured in lb-ft or Newton meters.

Torque-Locking Sipes

Sipes with vertical undulation (into tread block) for added rigidity during cornering.

Torsion Bar

A long, straight bar fastened to the frame at one end and to a suspension part at the other; acts like an uncoiled spring that absorbs energy by twisting.

Touring Tires

Generally offer increased tread life, comfort, and all-season traction.


The distance between the outside tread edges of two tires on the same axle.


The friction between the tires and the road surface; the amount of grip provided.


A state in which a vehicle bounces up and down abnormally.


That portion of a tire that comes into contact with the road. It is distinguished by the design of its ribs and grooves. Provides traction in a variety of conditions, withstands high forces, and resists wear, abrasion, and heat.

Tread Buffing

Scraping rubber off the tread. Also known as shaving.

Tread Depth

The depth of usable tread rubber measured in 32nds of an inch. If a tire comes new with 10/32nds of rubber, you have 8/32nds of usable rubber. Tires must be replaced when the wear bars are visible at 2/32nds.

Tread Life

The life of a tire before it is pulled from service; mileage.

Tread Rib

The tread section that runs around the circumference of the tire separated by the tread grooves.

Treadwear Indicator

Narrow bands, sometimes called wear bars, that appear across the tread of the tire when only 2/32 inch of tread remains.

Tread Width

The width of a tire’s tread.

Tri Side-by-Side Compounding

A process that makes it possible to precisely place three different types of rubber compounds across the tread of a tire.


Ultra-Low Profile Technology

Specialized sidewall shape, bead area, and bead compound that enhance the durability and mountability of tires with very short sidewalls.


Operating a tire without sufficient air pressure to support the weight of the vehicle with occupants and additional load; could cause failure of the tire when heat is generated inside the tire to the point of degeneration of components.


The handling characteristic in which the front tires break loose because they are running a larger slip angle than the rear tires. Also known as plowing.


Material between the bottom of the tread rubber and the top layer of steel belts; acts as a cushion that enhances comfort.

Uni-Directional Tread

Also known as directional tread, this is a tire designed to only rotate in one direction.

Unsprung Weight

The weight of the parts of a vehicle not supported by its springs, including wheels and tires, outboard brake assemblies, the rear axle assembly, suspension members, springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars.


Also known as Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards. A government-sponsored tire information system that provides consumers with ratings (from AA to C) for a tire’s traction and temperature. Treadwear is normally rated from 60 to 900.



A device that lets air in or out of a tire. It is fitted with a valve cap to keep out dirt and moisture, plus a valve core to prevent air from escaping.

Variable Contact Patch

A system that maximizes the contact patch area during cornering through a combination of asymmetrical tread patterns and underlying belts.

Variable Integrated Pitch

The process of varying the size of tread blocks around the circumference of a tire to minimize the noise generated by the tire as it rolls.

Variable Thickness or Bidirectional Sipe

Two types of sipe technology that increase the rigidity of the tread under loaded conditions, such as cornering, braking, or accelerating. This technology allows tread block surfaces to lock together (in both longitudinal and lateral directions), resulting in precise and responsive steering, short braking distances, and improved transmission of engine torque to the driving surface.

Vertical Bouncing

Vertical bouncing, or static imbalance, exists when the weight is not evenly distributed around the wheel’s axis of rotation. You can feel this through the floor, seat and steering column.

Viscous Planing

Can occur just after a rain shower wets down a dry road surface. Oil on the road surface migrates to the top of the layer of moisture, and can be very slippery, even when the layer of moisture is very thin. Continuing rain lessens the condition by washing the oil away.


The irreversible process of heating rubber under pressure to improve its strength and resilience.



A vehicle’s tendency to stray or wander from its intended direction of travel as a result of steering abnormalities, worn tires, suspension misalignment, crosswinds, or pavement irregularities.

Wet traction

Indicates how efficiently the tire disperses water to combat aquaplaning, and how well it grips wet roads in low-speed driving.


The longitudinal distance from the center of the front wheel to the center of the rear wheel on the same side of the vehicle.

Wheel weights

Small weights attached or secured to the wheel to balance the tire and wheel assembly.


Zero offset

When the mounting face of the wheel directly aligns with the wheel’s centerline.

Zero Pressure™Technology

Michelin® Zero Pressure™ tires feature a reinforced sidewall that is designed to support the weight of your car even after a loss of air pressure — even with no air in the tire. Michelin® Zero Pressure Technology allows you to continue driving up to 50 miles at 55 mph, so you don’t have to change a tire on the side of a busy highway. Best of all, Zero Pressure Technology has been applied to some of the best-performing Michelin® tires.

Zero toe

When tires on the same axle are parallel; the fronts and rears of the tires are equidistant.

Zig Zag Sipes™ Technology

A zig-zag shaped, normally horizontal sipe that flexes and bites into the snow to help provide reliable cold-weather traction.

You are using an unsupported web browser
You are using a website browser that is not supported by this website. This means that some functionality may not work as intended. This may result in strange behaviours when browsing round. Use or upgrade/install one of the following browsers to take full advantage of this website