Michelin Defender Tire Review & Rating

Michelin’s newest standard all-season tire, the Defender, offers drivers of coupes, family sedans, crossovers, minivans and other types of vehicles the latest in tire technology to keep you safer on the road and get you to where you want to go regardless of weather conditions.

All-season traction on the Defender is enhanced through a silica tread compound and Michelin’s IntelliSipe technology that increases the amount of siping on the tire. The result is better over all handling and brake performance. An added benefit of the sipes is that they also provide additional biting edges for more grip on wet or snow covered road surfaces.

Michelin Defender Tire Review

The IntelliSipe design and Green X technology features a unique interlocking action that allows the tread block to become more rigid and promotes a lower rolling resistance. This means higher fuel economy and lower fuel costs.

Wet traction and handling on the Defender is enhanced by four circumferential grooves and hundreds of lateral grooves that work together to increase grip and expel more water from under the tire, which reduces the risk of hydroplaning on wet roads and provides added driving confidence.

Inside the tire you will find two steel belts and a polyester cord body to go with MaxTouch Construction. This provides added strength and durability at all speeds by optimizing the tire’s contact with the road while accelerating, cornering or braking. It also makes for more even tire wear and a longer treadlife. Michelin stands behind the Defender with a 90,000 mile tread warranty.

  • Good all-season traction
  • Steering is crisp and responsive
  • Very quiet and comfortable riding tire
  • Lower rolling resistance


  • Would like to see a little better treadlife
  • Cornering performance could be improved

Overall Thoughts

The Defender has a number of good points including a very quiet ride quality to go along with impressive dry and wet traction. Expect to find a smooth ride as well. Traction on snow and ice is about average overall for an all-season tire.

One area where we are seeing a few complaints on the Michelin Defender is with its tread life. Despite having a longer 90K mile tread guarantee, we’re hearing from quite a few drivers who are seeing fewer miles out of the tread than the 90K miles the warranty is good for. However, to be fair, we’ve also heard from drivers who are impressed with the tread wear.

The other area we would like to see improved on would be cornering grip, especially at higher speeds.

Overall, Michelin has a very good all-season tire in the Defender, although there is room for improvement. Despite the possible lower treadlife, it remains a good choice in basic all-season tires.

*Edit – Michelin has released the updated Defender T + H in March 2017. You can read our review on this new model HERE.

Click Here For Current Michelin Coupons

Click Here To Find Current Prices

Buy Used for 40 – 50% Less than Retail

What Vehicles Will The Michelin Defender Fit?

(This is not a complete list of ALL vehicles this tire will fit)

  • Chrysler Sebring, Town & Country
  • Chevrolet Impala, Venture
  • Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Ford Crown Victoria
  • Buick LeSabre, Regal, LaCrosse
  • Cadillac DeVille
  • Lincoln Town Car, MKZ
  • Ford Freestar, Focus, Taurus
  • Honda Odyssey, CR-V, Civic
  • Hyundai Elantra, Sonata
  • Kia Soul, Amanti, Forte
  • Nissan Sentra
  • Scion xB, xA
  • Toyota Sienna, RAV4, Camry, Corolla
  • Subaru Outback
  • Volkswagen Jetta

Tire Sizes


175/70R13 82T BSW
175/70R13 82T BSW


P205/70R14 93T BSW
175/65R14 82T BSW
185/65R14 86T BSW
185/65R14 86T BSW
175/70R14 84T BSW
185/70R14 88T BSW
185/70R14 88T BSW
195/70R14 91T BSW
195/70R14 91T BSW


185/60R15 84T BSW
195/60R15 88T BSW
195/60R15 88T BSW
205/60R15 91T BSW
215/60R15 94T BSW
185/65R15 88T BSW
185/65R15 88T BSW
195/65R15 91T BSW
195/65R15 91T BSW
205/65R15 94T BSW
205/65R15 94T BSW
215/65R15 96T BSW
215/65R15 96T BSW
205/70R15 96T BSW
205/70R15 96T BSW
215/70R15 98T BSW
215/70R15 98T BSW


205/55R16 91H BSW
205/55R16 91T BSW
205/60R16 92T BSW
215/60R16 95T BSW
215/60R16 95T BSW
225/60R16 98T BSW
225/60R16 98T BSW
235/60R16 100T BSW
215/65R16 98T BSW
215/65R16 98T BSW
225/65R16 100T BSW
235/65R16 103T BSW
235/65R16 103T BSW


225/50R17 94T BSW
215/55R17 94V BSW
215/55R17 94T BSW
225/55R17 97T BSW
235/55R17 99T BSW
215/60R17 96T BSW
215/60R17 96T BSW
225/60R17 99T BSW
225/60R17 99T BSW
215/65R17 99T BSW
215/65R17 99T BSW
225/65R17 102T BSW
225/65R17 102T BSW


225/50R18 95T BSW
215/55R18 95T BSW
225/55R18 98T BSW

Price Range

Prices on the Defender range from approximately $85 and up. You may also find occasional rebates, discounts, coupons and special offers on this tire.

Click Here To Find The Current Prices On All Michelin Defender Sizes


The Michelin Defender comes with a 6-year or 90,000 mile tread warranty on T & H speed rated tires. V-speed rated models have a 6-year or 80,000 mile warranty. The tire’s uniformity is guaranteed for the first year or first 2/32 inch of wear.

Materials and workmanship are guaranteed for 6-years and includes free replacement during the first year or first 2/32 inch of wear. Michelin prorates out the amount for the remaining time period or until the final 2/32 inch of tread depth on the tire.

Michelin also includes a 3-year flat tire changing service and their 30-Day customer satisfaction guarantee, where if you are not satisfied with your tires you can exchange them for a different model or get a full refund.

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32 thoughts on “Michelin Defender Tire Review & Rating

  1. I had been using Michelin tires on my Lexus ES330 since new. Previous 2 sets were 50k or 60k tires and lasted over their lifetime. But the 3rd set I was attracted by the 90k mile warranty to buy Defender tires. Then it lasted only 30k miles. The worse experience is that all the Michelle’s authorized dealers around my area only wanted to sell me new tires rather than filing claim for me. And I had to file complaints directly with Michelin (to Michelin first then BBB) to get partial reimbursement back (~1/3 tire cost excluding labor and tax). Quite a disappointing experience. No more Michelin for me!

  2. After purchasing these tires on my Toyota Corolla Hatchback, I noticed my gas mileage got less than what I had before (Dunlop Tires).
    I haven’t done the alignment yet after installing these new Defender Tires. I’m hoping everything will be alright after the alignment.

  3. The mileage complainers probably run underinflated tires on overloaded vehicles. To get 90K miles out of a tire you are probably going over the five year safe life of the tire. I put Defenders on Jeep Renegade and ride is quiet and smooth with good fuel mileage from bay area to central CA and over Donner Pass to Reno. These tires are far superior to the original Pirellis.

  4. My 2013 Ford Focus came with Continental 60,000 mile tires. I replaced them with Michelin Defenders. I will soon purchase my fourth set of Defenders at 330,000 + miles. I have gotten 90,000 + out of the Defenders every time.

  5. Well I stupidly bought only 2 for rear to match other 2 tires on front, so can’t rotate. That aside, hydroplaned when newly put on and hydroplaned 3x’s since. Will be buying a new set of 4 of another brand.

  6. I am not a motorhead. I bought these tires for my equinox. I have out on 50k in miles and rotated about every 7500 miles. From what I am told I will be lucky to get another 10k in additional miles. Disappointed that they said 90k wear life

    1. I bought 4 Michelin Defenders for my 2009 Chrysler 300 and it lasted me 82,000 miles. I got a alignment after I bought them and rotated the tires every 6,000-8,000 miles. I never had any tires last that long with mileage. I just bought a new set of Defenders because the last set of Defenders lasted long. Folks also have to remember that just because you have new tires, AWD or 4WD, don’t mean you are invincible to hydroplaning.

  7. I can’t believe the mileage expectations of tire makers.. I’ve had over 40 cars and best i ever got was 40,000 on a set of Michelin pilots on a turbo Subaru. Currently my Freelander is on it’s 6th set of Goodyear Wrangler all weather M+S 235/65 R 17 104’s at 75,000. Last set will need replacing soon at 6,000 ! is this normal?

  8. I too bought Michelin tire , they are great for large sedans with heavy engine V-8 , but the back tire wear out at 30 miles, Get real people ,the days of great tire are gone , everything is made in China and they could care less if you like them or not .

  9. mileage is terrible! they wore evenly and handle good, but i have these on my car that I only use for long trips and they did not last 33k miles. and yes rotated every 6000 and properly inflated. never again.

  10. 3rd set of the defender series. 2 sets of the LTX on 2001 4runner, first set started dry rotting and never made mileage after 10yrs. 🙂 sold 4 runner recently with 2nd set had only about 10,000 miles. awesome tires
    today installed the defender on Lexus rx350.. what a difference from the Pirelli,s that came with it. Funny you only
    hear about the bad.. These tires are great, when you install tires go get an alignment. Tires don’t fix issues.

  11. These “90,000” mile tires are simply not 90,000 mile tires. I bought 4 new Michelin Defender tires for my 2005 Buick 41,000 miles ago and the rear tires both need to be replaced. False advertising, I’ve never had to replace tires so quickly in my life.

  12. These tires are not good. I had these on my 05 Tacoma and they are terrible in the snow and rain. Have air leak all the time. At 16k miles one of the tire got a hug bulge on the side. I took it to Discount tires and they called Michelin and they told me that they can only give me 25% off on a new one. I was disappointed since they are 70k miles warranty tires and I only had it for 16k miles on it.

    I will not be buying any more Michelin tires in the future. Some times brand names are over rated and this one did.

    1. Barbara, driving on any all-season tire in mountain winters wouldn’t be something we would recommend. I’d suggest going with a dedicated winter tire instead.

    2. You live in country where they have areas where chains are required when there’s snow. Others have said it: dedicated winter tires at a minimum.

  13. I installed these on a Saturn S series. They replaced a set of Bridgestone Potenzas which I had purchased new. I have put almost 20,000 miles on them, and so far they are excellent. Barely any tread wear, and they are performing like when they were first installed. The performance on most decent tires (like the Bridgestones were) seems to start diminishing around 20-30,000 miles. Not so with these Michelins. I have tried many highly recommended tires on the market, but these have been the best.

  14. I continue to be amazed at these tires. More snow/ice here in Michigan and it doesn’t matter! These Defenders don’t seem to care. I try to provoke sliding and slipping but it takes an extreme effort to the point of almost doing the stupid! The ride is super-smooth and I really feel very confident with them. It took much less effort to get into trouble with the old Tripletreads, though I feel dumb calling them old at 21000 miles. The GY’s also had a tendency to ride hard and had a bouncy feel in general. My wife noticed a difference as well, and then asked why I didn’t buy the Michelins in the first place. I guess I bought into the hype. It still puzzles me how there is such difference when the GY’s LOOK so much more capable, but there are not! O well.

    1. I did like the Defenders when I first put them om my 2005 Camry V6. However, when I got to 41,000 miles and went in to have them rotated, they were down to the wear bars. For a 90,000 mile warranty? Yuck. Previous Michelin’s (MXV 4) achieved 64,000 miles on a 60,000 mile warranted tire. What happened to the Defender’s? I see many reviews complaining about similar short mileage values on the Defender’s. I replaced them with America’s Tires Arizonian tires (a Cooper tire) which are rated at 55,000 miles tread wear. I had them on an older V6 Camry (2001) and was very happy with them. Lots less money.

      The pro-rated warranty on the Michelin’s turned me off. I figured that the new tires would not last over 40,000 miles either. I am sad that Michelin has dropped down in quality with these new Defender tires. The Arizonian tires are handling much better and the ride is quiet. Both of my older Toyota’s had over 275,000 miles on them so I have experienced a number of different tires on both. Michelin really surprised me with the Defenders.

      1. I purchased these January 2014 – currently 40K miles and are in need of replacement. I also found that they were quite noisy. Will be looking for another tire. Disappointed.

        1. From the day The dealer put them on my explorer at 120, ooo miles, tires have been extremely noisy. Have never had tires this noisy in my many years.
          . Have put 2000 miles on them and no improvement. Any ideas?

          1. Hi
            We’d need a bit more information than that to accurately explain what’s causing the noise issue you’re facing. What type of road surface are you driving on?

      2. I live in Az leave truck outside in sun got my defenders 2015 dont see any cracks on the side they ha ve 60.000 miles on them the tread is about half i am very pleased , they will be 6 yrs old in October i see a lot of bad reviews I will purchase another set

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