Michelin Defender LTX M/S Review
One of the more confusing tires in the Michelin lineup, the Defender LTX M/S actually improves upon the M/S2. You’d think it would be the other way around.
- Long life
- Great warranty
- Wet and wintry performance
- Consistent performance over the life of the tire
- Relatively expensive
- Some dry weather compromises made to achieve added winter grip
What makes the Defender LTX M/S an improvement over the M/S2 is the brand’s new “Evertread” tire compound that helps it last 10 percent longer when pushed hard in what Michelin describes as “extreme” circumstances. What that means for most folks is driving on bad roads, or even gravel roads.
Not only does it last longer, but Michelin is now holding its tires to a higher standard and measuring performance over the life of the tire, not just when they are new. And the brand is designing the tires to meet this higher standard, so when worn, the Michelins significantly out-perform rivals.
In addition, Michelin says that compared to its competitors, it offers both better snow traction and shorter stopping distances in the wet. The tread does feature plentiful amounts of siping to help give it that edge in winter capability compared to almost every all-season tire available.
For some critical wet-weather statistics, Michelin tested an F-150 against several leading competitors in wet weather braking and here are the results:
Michelin Defender LTX MS: 136.5 feet
Bridgestone Dueler HL Alenza Plus: 163 feet
Firestone Destination LE2: 144.5 feet
Goodyear Wrangler SR-A: 180.7 feet
The comparison against the Bridgestone here is critical as it’s most certainly the Michelin’s main competitor.
Designed for long life, the LTX M/S comes with an impressive warranty with some sizes guaranteed to last up to 70,000 miles.
Using the latest green tire technology, it benefits the environment in multiple ways. For starters, that longer tread life means there’s less need to buy new tires and send an old set to be recycled, or worse, to the landfill. But Michelin went even further, with these low rolling resistance tires helping improve fuel economy on your vehicle. In fact, Michelin says they can save up to 65 gallons of fuel over the life of the tire, compared to the competition.
Another big benefit of the Defender LTX M/S is that, chances are, Michelin has a fitment for your vehicle. For an extensive list of fitments, see below.
With over 9,000 consumer reviews on sites like Discount Tire, the Defender LTX M/S is recommended by 97.3 percent of them. And that says everything you need to know.
Michelin Defender LTX M/S Price
Michelin Defender LTX M/S tires start at roughly $145 per tire for a 15-inch sizes and top out at approximately $350 per tire for a 22-inch size.
Michelin Defender LTX M/S Warranty
Depending on the speed rating of the Defender LTX M/S tires, the mileage warranty from Michelin differs significantly. R-rated tires, designed for high-speed and high-performance vehicles, come with a 50,000 mile warranty, while H and T rated tires get an impressive 70,000 mile warranty.
In addition, all Michelin tires come with the brand’s standard limited warranty, which covers workmanship and materials for the entire life of the usable tread, or until 6 years from the date of purchase.
What Vehicles does the Michelin Defender LTX M/S Fit On?
- Chevrolet Silverado, Tahoe, Avalanche, S10, Suburban, K2500, Colorado, Blazer
- Dodge Ram, Durango, Dakota
- Ford Expedition, Escape, Ranger, Bronco, F-150, Excursion, Explorer
- GMC Yukon, Sierra, Canyon
- Honda Element, CR-V
- Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Liberty
- Land Rover Discovery
- Lexus GX470
- Nissan Titan, Xterra, Frontier, Armada, Pathfinder
- Toyota Tacoma, Tundra, FJ Cruiser, Sequoia, 4Runner, Land Cruiser, Highlander
Michelin Defender LTX M/S Sizes
Is the Michelin Defender LTX MS good in snow?
In short, we’ll say that it’s decent. That might not sound like a compliment, but it is. Most all-season tires perform incredibly poorly in snow. This tire, however, has been engineered with high levels of siping to give it just enough grip in the cold and on snow-covered surfaces to make it genuinely usable.
How Long Does the Michelin Defender LTX M/S Last?
Based on Michelin’s own tread life warranty information, you should expect the Defender LTX M/S to last roughly 70,000 miles for standard versions and roughly 50,000 miles for LT versions. However, this assumes proper rotation procedures are followed and the tires are kept properly inflated.
Based on user-reported data, if you take care of these tires, they should last you at least 10,000 more miles than what Michelin claims.
Is the Michelin Defender LTX M/S Noisy?
The Michelin Defender LTX M/S is by no means a noisy tire. It’s a Michelin after all and lives up to the very highest standards of any tire on the market. However, we will add that if you have a particularly impressive ear it is louder than conventional all-seasons. As much as Michelin has done to build-in noise-cancelling patterns and insulation to minimize road noise, there are are some inherent drawbacks to the highly-siped tire design that delivers such impressive winter performance.
Michelin Defender LTX MS vs MS2
As mentioned above, you expect a tire with a 2 at the end of its name to be a second-generation tire and therefore the latest version of a tire. That’s not the case here. The Defender LTX MS is actually the improvement on the MS2. The bigger difference here is that this tire is graduating up to the Defender line of truck tires, indicating how serious Michelin is about both its capability and durability.
The newer LTX MS stays committed to the main traits of the original, including durability, all-season grip and fuel-efficiency, but makes big improvements in a few areas.
When the tire was first introduced Michelin used the the tag line, “stronger long” to describe how they built the tire to offer more durability for more miles. And while the tread life warranty stayed the same at 70,000 miles, Michelin says real world improvements should be around 10 percent.
This is all due to an entirely new EverTread compound that is built to handle the increasingly huge torque loads today’s modern trucks.
As a down side, LT sizes do only get a 50,000 mile warranty which is less than with the old MS2. Still, Michelin says that in real world driving conditions the 50,000 mile number is more realistic and 50k is the industry standard.
The Defender LTX MS makes use of Michelin’s MaxTouch Construction which better distributes forces across the tire for improved tread life. While resistance to chips and uneven wear on gravel roads has also been improved.
Meanwhile Michelin says it was able to maintain all of the dry, wet and winter grip of the original.
With the MS2 already an extremely popular tire, Michelin has built the Defender LTX MS to capture more of the market, not just by making a better tire, but by making it more available to consumers with even more fitment sizes.
Michelin Defender LTX MS vs CrossClimate 2
As one of the most popular and top rated truck and SUV tires, the Defender LTX MS doesn’t have much serious competition. However, the brand’s new CrossClimate 2 is one to also consider. Generally we recommend the Defender over many other all-season tires because it offers impressive winter capability (for an all-season). But the CrossClimate 2 takes this a step further by being a true winter-certified tire and features the three-peak mountain snowflake logo on the sidewall as proof.
In terms of overall tread life the Defender has the advantage with a 70,000 mile estimated tread life compared to 60,000 miles on the CrossClimate 2.
Both are on the expensive side, although size-for-size the Defender is generally cheaper.
Both tires are remarkably quiet on road. Neither are particularly sporty or engaging to drive. Instead they both get the job done, quite well.
The Defender is available in LT fitments, so for many pickup trucks, it’s definitely the better option.