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?

PROS

  • Long life
  • Great warranty
  • Wet performance

CONS

  • 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.

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 it’s new. And the brand is designing the tires to meet this higher standard, so when worn, the Michelin’s 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 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

15-inch sizes
235/75/R15
215/75/R15
31/10.5/R15

16-inch sizes
215/70/R16
235/70/R16
245/70/R16
255/70/R16
245/75/R16
215/55/R16
265/70/R16
255/65/R16
265/75/R16
275/70/R16
285/75/R16

17-inch sizes
225/65/R17
225/55/R17
235/65/R17
255/75/R17
245/65/R17
225/75/R17
235/75/R17
255/65/R17
215/50/R17
265/70/R17
235/70/R17
265/65/R17
255/70/R17
245/75/R17
285/70/R17

18-inch sizes
235/65/R18
265/60/R18
235/55/R18
235/60/R18
265/70/R18
265/65/R18
245/60/R18
275/60/R18
255/65/R18
285/60/R18
255/55/R18
275/65/R18
275/70/R18
295/70/R18
285/65/R18

19-inch sizes
235/45/R19
255/60/R19
235/55/R19
245/55/R19
255/50/R19

20-inch sizes
255/55/R20
275/55/R20
245/60/R20
255/50/R20
265/50/R20
275/60/R20
285/50/R20
265/60/R20
305/50/R20
275/65/R20
295/60/R20
285/60/R20
35/12.5/R20

22-inch sizes
305/40/R22
285/45/R22

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.

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.