Michelin Defender LTX M/S Review

By Tire Expert, dev1 dev
By Tire Expert, dev1 dev

Are you looking for an in-depth review of Michelin Defender LTX M/S tires? Michelin manufactures some of the highest quality all-season tires on the market for your SUV, crossover, or light truck.

When rotated regularly (every 5k miles or so) and properly inflated (see the inside of your driver door panel), Michelin Defender LTX M/S tires have the potential to last up to 85 thousand miles with over 75 tire sizes to choose from intended for anything from light pickup trucks to smaller commercial vehicles.

We realize that there are plenty of Michelin Defender LTX M/S tire reviews out there, so we made it our goal to provide you with the most complete information provided by true tire experts.

Scroll down to read about the driving experience before you buy:

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Wet Traction:
Dry Traction:
Snow Traction:
Ride Comfort:
Ride Handling:
Ride Noise:
Tread Life:
Value For Money:

Traction - Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Comparable to both Bridgestone and Goodyear all-season models, Michelin Defenders provide outstanding all-season traction in both dry ground and wet conditions. The main reason why many people opt for Michelin Defenders over any other brand is because of their versatility on and off-road.

The rain is where Michelin defenders stand out from the crowd. If you look closely at the tread design of Defenders, you’ll notice their MaxTouch Construction™—a design that maximizes weight distribution for more perfect traction and tire longevity.

Simply put, you won’t have to worry near as much about losing control at high speeds with these highway tires specially designed for short braking distances on wet roads.

Despite being all-season tires, these still provide adequate traction in snowy conditions. That being said, we don’t recommend Michelin Defenders for extreme snowy conditions because they don’t have the studs/tire pattern that winter tires have. The bottom line is that if you’re looking for good Michelin snow tires, you should opt for full winter models like the Michelin X-Ice. Pilot, or Latitude.

It’s likely that in the future Michelin tire treads will even be equipped with a futuristic tire tread sensor technology being developed by Duke University that has the ability to measure tire treadwear in real-time. Plus, with an initial 12/32” (inches) of tread depth, there is plenty of room for treadwear on the Defenders.

Traction Rating: 4.5/5

Ride Comfort - Michelin Defender LTX M/S

You’ll find that one of the most pleasant changes when switching to Michelin Defender tires is the excellent ride comfort. Because of their typically high sidewalls and ultra-round shape, many customers explain the Michelin Defender LTX M/S as floating on air while driving down the highway.

You’ll also notice that Michelin Defenders are great for towing. Because of their super-durable 10-ply construction, you won’t have to worry near as much about having a blowout while hauling a heavy load. Instead, you’ll feel a firm, comfortable ride underneath you when making those trips to the dump or hauling gravel.

Please note that if you’ve recently installed Michelin LTX M /S on your vehicle and you’re experiencing bumpiness or vibration it’s likely not the tires— it could be a bad tire balance job, alignment issues, or suspension problems.

Ride Comfort Rating: 4.5/5

Ride Handling - Michelin Defender LTX M/S

How do Defender tires stick to the road upon turning? They handle adequately for their size and class, however, they’re not going to give you extremely high-performance handling like more expensive brands (like Continental or Pirelli).

Properly inflated tires are a crucial part of a vehicle’s suspension system, and Michelin Defender LTX M/S handle quite well considering their typical aspect ratio.

What is the aspect ratio and how does it affect steering/cornering? It’s the second tire size number of the three that indicates how big the sidewalls are (or how tall the tires are), and the number itself represents the tire height in proportion to the width—generally higher-profile tires don’t corner as well as lower-profile tires.

So, for example, if your tire size is 225/75/R16, then your tires have a width of 225, and an aspect ratio of 75. That means the tire height is 75% of the tire width, so in this case, the tires are relatively high-profile. The ‘R16’ at the end means the tires are made for 16-inch wheels.

The best steering and corning happen when tires have an ample amount of tread and proper inflation. Good traction and performance have a lot to do with proper tire inflation. West Virginia University points out that PSI = force/area

One last important attribute of Michelin Defender LTX M/S tires is that these bad boys are H-speed rated, meaning they have the potential to reach a max speed of 130 mph, so you and the crew can have some fun rallying those smooth and seemingly speed limitless roads throughout North America. Just make sure you stop frequently to let the tires cool down when traveling at speeds above 100 mph.

You can’t blame bad handling all on the tires, however, as the vehicle’s upper suspension plays a huge role in handling. Always have your vehicle’s suspension completely inspected before installing new tires.

Ride Handling Rating: 4.0/5

Ride Noise - Michelin Defender LTX M/S

The high-density 3-D active sipes featured on the Michelin defenders make for excellent tread blocks that are specially designed to block out tire noise at high speeds.

One of the best parts about Michelin tires is their quiet performance on the highway. In fact, Michelin specifically classifies Defender tires as ‘all-season highway’ tires. When perfectly balanced, these tires produce practically zero ride noise compared to other tire brands. This is due to the Comfort Control™ technology provided by Michelin.

The United States Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts emphasis on being ‘TireWise’. In other words, the quality and maintenance of your tires play a huge role in safety, stating that 612 total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2019 were due to tire-related crashes. Again, these Michelin Defenders are H-speed rated meaning they are among some of the top-performing tires on the market for speed (higher speeds mean less noise).

This is a great tire to consider switching to for drivers looking to increase fuel economy while still managing offroad and wet situations with control. Although some sizes of these tires have a higher profile on the sidewalls when compared to other brands, they still ride like lower-profile tires.

Ride Noise Rating: 4.0/5

Hydroplaning - Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Hydroplaning happens when water penetrates between the car’s tire and the pavement.

Designed with an efficient tread pattern for water that includes four large tread channels or grooves that quickly evacuate rain to better prevent hydroplaning, these Michelin Defender tires are ultra-safe on wet roads, and they’ll even hold their own in the snow in many cases (you’ll want studded tires for more extreme snowy conditions).

Some factors that influence hydroplaning include:

  • Tire pressure

  • Depth of water on the road

  • Pavement/road condition

Keep in mind that hydroplaning speed increases the higher the PSI inflation of the tires—that’s why it’s important to keep tires properly inflated at all times to maintain control while driving.

If you’re a daily commuter, the last thing you want to do is end up suddenly floating sideways in your vehicle with coffee and one hand and the steering wheel in the other (yes, many of us have been there). The good news is that when you use quality tires like the Michelin Defender you are virtually eliminating the chances of losing control due to hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning Rating: 4.5/5

Tread Life - Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Or should we say long tread life when it comes to Michelin tires? Michelin Defender LTX M/S tires are all-stars when it comes to durability. These tires will last up to 85,000 miles when maintained properly thanks to Michelin’s Evertread™ tread compound (an enhanced durability design that prolongs tread life).

We should also note that most Michelin Defenders are 10-ply tires (sedan and other SUV tires are typically only 4-ply in thickness) meaning that these tires are ultra-durable compared to other off-brands. Defenders can also be easily plugged/patched as long as the puncture is at least 2-inches from the sidewall.

Buying quality and maintaining your tires for longer tread life also means fewer tires in landfills (the US produced more than 290 million scrap tires in the year 2003 according to EPA). 

Tread Life Rating: 5.0/5

Value For Money - Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Is it worth it for a complete set of Michelin Defender tires for somewhere under a grand? Definitely. It might look like you’re getting the same quality from an off-brand, but you’ll be sacrificing a lot in technology and quality.

For example, it’s very common that people to want the most inexpensive way out when buying tires, and who can blame them? The cheap customer opts for a 4-ply tire (Defenders are 10-ply) for their light-duty pickup truck and ends up with a tire blowout on a hot day due to loading too much weight into the back.

Tire blowouts happen so fast, and they happen even faster with off-brand tires. That’s why we recommend buying reputable tires that come with a reliable warranty—it will save you the stress of having to drop a couple of hundred extra bucks on a new tire when your tire pops on you.

Don’t forget that four-wheel drive tires must be replaced in pairs, so it’s never a bad idea to have two complete sets of tires and wheels laying around in storage.

At any rate, visit a tire shop near you for some new tires with the reputable Michelin name on the sidewall. You might also consider Michelin Crossclimate 2 when shopping for all-season tires for your passenger vehicle—they have a seriously cool V-shaped tread pattern that dominates both the winter and the summer.

Value For Money Rating: 5.0/5

Final Verdict - Michelin Defender LTX M/S

We rated this product highly because we’ve personally installed and tested Michelin Defender LTX M/S2. You’ll notice that there are very few bad customer reviews concerning these specific tires.

Let’s also clear that although Defender LTX tires are 10-ply tires, they aren’t designed for 3/4 ton and 1-ton trucks. You’ll want full-sized truck tires for vehicles like the Chevy Silverado and Ram 2500 or 3500.

We can’t put enough emphasis on tire maintenance when it comes to getting the most out of your tires. Here are a few ways to maximize tread life and potentially save you from having to prematurely buy a completely new set of tires:

  • Check tire pressures regularly

Keep your tire pressure gauge in the glove box, and check your tire pressures monthly to ensure extremely long-lasting tires. Don’t know what PSI to set each tire? Most car manufacturers have a recommendation for tire inflation found on the inside of the driver’s side door panel (open the driver’s door and look for informational stickers). Some carmakers even recommend a specific PSI that differs from front to rear (i.e., 35 PSI in front and 40 PSI in the rear).

  • Fill tires with nitrogen

That’s right, filling tires with nitrogen gas instead of regular old air is a great way to help get the most out of your Michelin Defenders. Nitrogen holds tire pressure for longer, and it also prevents the tires from getting flat spots, or uneven spots that occur when a car is parked for too long. According to Popular Mechanics, the air is 78 percent oxygen and 21 percent nitrogen while water vapor, CO2, and other concentrations of noble gases like argon and neon make up the other 1 percent.

The car geniuses at Popular Mechanics also suggest that filling your tires with nitrogen causes tires to deflate about 40 percent slower, so that means you’ll need to check tire pressures about half as much when utilizing nitrogen.

  • Check the manufacturer date before installation

Aside from their three-number tire size, most all tires have a manufacturing date (month) and year somewhere on the sidewall. For example, if you see a 12/06 on the tire, it means that it was manufactured in December of 2006 and is too old to be installed. Tires should be swapped out every 6 years at the minimum to avoid dry rot and unnecessary safety issues.

  • Rotate tires every ~5,000 miles

Tire rotation is huge for preserving the life of your Michelin Defender or any other brand of tires. If you don’t rotate your tires from front to rear, you’ll end up with uneven wear from turning and other natural driving occurrences. Just make sure your car tires are all the same size as some performance vehicles have thinner tires in the front and thicker tires in the rear.

When having new tires installed, you should always test drive the car at higher speeds after installation. If you feel excessive vibration after tire installation, it could be a poor tire balance job. Don’t hesitate to take the car back into the shop and address problems like vibrations at higher speeds. Besides, if you just paid a chunk of cash for those brand new tires, then you deserve them to run perfectly smooth.

  • Check tread depths on the inside, middle, and outer treads

Checking tread depths regularly can save you from unnecessary tire replacement. For example, faulty suspension or alignment issues sometimes lead to uneven tire wear. For this reason, it’s important to check the tread depth on the inside, middle, and outside tread of each tire. Also, don’t forget to check for lopsidedness and other visual defects as your tires wear down.

Did you check the spare tire when replacing your set?

Checking the spare tire is an essential task to check regularly (try to check the PSI every oil change). Keeping a properly inflated spare tire handy will save you from an inconvenient situation, and it can also be a lifesaver if you get a flat tire in a remote location.

Don’t forget your emergency tire plug kit

It’s not a bad idea to keep an emergency tire plug kit and tire inflater in your car. Plugging up a hole in your tire is not as hard as it sounds, so watch a quick Youtube tutorial and keep your car stocked with a plug kit for emergency situations.

Michelin Defender LTX M/S
Our rating:
[tiresreviews_get_average_rating show_out_of=false show_bars=false]
Updated July 12, 2024
Quick Facts
  • Warranty 70000
  • Typical Price $151 - $399
  • Treadwear Rating 720 - 800

Warranty & Tire Sizes

Frequently Asked Questions

Although Michelin Defenders are suitable for light snow, they’re not the best option for extreme winter weather.

We recommend being prepared to install tire chains to your defenders if necessary, and again, if you live in icy areas you’ll want to install some studded winter tires.

LTX stands for ‘light truck’, and M/S is for mud and snow indicating that these are all-season tires. As for the ‘x’ at the end of LTX, it likely refers to the symmetrically x-shaped sipes that help the Michelin Defenders achieve better traction in light snow and off-road environments.

These specific tires are designed for light-duty trucks and SUVs like the Toyota Highlander, Jeep Wrangler, Honda CR-V, Nissan Pathfinder, and any half-ton trucks like the Ford F150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

Defenders are well worth it for commuters looking for a comfortable ride combined with heavy-duty quality. At just under a couple of hundred bucks a tire, Defenders are undoubtedly on the ‘name brand’ end of the price range, but the important factor to consider is the high quality and reliable warranty.

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