Bridgestone and Michelin factory fitments on Buick Enclave

Jan. 1, 2020
Of the scores of tires considered for the 2011 Buick Enclave luxury crossover by engineers at General Motors, only the 19-inch Michelin P255/60R19 and 20-inch Bridgestone P255/55R20 all-season tires made the cut, according to the automaker.
Of the scores of tires considered for the 2011 Buick Enclave luxury crossover by engineers at General Motors, only the 19-inch Michelin P255/60R19 and 20-inch Bridgestone P255/55R20 all-season tires made the cut, according to the automaker.

At GM’s Tire-Wheel Systems Lab at the Milford Proving Ground, a team of more than 50 engineers tested numerous contenders to be the Enclave’s original equipment fitment.

“Tires are the only contact point you have with the road,” says tire engineering manager Dave Cowger. “Your tires influence everything from fuel economy to steering and handling, road noise, and braking. So we beat the heck out of these tires in the lab to make sure they have the right traction, fuel economy, durability and other characteristics.”

Having tires that reduce road noise is important to the vehicle’s “library-quiet” interior, which allows passengers seated in the third row to hear a conversation between first-row occupants without interference, says Cowger, noting that it is the only crossover in its segment equipped with QuietTuning, Buick’s exclusive engineering process to reduce, block and absorb unwanted noise from entering the cabin.

Staff from a range of major tire manufacturers joined in the tire abuse, Cowger recounts. Each tire vying to be chosen for the Enclave went through 25 different lab tests to gauge how well they hold up against simulated real-world abuse. Some tests mimic hitting a curb at low speed or smashing into a pothole. Lab dynamometers with specially grained sandpaper were used to replicate tens of thousands of miles of road wear.

Tires that survive the lab tests graduate to the test track where they are put through further punishment.

 

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Since the Tire-Wheel Systems team was formed in 1968, the division has tested more than 20,000 tire constructions. Buick, as well as Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac, use Tire Performance Criteria (TPC) markings, which serve as a “seal of approval” for tires that meet or exceed the tire standards. To earn the TPC marking, tires must deliver exceptional results covering traction, handling, noise, endurance, tread wear and other factors.

The Tire Performance Criteria also lets customers know what tires to look for when shopping for replacements. “I always tell people when shopping for replacements to look for the same tire that came with the vehicle, with the same TPC marking,” Cowger says. “We’ve engineered those tires to be the best they can possibly be.”

For more information, visit www.michelinman.com, www.bridgestone-firestone.com and www.buick.com.

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