Westlake Village, California – Michelin ranked highest in the luxury, passenger car and truck/utility segments, while Pirelli took top honours among performance sport tires in the latest survey by J.D. Power and Associates of original equipment tires.

The survey measures tire owner satisfaction over four segments: tire wearability, appearance, traction/handling and ride. The rankings are based on owner experiences with their tires after two years of ownership.

The survey also found that while the adoption of tire pressure monitoring systems in vehicles — required by law in the U.S. — has resulted in an increase in the reported number of slow tire leaks, acceptance of the problem has also increased.

The study found that original equipment tire customers in their second year of ownership experienced 13.4 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) due to slow leaks, an increase of 2.4 PP100 from 2009, but owners experiencing slow leaks tended to be more satisfied with their tires, compared with owners who experienced other problems such as uneven wear or excessive road noise. Of those experiencing slow leaks, 15 per cent said they “definitely will” recommend their tire brand, compared with 11 per cent in 2009; only three per cent of owners who experienced fast tread wear said they “definitely will” recommend their tire brand.

The study found that the average number of tire pressure monitoring system warnings per vehicle over a 12-month period has increased from 1.5 in 2009, to 2.2 in 2010. A slightly higher percentage of owners take their vehicles to dealerships or repair facilities to check the tires, with 34 per cent doing so in 2010, compared with 30 per cent in 2009. In 2010, 65 per cent of owners who received a warning said they checked the tires themselves, while one per cent said they ignored the warning or took no action.

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