Tires and wheels are a key part of your vehicle’s off-road performance. You must consider some important factors as you shop – how much you ride, your typical type of terrain and other hazards you may encounter. And you want all these benefits at reasonable prices. You can accomplish this goal with a few simple suggestions. Keep reading to find out how to select the right wheels and tires for your off-roading vehicle.
Consider Your Terrain
Terrain is a huge factor when it comes to tire design. Compounds, tread and sidewalls all affect tires’ performance. Mud tires have aggressive tread for better traction and to avoid getting stuck. Many also feature self-cleaning tread to maintain grip over long distances. On the flip side, most mud-specific tires don’t perform well on pavement – their tread wears down fast and generates lots of noise.
Most retailers’ selections include all-terrain or multi-terrain tires that can handle mud, rocks and dirt. Pro Comp’s Xtreme MT 2 radial is an excellent example. The Xtreme MT 2 features a two-step tread block design plus enhanced upper sidewalls and alternating scalloped shoulder lugs for added bite.
Look at Load Ratings
Traction is one thing. But your tires must also be able to handle your vehicle’s weight. A quick way you can find out is to check each model’s maximum load rating. Keep in mind that the max load rating is per tire, so you should multiply that number by four.
How would this work when you’re buying tires? Let’s say that you’re shopping aftermarket off road parts and looking for Ford F350 Super Duty all-terrain tires. Your F350 can weigh up to 7,800 pounds by itself. You find the BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2, which has a max load of 2,755 pounds. Four of these tires can support up to 11,020 pounds, well above what your F350 weighs.
Sounds easy-peasy, right? Not quite. Your truck weighs 7,800 when empty. You must also account for cargo weight when looking at tires. If you have lots of heavy gear or you’re towing a trailer, your truck may actually exceed your tires’ max load. You need to know how much these weigh to get tires that support the entire load.
Check Out the Warranties
Performance and load rating are important, but you should also look at each tire’s warranty before you buy. This is critical if you do a lot of off-roading and rake up the miles. Most warranties guarantee up to a specific mileage figure. Let’s shop for your example F350 Super Duty again. The Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tire fits your truck and offers a Tread Life Limited Warranty up to 50,000 miles with standard load sizes. That’s far more than what the average commuter clocks in one year. But you should think about other factors – the typical distances you drive, where you travel, how much cargo you carry and so forth.
You’ve got much to consider when buying new off-road tires. But some useful guidelines can help you evaluate your options and pick ones that best suit your needs. And whether you’re looking for tires, the best tonneau covers or other gear, shop at a reputable off-road parts and accessories retailer.