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Off-Road Rant - Editorial - Tires

Posted in Features on October 1, 2011
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In a tireless search for the “perfect” tire, we (happily) continuously try out new tires when they come to market, and spend as much time in the dirt with them as we can. But we also spend a ton of time on the street, too. In fact, way more street miles go onto the tires we test than do off-road miles. And this will likely never change for our tire-testing practices since the majority of vehicles we cover are street legal, and by default spend a lot more time on pavement. Once you finally come to terms with the fact that your beloved off-road rig is more often a street pounder, a sense of reality clicks in and, for some of us, it actually changes the way we purchase tires.

What do you really need out of a tire?

Do you need something that rolls smoothly, gets the best traction on the highway, cuts through water well in heavy rain, and is quiet? Well, you’re probably looking at an all-terrain tread or perhaps even less aggressive than that.

Do you need a tire that is the absolute best in the dirt, and you don’t really care how loud it is or how your wet-and-icy-weather street traction is? Then perhaps a bias-ply mud-terrain really is the best tire for you.

Do you need a big tire, or a big wheel? What are the pros and cons of each? Does one work better in certain conditions than the other?

Most of us choose a more aggressive tire than we actually need, in an effort to get a “cooler” looking tread design (us included). Somehow we are able to reason out in our head that the 2 percent of the time that we actually need an ultra-aggressive tire outweighs the 98 percent of the time that we’d be better off with a highway tire.

The fact is that everyone has different needs, and that’s why there are different tire selections. There really is no perfect tire. But there are more appropriate tire selections you can make for the way you use your vehicle.

Think about it next time you purchase your tires. You could save yourself a lot of money with a little forethought.

This Month…
We have been putting a lot of miles on a lot of different project vehicles trying to do some serious tire testing! There are a lot of brand new offerings out there, and we tried to capture them all for you in this month’s issue.

And check out the high-flying action at 2011’s Huckfest. It’s great to watch off-road enthusiasts fly higher and higher—and without any bad breakage this year!

Last but not least, be sure to check out our two feature Fords. Our F-100 cover truck is going to make you envious when you read how the owner got his hands on it, and Chris Vorhies’ Super Duty is packed with all the best that the Big Three had to offer—a Cummins engine backed with an Allison transmission feeding Super Duty axles!

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