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Wheel & Tire Buyer's Guide - Tech

Posted in How To on January 1, 2009
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Contributors: James Weber

Wheels and tires are some of the most important components found on a rig. Aside from their aesthetic contributions to a vehicle, the proper rim-and-rubber combination can mean all the difference in conquering the trail or having the trail conquer you. Designed for a wide variety of applications from sand to mud to highways, a successful combination is one that will compliment your specific driving style and conditions. To help you choose the correct combo, we have assembled a list of some of today's more popular wheels and tires. We're certain you'll find what you need to conquer the trail, as well as the drive there and back.

BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX
BFGoodrich's Krawler T/A KX tire has been built for trail driving given the unique tread pattern and rubber compound. In keeping with BFG's tried and true durability, each tire consists of 4-ply sidewalls and 4-ply treads. The tire is available in load range C and is available in 35x13.50R15 and 37x12.50R17 sizes. They are also available partially designed for custom grooving patterns.
For more information, contact: BFGoodrich, (864) 458-5000,

Toyo Open Country M/T
Toyo's Open Country M/T tire features aggressive off-road styling thanks to the deep lug treads that have been designed to meet a variety of off-road conditions from deep sand to rock outcroppings. The specially formulated rubber compound has been engineered to provide maximum traction. Road noise is minimized thanks to their computer-enhanced tread pattern, which also incorporated sidewall lugs for additional off-road performance when the tires are aired down. The 6-ply tires are available in load ranges C, D and E, with available sizes ranging between 35x13.50R15 to 37x13.50R24
For more information, contact: Toyo Tires, (800) 953-8696,

IntercoTire IROK
Interco Tire's IROK tire features excellent traction in mud and snow and is a true performer while rock climbing based upon its directional tread pattern and three-stage lug design. The IROK's are also available in either radial or bias ply configurations. Depending upon the tire size chosen, the sidewalls may be constructed of either 4- or 6-plys while the treads are made up of either 6- or 8-ply construction. The available load ranges of C, D and E are also dependent upon the selected size. The tires are available in diameters ranging from 33 to 49 inches.
For more information, contact: Interco Tire Corp., (318) 334-3814,

Pitbull Tires Rocker
Pitbull Tires's Rocker tire is all bite and no bark. Consisting of their Tear It Up technology construction and rubber design these tires are cut, tear and puncture resistant which equates to longer lasting tires and miles of off-road trail fun with minimal down time for tire repairs or changes. The deep lugs and sidewall protectors assist with traction and cleanout. Thanks to Pitbull's noise resistant technology, the tires are highway friendly. The bias ply tires are available in sizes from 33x13.50-15 to 44x19.50-20.
For more information, contact: Pit Bull Tire Company, (314) 621-8954,

Maxxis Creepy Crawler
Maxxis Creepy Crawler is a trail favorite given its aggressive and durable tread pattern. The enormous horizontally siped and stepped lugs feature massive valleys for effective deep self-cleaning. Depending upon the size selected, which ranges between 35x12.50-15 to 40x13.50-17, either 6- or 8-ply sidewalls and treads are available. The specially designed compound of this bias ply tire adds to its excellent traction in off-road conditions, as well as its puncture resistance and durability.
For more information, contact: Maxxis International, (770) 962-5932,

Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Radial
Mickey Thompson's Baja MTZ radial has been designed with an aggressive tread that feature massive lugs for optimum performance in the mud. The 3-ply sidewall and 6-ply tread will endure a multitude of debris before being compromised. Adding additional surface area to the tire when aired down are the Sidebiter sidewall treads. For optimum performance in wet conditions, the treads have been siped for added water evacuation. The available sizes range from 31x10.50R15LT up to 38x15.50R20LT, with load ranges of C, D and E.
For more information, contact: Mickey Thompson/Dick Cepek Performance Tires & Wheels, (800) 700-0394, ext. 2311,

Nitto Mud Grappler
Nitto's Mud Grappler has been designed to provide exceptional off-road traction, especially with their 15mm side lugs, which provide excellent sidewall traction and lend additional resistance to punctures and tears. Excellent rock crawling and mud-traction characteristics are achieved through the computer-designed tread pattern which features a high-void ratio for excellent self-cleaning of trail debris. Available in sizes ranging from 33x13.50R15 to 40x15.50R22, and load ranges C, D and E, there is a tire designed to fit any application.
For more information, contact: Nitto Tire North America Inc., (800) 648-8652,

Pro Comp Radial Xterrain 3-Ply
Pro Comp's aggressive radial X-Terrain tire has been designed for any terrain anywhere. One of the tires most distinguishing features is the extreme traction compounds that allow for the maximum puncture and tear resistance while maintaining the ultimate in flexibility and stability while aired down. The directional tread pattern is similar to that of a mud terrain which features aggressive, deep and wide tread lugs. Thick 3-ply sidewalls and 6-ply treads make them an instant hit for rocky trails. Available in load ranges C, D and E, the tires are available in sizes ranging from 37x13.50R15 to 40x13.50R20.
For more information, contact: Pro Competition Tire & Wheel Co., (866) 232-0665,

Parnelli Jones Dirt Gripz
With a name like Parnelli Jones behind these tires, how can one go wrong? This 6- and 10-ply rated radial tire features two steel belts and two polyester radial plies, which incorporate 6- and 10-ply durability. Available in load ranges C, D and E and sizes from 31x10.50R15 to 36x14.50R22, the large tread and sidewall lugs offer excellent off-road traction and a smooth ride with low noise while on the highway.
For more information, contact: Parnelli Jones/Dirt Gripz Inc.,(330) 873-9582,

General Tire Grabber Competition
General's Grabber Competition features a four-row tread pattern with multiple traction edges that provide traction in virtually any competitive condition, especially rock crawling. The extra deep treads allow the tire to mold itself around any obstacle for the ultimate in traction. The specially formulated rubber compound makes this tire extra sticky. Available in load range D, the 3-ply unit is available in a 37x12.50R17 size.
For more information, contact: General Tire Company, (800) 847-3349

Hutchinson 2-Piece RockMonster Beadlock Wheels
Known for their extremely durable military-spec, ISO 9001 quality beadlock wheels, the Hutchinson RockMonster wheels have been designed to achieve maximum weight savings while not compromising the vehicle's load carrying capacities all while allowing tire pressure to be reduced for the ultimate in off road performance. Street legal and DOT-approved, the wheels contain a molded rubber sleeve that fits between the tire beads and the outer portions of the wheel that once installed locks both tire beads against the rim. Available for many of today's popular full-size trucks and Jeeps in sizes ranging from 15- to 17-inches.
For more information, contact: Hutchinson Industries, Inc.,

American Racing Punisher
American Racing's Punisher wheel significantly enhances resistance to brake dust, dirt, road film and UV degradation thanks to its Teflon finish. The high-luster machined face with simulated bead-lock flange treatment wheels will stand up to anything in its path as well (shown). Consisting of aluminum, these lightweight wheels are available in 16x8, 17x8, 18x9.5, and 20x10 configurations with a variety of bolt patterns and backspacing sizes.
For more information, contact: American Racing,

Walker Evans Bead-Locked Wheel
These solid one-piece cast-aluminum bead-lock wheels are as strong as the reputation of the man they are named after. With no welding used during their construction, the possibility of leaks is minimized.
Each wheel is rated at 3,800 pounds and features Grade-8 hardware. The bolts thread into long steel inserts that are mounted securely into the wheel. The valve stems are moved back further into the wheel, eliminating the possibility of being damaged while out on the trail.
The popular wheel is available in a 17x8.5 inch configuration. Backspacing is cut to order, and all standard bolt patterns are available.
For more information, contact: Walker Evans Racing, (888) WEE-RACE,

Raceline Renegade 6 Wheel
Raceline's Renegade 6 wheel is the perfect wheel when you just want to blend in yet be stylish at the same time. Built from durable, high-grade alloy material, the available finishes are chrome, black or polished. The wheels are available in 16-, 17-, 18-, 19- and 20-inch configurations with vehicle specific backspacing and bolt patterns.
For more information, contact: Raceline Performance Wheels, (800) 52-WHEEL,

National Tire & Wheel
Offering wheels and tires from almost every major manufacturer, National Tire & Wheel will deliver mounted and balanced wheel-and-tire packages right to your front door. The company has a huge selection of styles and sizes to choose from. Computer spin balancing, lug nuts, and center caps are included with most packages.
For more information, contact: National Tire & Wheel, (800) 847-3287,

KMC Wheels XD 796 Revolver
KMC Wheels' XD 796 Revolver is a one-piece cast wheel with a 6-spoke design that has jetted raised edge panels. The wheel is available in black, chrome or polished finish and has a load rating of 3,100 pounds for each wheel. The wheels are available in 16-, 17-, 18-, 19- and 20-inch configurations with vehicle specific backspacing and bolt patterns.
For more information, contact: KMC Wheels, (877) 943-3577,

Center Line ICE Wheels
Center Line's latest wheel is a DOT-approve wheel that utilizes an inner tire bead lock thereby requiring no additional bolts to hold the tire to the wheel like many of the more conventional style bead lock wheels. The three-piece wheel contains a centering element that extends to the inner reaches of the tire's air chamber to create an internal bead lock, while allowing the use of conventional tires.
Each wheel is manufactured from high-quality T-6061 billet aluminum and features a strong 3200-pound load rating. The final finish is a triple-chrome plated outer lip that may be replaced should it become damaged or scratched while off-roading. The wheel is available in a 17-inch diameter with five-, six-, and eight-lug configurations.
For more information, contact: Center Line Racing Wheels Inc., (800) 345-8671,

Poison Spyder Customs Lock Wheel
Poison Spyder's latest creation are machined aluminum wheels that have been designed for the sole purpose of rock crawling, as evidenced by the outer bead lock trim ring and the durable construction. The wheel is available in 5-, 6- and 8-lug configurations and is available with various backspacing dimensions. The available sizes of the wheel are 15x9, 17x9, 18x9 and 20x10.
For more information, contact: Spyder Customs, (303) 777-4820,

Mickey Thompson M/T Classic Lock
Mickey Thompson's M/T Classic Lock wheel combines the features of the Classic II wheel with the styling of a simulated bead lock ring. Available in 15- to 18-inch diameters and various widths, each wheel is backed by a limited lifetime guarantee.
For more information, contact: Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, (800) 700-0394, ext. 2311,

American Expedition Vehicles Pintler Bead Lock Wheel
AEV's Pintler bead lock wheel is one of the few DOT-approved bead lock wheels on the market that actually have the inserts for the bead lock ring cast into place and ready for an effortless installation of the tire. Each wheel is available in a 17x8.5-inch configuration and is finished in either argent or silver powder coat finish. The cast aluminum, 5 lug wheel looks great on either a Jeep TJ or JK.
For more information, contact: American Expedition Vehicles, (406) 251-2100,

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