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Long-Term Updates - September 2010

Posted in How To on September 1, 2010
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Baja ATZ
If there has been one tire that has really lasted us, it has to be the Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ. Our editor got 50,000 miles out of them on his daily-driven Durango-a real feat considering he usually burns off a set of tires in under 20,000. During that time, the tires proved themselves to be great highway choices, with good off-road capabilities in drier off-road conditions. Mud was definitely the bane of this tire, as the large, closely-spaced tread lugs and small voids made the tire float instead of digging in. For that same reason, the Baja ATZs were excellent in sand.

The one problem we had with them was noise, and that was partially our fault. We are sometimes lazy about proper tire rotation, and these tires were rotated maybe once around the vehicle. Though they started out quiet when new, they had quite a hum going after some wear started kicking in. If we had rotated them properly, we think we could have cut out a lot of the road noise.

Dick Cepek Mud Country
Over the last few years, the Dick Cepek Mud Country has been one of our favorite tires. It's actually a pretty quiet tire (for a mud terrain) if you keep rotating them regularly, and the wet-weather highway traction is impressive for a mud-terrain tire. The large tread voids allow it to really dig in and get traction in moderate snow and muddy trails. But this tire would not be our first choice for a mud-bogger, even if it does say "Mud Country" on the side. It's made as an aggressive tire that will give great traction in almost all conditions, but you can still drive everyday to work on without the fear of premature tire wear.

Dynatrac Ball Joints
We've had Dynatrac ball joints in our '04 Dodge 2500 truck for the last 10,000 miles, and they've been working out excellently. The immediate improvement when adding them to the axle was obvious since these trucks (and Super Dutys) eat up ball joints, but they've stayed tight since then-and we could easily blow through a set of ball joints in 10,000 miles. We really like the fact that they're rebuildable, too. That makes life that much easier when servicing is finally needed.

Pit Bull Rocker Radial
By some fortunate fluke, we were lucky enough to get a set of new 35-inch Pit Bull Rocker radials donated to us for whatever we wanted to do with them. They've been run on a few different trucks now, and they've been a great choice for an uber-aggressive tire. They're about as gnarly looking as you can get while still being a DOT-approved radial tire, but they actually ride pretty smoothly down the highway. This could be due to the soft tread compound that you can almost squish between your fingers. Wear resistance on them is definitely not the greatest, but we're guessing that traction is more of a concern for most people considering this tire. It gets excellent traction off-road in pretty much any condition, but it does seem to dig a little in sand (not surprising). This would be an excellent tire for something that is still street legal, but not driven every day.

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