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Firestone Destination Mud Terrain Tire Test

Posted in How To: Wheels Tires on November 1, 2005
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Here's our high-mileage tread wear. Not bad considering the abuse we put these tires through.

We're way too lazy to rotate tires on a 3,000-mile schedule, so our '99 Dodge Ram 2500 gives us a great chance to test rubber since its coil-spring/solid-axle front end chews up the front tires about every 15,000 miles. For its fourth set of shoes in 60,000 miles we finally decided to upgrade the size a bit from the dinky 245/75R16 stockers. We didn't want to lift the truck, and we didn't want to compromise the on-road performance since, sadly enough, it sees more tow time than trail time. But we wanted to change that, too, and have been using the rig for more off-road adventure lately.

So we nabbed a set of tires that might not be on your radar screen: Firestone Destination M/Ts. It's tough to find them at typical 'wheeling outlets, but Tire Rack sells them in 285/75R16 for $155 each. Compared with $188 for BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains of the same size, or $174 for Goodyear Wrangler MT/Rs, we saved $76 to $132 for the set, and the feel from behind the wheel proved to be the same.

Mounted on 16x6.5-inch wheels with 5-inch backspacing and at 35 psi, the 285/75R15 Destination M/Ts measured 32 1/8 inches tall with a section width of 11 inches, a tread width of 9 1/8, and a static loaded radius of 15 5/8. The Dura-Loc 3.0 construction includes three polyester plies, two steel cord belts, and a nylon cap. The load range is D, and the Q speed rating keeps us under 99 mph. Dang.

We mounted the 285/75 Destination M/Ts to stock Dodge 16x6.5-inch steeliness, which are narrower than the recommended 7.5-inch rim width, but that keep the tires from sticking past the fenders. The tires are roughly 1.5 inches taller than the stockers, throwing our speedo off by 5 mph at highway cruising speeds, but with our optional 4.10:1 gears and five-speed trans there was little noticeable degradation in acceleration or braking. Our biggest fear was that the tires would rub, but they don't touch any part of the truck during on-road lock-to-lock steering. There is slight friendly contact with the aft part of the front inner fender liner when the tire is fully stuffed and cranked about halfway to full lock. No big deal.

By now we've put just over 10,000 miles on the Firestones, about 2,000 of which was on dirt, gravel, mud, and snow with a few miles of very mild rocks in there too. We like the looks of the aggressive sidewalls, and combined with Firestone's rim-guard that's designed to hold the bead tighter to the rim, we've never had a sidewall puncture. In fact, even with lots of threat from on-trail pongee sticks, we haven't had any leak, flat, or failure aside from one lug getting torn clean off a front tire while climbing Arizona lava rock. After extensive dirt-roading in multiple conditions, we're nothing but happy with the results. We'd be able to tell you about the sand-dune performance if we hadn't bolted the 'Stones to the world's all-time worst sand machine.

On the highway, the meats are a tad louder than our old all-terrains, but you'd have to be a total wuss to find the noise objectionable. Wet weather is not a problem, but-as with all mud tires-they suck on ice. Towing was a concern, but the taller Firestones did not detract at all from handling with a load.

Best of all, the Firestones seem to be lasting longer than the other tires we've had on the Dodge. We might even be willing to go rotate them so we can roll with them for even longer. Verdict: the Firestone Destination M/Ts are a great low-cost option for a mild mud tire.

PhotosView Slideshow
DESTINATION M/T SIZE AVAILABILITY
Designation Diameter* Section Width* Tread Width*
LT215/85R16 30.6 8.5 6.4
LT235/85R16 32.0 9.3 6.9
LT235/75R16 29.1 9.3 7.3
LT225/75R16 29.5 8.8 7.0
LT245/75R16 30.7 9.8 7.6
LT265/75R16 31.9 10.5 8.2
LT285/75R16 33.1 11.3 8.9
30x9.50R15 LT 30.0 9.5 7.5
31x10.50R15 LT 31.0 10.5 8.3
33x12.50R15 LT 33.0 12.5 9.9
*This is manufacturer-supplied data, which is usually slightly different from real-world measured numbers, especially in overall diameter.

Sources

Tire Rack
South Bend, IN 46628
888-541-1777
www.tirerack.com
Firestone
Indianapolis, IN 46260
800-888-0650
http://www.fsip.com

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