The New Destination: We Test Firestone’s New M/T2 Mud TirePosted in How To: Wheels Tires on November 30, 2017
When we got our first look at Firestone’s Destination M/T2 mud tires last year, it was deep in the woods of Virginia. We were driving Jeep JKs shod with the new treads, some rolling on their biggest competitor’s tires. It was an enlightening and fun daylong opportunity to test the off-road performance of the second-generation of the popular M/T mud tire that hit the market back in 2002. We put the M/T2s through a heavy dose of clingy mud, slippery rocks, creek crossings, and wooded hillside climbs. As noted in our first impressions, the tires were impressive.
But one day off-roading doesn’t really give the opportunity to see all sides of a tire, at least not in our way of thinking. That’s why we mounted one of the first available sets of LT315/75R16 M/T2s on Pro Comp Xtreme alloy wheels and rolled them under our lifted ’91 Ford Bronco. The truck has been used for a number of reviews and tech articles during the past couple years, so we know its performance characteristics, ride quality, and handling very well, both on pavement and off.
Since the M/T2s were put on we’ve spent several months and a couple thousand miles getting a firsthand feel for how the tires fare in the real-world environment of daily driving and weekend wheelin’. Our overall impression is much the same as we had during our first time on the tires: a noticeable improvement over the old tread design, quieter on the open road, with excellent mud cleaning and rock ejection properties off-road.
We did a lot of driving on wet pavement and graveled Forest Service/BLM backcountry roads this past fall. There’s no doubt from inside the cab you are driving on tires with aggressive tread, as they make the whine expected from a tread that has wide voids between the tread blocks. But they are not as loud as similar-style mud tires we’ve tested over the past couple years, and they are noticeably quieter to the ear than the original M/T. We noticed the M/T2s’ improved steering response over our older mud tires they replaced, but they are on the stiff side (three-ply sidewall and E-rated) when running at our truck’s recommended 35psi inflation pressure. (We ended up running them a few pounds less for daily driving.)
Traction on wet pavement is in the upper tier of mud tires available today, as is the traction they exhibited on rocks, both wet and dry, and day-to-day handling of our truck. The M/T2 did a very good job keeping water channeled away from the tread while the face molded well to whatever surface it was against. We credit the improved traction and overall vehicle handling to the tire’s all-new tread compound, three-ply sidewall construction, and aggressive upper sidewall design.
The M/T2 is also quite adept at slinging smaller rocks and pebbles that try to get wedged between the tread blocks, a trait that always resulted in load “twangs” as rocks met our Bronco’s inner fenders as we traveled down graveled roads. Definitely want to have mudflaps, guards, or some sort of protective coating along the lower rockers if you run them.
Tread wear at this point is non-existent. We haven’t noticed any chips or tears in the lugs, either. In our experience, we’d expect the M/T2s to be good for 40,000-45,000 miles if properly maintained and rotated. Firestone currently offers the Destination M/T2s in 29 sizes spanning 15- to 22-inch wheels, including 37s in 17-, 20- and 22-inch rims, which should attract the attention of lifted 4x4 owners and the serious Jeep crowd.
As for us, we plan to keep the M/T2s around for an extended period of time, doing some winter wheeling in the snow, and then see how they work in the sand. Our expectations are high in both regards.
Specifications (as tested)Tire: Firestone Destination M/T2
Type: Radial mud-terrain
Load range: E
Max load (lb): 3,860
Sidewall construction: 3-ply polyester
Tread construction: 3-ply polyester, 2-ply steel, 1-ply nylon
Approved rim width (in): 8.0-10.0
Tread depth (in): 21/32
Section width (in): 12.3
Overall diameter (in): 34.6
Maximum psi: 65
Weight (lb): 67