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P-Metric Tires Can’t Hang on the Trail With Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ P3 Light Truck (LT) Tires

Posted in How To: Wheels Tires on September 28, 2018
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New trucks are more capable than ever, with options like the Raptor, Colorado ZR2, and Tacoma TRD Off-Road all offering plenty of trail prowess. While the Raptor comes with BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2s and the Colorado ZR2 comes with Goodyear Duratracs, the Tacoma is shod with Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure tires. Not only are these treads incredibly tame, but they are also P-Metric. Know what the P stands for? Passenger. Yes, that’s right, these are passenger car tires.

We understand why Toyota does this. P-Metric tires are lighter and have less rolling resistance than LT (Light Truck) tires, and as such they provide better fuel economy. That isn’t much of a consolation if you get a flat in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, tires are a lot easier to add to a truck than Crawl Control or locking differentials. Since our stock tires were smoked it was time to upgrade to a tire that was not only a little taller and more aggressive but also significantly stronger than the factory P-Metric tires.

The tread depth of the stock tires when new was 11/32 inch, and they have far less than that now. By contrast, the Baja MTZ P3s are 18.5/32 inch deep, providing both longer tread life and increased traction off-road.

We went from a P-Metric to a P3, in the form of Mickey Thompson’s Baja MTZ P3s with three-ply sidewalls. The choice to run Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ P3s was an easy one. We have run these tires on several trucks in the past and found them to be surprisingly quiet, and we have never had a puncture through one of Mickey Thompson’s Powerply sidewalls. The stock size on our 2016 Tacoma TRD Off-Road is 265/70R16, which works out to 30.6 inches tall. We opted for slightly larger LT265/75R16 (31.9 inches) Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ P3s, which fit on our factory wheels with no rubbing. Mickey Thompson offers the Baja MTZ P3 in 30 sizes up to 40 inches tall, so there is likely one that fits your application.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Those larger, more aggressive tires weigh 55 percent more than the factory tires: 54 pounds each versus 35. The added weight has had a modest effect on acceleration and braking, and a more significant effect on fuel economy. We saw our mileage drop from 21 mpg on average to 18 with the new Baja MTZ P3s. We will trade a few miles per gallon for stronger tires that offer increased traction, required zero modifications to our truck, and give us peace of mind on the trail. But as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Mickey Thompson’s PowerPly three-ply sidewall construction is far stronger than the two-ply sidewalls found on P-Metric tires. The stiffer sidewall translates to improved handling, increased resistance to punctures and bruising, and higher load carrying capacity.
Mickey Thompson’s most distinctive feature is its four-pitch Sidebiter sidewall pattern. This resists punctures even more and provides additional traction when aired down on the trail.
We love our Tacoma, particularly in the TRD Off-Road trim. The truck has proven comfortable and capable, but the tires have always been the limiting factor off-road. Once the stock tires wore out we finally had an excuse to upgrade to a set of Mickey Thompson tires.
The load rating of the factory P-Metric tires is 2,469 pounds at a maximum inflation pressure of 51 psi. The LT Mickeys are rated at 3,415 at 80, nearly 1,000 pounds more carrying capacity per tire. These far exceed the GVWR of our Tacoma.
The increase in strength does come at a cost. Each Baja MTZ P3 weighs a whopping 19 pounds more than the factory tire it’s replacing. That added weight, along with the slightly larger diameter, has had an adverse effect on our fuel mileage.
The new Baja MTZ P3 tires are 1.3 inches taller than the factory tires that they are replacing. This height difference fills out the wheelwells without the need to add a suspension lift or regear. We were even able to retain the factory wheels.
The tread pattern of the MTZ P3 was designed to be self-cleaning, with large voids and angled shoulder lugs. The compound is silica reinforced for chip resistance and improved performance on wet roads and trails.

Tire Specifications

Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ P3
Size Tested: LT265/75R16
Type: Mud-terrain
Load Range: E
Maximum Load (lb): 3,415 at 80 psi
Sidewall Construction: 3-ply
Approved Rim Width (in): 7.0-8.0
Tread Depth (in): 18.5/32
Tread Width (in): 8.4
Section Width (in): 10.7
Overall Diameter (in): 31.9
Weight (lb): 54
Sizes Available: 29 sizes from 31 to 40 inches tall

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