About a year ago we talked the folks at Explorer Pro Comp into letting us test a set of their then- new Pro Comp Xtreme M/T 2 Radials in 35x12.50R15, load range C, on our lightweight ’97 TJ rock crawler/beater Jeep. At the time, we wanted to test the limits of tire pressure and bead seating while off-road (“Tight as a Tick,” June ’13). The plan was to take a set of unsuspecting tires, mount them on some wheels, and slowly lower the pressure while paying attention to traction and how well the tire stayed seated on the bead. Then we would convert the wheels to beadlocks and repeat the test to show the benefit of a beadlock conversion for an off-road Jeep.
In truth, we knew from the get go that the testing was going to be hard on equipment and especially the tires. As such, we had to tell the tire company that we were going to be subjecting their tires to undue stress and strain, including intentionally blowing a bead and running on very low tire pressures on very rough terrain. Luckily, Pro Comp was pretty confident in its new tires, and despite our warnings, the company felt the tires were up to the task for the destructive beat down. We learned a lot, and the tires held up and performed better than expected. Fast-forward just over a year, and our abusive ways have changed only a little; the Pro Comp Xtreme M/T 2 tires have seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 8,000 miles of on- and off-road abuse. The Jeep keeps going and seems to be happier the harder we are on it. That’s bad news for these already maltreated and abused tires because they are the constant interface between the beaten and abused Jeep and the generally abrasive surface of good old mother Earth. Despite the beatings, mud, road, and super-sharp Arizona rocks, they are still holding up quite well with no flats or major damage (both of which could easily be expected). Follow along as we show you the results of our most recent (and ongoing) destructive tire testing of the Pro Comp Xtreme M/T 2 Radials.
Simons has been accused of missing his calling as a destructive product tester. Luckily, working for Jp affords us a venue where destructive testing is at least acceptable, if not encouraged. That is to say that at least our boss was happy to hear that we successfully blew the bead off our Jeep’s tires several times out in the desert. Explorer Pro Comp, the company that allowed us to use their tires for the admittedly destructive test, were maybe not so happy, but the tires held up just fine. All in all the tires worked great in the dirt, rocks, sand dunes, and for the several hundred road miles driven out and back home for the testing despite our abuse.
Since then, we have driven the Jeep all over Arizona and California to various fairly local off-road areas including, Parker, Arizona and Johnson Valley a few times. All these areas have sharp, high-traction rocks. The tires have also seen about 6,000-7,000 road miles or so (it gets driven everywhere it goes). The little Jeep has even been a part of a few high-mileage off-road expedition style trips pounding over dirt, sand, and rocks sometimes at fairly good speeds for hours on end. We have no flats or major damage to report yet.
Unfortunately, we have not had the opportunity to test our Pro Comp Xtreme M/T 2 tires in that much deep mud, snow, or ice (we live in Arizona far from where these things exist in great quantity), but the tires stick to rocks like glue, allowing our little Jeep to make some fairly amazing climbs. Also, the sidewalls have held up to our purposefully damaging testing. We have also regularly forced the sidewalls of the tires into sharp rocks for traction. What little mud we have encountered with the tires cleared from the tread blocks easily, and the tires did great in sand dunes, allowing our four-banger Jeep to climb just about any and all dunes we could find in Johnson Valley. We generally air down to the 8-10psi pressure range while off-road and rock crawling. Loose and packed dirt traction is also quite good.
One thing that we have noticed, and it’s almost certainly a result of where and how we drive the Jeep, is a fair amount of chunking in the rubber. This is to be expected for how we treat the tires (bashing them into sharp rocks), but in general, it is less than ideal. This has led to the tires being slightly out of balance, and destructive abuse of the tie rod has helped to contribute to a mild death wobble issue in the Jeep.
More and More Tires
Here at Jp, we have been putting tires to the test for years now. If you have a question about a certain tire, we may have already answered it in our huge online tire review known as “The Burning Ring Of Tire.” It can be found at jpmagazine.com. If the tire you want to see is not on The Ring, keep your eyes peeled—we are going review a new tire in every upcoming issue of Jp magazine.