Advertisement

Top Tires: Road Tested

We test tires to get that big-truck feel on our light test truck.

July 13, 2010
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Choosing the right tires for a tow vehicle makes a huge difference in how it handles a load. Tires have a maximum weight rating written on the sidewalls that dictates how much weight they can bear. Most light trucks, SUVs and vans are factory-equipped with P-rated tires. P means “passenger,” and they’re weighted to give the optimum middle ground between load-bearing stability, capacity and a comfortable ride. “Light truck” tires (LT) have a higher load capacity than do P tires. We wanted to see how our test vehicle would behave with three different tire matrices using our test truck, a Nissan Titan Crew Cab LE. Here are the results.

Toyo Open Country A/T
Category: Light truck, all terrain

Size: LT275/70R18

Advertisement

Warranty: LT matrix tires don’t bare tread warranties.

They Say
It’s a mud- and snow-rated all terrain tire with a wide tread for a custom look, and it’s ideal for towing. An open shoulder, that area on the edges of the tire, better evacuates water for improved traction.

We Say
Looks: The high-profile tire and unique futuristic tread gave a big-truck look to the vehicle.

Advertisement

Stability: Noticeably more stable than original tires, smoother in turns, less tendency for sway, less bounce crossing railroad tracks.

Ride: We expected this heavier-duty, larger tire to stiffen the ride, and it did, but only slightly.

Launching and Loading: We pulled the boat out, up and over the ramp crown without slipping.

Advertisement

Stopping: In traffic, this tire was comparable to original-equipment P tires.

Cab Interior Noise: Tested at 71 to 73 db.

Perceived Noise: Quiet as P-rated tires with no hum.

Advertisement

Best For: Handling beefy tow loads with a comfortable suburban ride without sacrificing much from the suburban passenger ride.

Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor Pro Grade
Category: Light truck, all terrain

Size: LT275/70R18

Warranty: LT matrix tires don’t bare tread warranties.

They Say
Two steel belts plus Kevlar provide a smooth, quiet ride meeting European standards for highway noise. Goodyear claims rubber tread is chunk- and chipresistant thanks to Durawall rubber compound borrowed from off-road tires.

We Say
Looks: Kudos as the coolest macho tires, drawing many curbside comments.

Stability: The knobby tread was surprisingly stable, but there was a little tread “squishing” in places.

Ride: Smooth as the competing Toyo in spite of the more aggressive tread.

Launching and Loading: No squishing here. The aggressive tread came right up the steep, wet ramp with grip and no slip.

Stopping: Good controlled stopping with noticeable tread squish in aggressive stops.

Cab Interior Noise: Measured at 71 to 73 db.

Perceived Noise: We did notice an audible though not bothersome hum.

Best For: Boaters who frequently use their tow vehicle in snow, off-road farm or hunting applications.

Michelin LTX M/S2
Category: SUV, light truck, crossover highway passenger use

Size: P265/ 70R18

Warranty: 70,000-mile tread wear or mileage

They Say
Michelin’s silica tread compounds aid water evacuation and traction, stopping seven feet shorter than competitors’ tires do on wet pavement. Three-steel-belt construction increases durability and bumps load capacity to 13,500 pounds.

We Say
Looks: Suburban look for comfortable driving.

Stability: We expected the lighter tire to give a looser tow ride. Not so. But when accelerating on a heavily siped concrete access ramp, the grooves tended to “steer” the tires. We noted a shade more bounce crossing railroad tracks.

Ride: Firm, but not as “hard” as the Toyo. At Nissan’s lower inflation spec, the ride was suburban smooth.

Launching and Loading: The truck and load crested the crown of the ramp with only a brief squeal of tires and no loss of momentum.

Stopping: Braking traction is firm and authoritative.

Cab Interior Noise: 71 to 73 db.

Perceived Noise: No hum at all.

Best For: Boaters who tow midcapacity and prefer a suburban smooth ride to maximum load capacity.

Nissan Titan LE
Two-wheel drive, four-door

Tire Specs: P265/70R18 or LT275/70R18
Actual Inflation: 90 percent of tire manufacturer maximum
Alignment: Set to specs between each tire change
Test Duration: Average, 2,000 miles per set
Trailer Payload: 7,500 pounds

Advertisement

More Uncategorized

Advertisement