In The Desert
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B F Goodrich
And more ----
Here are just a few facts that may interest you, and be worth knowing before buying that new set of tires to use in the desert. There are a lot of different designations for tires, we've tried to list just the ones that are most important:
Let's start with the first letters LT stands for light truck. Other markings you might find on tires include: P - passenger car, ST - special trailer, T - temporary for space saver spares.
Toyo Open Country MT's should be mentioned here too. We had a set on a Jeep for one year and they were great, smooth running on the highway and a lot of traction off road. They lasted one year and 20,000 miles and cost a fortune.
Example - Tire markings: LT 265 / 70R17 - Load range - C
The next marking is 265 on one shown above and this tells you how wide the tire is at it's widest point and is labeled in millimeters.
This number 70 represents the the aspect ratio of the sidewall height to the total width of the tire in percentage. So 70 percent of the width is the sidewall height.
The letter R shown here stands for radial. Other designations could be B for bias or D for diagonal.
17 is the next number and refers to the diameter of the rim that this tire was made to fit.
Load range is an important designation on the tire as it tells you the ply rating of your tire. See the chart below ----
There are a lot of other designations on a tire, like the load rating and speed rating of the tire, and if your going to do a lot of high speed driving or carry a lot of weight in your vehicle then you should look into this. One other thing that is seldom discussed is the tires operating temperature. There is a scale for this and not many tires or tire companies have this information. So why is it important? If you live in or near the Sonoran Desert where temp's often exceed 110 degrees then you should know what your tires are rated for. The higher temperature they are rated for the less likely you are to have a tire fail because of the heat. Also they will last longer. Michelin lists their tires operating temperatures.
Super Swamper Thornbirds
Here are a few tires that we've had experience with on the road and off the road that we really liked.
Great tires for off road use, including rock crawling, deep snow and mud. They have tough sidewalls so they are good for running off road partially deflated. Noisy on the highway. Life of the tire is short if driven on paved roads.
Good tire for off road use and will even crawl over a lot of rocky areas. Really thick puncture proof sidewalls make them ideal for running partially deflated in rocky areas. Good also for loose deep sand and mild snow areas. Life of these tires is very limited if driven on paved roads.
B F Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A
Great tire that will get you there over rocks or other obstacles. One of the original off tires and still a great tire if your not looking for a long lasting tire for paved roads. Noisy on the highway. Less expensive than the above versions.
Great all around tire for on road and off road. Just enough aggressive tread to get you through almost anything and yet quiet on the highway. Typically lasts over 50,000 miles and has enough aggressiveness to meet almost any challenge.
B F Goodrich All Terrain T/A
Okay you're ready to buy some off road tires for use in the desert. Here's our experience with buying tires. Discount Tire to put it simply! They offer the best prices, and they also (this is important) offer replacement warranty for your tires. For highway driving you may not need this but when you're off road this is invaluable. Punch a stick or anything through a sidewall and they replace it. Also when it comes time to get new tires, if your old ones aren't worn out completely then you'll get some money off the new tires. One other thing that's important, most of the Discount tire shops have road force balancing, which is important for aggressive tires for off road use if you don't want them vibrating going down the highway. Check with your tire dealer and see if they have road force balancing?
We hope this helped with your tire decision. Don't hesitate to ask us about other brands, we've tried a lot of them! Good luck...