How to select tires
July 20, 2015 9:17 AM   Subscribe

What's your process for selecting new tires for your vehicle?

I'm looking for an all around tire for our truck. We're in the Pacific Northwest so it has to be good in the rain and ok in the snow and ice which happens for about 1 week every year. We also very occasionally take some forestry roads.

I've looked through a number of sites now and sure there are rating but it's not clear to me how useful they are. DuraTracs seem to be a popular choice for the offroading community but they might be to aggressive which might make them too noisy (is 3.6 good or bad?). I'm concerned that once I buy a set, I might not like them. Am I overthinking this? How do you do it?
posted by aeighty to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite normally has a lot of reviews of their tires. I would head there to see what folks have to say.
posted by exogenous at 9:37 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Another vote for I've used them for research and purchase for a number of years. For my most recent replacement I used them to figure out what I wanted then went to a locally-owned place for the purchase and installation.
posted by achrise at 9:43 AM on July 20, 2015

I agree, TireRack is the way to go. If for some reason I don't want to re-buy the same ones I already had, I look at the TireRack reviews for tires that fit my car, and decide based on that. I've never been disappointed with the outcome.
posted by primethyme at 9:43 AM on July 20, 2015

Am I overthinking this? How do you do it?

I offroad/badroad my truck here in Colorado, all year round. I hang out on a lot of truck/travel enthusiast forums - you can find good recommendations there. Tirerack is a good resource - as is Amazon ( I bought my last set from Amazon. UPS dude was not pleased.) No tire is good at everything - there will be some compromises - so shopping and educating yourself is fairly important.

I'm due for a new set of tires, and they will be BFGoodrich AT KO2. They have refreshed the venerable AT KO with some new features and made it even more sturdy and resilient. I have been exceedingly impressed with how well the AT KO have put up with the last 30,000 miles of gravel, snow, rock and mud I have punished them with - and the new version is even better. Everyone I know that has them has been impressed.

It's an expensive tire and heavy tire, though. Especially in the E load rating - at 265/70-R17 they weigh almost 55lbs.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:20 AM on July 20, 2015

I recommend paying attention to the rolling resistance of any tires you want to buy. Lower rolling resistance tires can make a significant difference to your fuel economy. Data is abysmal for comparison between tires, but at least Tirerack has the ability to search for low rolling resistance tires.

I wouldn't buy tires intended for off road use, as they will be heavy, expensive, inefficient, and probably not last that long. You'll be fine on the occasional forestry road with normal tires.
posted by ssg at 10:50 AM on July 20, 2015

My husband owns a tire shop. I sent him your question and he replied:
The duratracs he is asking about are more agressive than he needs. They are the same tires on my camo jeep. I would recommend for what he wants, either goodyear at adventure with kevlar (best), michelin ltx at2 (2nd best), or a yokohama ats, or cooper at3, source 6k tires a year
posted by Jacqueline at 11:46 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Consumer Reports does an annual report (in November?) about tires. I used them last time I needed to buy tires, then bought them from TireRack.
posted by bentley at 4:08 PM on July 20, 2015

Husband adds:
Tell the guy that is talking about the bfg at ko2 that it is a knock off of the goodyear duratrac, but would work fine. Also, the guy with the quote about lower rolling resistance tires. Those tires are not recommended. They are usually poor at stopping, and they will nearly always be worse in snow, rain, ice etc. Save them for your prius.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:54 PM on July 20, 2015

I agree with Jacqueline's husband that the suggested tires are too aggressive -- I like his list a lot. We run Toyo Open Country AT2s on all our work trucks and they do great in all conditions except heavy mud -- I have the truck in 4wd at least weekly and sometimes daily, and have never been stuck except for deep mud. When the tires on my own vehicle wear out that is what I will buy because they are working so well. A major bonus is that they are quiet on the highway even when they are at the end of their lifespan, which is very much not the case with many more aggressive tires. Les Schwabs carries them and usually has the best price around here, though it never hurts to shop around.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:18 PM on July 20, 2015

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