First Published: July 21st, 2010
Updated: April 14th, 2015
Tire selection is really the most critical part of any Jeep build. All too often well built Jeeps will not perform as they should because of poor tire selection. This often is because of lack of budget, understanding of wants vs needs and understanding the differences between different patterns, compounds and brands.
Trying to keep a Jeep both trail and street worthy is a difficult task and one you shouldn’t cheap out on. This is often why I suggest people buy tires before suspension even if the tires will not fit yet. It is better to spend money on the right tire than it is anything thing else.
My tire selection needs were as follows:
- Moderate MT pattern
- Perform well in snow
- 33×12.5×16 or LT285/75R16 (33×11.5) in either a C or D rating
This left a few options based on availability:
- BFG KM2
- Interco TrXus Mud Terrain
- Goodyear MTR
- Toyo Open Country M/T
- Mickey Thompson MTZ
Selection basically came down to this.. I wasn’t sure about the KM2 and didn’t want an E rating so it was off the list. MTRs and Interco were on national backorder and I needed tires right away. Toyo and Mickey Thompson both were not that common in East Canada (in 2010) but I ultimately picked Mickey Thompson because they are cheaper, lighter and I could get them within a week.
I was somewhat concerned about the LT285/75R16 tire size and did end up with a small problem with my smaller 3 inch budget lift. The factory track bar pushed the axle to the right and caused rubbing at full turn. The solution was to install a Rubicon Express (RE1600) track bar to centre the axle and put 2 washers in the turn stops to reduce the radius. Issue resolved.
Update: Next owner of the Jeep installed wheel spacers and it much improved the look and turning.
Road & Noise
These tires are great on the road and handle daily commuting very well. I’m really glad I stayed with the factory rims because the tires run very true and balanced amazingly.
The tires are quiet for a mud terrain but louder than the Dunlop Radial Rover RVXT that I have on my F-150. I currently run 26PSI for highway driving and drop them to 22 on dirt country roads. This sounds low I know but chalk test and wear both prove it to be the correct psi
These are not a winter tire so I’ll not review them as if they are but I will compared them to other MT tires I’ve owned in the winter. (BFG MT, Irok and Kumho MTs) These are actually the worst I’ve owned for Winter commuting and wheeling. On icy roads these tires act like hockey pucks and in deep snow they just don’t hold up like other tires.
I was rather impressed off-road. The tires didn’t slip once on the way to Turtle mtn and even did really well on the rocky sections. I was quite honestly not expecting them to do as well as they did.
I’ve been running mostly 10-12psi off-road in the summer then 6-8 psi for the snow.
The tires don’t mark up either which is very nice so after after 5k they still look new even though they have been off-road a half dozen times but my rims on the other hand are taken a beaten.
Update: April 2015
I ended up running these tires (different size) on our JK Unlimited Rubicon. I am even less impressed with these tires now and don’t think I’d buy them a 3rd time. They aren’t bad I believe there are worse tire decisions you could make but a few areas they need to improve. So after 5 years here are my pros and cons:
- Long lasting – After 30,000km they almost looked new
- Worked well on easy to moderate trails
- Don’t mark up or loose lugs easily
- Run quiet on the road
- Snow performance on-road is unpredictable
- Snow performance off-road is not as good as compared to other brands
- While they run smooth on the road I feel they handle odd and can be squirrelly once you get into the wider tire size.
Since both the TJ Rubicon and JK Rubicon saw a lot of road driving I think a better fit would have been Goodyear Duratracs. I currently run Duratracs on our WK2 and love them. They are amazing in the snow but only an AT tire. If you want a true mud tire the Duratrac isn’t for you.
In the winter months I did find lower the PSI to 20 helped the ride and grip but on a icy day they were hockey pucks. If I had to guess I think the rubber compound is too hard for winter conditions.
If your rig is mostly on the trail in summer conditions I still thing this is a good tire. Just not amazing for those of us that spend half the year in the snow and ice.