If you own a vehicle, there will come a time when a new set of tires is required. Perhaps like many people, my ride of choice is a light truck as my travel takes me off the beaten path.
There are many tire choices for this type of vehicle. I wanted a tire that was good around the city, but yet would handle gravel roads, and some light trail action. A hard-core off roader, I am not. And, I don’t put crazy kilometers on my truck – maybe 10-12,000 km per year.
It is all too easy to spend a small stack of cash on automotive parts and pieces. I can stop any time I want… well, maybe not… But I needed a set of tires for my truck. The Michelin LTX skins had traveled to their bitter end.
After some research I decided to run with a set of Motomaster Total Terrain A/T 2 tires from Canadian Tire. Every week Canadian Tire has tires on sale. Your patience shall be rewarded if the favorite flavour is not on sale one week, it may very well be the next.
I picked the Motomaster Total Terrain A/T 2 because it met my budget, traction and use requirements. The tread is fairly aggressive, which is good for snow and moderate mud. Yes, the chunky tread will generate a little road noise. I noticed it at first, but it is nothing compared to the last set of aggressive LT tires I tested.
I mounted and balanced these tires myself, and I was impressed with the actual roundness of the tires. I know that sounds crazy, but some tires are just not that round – strange but true. If the tire starts out round, it balances up better and significantly reduces the possibility of a vibration. I’m a fan of tire balancing, but honestly if the damn tire isn’t round to start, the little wheel weights ain’t gonna make any difference.
This may not be the correct course of action for you, but I deviated slightly from the stock tire size. The stock spec was 265 70R16. I elected to run with a 245 75R16. Why? I find that a slightly narrower tire works better for my application. The narrower tire simply seems to cut better through mud and snow. One guy’s opinion. The overall rolling diameter is the same, so the speedometer is still accurate.
If the vehicle is equipped with alloy rims, insist the tire bead sealing surface is cleaned thoroughly and treated with bead sealer before the new tires are installed. This step will help to remedy the insidious slow leaking tire scenario.
I would also suggest a front end inspection and wheel alignment. Worn steering or suspension parts will ensure the tires are burnt off in short order, and that is not a warrantable situation. Super critical with any tire with an aggressive pattern is the toe-in adjustment. And, rotate the tires on a regular basis – like every 12,000 km. Even wear and longer life will be the outcome.
I can state with certainty that unless the vehicle experiences heavy loads, or sharp rock off-road action on a regular basis, move away from a LT (light truck) tire. These designs are tougher for sure, but there is a definite ride quality penalty. These tires are also available in the LT version if required, at a slightly higher cost.
I’ve been running around for almost a year with the Motomaster Total Terrain A/T 2s on my truck, and I have been very satisfied in all road conditions. I like the fact I can run them all year, and they work in all conditions. Keep in mind that I’m driving a 4×4 truck, so when the conditions are somewhat dicey, the truck is in four wheel drive mode and these tires are perfectly suited.
* Long-term update – I’ve been running these tires for over 2 years now, with somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30,000 km of use. Tread wear seems to be reasonable although I haven’t actually measured tread wear. These tires do produce some noise but again for an aggressive tread pattern, I can live with it.
I’ve recently started using the truck for hauling a small camper. I was running the tires at 35 psi empty, but upped the pressure to 44 psi (maximum cold spec) on the rear, and up to 40 psi on the front. I have been satisfied with the way these tires perform when loaded.
There has been some cupping of the outside edges of the tires, even though I have stuck to my 12,000 km tire rotation recommendation. Having said that, I replaced the shock absorbers on the truck, and time will tell if new shocks improve the cupping situation. My experience indicates that most aggressive tread pattern tires will cup to a degree, even with tight steering components and fully functional shock absorbers.