Fashion or passion, 4x4 or ‘4xForma,’ choosing the right tires for your truck is like picking the right shoes to match your outfit. Would you wear your ultra-comfy mountain hiking boots with your white collar office attire? I didn’t think so.
Here we’ve put together a list of the kind of individuals that surround the 4x4 and truck scene, and, in our opinion, the ideal tires for their needs and wants. So sit back and let us help you find your place in the truck universe.
1) The homemaker
This is not your typical condo or townhouse city-dwelling resident. They usually have their own house in the city, as well as an out-of-town vacation or rest home, which they prever over a resort/club membership. Their usual ride is a pickup truck, normally a 4x2. Their tire of choice would be a road-use-rated one with great durability and low road noise. The best example of this, in my opinion, is the Nitto Dura Grappler tire.
2) The '4xForma'
Usually drives a late-model SUV or pickup, and has probably spent nearly the same amount on achieving the 4x4 off-road look (on a 4x2) as they did buying their vehicle. Nothing but a true mud tire would suffice for these kinds, as not even the more aggressive-looking all-terrain tires would satisfy them. That being said, their tire of choice at the moment is the Cooper STT Pro and the size would start at about 32 inches minimum.
3) The weekend warrior
This person is smart enough to buy a true 4WD because as a part-fashionista/part-outdoor lifestyle adventurer, he truly needs it. He needs a tire that will provide sufficient traction on loose sand, flat mud roads, and wet grass. Heaven forbid he drives his vehicle on rocks for fear of the dreaded kalampag. Yet, he needs to have the comfort, convenience, and economy of use provided by a street-rated tire. The ideal rubber for his use would be the BF Goodrich KO2 or the new KO3, and the Goodyear Duratrac. These tires are sufficiently rough and tough to look at, and deliver the comforts and convenience of a road-rated tire with minimal compromise.
4) The club off-roader
New to the evolutionary ladder of the 4WD scene, these individuals join off-roading clubs and are usually victims of the group’s influencers—regardless if the latter are credible. Usually, they would lean toward the more sedate mud terrain tires like the BF Goodrich KM 2 or 3 MT. If cost is not an issue, in my opinion they’re some of the best all-around off-road tires. A good second choice would be the Nitto Trail Grappler.
5) The extremist
These people breathe and eat mud when the opportunity arises. They live the lifestyle and their tire of choice shows it. The ideal rubber for these gear- and axle-busting, mud-slinging, rock-crawling people can range from the up-and-coming Maxxis Trepadors, to the Simex Extreme and Jungle Trekkers, and the Intercos Swamper series. At the very least, they’d probably use the new Goodyear MT/R, and at the lower end of the price scale are the CST mud tires.
6) The commercial/industrial user
Yes, they have to be mentioned here. They are probably the most ill-equipped of the lot because their choice is limited by the purchasing department. In short, their company accountants will just buy the cheapest and most inadequate tires because they don’t really understand the needs of the people out in the field.
Sorry guys, but your purchasing department will just buy you a generic ‘all-terrain’ tire because it says as much on the brochure or website. Your best bet would be the hybrid aggressive all-terrain tires but they are pricey so you will probably not be carrying those either. The best choice is the Goodyear Duratrac, but don’t expect to be equipped with them because purchasing will not buy it.
Stay safe and thread lightly on the trails if you are into that stuff!