Choosing 4WD Tyres is really complicated. There are so many parameters that you want to maximize it was very hard to choose the best compromise.
On bitumen roads I would like a quiet ride, good cornering and stopping capability in both dry or damp climatic conditions. I also need good tracking to avoid driving fatigue for road driving and good balance to avoid any vibration. Off road the requirements are completely different where I want an open tread for good self cleaning properties in mud, resistance to punctures with a heavy usage construction and masses of general grip. In all cases I need my tyres to be as lower cost as possible and to last so long as possible before requiring replacement.
Unfortunately many of these requirements are paradoxical. Huge open treads that are great in the mud tend to be noisy on the bitumen. Hard compounds that last a long while have a tendency to have worse wet weather cornering and stopping capability. Basically good on-road tyres are poor performers off road and vice versa.
Kinds of 4WD tyres
So when it came time to pick my tyres I had to decide which of these features was most critical. I use the vehicle 90% of the time for going to work or driving the family around the town on weekends. Even driving to a camping location or where a 4wd track starts is mostly highway driving so on-road safety, performance and comfort are the most significant features.
The Pajero has a reputation for suffering a little from increased road noise. I think this is down to the fact that it does not have a fresh chassis so there is less padding between the suspension and the body of the auto. Because of this selecting a low-noise tyre is even more important than usual as any noise will be spotted far more. When I am off road the majority of the terrain I encounter is beach sand or gravel track. With all this considered I made a decision that an All Terrain sort of tyre was a great choice with its bias towards on-road conditions but still with better off-road performance than a normal road tyre.
Brands of 4WD tyres
The next question is which make of all terrain tyre? Some of the brands which make claims to have a harder compound seem to have reviews that suggest that when they get a little older their grip levels can drop seriously for bitumen driving. In my view I’d rather my tyres wore out a little quicker but always gripped well, it’s not worth saving a bit of money for the sake of safety.
I also needed to purchase a tyre exactly the same size as the standard tyres. This is thanks to the fact that I do not desire any effect on the speedometer precision or performance of the traction and stability control systems. A different size tyre might or might not effect these however I just do not require the bother of attempting to fix it if it does. These points excluded a large amount of tyres making the decision a little easier.
So in the final analysis after much debate I decided to give the Pro Comp range a try. They had a few great reviews showing that it has excellent on-road performance while still maintaining decent off-road ability. I’ve had them for quite a bit now and they have definitely lived up to expectations.
The largest thing I’ve learned about selecting four wheel drive tyres is this: select what is Best for you. Do not fall for the hype that says your Have to have a light truck, 35 inch, mud terrain that will last 10 years. Look at how you use your vehicle and buy what makes sense for you.
Making tyres last for longer
The very last thing I have to say is: revolve your tyres! My previous tyres would have lasted a lot longer if I had have revolved them each 5000km or so. Instead , at 15000km they developed a unpleasant whirring sound that really sounded like a blown diff or worn wheel bearings. It took a bit to work out it was just the tyres after much concern. To revolve your tyres move the rear tyres direct to the front keeping them on the same sides they were on.
Move the front tyres to the rear but swap sides so that they are basically revolving in the other way. In a full cycle of revolution this can mean that each corner of every tread block will get the same wear and this could hopefully reduce uneven wear that causes excessive noise. The other thing I’d say is to keep an eye open for tyres designed to avoid humming noise by having variable block sizes as these can develop this pulsating whiring noise that in my viewpoint is worse.
4 wheel drive vehicles and SUV’s sometimes arrive outfitted with general road tyres, or at least a combo on road and general off road tyre. The 4WD tyres that your 4×4 came with aren’t necessarily the best ones for the applications that you would like to use it for.
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