Whether your truck needs to be equipped for an occasional run off road, or you’re planning to run in the Dakar rally, there are things to consider before you purchase a set of 4x4 truck tires.
Because everyone’s truck is different, and we all live in different places, I’ve put together a little list of things to consider.
Sidewall height is important. If you only drive on the street then a low-profile tire will be fine, but for off-road you are going to want more tire between your rim and the ground.
Wider tires have more contact area with the ground, thus better grip. Handling improves, too. However, it means more tire noise and a compromise in fuel efficiency. Wider tires may also slip more in the wet.
The size of your rim is a subjective matter, larger rims are very popular. You need to be certain that you aren’t breaking any laws by putting on those aftermarket wheels. Warranty and insurances can be voided, too, so ask around about where you stand in this respect.
Keeping your tires in good shape is easy. The number one cause of abnormal tire wear is incorrect inflation pressure so check that all tires on your truck have consistent air pressure. This is fundamental to good tire life, handling, and traction. Read about inflation pressure.
Rotation will reduce the wear and tear of your 4x4 truck tires. Do it every 6 to 7 thousand miles. See my article on Tire rotation.
Street tires? A combination of street and off road? What tires
should you buy? Most trucks are equipped with street tires when they
are new. If you are considering going off road then you need to start
considering new tires. Keep in mind
The Dakar Rally (or the Paris-Dakar Rally) started in the late seventies after Frenchman Thierry Sabine got lost in the desert. It is considered by some to be the most dangerous race in the world because of various political disturbances and war in some of the countries. The route often changes and is subject to a huge attrition rate, with less than half of the starters expected to cross the finish line.
Thierry Sabine died when the helicopter he was in crashed into a dune at Mali in 1986. Sabine and four others were flying over the race on January 14.
In 1982, Mark Thatcher (son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) disappeared while competing in the rally. After 6 days, he and his mechanic were found by the Algerian military, unharmed but 30 miles off-course.
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