I have been biding my time, waiting for a set of 2005-2006 Toyota Tundra/Sequoia wheels pictured below to add some nicer looking wheels to my 4Runner, and upgrade to a 33″ aggressive trail tire. Luckily, last week I was able to come across exactly what I was looking for.
|2005 Toyota Tundra Wheels 17×7.5|
The craigslist posting was a happy mistake, little did the seller know that she didn’t have them advertised properly, but also slightly undervalued. Jackpot.
I drove over to Payette, met the nice lady, gladly paid her asking price (a few craigslist people could learn from this, if I am honest) and was on my way.
Next up came the need for tires. I have a coworker who did some tire shopping for his Tundra in the past year, and a best friend who sells tires for a living, so I had a pretty good handle on what I thought I wanted. So, here began the process of reading, reading and reading any and every review I could find about the tires I identified as potential matches.
|Nitto Terra Grapper A/T|
First up, Nitto Terra Grappler A/T. They looked to get RAVE reviews, and very happy customers all around. I called around, and it seemed I could get the PMetric tire, which is not a LT, meaning it is only a 4 ply tire for a good price. $970 installed plus tax from Bucks 4×4 in Boise, honestly not a bad price, I could get just the rubber on the internet for $860 and seek out a mount and balance, but supporting a local business for $100, and meet some new people and talk to them, definately worth the extra. However, this brought about soul searching and thinking about two things, AT (All Terrain) vs MT (Mud Terrain) and PMetric vs E rated LT (light truck) 10 ply tires.
In reading, it seems that sidewall strength is a serious concern when anticipating that one will be driving trails (puncture resistance given our rocky terrain)…. though the millage warranty you get on an AT Tire was really almost enough of a selling point to order them up…..but not quite.
So, in asking around to local “professionals” and doing my fair share of reading, I decided that because I do NOT drive my 4Runner every day, I believed I would like an LT tire over a PMetric, the added sidewall strength would be useful when I actually use the rig for the intended purpose off road, and since it wont be driven every day the added stiffness wouldn’t pose a problem. Next up was the mud vs all terrain question. For this I decided a trip to a few tire stores was in order, as all the tires look excellent on the internet.
First stop, Les Schwab, I wanted to walk around their warehouse, and really get a good look at the MT vs AT and the various brands in the size I was after. After looking at some very expensive Toyo AT and MT tires, Hankook, and various others, it was nearly decided immediately, an AT would not be aggressive enough for me, even if the rock, snow and ice traction would be a bit better….but I didn’t really like the MT’s either.
When considering an AT tire, I strongly looked at the Cooper Discoverer AT3 and came across another series of tires that falls between an AT and an MT, that being the Cooper ST Maxx, and the similar Kelly TSR and Goodyear Duratrac.
|Cooper Discoverer ST Maxx|
So, I decided, one of those 3 was going to be the choice. I did some serious reading, and they were all close to even money, and further reinforced the ST Maxx as a good choice. I had read some BAD, very BAD reviews of the ST Maxx on full size 3/4 and 1 ton Ford trucks relating to sidewall, but look, I have a 4300 LB 4Runner, not a full size truck, and everything I read about the ST Maxx on the lighter rigs was very good reviews, and I believe for me, they should be perfect. Studdable for winter (which also means they are softer than an AT and wont last as long, but like I said, I don’t drive it every day) offered in a 285/70/17, aggressive, functional AND MADE IN THE USA??!?!?!!…. SOLD.
In the final part of this I would like to say I price shopped the tires like crazy, and found them cheapest at TireCrawler.com, but having never used them, and having used Discount Tire Direct on numerous occasions (they were second cheapest) I decided to give them a call and see what they could do. They ended up lowering their price $50 (tire crawler would have saved me $30 off the Discount Tire sticker price) so not only did they match it, but beat it. So obviously, I decided to pull the trigger and order them. In my experience, I have had several excellent buying experiences with Discount Tire Direct, and I will continue to use them nearly exclusively, especially after their willingness to beat the price of Tirecrawler.
They will be here next week, and I will get some initial impressions and reviews up shortly after.
Until next time!