Today's off-road tire buyer has a mind-numbing array of choices when the time comes for a new set of sneakers. Although seemingly a daunting decision, the field can easily be narrowed by taking a quick inventory of tastes and needs. Do the tires need to do street duty, dirt duty, or perhaps some of each? What type of off-road terrain will usually be encountered? Is tread-wear life a top priority? Do the tires need to ride quietly on the highway? Finding your personal answers to these questions will make a tire-buying decisions less difficult the next time around.
While we at Off-Road keep a laundry list of our current favorites, we recently added Toyo's Open Country M/T to our thumbs-up roster. We've put a number of miles on a set of 38-inch Open Country M/Ts bolted up to our XXL Ford Super Duty and have driven the Toyo-shod truck under a number of off- and on-road conditions. When we learned that Score regular Scott Steinberger had joined Team Toyo and had a set of 37-inch Open Country M/Ts bolted up to the four corners of his PCI F-150 Trophy Truck, our curiosity was more than piqued. Steinberger commented, "I'm thrilled to be part of a new and exciting off-road program. I hope to do great things with Toyo tires and take them to the next level in off-road racing. I recently tested the Toyo Open Country M/T tires at Laughlin, Nevada, and Parker, Arizona, and they really hook up in the sand and dirt. We are looking forward to a great season."
Without question, our Super Duty is no lightweight and has seen many off- and on-road miles rolling on the Toyos, but how would the new rubber fare under Scott's heavy right foot and the sand and rocks of the Southwestern deserts?
While at the Score Laughlin Desert Challenge, we snapped a few spy photos of the Steinberger TT in the pits. Toyo Open Country M/Ts were on each corner of the Trophy Truck, and a matching set adorned Scott's Big Bird-yellow Ford F-150 prerunner as well. At the end of the racing weekend, TT No. 7 was one of the five Trophy Trucks to finish from a 23-truck starting field.
One week later, we spied Steinberger's Trophy Truck at an industry show, spit-shined and clean enough to eat off of. It was almost a foregone conclusion that a fresh set of tires had been mounted for the occasion. Not so. The same tires that conquered the Nevada desert were still on the truck and appeared nearly new. The Toyos were cut-free and no knobs had chunked themselves on Laughlin's generous rock supply during the race.
While we were properly impressed with the tire's performance under desert-racing conditions, we were also keenly aware of our own set of demands. We needed a tire that would wear long under our heavyweight diesel-powered F-350. We needed that same tire to ride quietly on the highway and aggressively grip the sandy and rocky trails that characterize our local off-road terrain. We were also lucky enough to experience a few bouts of wet weather in SoCal and took advantage of the chance to drive the Toyos on wet pavement, in the snow, and even through a bit of sandy mud. As a side note, our March '05 cover truck, "Mad Dog" Richard Madsen's 1,000hp Cummins-powered '95 F-350 4x4 diesel drag truck, uses a set of Toyo Open Country M/Ts to turn in blistering quarter-mile times.
So what's the bottom line? The Toyo Open Country M/T is a tire that should be taken seriously by every off-road truck enthusiast. From trail rigs to Trophy Trucks, we've got another favorite on our list when we're talking tires.
Getting the Right Size MattersAvailable sizes for the Toyo Open Country M/T35x13.50R1533x13.50R1537x14.50R15LT265/75R16LT285/75R16LT315/75R1638x14.50R1635x12.50R1737x13.50R1738x15.50R1837x13.50R1838x15.50R2035x12.50R2037x13.50R2040x15.50R2237x13.50R2237x13.50R24
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