Back in 2008, we bought a set of Goodyear Fortera TripleTred tires (pictured at right) for our 2001 Chevy Tahoe. We absolutely loved those tires. They were quiet, we never got stuck in the Nebraska snow, and you couldn’t hydroplane them even if you tried (and I did). Unfortunately, they wore out after just 4.5 years and 48,000 miles, which was far less than we’d hoped to get from such a pricey tire. I spent more time researching their replacement that I probably needed to.
To be fair, the Forteras would have lasted much longer if a failed ball joint hadn’t worn out the inner edge of two tires before I found & fixed it. The two passenger tires were in decent shape and probably had at least two more winters left in them, but the two driver side tires were nearly bald on the inner shoulder.
My biggest concern for the new tires is performance on hard-packed snow & ice. Stacy has started driving 50 miles of Interstate to Omaha once or twice a week, and I want her truck to be as sure-footed as possible on that commute.
Since the Tahoe (like my Jeeps) is a light truck, I instinctively looked at all-season light truck tires. Based on the reviews and ratings at TireRack.com, I initially decided to go with a set of BFGoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A’s. They got good reviews (second only to the Michelin LTX M/S2 in most categories), and their open tread design looked like it would do much better in unplowed snow than would the Michelin’s tight pattern. We’re moving to an acreage soon, so snow performance concerns me.
|BFG Rugged Terrain T/A|
Alas, every tire shop I talked to double checked whether I was really sure I wanted a 10-ply tire on the Tahoe. Light truck tires (sizes prefixed with “LT”), it seems, are really intended for 3/4-ton an heavier vehicles that haul a lot of weight. They hold about 3500 lbs per tire at 80 psi, but the side effect is that they’re stiffer and will transmit a lot more road feel to the vehicle. Since the Tahoe is only a half ton truck and we rarely carry more than typical family cargo, I was eventually talked into going with a passenger tire (“P” prefixed) instead.
The Michelin LTX M/S2 comes in both an LT and a P flavor, so the tire shop guy talked me into going that route. The one repeated complaint I read about them is that they don’t do as well in the snow as some other tires, but most of those complaints come from people in the northeastern US that typically deal with several feet of snow per storm. I’m hoping we’ll fair much better in the wussy little 6″ storms we get in Nebraska. If you’re bored & curious, there’s a lengthy thread about this tire on the TacomaWorld forum.
I’ve grown sick of dealing with the non-existent customer support at the cheaper, big chain tire stores like Sam’s Club and Sears — not to mention that neither of them are terribly close to our home or my business. This time, we opted to go with a dedicated tire store in our part of town–T.O. Haas. On the phone, they seemed to be knowledgeable and friendly, and their prices were still in the lower half of the places I called. We got four tires completely setup, aligned, warranted & out the door for about $1060. Pricey, yes, but people say they’re getting 70-90,000 miles from these, so it should average out OK.
It took T.O. Haas less than an hour to install them. After racking up a couple hundred city & highway miles in the first few days, we’re happy with them. They’re nice and quite with a smooth ride. Of course, we were happy with the Forteras, too, so we really haven’t seen any difference after the switch. We’ll know more after our first good snowfall.
Update: We still haven’t driven them in deep snow yet, but these tires have wonderful grip on hard-packed snow & ice. So did the Forteras, but there’s been zero let-down there. One difference we’ve noticed from the Forteras is that these M/S2’s seem to pick up more liquid off the road & throw it into the air and onto the truck. That may mean that the tires are grabbing better, or it could just be an idiosyncrasy of the tread design. Regardless, it means the truck will get washed more frequently during the winter.
What’s been your best–or worst–experience with a tire or tire store? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.