Whether you picked up your truck fresh off the lot or second hand, chances are it’s equipped with all-season tires.
Trucks are synonymous with utility and diverse capabilities, but what role do all-season tires play? What are all-season tire capabilities and limitations when fitted to trucks?
Here’s a collection of commonly asked questions about all-season truck tires, and our insights:
In other words, are all-season truck tires capable of living up to the rugged use commonly portrayed in truck commercials and advertisements?
Unlike all-season tires for cars, all-season truck tires are often designed with greater durability and heavier-duty use in mind.
The General Grabber HTS60, for example, features a cut-and-chip resistant compound and higher strength steel belts. Optional LT-specification sizes work to extend tread life and improve stability when hauling and towing.
So as compared to all-season tires engineered for passenger cars, all-season truck tires are generally more equipped to manage light off-road use, as well as hauling and towing duties.
Does this off-road durability and traction advantage extend to wintertime traction on-road? Not necessarily. While all-season truck tires might have tread and construction characteristics that facilitate more diverse and heavier-duty uses, wintertime traction requires a unique blend of tire attributes. Like many other types of all-season tires, all-season truck tires aren’t engineered to manage extreme winter road conditions. For maximum performance in a true wintertime environment, winter tires, or (less ideal) all-terrain tires with the Severe Snow Service qualification are superior options. You can read more about snow-rated all-terrain tires vs. winter tires and whether your 4x4 really needs winter tires.
All-season tires engineered for truck use are almost always of a heavier-duty specification than all-season tires for cars; especially if fitted to half-ton or three-quarters-ton pickups. Increased load index ratings for hauling and towing purposes are the norm.
As a real-world example, consider the Michelin Defender LTX M/S, an all-season truck tire, vs. the Michelin Defender T + H (Passenger All-season).
In near identical 17-inch tire sizes, the Defender LTX M/S achieves an LT specification and 116 load index while the Defender T + H is rated at just 102. This translates to a load capacity difference of almost 900 lbs. per tire.
Additionally, all-season truck tires with 4x4 use in mind often do project light off-road duties into the engineering and use equation. And so superior puncture resistance and durability is regularly a feature of all-season truck tires.
When it comes to off-road use, all-season truck tires should not be confused with all-terrain tires though. If routine or challenging off-road use is the intention, all-terrain tires are more suitable.
Original Equipment (OE) All-season truck tires are specially engineered with towing and hauling in mind. Along with beefed up truck chassis and suspension components, the tires must meet the load demands associated with the truck’s ratings.
Some of the most tow-capable 3/4-ton (2500) and 1-ton (3500) pickup trucks are fitted with all-season truck tires from the factory, including many dually rigs. For this reason, it’s critical that any OE replacement tires meet or exceed the load index ratings of the OE All-season truck tires.
If you’re uncertain of what ply rating and load index tires you need, check your owner’s manual and the driver-side door jamb placard. It will have the answers specific to your vehicle.
They generally pose less rolling resistance and therefore deliver better fuel economy as compared to other types of truck tires.
Some all-terrain tires, and certainly mud-terrain tires are associated with a predictable drop in truck gas mileage. Because of their on-road engineering priority and less extreme tread characteristics, all-season truck tires are some of the most efficient tires that can be fitted to trucks.
Oooh, this is one of those truck owner tire dilemmas…
As a general rule of thumb, if you spend up to 50% of your drive time off-road, or during the occasional off-road adventure encounter legitimately challenging conditions, then all-terrain tires are the preferred option.
Additionally, some LT-specification all-terrain tires will deliver sidewall strength and load ratings that are unmatched by the majority of all-season truck tires. So if you do a lot of towing, or regularly bump up against your truck’s hauling or towing capacities, then you might enjoy the structural advantages of certain LT-specification all-terrain truck tires.
If off-road use isn’t expected and additional tire strength isn’t a need, then it’s likely that the on-road performance and comfort advantages of all-season truck tires will most contribute to the maximum enjoyment of your truck.
For more insights, check out all-season tires vs. all-terrain tires.
Want to discuss all-season truck tires or alternative tire options for your truck? We’d be happy to help out. Give us a call 866-961-8668.