I bought my truck about three months ago, and the dealer had already put a fresh set of tires on the truck- aggressive mud terrains, wrapped around a shiny set of Fuel wheels. While the shining rims make the truck look like a bit of a road princess, the tough Toyo Mud Terrain tires help remind people of why I drive it. I need a tire that can handle pretty much anything, and so far I’m not disappointed.
Living in central Oregon i have access to all kinds of terrain. There are forest roads to the east and west that wind down through boggy ravines and over rocky, snow-capped mountains. Southeast of here is an expansive desert, with roads crisscrossing and winding through sagebrush and lava fields. Tying everything together are wide, smooth stretches of pavement that grant us access to the wilds that few people ever get to see.
Dry, Rocky Terrain
Last weekend the wife and I drove through a small town known as Christmas Valley, on a hunt for a crashed A-6 Intruder. We found it, at the end of a very rough jeep trail.
This road started out nice enough, except for a bit of a rough grade. You could take a Subaru along without much of a problem, as long as you kept it out of the ruts. Several miles of just-wide-enough dirt road took us rolling through the sagebrush at a pretty good pace. But the last mile of the road turned into quite a challenge. First we hit a 22° slope (according to the display in the truck) that was rutted and riddled with rocks poking out of a sandy base. After first walking to the top, I jumped in and kicked the big diesel Ford into low 4×4 and it climbed with just a hint of a slip on the dirt. I didn’t even have to air down.
As soon as we crested the top, the rocks got bigger. I was tempted to just park the truck and walk the last 1/2 mile or so out to the wreck (we could see the tail), but I couldn’t resist a challenge, so we went for it.
My truck is a 2019 F-250 with 35″ mud terrain tires and a leveling kit on the front- no lift, no suspension upgrades. It weighs in at 8,000 pounds with fuel and two people- it’s a beast.
Many of the rocks in this section of trail were sticking out of the ground more than a foot, and there was no end to them. They’re sharp and rough, like an ancient lava flow- not smooth like a river. These pictures don’t do it justice.
Those tires are tough.
For the next 1/2 hour I beat them up, scraping the sides on that rough lava rock, rolling over the sharp edges and points, crunching sagebrush when the rocks just got too big, and they never missed a beat. There is a bead of rubber next to the rim designed to protect the metal from any sneaky rocks intent on turning my shiny princess rims into ogre bait, and it did it’s job well. The tire pressure monitor never wavered- it stayed within 2psi the entire time we were off highway.
I can’t speak to how these tires compare to something that is specifically designed for rock crawling. The focus of my truck and build isn’t that specific. If you want to know more about it, throw a question in the comments below and I’ll get answers for you.
For packed snow and ice, they aren’t the best choice. They have large, solid tread blocks that are designed to work as paddles in the mud and sand. A good snow tire will have a lot of siping, allowing for many little fingers that aid in grip. They also have a much tighter tread pattern, to maintain more contact with the surface. These tires do have some siping, which helps, but that isn’t the primary focus.
Deep snow isn’t a problem. The aggressive tread pattern lends itself well in these conditions. The large lugs scoop and throw snow, and the wide tires tend to float over the surface, instead of digging down to the dirt. Obviously I wouldn’t want to take my truck on an arctic expedition, but it handles well enough for most conditions I find in Oregon.
I just bought two sets of snow chains for the truck this last weekend. I’m hoping I can get up in the mountains soon and really give the new tires a good run in the snow. I wasn’t willing to get in too deep without the chains, but having the extra traction on board helps assuage some of my fears of being stuck up some fire road. Although, now that I think about it, the best time to chain up is before I really need them… Maybe I’ll do a write-up on the chains, depending on conditions. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
This is what these tires are designed for. As I mentioned before, the tread pattern is designed with large lugs that act like paddles in the slop. The lugs are spaced far apart to clear mud from the tread instead of packing in and turning the tires into slicks. If you don’t already have them, I’d recommend installing some fender flares- I get a lot of mud on my side mirrors, steps, windshield, hood… They really throw it when I spin the tires.
I haven’t had much of an opportunity to really get into the mud yet, but when I do I’ll let you know what I find. For now, I can tell you I’ve done a lot of digging online and most people that have owned a set of these tires really seem to like them. The technology is sound.
Mud terrain tires, in general, are noisy. Toyo has gone to great lengths to address this problem, and as a result these tires are not as loud as some other options. Mud terrain tires are designed to scoop and throw mud, however. As such, they will produce a very noticeable hum at highway speeds.
They do handle surprisingly well on pavement. The wide design and the stiff sidewalls lend themselves well to handling. I can take a corner faster than I expected with my diesel beast.
Rain isn’t a problem. The large groves between tread blocks and the siping incorporated clear the water and help prevent hydroplaning.
The Other Stuff
My tires are Toyo Open Country M/T’s, 35×12.5R20LT. The “LT” at the end of the tire size means they are good for heavy loads, with each tire rated to nearly 3600 pounds. You can be confident that you won’t be overloaded even if you have a full camper and supplies for a long trip. The load rating can vary depending on wheel size and overall tire size, so if you’re pushing the limit, check for the specific weight capacity.
The Toyo’s are heavier than a typical all terrain tire. Because of the deep tread pattern, side lugs, 3-ply side wall, and other features designed to make them more rugged, they weigh in at around 75 pounds each. Due to this, and the lousy aerodynamics, they will cost you a bit at the pump.
Mud terrain tires are expensive. With all the technology built into these, they tend to run at the high end of the spectrum. So if you’re on a budget, there are tires out there that will still get you into the back country, and give you enough room to fill the tank.
As I spend more time on the Toyos, I’ll add to this article and give you a more in-depth review. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. Your questions are my questions.