I've done just a bit of reading on this topic but not finding what I was hoping to find. Can any of you provide a couple of good references on selecting tires for a tow vehicle.
Our 2004 Yukon XL is in need of new tires. We are planning a 3-4 week trip to Yellowstone from NY later this year...not sure the specific trip matters, but I would feel much better with quality, dependable tires beneath us.
I see a lot of discussion regarding tires for the towed unit, but not a lot of discussion about the tow vehicle. Other than going to an online 'tire rack' and selecting the size and a load rating, what else do I need to know? I'm sort of a technical kind of guy, but don't know squat about tires beyond keeping them inflated properly to keep them cool.
I'm not looking for a specific tire to be suggested (although that's appreciated), rather I'm looking for materials to educate myself on tires, their attributes, and key things to look at when shopping for them (besides price).
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Me, DW & Sons 13, 11, & 7
2004 Yukon Denali XL
2011 Jayco Jay Feather Select 29L (April 2011)
Tires border on religious here. I'll just say I'm running Bridgestone Duravis which are the 09 oem tires from gm on my truck and they are wearing VERY well (astounding to me as oem tires are usually junk). I would consider them again for the next set. You really need to consider the application and buy the appropriate tire. In other words stay away from all terrain tires for mostly highway driving/towing. Big names don't always mean best tire. I've also had good luck with hankooks for instance.
I like Tirerack's reviewer ratings/rankings. Find an LT (Load C, D, or E) in your OEM size, with a balance of cost and reviewer ranking. Firestone Destination A/T and Michelin M/S2 and A/T2 are all great.
A & A parents of DD 2005, DS1 2007, DS2 2009 2011 Suburban 2500 6.0L 3.73 pulling 2011 Heartland North Trail 28BRS 2012 VW Passat TDI
Thanks for the quick feedback.
I'll look over the recommendations.
But, under a more generic line of questioning...what do the following "things" about a tire mean?
Load Ratings: is C higher or lower than D...where's E on the scale?
Are there other attributes to tires beyond those above?
I don't know the jargon for tires. I understand the physics but don't have the vocabulary. For instance, which of the above (or none) indicate sidewall stiffness? Is there a scale for the load ratings (for instance, a C-rated tire can load x,xxxlbs) or does it vary by the tire size/load ratings. This is where I could use more help.
The one that I feel is important, is tread design. Some if the past have pushed Michelin XPS ribs as long lasting tires. That is great if you live in the desert SW an do not drive in snow/ice/mud etc. Then these are the last thing you want on your truck, unless for me anyhow, they might be a summer tire in the NW. Then I would switch to a traction tire for when it rains, snows etc.
Load capacity is good, one thing to remember, P tires payloads are supposed to be reduced by 9% when used in towing/truck hauling situations. Hence why many will say go to an LT C, D or E rated tire. For you, I would go no more than a C if you have a choice between the 3. An E rated tire will typically carry 3000 lbs per, D might be 2600 and a C 2200. As long as the two tires on the rear meat you RA limit, probably 3500-4000 or so lbs, you're good. You really do not "need" E rated tires giving you 12K lbs of capacity. if you loaded them up to 80 lbs, you ride would be rough, you probably would not even have full contact patch of the tread width happening. I've had that happen on a 2500 and my dually on the rear when running empty. Why buy an E rated tire that is able to handle a 3K load at 80 lb, when you only run 2000 lbs and 50 lbs when an LR C will do 2200 at 50 lbs.
Brands, my favorite is Cooper, Toyo, last generally speaking is the Big M, too much money for what you get mileage wise, BFG is not too far behind generally speaking also.
05 Chev CC D/A LS Dooley
92 Navistar dump truck, 7.3L 7 sp, 4.33 gears with a Detroit no spin
00 Chev C2500, V5700, 4L80E, 4.10, base truck, no options!
92 Red-e-haul 12K equipment trailer
3 Single axle utility trailers
P or P metric designates a passenger car tire.
LT designates light truck. LT tires have more plus, stiffer side walls, and will weigh more. P metrics are designed for soft ride on cars.
Load ratings are a thing of the past. Now tires have speed ratings, temp,traction, and tread wear ratings along with a load rating in pounds. If you look at two tires of the same size and one has a 3042 pound rating and another has a 2850 pound load carrying capacity. The 3042 will have more plys, and be heavier.
For an SUV pick a name brand all season LT tire. The more aggressive the tread the more squirmy the ride and the worse it will be for towing.
Donn,Lorri,Max (The Rescued Lab)
Resident Know It All
P or P metric designates a passenger car tire.
If you look at two tires of the same size and one has a 3042 pound rating and another has a 2850 pound load carrying capacity. The 3042 will have more plys, and be heavier.
Probably a dumb question, but does the "pound rating" mean total (truck) payload or rear axle weight or something else?
The pound rating means that tire will hold the air in under that much load when it is inflated to the rated inflation pressure.
The load rating will always be xxxx pounds @ xx psi inflation pressure. Think of it this way: The air holds the load up, the tire holds the air in. The load rating is a linear function too -- the same tire can hold less weight at lower inflation pressures. For example, my truck has a 5200# gross axle weight rating for it's front axle, and a 6200# rated rear axle. That means that this is the maximum weight allowed if I were to park the truck in such a way that just the rear of front axle was on a scale, the other end on solid ground. The truck has the same tires on it all the way around from the factory. On the inside of the driver's door, the recommended inflation pressures are 55 psi front, and 75 psi rear. See how that corresponds?
I suggest getting a good set of LT tires (Light Truck) to replace the P tires (passenger car) the vehicle may have from the factory.
Any reputable brand is fine IMO; BFG, Michelin, Goodyear, etc. If you haven't heard of the brand, I would question the quality. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for.
I don't think you would need an "E" rated tire, probably just a "D" would do and would ride better.
On the load ratings, generally, an "E" rated tire will be an 80 psi max tire and a "D" will be a 65 psi rated tire. The E has more plies and is a stronger carcass, and so, it can handle higher inflation pressures. The air is what holds up the load, the tire just holds the air.
Tires are also rated for tread life. That comes from the compounds their tread is made of. They all look black and round, but they can be vastly different. The harder compounds wear longer, but are worse in colder conditions. Softer compounds are better in colder weather, and give better grip overall, but wear out quicker.
The tire siping (little grooves) is there to evacuate water and allow the tire tread to stay in contact with the road (prevents hydroplaning on wet surfaces).
Just so you know my background is in accident investigation, and I have specialized training on tires and their failure modes.
2010 Cougar 322QBS 5er
2007 Dodge 3500 SRW Megacab, 4x4, 5.9L Cummins, 3.73, 48RE auto HYPERTECH MAX ENERGY or DIABLO PREDATOR tuning MBRP 4" Turbo back Scangauge2 for Boost, Coolant temp, Rail press & Trans Temp
Torklift Stable Loads