Looking to buy the best tires for your small truck, but you are still either confused or spoilt for choice over which one to go for?
Perhaps you have questions like which are the best pickup truck tires brands or which is the longest-lasting truck tire?
It’s easy to get lost in the sizes, price tags, sipes and all, but we’re here to hold your hand along your truck tire selection struggle and hopefully make it a little bit easier for you.
First, here are our reviews of the best tires for pickup truck out there.
Coming up after the review is a buyer’s guide for this category of tires and responses to your most common concerns.
11 Best Tires for Pickup Truck
Best for all terrains
Best for mud terrain
Best for quiet driving
Immensely popular, this Cooper Discoverer AT3 4S features Cooper Tire’s groundbreaking adaptive-traction technology that helps it grip any surface-rocky or smooth- deeply, even under the severest weather (rain or shine).
Indeed, this tire leads the pack when it comes to all-weather performance and is among the top severe weather-rated truck tires.
Besides, the tire now comes with industry-leading tread wear (after a recent upgrade) and is among the longest-lasting tires to come from Cooper.
In a nutshell, these are one of the very best all terrain truck tires.
Types of Truck Tires
A common question among beginners is what the best type of pickup truck tire is.
Here is a brief explanation of the prominent types of truck tires for pickups to help your decision.
· All-season pickup tires
Also known as all-weather tires, these outsell most of the other types since they handle pretty much every condition including dry roads and light winter driving.
These tires are essentially a hybrid between the best summer and winter tires hence the versatility.
However, they struggle to handle heavy winter conditions such as driving on ice and they’re mostly recommended for drivers living in moderate climates.
· All-terrain pick up tires
Also quite popular are all-terrain (AT) tires.
These add off-road toughness to the best all-season tire performance features to allow you to hit any road without worrying about the conditions for towing and hauling tasks.
Their design makes them dependable both off and on the road with the special tread design helping to deliver maximum off-road traction while optimizing their on-road performance.
· Mud-Terrain pick up tires
These tires are engineered to maximize your control and safety on mud, sand, rocks, and the surprises that come when spending time on the path not taken.
They convey the highest traction level and are ideal for those who tend to mostly drive off the beaten path.
· Off-Road Truck Tires
These include the best of all-terrain pickup truck tires and mud-terrain tires but are further customized to give you full control when battling thoroughly demanding off-road conditions.
Their elaborate tread patterns, deeper and wider grooves, and pioneering ride comfort technologies create an off-road experience that will live long in your memory.
They’re the best bet for taking on mud bogs, backroads, rocky trails, the highway, and any other path in between.
A Buyer’s Guide for the Best Pickup Truck Tires
After settling on the best type, the next step in your hunt for the best rated pickup truck tires is to check each of the candidates for the essentials that will make it suit your trucking needs.
Here is a rundown of the basics.
· What’s the right size?
Tires have codes to help you tell if it’s the correct size (and its capabilities) on the sidewall.
Here is how to interpret them.
Assume this code: LT235/75R15 104/101S
- The first 2 letters– shows the tire’s purpose. ‘LT’ tell you it’s meant for light trucks.
- 3-digit number- shows the tire’s width. Here it’s 235 implying that it’s 235mm wide.
- 2-digit number- lists the tire’s aspect ratio (compared to its width). In our case, it’s 75.
- 1 letter- this is the construction type. ‘R’ indicates radial construction.
- 2-digit number- shows the rim’s diameter (inches). Here it’s 15”.
- 2 3-digit numbers –highlights the tire load index (single/dual). It’s 104/101 in our illustration.
- 1 letter- shows the maximum speed rating (S in our example). The higher the rating, the better the handling and control.
You can save bucks by shifting from an LT-rated pickup tire to a P-rated (passenger) tire especially if you rarely ferry higher loads or tow heavy weights.
Keep in mind that your truck’s owner’s manual has the appropriate tire size recommendations for your vehicle.
You can alternatively access these details from the tire placard (on your door jamb).
· What are your needs and wants?
It’s important to factor in your needs if you want a tire that will serve you well and last for long.
If you’re, for example, into frequent family road trips, a P-rated tire with softer rides will be more ideal while high-end traction is required for tires to be mounted in trucks that drag heavy loads.
Don’t forget the issue of the terrain- pick an off-road tire if you spend more time in the wilderness and a mud terrain tire if you often take on mud.
· Tread warranty
A treadwear warranty covers various defects and you’ll get a replacement or even refunds if the tire develops glaring faults before reaching the warranted mileage.
In most cases, pick-up tires warranties will last up to 70000 miles (or six years) except for off-road tires for trucks (these have no treadwear warranties)
· Look for a balance
The best way of getting it right is striking a balance between noise repression, the ride quality, fuel economy, tread wear, load capacity, and the price.
Check out all these and walk away with the tire that offers the right balance.
· Other considerations:
- Puncture resistance- a layer of rubber or other reinforcements to make it impervious to punctures makes a vast difference when driving on the harshest terrain. Run-flat tires(anti-puncture) may be an option here.
- Response and handling- more-rounded tires always outrank the rest in cornering response and general handling.
- Looks- aesthetically appealing big knobby tires add cool styling to your vehicle.
- Rim protection- when included, rim protectors protect against scrapes and shocks.
Pro-tip: An easier way of hacking the rather complicated tire buying process is ordering the same brand you have been using all along if happy with its performance.
Best Tires for Pickup Truck: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This last section tackles some of the questions that often come up regarding the best tires for pickup truck.
Q. When should you replace your pickup truck tires?
While there is no sure way to tell if the current tire’s time is up, the clearest sign is the tread being worn beyond the manufacturer-recommended tread depth levels.
But even if the tire has significant tread left, it’s advisable to replace the tires if they’re too old (check the manufacturer’s date of manufacture) or at least once every six years.
Q. How much should you inflate your pickup truck tires?
It’s crucial that you inflate your small truck tire’s only to the PSI your truck’s manufacturer specifies in the handbook (varies from one truck model to another).
In fact, some states require that you maintain this minimum because it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions on account of the improved fuel economy.
Q. How do you know the right size of tires for your truck?
The first place you can look at is your tire’s sidewall (OEM tires).
You may also stumble on your recommended tire size on your drivers’ side door jamb, your glove’s box door, within your gas tank’s hatch, and as hinted earlier, your owner’s manual/vehicle’s placard.
Q. Can I mix air with nitrogen in my tires?
Well, adding nitrogen won’t make much of a difference in your ride or performance whatsoever and the idea is nothing more than a fad by tire service centers looking for some extra bucks.
Compressed air is 78% nitrogen and unless you are venturing into racing where small details can be the difference between a stirring win and a crushing loss, you should fill regular compressed air in your pickup tires.
Q. What are the load ratings for pickup and light truck tires?
You should read the load index of the sidewall description to identify the tire’s load ratings.
Typically, you will notice two load indexes on light truck tires (passenger tires feature only one) as they’re often mounted on vehicles having dual rear wheels.
For example, our previous example had a 104/101 load index meaning a load capacity of 1,984 pounds (single tire) and 1,819 pounds (two tires).
To get the most mileage from your small truck tires, rotate and rebalance them as instructed by the manufacturer or after about every 5,000 miles.
Also, observe wear and safety regulations such as ensuring targeted PSI before driving off.
Lastly, don’t buy tires you don’t need- a good quality all-season pickup truck tire will suffice if you’re still wavering.
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