21,000kms and six tyres

A few months ago I wrote a blog about the tyres we’ve been using as we drive around Australia. We are now 21,000kms into our journey and I thought it was time for a tyre update. As a bit of a recap we have six tyres on the car – a must if you are doing any serious off-road travel. We also have an Inawise tyre pressure monitoring system so we can constantly check tyre pressures as we’re driving. Before this ‘big trip’ we bought a brand new set of Cooper STTs, removing the old set which had 47,000kms on them. Although they were capable of another 10,000kms, we decided to err on the side of caution and start afresh.

We have six Cooper STTs, two on the rear carrier. We rotate them every 3-5000kms

We have six Cooper STTs, two on the rear carrier. We rotate them every 3-5000kms or when we get to a major town

When I last wrote about the tyres we had just completed the Gibb River Road and, in particular, the tough-on-tyres Munja track out of Mount Elizabeth Station in the Kimberley. This track had taken some substantial chunks out of the tyres but aside from that we had no other issues.

Chips we picked up on the Munja track in the Kimberley

Chips we picked up on the Munja track in the Kimberley

20,000kms later and we are still running the same six Cooper STTs that we started with. We have rotated the tyres around the car three times since we began the trip which has helped to even out the wearing/chips that have hacked up some of the wheels. The tyres have however taken another battering since the Munja Track. The rocks and corrugations on the roads into both Dalhousie Springs (Simpson Desert) and the road to Lake Eyre tore lots of little chunks out the tyres, creating a dappled polka-dot effect as well as scratching the side walls of some of the tyres. The STTs do look like they’ve been through the ringer but again, they are still performing well.

Mottled and chipped from the Oodnadatta Track

Mottled and chipped from the Oodnadatta Track

The types of stony roads we travelled across - this photo on the road to Dalhousie Springs

The types of stony roads we travelled across – this photo on the road to Dalhousie Springs

Is there a key to preserving the tyres? We monitor our tyre pressures constantly, lowering and raising the pressure to suit the terrain. On the Lake Eyre track we were down to 20psi, back on the highway we were up at 45psi and many times in between that we had the compressor out to alter both the van and the car. I’ll update this blog again in another 10,000kms and see how the tyres are fairing. We are impressed we have been puncture free, especially after meeting other people travelling the same roads on different tyres who have had all sorts of dramas. We met one couple who had had two punctures on a 20km stretch of the Dalhousie Springs road.

Chips from the Dalhousie Springs road

Chips from the Dalhousie Springs road

Mottled and chipped from the Lake Eyre road

Mottled and chipped from the Lake Eyre road

Tyre damage from the Oodnadatta Track

Side wall damage from the Oodnadatta Track


5 Responses to “21,000kms and six tyres”

  1. Gavin London says:

    Hi guys. I have had stt tyres and no complaints. What suspension are you running. What is your combined weight towing the van and vehicle weight. I have a NW Pajero which I have fitted Toyo MT to combined with Lovells 50mm lift. I do believe the system has stopped the chatter on the tyres and reduced the chipping and chunking you are getting.i look forward to your response. By the way, how is the outback bar.
    Gav. Pajero club vic member.

    • helenosler says:

      Hey Gav
      We run 50mm Old Man Emu extra Heavy duty Rear shocks and springs (300kg Rated)and Poly airs double spacer blocked. Not sure on exact vehicle weight but we’re fully loaded and heavy – 150lts of fuel, 50 lts of water, rear dual wheel carrier, rear draws full of gear and a stocked 60lt fridge. The van runs around 1600kg. We believe that most tyres would have chipped on those stones (we’ve met a few people with similar stories).

      Outback bar is great and useful. If we’d have had the spare on the roof we’d wouldn’t have had roof rails anymore! With our roof weight at around 50kgs we’ve had dramas with the roof rails almost breaking on corrugated roads.

  2. TechnoGypsy says:

    Howdy Helen and Paul,

    I was just browsing and came across your blog (while flat out at work)and saw the comments above about the Coopers. I have a similar tale of woe with them. I did a Gunbarrel Hwy run in ’98 (west to east)and when I got back to Victoria I rocked into my local TyrePower supplier for rubber checking and the first thing he said to me was “Where the “flipping” hell have you been to destroy your tyres like that?” Like your photos – chunks missing, wall damage and the face was all heavily “feathered”. They looked pretty sick actually. Once I explained that I had dragged my sorry ass across a lot of cap rock, he understood. Damn good tyres – just a mean area for them. Did the run in a GQ patrol wagon with full roof rack but not with a lot of weight up top. My lad and I were doing the run just with swags and had fair amount or food, water, gear in the wagon. Not a hoon – I was taking it nice and easy – it’s just par for the course, I think. cheers from TechnoGypsy. (now back in the West)
    (sending you a separate email about Ruby Queen.)

    • helenosler says:

      Hey there
      Thanks for the message. Same story as us it seems – we’ve still got the same tyres on and are yet (touch wood) to get a flat. Getting them aligned and balanced tomorrow which is always funny as the tyre fitters usually freak out and encourage us to get new ones. We’re sure we’ve a few more kms in them yet.

      Interested to hear about Ruby Queen – I’ve since discovered there’s another route there….


  3. Those tyres look like they’ve had a hard life, but in reality, they haven’t really. I wouldn’t be too happy with that

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