Six tyres offroad

It’s the million dollar question in 4WD circles – what are the best tyres to buy to go four wheel driving? We’ve been asked this question a lot on our travels so we thought we’d share some of our thoughts on tyres. We don’t have the definitive answer but we’ve got some good ideas…

First-up 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. This system has alerted us to two slow punctures over the past six months. 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.


Dual wheel carrier for two spares

The STTs on road have good dry and wet weather performance and handle cornering very well. We run 45-50psi around town for best performance but on the downside these are certainly not the quietest tyre around.  Using a decibel meter to test we found the in-car noise levels have risen to 70-72db’s but thats what you get with Mud terrain tyres, and it’s a small con against the many pros.

The STTs come into their own when you head off road. The traction on gravel, mud and loose surfaces is superb and in the ever changing conditions on outback roads the tyre performance is second to none. Thinking about the terrain you are travelling on and adjusting your tyre pressures to match it will ensure you consistently get the best performance from your tyres. When we hit the gravel we lower the pressures down to 26-30psi to help settle any corrugations down a bit as well as to increase the tyre footprint for more grip.

Recently we tackled the Munja Track out of Mount Elizabeth station on the Gibb River Road. The track consisted of many stretches of sharp edged rocks and even with lower pressures (25-28psi) and careful slow driving the STTs were subjected to some chipping and the loss of some rather large pieces of rubber.


sharp rocks on the Munja

Although the track did take a toll on the tyres we were one of the only cars to tackle that track this year that didn’t suffer any punctures or get bogged and to be honest it’s doubtful any tyre would have come out of there completely unscathed.  But it wasn’t just the rocks that tested the STTs. The track conditions fluctuated constantly between rock, wet black soil, gravel and sand and again the tyre performance was consistently exceptional. Have you ever driven through a black soil bog? Might be an idea to have some STTs on if you do.


Tyre chips from the Munja rocks

Chipped rubber!

Chipped rubber!

Again however the tyres can only do so much, it’s up to the owner to make sure they are looked after properly. Approximately every 7000kms we rotate the six tyres on the car to ensure even wear across each of them. With towing a van and the independent rear suspension on the Pajero the back tyres are subject to greater wear and tear. Our rotation moved the front tyres to the dual wheel carrier, the rear tyres to the diagonally opposite front tyre and the brand new tyres from the carrier are now on the rear. It will be interesting to see how they wear as we travel more and more kilometres across Australia.

So the STTs have done us proud so far. With careful maintenance and careful driving hopefully we’ll still be singing their praises in six months time.

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