On- and off-road test­ing Fire­stone’s new M/T2

Four Wheeler - - Contents - By Bruce W. Smith ed­i­ Pho­tos: Bruce W. Smith

On- and off-road test­ing Fire­stone’s new M/T2

WHEN WE GOT OUR FIRST LOOK AT FIRE­stone’s Des­ti­na­tion M/T2 mud tires last year, it was deep in the woods of Vir­ginia. We were driv­ing Jeep JKS shod with the new treads, some rolling on their biggest com­peti­tors’ tires. It was an en­light­en­ing and fun day­long op­por­tu­nity to test the off-road per­for­mance of the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion of the pop­u­lar M/T mud tire that hit the mar­ket back in 2002. We put the M/T2S through a heavy dose of clingy mud, slippery rocks, creek cross­ings, and wooded hill­side climbs. As noted in our first im­pres­sions, the tires were im­pres­sive.

But one day off-road­ing doesn’t re­ally give the op­por­tu­nity to see all sides of a

tire, at least not in our way of thinking. That’s why we mounted one of the first avail­able sets of LT315/75R16 M/T2S on Pro Comp Xtreme al­loy wheels and rolled them under our lifted ’91 Ford Bronco. The truck has been used for a num­ber of re­views and tech ar­ti­cles dur­ing the past cou­ple years, so we know its per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics, ride qual­ity, and han­dling very well, both on pave­ment and off.

Since the M/T2S were put on we’ve spent sev­eral months and a cou­ple thou­sand miles getting a first­hand feel for how the tires fare in the real-world en­vi­ron­ment of daily driv­ing and week­end wheelin’. Our over­all im­pres­sion is much the same as we had dur­ing our first time on the tires: a no­tice­able im­prove­ment over the old tread de­sign, qui­eter on the open road, with ex­cel­lent mud clean­ing and rock ejec­tion prop­er­ties off-road.

We did a lot of driv­ing on wet pave­ment and grav­eled For­est Ser­vice/blm back­coun­try roads this past fall. There’s no doubt from in­side the cab you are driv­ing on tires with ag­gres­sive tread, as they make the whine ex­pected from a tread that has wide voids be­tween the tread blocks. But they are not as loud as sim­i­larstyle mud tires we’ve tested over the past cou­ple years, and they are no­tice­ably qui­eter to the ear than the orig­i­nal M/T. We no­ticed the M/T2’S im­proved steer­ing re­sponse over our older mud tires they re­placed, but they are on the stiff side (three-ply side­wall and E-rated) when run­ning at our truck’s rec­om­mended 35 psi in­fla­tion pressure. (We ended up run­ning them a few pounds less for daily driv­ing.)

Trac­tion on wet pave­ment is in the up­per tier of mud tires avail­able today, as is the trac­tion they ex­hib­ited on rocks, both wet and dry, and day-to-day han­dling of our truck. The M/T2 did a very good job keep­ing water chan­neled away from the tread while the face molded well to what­ever sur­face it was against. We credit the im­proved trac­tion and over­all ve­hi­cle han­dling to the tire’s all-new tread com­pound, three-ply side­wall con­struc­tion, and ag­gres­sive up­per side­wall de­sign.

The M/T2 is also quite adept at sling­ing smaller rocks and peb­bles that try to get wedged be­tween the tread blocks, a trait that al­ways re­sulted in load “twangs” as rocks met our Bronco’s inner fend­ers as we trav­eled down grav­eled roads. Def­i­nitely want to have mud­flaps, guards, or some sort of pro­tec­tive coat­ing along the lower rock­ers if you run them.

Tread­wear at this point is non-ex­is­tent. We haven’t no­ticed any chips or tears in the lugs, ei­ther. In our ex­pe­ri­ence, we’d ex­pect the M/T2S to be good for 40,000-45,000 miles if prop­erly main­tained and ro­tated. Fire­stone cur­rently of­fers the Des­ti­na­tion M/T2S in 29 sizes span­ning 15- to 22-inch wheels, in­clud­ing 37s in 17-, 20- and 22-inch rims, which should at­tract the at­ten­tion of lifted 4x4 own­ers and the se­ri­ous Jeep crowd.

As for us, we plan to keep the M/T2S around for an ex­tended pe­riod of time, doing some win­ter wheel­ing in the snow, and then see how they work in the sand. Our ex­pec­ta­tions are high in both re­gards.

The open lug de­sign, and the ad­di­tion of sipes in the tread blocks, help the M/T2 gain bet­ter trac­tion than its pre­de­ces­sor, in­clud­ing trac­tion on snow and wet pave­ment. It’s a good all-sea­son trac­tion tire.


<| With 20 per­cent more bit­ing edges and a dif­fer­ent tread de­sign than the orig­i­nal Fire­stone Des­ti­na­tion M/T, the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion M/T2 works ex­cep­tion­ally well in a muddy en­vi­ron­ment. <- Des­ti­na­tion M/T2S work well under trucks like our lifted ’91...

|> The sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Fire­stone Des­ti­na­tion M/T2 (left) is con­sid­er­ably dif­fer­ent com­pared to the orig­i­nal M/T (right) brought out in 2002. The new tire digs bet­ter, runs qui­eter, has sipes in the tread blocks for im­prov­ing snow trac­tion, has bet­ter...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.