4WD Modifications - Tyres and Wheels
Round black things and the metal that mounts them to your 4WD need particular care. Tyres can make or break a bush trip, so we explain how to select, maintain and temporarily repair them. We also talk about tyre pressures and tyre pressure monitoring systems.
SELECTING REPLACEMENT TYRES
If you want to go seriously bush you’ll need LT tyres.
Buying replacement tyres for your 4WD is a tricky business in which you need to consider much more than the price.
YOUR WHEELS COULD BE ROLLING YOU TOWARD DISASTER
Cracks in steel and aluminium spoked wheels aren’t unheard of
You’re driving down the road and suddenly one of your wheels falls off. Nasty, eh? If you survive and discover that a cracked wheel was the cause, it makes the ‘bargain’ wheels you bought seem rather expensive.
LIGHT TRUCK TYRES FOR 4WDs
The tread appearance of an LT tyre is the first giveaway.
Utes and some base-model, ‘working’ 4WD wagons have the advantage over plusher vehicles in that they leave the factory on stronger wheels and tougher tyres. These tyre sizes are also more readily available in the bush.
YOKOHAMA GEOLANDAR A/T-S TEST
We've been checking out Yokohama's all-terrain tyre over the past 12 months - October 2017
We had been waiting for an opportunity to test Yokohama’s Geolandar A/T-S tyres in on and off road conditions and we've been evaluating a test set of six tyres in 265/75R16 size, with 10-ply rating and load-speed ratings of 123/120R.
ROH WHEELS FOR VEHICLES WITH INCREASED GVM
A GVM increase dictates wheels with the right amount of strength - October 2017
It's absolutely vital for safety and legal compliance that the wheels and tyres fitted to these vehicles have load carrying capacity to match increased axle weights, but styling doesn't have to suffer.
WIDE-SINGLES AND SUSPENSION UPGRADES FOR JAPANESE 4WD TRUCKS
Earthcruiser makes important, ADR-approved changes to Fusos and Isuzus.
You don’t have to buy an Earthcruiser motorhome to take advantage of this company’s ADR-approved wide-single, forged aluminium wheel and suspension upgrade package.
BRIDGESTONE'S M/T TYRE TEST REVELATIONS - November 2015
Bush testing revealed mud-specific charcteristics in the D674 M/T tyre.
We were very impressed with the latest D697 A/T tyre from Bridgestone, but the mud-terrain D674 version didn't last well on stony roads - removed after less than 7000km in the bush.
LOW PROFILE TYRES
Today, you can buy tyres to fit your 4WD with profiles as low as 35 percent.
‘Profile’ is the relationship between the width of a tyre – shoulder to shoulder – and its sidewall height – rim to tread. Profile is expressed as a percentage of height to width, so a 100 percent profile tyre like the 7.00x16 bias-ply tyre from the 1950s and 1960s has a sidewall height that’s the same as its width.
TYRE PRESSURE MONITORING
Pressure monitoring is a bush travel essential - May 2016
Outback Travel Australia has been evaluating different types of tyre pressure monitoring systems over the past six years and we wouldn’t go bush without one.
The most obvious sign that a tyre is ‘dead’ is when there’s a large cut.
Many off-roaders have trouble determining whether a punctured tubeless tyre is safe to repair and to continue in use. There’s no hard and fast rule, but we can offer some guidelines.
Vehicle makers hate having to fit spare wheels and tyres to new 4WDs.
For the past decade car makers have been trying to eradicate the spare wheel and tyre, with mixed levels of success. In the 4WD world the spare will be with us for the foreseeable future.
DAILY TYRE CHECKS and VIDEO
Don't neglect your rubber in the bush.
Daily tyre checks - Allan runs you through what you need to look at.
BEWARE THE RUN-FLAT TYRE AND THE EMERGENCY SPARE
Don't buy an SUV unless it carries a proper spare wheel.
Run-flat tyres and emergency spare tyres have no place in the Australian market, especially for people who want use their SUVs for trips more than 100km away from service back-up.
The need for an air compressor off-road is absolute - updated September 2016
It should be one of the first items you pack or mount in your 4WD, but an air compressor isn’t viewed that way by many off-road travellers. We regularly come across people who aren’t carrying any form of tyre inflation equipment.
DON'T WELD ON WHEELS WITH MOUNTED TYRES
This is just plain scary!
Ever been tempted to weld a cracked wheel spoke while the tyre is still in place? This video will show you why it could be the last thing you ever do.
FALKEN WILDPEAK AT3W TEST
The new range of Falken 4WD tyres is testing very well - November 2017
We’ve been checking out a test set of Falken Wildpeak LT245/70 R17s on the OTA Team’s HiLux. Early impressions are that these tyres are well worth considering.
REPAIRING FLAT TYRES - Updated July 2015
Sooner or later you’ll have a flat tyre in the scrub.
The majority of bush travellers use tubeless tyres these days, so repairing them on the run is the main focus of this article; however, we’ve included a section at the end on tubed rubber.
4WD TREAD COMPOUNDS and CUT-CHIP RESISTANCE - VIDEO
You need tyres that don't fall to pieces.
Allan Whiting talks to Bridgestone Australia's Product Planning Engineer, Neil Jonsson about 4WD tread compounds and cut chip resistance.
TYRE AGE - VIDEO
Like everything, tyres have a use-by date.
Tyre Product Planning Engineer, Neil Jonsson, talks to Allan Whiting about old tyres.
TYRE PRESSURES and TEMPERATURE
Don’t ever, ever, ever put more pressure into a tyre than its rating - updated May 2016
The starting point for setting the correct tyre pressures for your vehicle is the maker’s tyre placard that’s usually on a door pillar or inside the glove box lid. The pressures quoted there are for maximum load and speed driving.
KUMHO KL61 100,000km REPORT - January 2016
This set of test tyres has performed flawlessly.
It has been three years and 100,000km since we fitted a set of Kumho KL61 tyres to Peter Whiting's Colorado. Having travelled for many years on a well known American brand he was initially cautious about making the switch, but need not have worried. Here's his report on the 245/75 x 16-inch, 10-ply Kumhos.
KUMHO'S MT51 RELEASED - September 2015
We gave this new mud terrain tyre some hard outback testing.
Kumho used the harsh Australian outback as a real-life test laboratory for its all-new MT (mud terrain) tyre, the Road Venturer MT51.
BFG NEW KO2 ALL-TERRAIN TYRES ON TEST
The company that started the all-terrain business has an updated tyre - August 2015
BFGoodrich produced the first all-terrain tyre in 1976 and has released what the company says is its most advanced product ever: the All-Terrain T/A KO2 tyre. We've been testing a set on our bush-travelling ute.
MAXXIS TYRES ON TEST
We're giving a set of these popular tyres a big bush test in 2017.
Maxxis is a relatively new player in the 4WD tyre scene, so we're evaluating a test set over the next 12 months, to see how they compare with more established brands. We'll have regular updates for you.
MICKEY THOMPSON ATZP3 TYRES ON TEST
We've been checking out a set of M-Ts with success so far - May 2016
OTA Team members Michelle and Andy Parry have clocked up 37,000km on their six Mickey Thompson ATZP3 tyres in the last 12 months.
OUTBACK WHEELS AND TYRES FOR RANGE ROVERS
The standard stuff is useless in the bush, but there are alternatives.
Two misadventures with tyres out in the backblocks - the first three years ago and the second in early 2014 - made OTA team member Ralph Johnston cautious when contemplating a relaxed drive up the Oodnadatta Track in his Range Rover Sport.