How to Maximize the Lifespan of Your Rugged Terrain Tires


Photo by Volodymyr TVERDOKHLIB/

Most gearheads who know a thing or two about the rigs to which they hold the keys will tell you that tire selection is a critical puzzle piece to a successful day on the track or trail. Whether one is trying to break lap records or summit new heights, the proper rubber can make or break the effort.

Promoted Product: Rovelo Tire RIDGETRAK R/T RT01 RUGGED TERRAIN

With as much as you have riding on your tires, you want to get the maximum amount of life from them, especially with truck and SUV tires. With rugged terrain tires becoming increasingly more popular, one of the tricks to getting that long life is to start with a quality tire, like the Revelo Ridgetrak R/T RT01. The Ridgetrak was designed for trucks and SUVs with a usage-driven design and tread pattern. Revelo wanted a tire that gives you stability across various terrains, including everything from pavement to mud and snow. A heavy-duty sidewall gives a puncture-resistant edge with specially-designed sidewall biters for traction in ruts and rocks, and increased durability. Alternating scalloped shoulders and stone ejectors add to the off-road worthiness of the Ridgetrak, while staggered grooves help with traction on wet and icy surfaces. These tires have great road manners, and wear evenly when rotated properly, something that helps with all rugged terrain tire lifespans. Revelo backs the Ridgetrak R/T RT01 with a 45,000 mile/72,000km warranty (see website for additional warranty information in your region), which gives you added peace of mind that these tires will give you every bit of tread life they can.

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When it comes to successfully wheeling a bit of off-road fun, opting for a rugged terrain tire can mean all the difference in completing a trail at Moab or reaching a camping spot whilst overlanding in the Mojave Desert. This style of tire is becoming increasingly popular in the off-road community – and not just because they look the business, though that trait doesn’t hurt matters. Sitting in the sliver of market between all-terrain and mud-terrain tires, rugged terrain tires have tough and sculptured tread blocks plus stout multi-ply sidewalls, all of which provide a measure of on-pavement handling whilst offering cut and chip resistance in off-road environs.

In making this tire, companies have attempted to make tread patterns which are good in the tough stuff but not overly noisy on the road. Those same sidewalls which protect against punctures are likely to have very aggressive designs on these R/T tires, thanks to customers who often want their vehicle to look as aggressive as possible – even if they are only off-roading two weekends per year. Think of R/Ts as having the aggro look of M/Ts without the headaches.

Maximizing the life span of these things can take different forms. Experienced off-roaders know to release a bit of air pressure from the tires on their rig before setting foot into the wilderness. Known as ‘airing down’, the practice permits a tire to spread out its tread surface. This allows it to grip rocky terrain more effectively or float a bit better in sandy areas. It also helps in terms of tire life, since it is more difficult for an errant stone to slice up an aired-down tire. Why? Try sticking a pin in a fully inflated balloon versus a balloon with most its air removed as a prime example, or cutting a taut rope versus one which is slack.

Basic vehicle maintenance also helps. As with on-road tires, an incorrect alignment will wear out a new set of tires in a jiffy, thanks to the rubber not totally pointing in the direction you’re trying to drive. Alignment problems can happen more frequently off-road, since the entire point of the activity is to navigate through tough obstacles – most of which are comprised of solid rock. Take the time to make a scattered inspection of those tires on your rig, examining them for odd wear patterns which are a sure-fire clue that something is awry.

That’s the same reason why inspecting a vehicle’s suspension components will also help extend the life of rugged terrain tires. Blown shocks and haggard bushings are certainly a recipe for a vehicle which will eventually handle like a basket of snakes; those same problems can and will contribute to excessive and unnecessary tire wear. In other words, don’t turn up the radio when you hear weird noises emanating from the underside of yer rig, particularly if you’ve just taken a particularly exuberant off-road excursion.

The spare tire on a vehicle is the Rodney Dangerfield of car parts – no respect. Often forgotten until needed and cursed when used, spare tires don’t tend to lead the most glamourous of lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Smart off-roaders, and smart car companies selling rigs to them, always make sure there is a full-sized spare somewhere on the vehicle. This is why Jeep reinforces the tailgate on its Wrangler when that model is opted with the large wheel-and-tire package; the spare hanging out back there weighs a lot more than a standard set.

With this in mind, be certain to include the spare as part of a tire rotation, permitting all five tries to wear fairly evenly and extending the lifespan of them all. Some brands have abandoned the practice of mounting the full-size spare on a matching wheel (thanks, pencil-necked accountants), necessitating a bit of extra work at the tire shop or small investment in matching wheel. This writer feels it is worth the cash.

Finally, proper storage can go a long way towards maximizing the lifespan of your rugged terrain tires. Some drivers choose to swap rubber mid-season, be it for a set of winter socks or something else, meaning the rough-n-ready rugged terrains need to find a home for a few months of the year. Flinging them into the backyard to sit in the rain is a bad idea for obvious reasons, as is leaving them to perish in the sun for weeks on end. If possible, store them inside on a rack made specifically for tires. This will prevent flat spotting and help ensure they are easy to balance during subsequent installations.

[Lead image: Volodymyr TVERDOKHLIB/ Product images: Rovelo Tire]

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