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Tested: Street vs. Trail vs. Mud Tires

Which Tire Is Best For You?

Text By Jason Thompson, Photography by

Let’s face it, the taller and more aggressive a tire isthe more truck guys like it. The appeal of an extreme-traction mud tire just suits the image and idealized purpose of a pickup. Even though we all tend to drive our diesels on the streetmore than on the dirtwe all seem to prefer the looks of an aggressive tire.

While fashion trends suggest mud tires are better than all-terrains, the irony is that you can only see a tire’s looks when the wheels are stationaryand who cares how good a tire is when it’s not doing anything? One could argue that the function of a tire is most important when it’s moving, so we decided to put the good-looking aggressive tires (that we all dream about) up against the more humble appearing ones (that we should all probably be running). We also added in a new, middle-ground tire from Nitto that might split the difference between the two extremes.

Terra Grapplers vs. Trail Grapplers vs. Mud Grapplers
We selected three different Nitto tires and tested them on the same truck with the same air pressure (50 psi) and same style rims. The terrain for the examination included loose sand, hard-packed dirt, rocks, steep hills, and mud. We also tried them on the street in order to give you a real-world case study to help you make your next tire-buying decision.

Working with Discount Tire’s Abel Arreol, who manages the company’s America’s Tire store in Glendale, California (818 507-6049), we had all 12 Nitto tires mounted on 12 identical American Outlaw Colt 20x9-inch aluminum wheels. We then tested each tire on an ’05 Dodge Ram 2500 to see how they all worked.

Nitto Terra Grappler Specs:

  • Tire type: Radial
  • Tire size: 325/60R20
  • Overall diameter (as measured on truck): 34.25 inches (front), 34.5 inches (rear)
  • Tread: 2-ply steel + 3-ply polyester + 2-ply nylon
  • Sidewall: 3-ply polyester
  • Tread depth: 1532 inch
  • Overall width: 12.91 inches
  • Approved rim width: 9 to 12 inches
  • Weight of tire and wheel: 107 pounds
  • Tire’s maximum load: 3,195 pounds
  • Maximum inflation pressure: 50 psi
  • Load range rating: D

Nitto Trail Grappler M/T Specs:

  • Tire type: Radial
  • Tire size: 295/65R20
  • Overall diameter (as measured on truck): 34.5 inches (front), 34.75 inches (rear)
  • Tread: 3-ply polyester + 2-ply steel + 2-ply nylon
  • Sidewall: 3-ply polyester
  • Tread depth: 19/32 inch
  • Overall width: 12.13 inches
  • Approved rim width: 8 to 10 inches
  • Weight of tire and wheel: 110 pounds
  • Tire’s maximum load: 4,080 pounds
  • Maximum inflation pressure: 80 psi
  • Load Range Rating: E

Nitto Mud Grappler Specs:

  • Tire type: Radial
  • Tire size: 35x12.50R20
  • Overall diameter (as measured on truck): 34.5 inches (front), 34.75 inches (rear)
  • Tread: 2-ply steel + 3-ply polyester + 2-ply nylon
  • Sidewall: 3-ply polyester
  • Tread depth: 21/32 inch
  • Overall width: 13.0 inches
  • Approved rim width: 8.5 to 11 inches
  • Weight of tire and wheel: 113.5 pounds
  • Tire’s maximum load: 3,195 pounds
  • Maximum psi: 65 psi
  • Load Range Rating: E

Tips From The Pros
So which tire is right for you? Based on our back-to-back comparisons, here are our recommendations. We’ve ranked each tire in order of performance, from good to best. Keep in mind that your personal needs, truck, and usage have a huge impact on which tire is best for you. On our test Dodge, our staff preferred the Terra Grappler for its all-around capabilities. However, the truck’s owner likes the Mud Grappler the best.

Category: Terra Grappler Trail Grappler Mud Grappler
Street Best Good Better
Sand Best Better Good
Mud Good Better Best
Rocks Best Best Best
Noise Best Better Good
Looks Good Better Best
Fuel Economy Best Better Good
Stability Best Good Better
Hill Climb Better Better Best

Wheel Specs:

  • Type: American Outlaw Colt
  • Construction: Cast aluminum
  • Wheel size: 20x9 inches
  • Bolt pattern: 8-on-6 inches

Test Vehicle:

  • ’05 Dodge Ram 2500
  • Engine: 5.9L Cummins
  • Transmission: 48RE automatic
  • Axle ratio: 4.56:1
  • Weight of truck: 6,600 pounds
  • Suspension modifications: 3-inch KORE lift

SOURCES
Nitto Tire
6021 Katella Avenue
Suite 250
Cypress
CA  90630
877-565-8448
http://www.nittotire.com
Discount Tire
855-869-7914
http://www.discounttire.com
By Jason Thompson
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