I have run BF Goodrich All Terrain tires for as long as I have had 4x4s. I have had a couple sets of BFG Mudders and one set of Bridgestone Duelers on my TJ but other than that it has been BFG ATs for 30 years. And the truth is, they have been great. Not a single flat. Considering how tough this country is on tires and the shit I have done to them that is saying something so thank you Mr. Goodrich.
However, the noise made by this most recent set of KOs and the fact that the new KO2s are reportedly no better in this regard pushed me to look for something different. I want something that performs better on the highway yet does a good job in the snow and off-road. Not rock climbing mud bogging off-road for the fun of doing those things but because that is what I have to get through to make it to where I want to go. And I would like my new tires to do it all without the loud drone on the long stretches of highway that connect the good stuff.
I looked at the Coopers along with everything else out there but settled on the AT3s largely based on the recommendation of the in Prescott from Overland Journal. I put a lot of trust in what they and their readers have to say on such things and they rave about this tire. In fact, OJ gave the AT3 its Editors Choice and Value awards in their last big tire review. Most importantly to me is that the AT3 is what they run on their personal rigs.
I am losing some side wall protection though which I know could come back and bite me in the ass. One of the things that made the BFG AT so good and dependable in the backcountry was the extremely durable carcass and 3 ply TriGard side wall protection. The Cooper AT3s don’t have that (they have 2 ply sidewalls) which I will have to keep in mind. If it becomes a problem I could bump up to the Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx which has a more aggressive tread and Armor-Tek3 (3 ply side wall protection).
So I went down to my local getting place, Discount Tire of course because as far as I am concerned nobody else even sells tires, and ordered up a set of E rated 32 inchers to put on stock 17 inch rims. I thought a lot about going one more size up but as much as I would like the look I just don’t think I need the size since I installed the Bilstein leveling kit. Besides, 33s would rob the small block V-8 of some horsepower by messing with the axle ratios. Still pondering that one.
Anyway, they are on the truck, look nice and sound good meaning the drone is gone. They are not as quiet as the original Michelin LTX AT2s but then again they are a better mud, snow, and off-road tire or so I am told and they are much quieter than the BFGs. Another benefit is that they are cheaper although that had absolutely nothing to do with my decision because you don’t scrimp on tires. Period.
We will see how this goes and I will let you know.
UPDATE – THESE ARE SO MUCH QUIETER AND SMOOTHER RIDING ON THE PAVEMENT THAN THE BFGs. I AM VERY PLEASED WITH THAT ASPECT.
UDATE 2 – HAVE HAD THESE ON SNOWPACKED ROADS TWICE NOW AND THEY ARE OUTSTANDING. NARY A SLIP WHILE OTHERS WERE ALL OVER THE ROAD.