Drivers interested in going off-roading have a lot to think about when gearing up their vehicle, but one of the most important considerations is what tires they’ll rely on. Some tires are much better suited than others for off-road performance. Quality tires make it possible to drive through rough terrain capably and without losing traction. Below I look at well-known all-terrain and mud-terrain tires and how they perform in different driving conditions. Serious drivers can use this information to equip their trucks with the best tires to meet their specific off-roading needs.
What to Consider When Buying One?
It’s important to think about what’s most important when buying off-road tires. There are many different features that help tires stand out for off-roading and truck or SUV use in general. Buyers should be looking at the tread pattern and depth of the tires, the tread spacing and shoulder ridges and also the rubber compound that the tires are made from. Good solid off-roading and mud-terrain tires also come with reinforced sidewalls to withstand the pressure of large rocks and other debris on the trail. Between all of these different features, it’s possible to find a set of tires that will work well for most serious off-road conditions and even some on-road driving conditions. Those are the considerations that I’ll make below when looking at the Falken Wildpeak A/T3W and the BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires to try and determine which is the most useful for different driving conditions.
Falken Wildpeak A/T3W Overview
- Aggressive upper side wall
- Staggered off-set shoulder blocks
- Silica tread compound
- Spaced tread blocks
- Block steps for strength and material ejection
- Secondary bead apex for tougher sidewall
- 10/16″ tread depth
- 55,000 limited tread life warranty
Falken Wildpeak A/T3W all-terrain tires are aggressively styled tires designed to go through mud, sand and to handle paved road driving without too much trouble. The tires are equipped with massive blocks of tread that are offset to create a consistent grip while driving through gravel, sand, mud and other loose terrain. The tires are designed with a silica rubber compound for durability in freezing temperatures. They also feature stepped tread blocks with strategic gaps designed to eject snow, dirt, and rocks to keep the tread open for enhanced traction. These off-road tires aren’t designed for smooth paved surfaces and are noisier and less grippy on pavement than standard tires are, but they’re decent enough to get drivers to their off-road destinations of choice.
BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Overview
- CoreGard sidewall technology – 20% stronger sidewall
- Serrated shoulder edge design
- Widely spaced tread blocks to eject mud and stones
- Tread siping for enhanced wet surface performance
- Severe snow rated tire
The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire is a powerful off-roading tool designed to handle most driving conditions well. It features a 20% stronger sidewall than the previous version, helping it withstand the impact and pressure from sharp stones and other obstacles. The tire comes equipped with a serrated shoulder design that cuts into snow, dirt and other loose substances for enhanced traction. This offroad tire is also snow rated to maintain its grip on smooth and snow-covered roads when temperatures are at freezing levels. Overall this carfully designed tire offers superior off-road performance while delivering respectable on-road driving grip as well.
Credibility and Durability
Features don’t mean much if they don’t translate into impressive performance. That’s why I looked at real-world performance for each of the two all-terrain tires to see how they did with the different driving conditions both on-road and off-road.
The Falken tires are spaced wide and have a stepped pyramid design for many of the tread blocks to effectively shed mud while driving. These different features help to keep the tire functioning well in muddy driving conditions.
The BF Goodrich tires bite into mud confidently, and offers dependable gripping force, but doesn’t eject the mud reliably. It’s common for mud to build up during use, which makes these less useful for muddy conditions than the Falken tires are.
Both the BF Goodrich tires and the Falken Wildpeak A/T3W tires feature widely spaced tread blocks that help eject tires readily. The Falken tires have slightly deeper tread and they grip loose gravel and most rocks well.
On Road Driving
The Falken Wildpeak A/T3W all-terrain tires perform well in most snowy conditions. The tires maintain traction in several inches of snow and the snow clears out of the tread blocks effectively, making it possible to keep up decent traction even in wet snow.
As a snow rated tire the BFGoodrich tire is built for winter driving conditions. The deep tread blocks and serrated edges on the tires create dependable traction when driving through deeper snow. The tires also feature a special rubber compound to help keep them pliable in lower temperatures.
Thanks to the siping the Falken tires offer reliable traction on rainy roads without issues with slipping. Less traction is available due to the wide tread gaps, but there is still enough rubber touching the road surface for dependable traction.
While not as good as traditional all-season tires for rainy driving conditions, the BFGoodrich T/A KO2 tires are heavily siped throughout the tread for reliable wet driving traction. The deep tread takes away from damp performance but helps maintain traction in deep water.
The Falken tires are noisy at high speeds compared to standard cruising tires, but they feature carefully designed tread blocks that help reduce the total noise output, making them more pleasant than many other off-road tire options.
Without the silicon rubber compound found on the Falken tires, the BF Goodrich tires are slightly louder while driving at high speeds. They’re still not too bad to drive around, but there is a notable hum while going down the road at highway speeds.
Both tires minimize vibrations when driving on smooth surfaces so vibration is hardly notable no matter which of the two tires are selected for everyday driving conditions. The Falken tire does a bit better than the BF Goodrich tire does in this regard though.
It’s important to consider how quickly the tires will wear out after purchase to determine which option is worth buying and which should be skipped over. When looking at the options from Falken and BF Goodrich, the Falken tires seemed to hold up better over time that the Goodrich tires did. These tires benefit from their silicon rubber construction and look new for tens of thousands of miles after installation. The BF Goodrich tires seem to wear out more quickly and have more shallow tread blocks for a less reliable performance window as well.
The Falken Wildpeak A/T3W offroad tires are the more affordable of the two tire options making them a more budget-friendly option for interested buyers. Not only that, but many buyers remark about the Falken tires lasting longer than the BF Goodrich tires do, which makes them an even better value overall than the Goodrich tires are.
For winter driving the BF Goodrich tires are higher performers than the Falken tires are, but for off-road driving and long-term performance the Falken tires stand out as an excellent value. Both tires hold up to most off-road driving demands, but buyers will have to decide what features are most important to them when choosing the tire they want on their ride.