Q: I have a couple of questions relating to the type, style and brand of tires that would be recommended for our pickup truck. We have a Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Duramax diesel that we use to pull a 35-foot Keystone Montana fifth-wheel with a gooseneck hitch. Our first set of aftermarket tires are the Big O A/T LT 245/75R16 M+S. We have about 25,000 miles on them now and they are due for replacement. My questions are, is this a reasonable life expectancy and if not, is it within your purview to make any sort of a recommendation for me? It seems like they should last longer, but they have not in this case.
Chuck Jones, via email
A: The all terrain, mud and snow tires on your truck have a fairly open tread with a lot of space between grooves. This allows the tread blocks to squirm a lot more than with a standard highway tread, which results in accelerated wear. The situation is exacerbated by the heavy fifth-wheel trailer, which puts a lot of weight on the truck and significantly increases the rate of wear. High-throttle applications, which are also required with heavier trailers, also cause the tires to flex and slip more on the road surface. If weather conditions allow it, I recommend a tire that has a “high mileage” highway tread that’s designed for commercial use, and perhaps upgrade to a higher load rating, which generally flexes less. You also didn’t mention if the front tires have the same wear pattern, or if all the tires show a straight wear pattern. You should also carefully monitor inflation pressure, and base it on actual scale weights using a load-inflation table.
– Ken Freund