You’ve had it marked on your calendar for months, and now opening day is rapidly approaching. You’re good to go: you’ve got your Break-Up Country camo, mounted your ballistics calculating optics, and at 0300 hours, you and your buddies will hit the road. Or will you?
Chances are you’ve double- and triple-checked your high-tech gear, but there’s a darn good chance you overlooked one of the most important items for the trip: the tires on your truck or SUV.
Don’t feel bad – you’re not alone. To most people, a tire is a tire is a tire: black and round. About as exciting as an empty magazine. However, tires are one of the most technologically advanced parts of a vehicle, influencing the traction, braking, steering, comfort, handling, safety and fuel efficiency. They are also the only parts actually touching the road and you’ll definitely need them in tiptop shape to reach your favorite remote hunting spot. Another reason to jump on this now is the weather’s starting to get meaner and you’ll really need to know if your tires are up to snuff and can handle the barely drivable backroads and muddy trails. If they aren’t, you’ll need to hunt for new tires instead.
First though, check the one’s you have to make sure they are in good shape and they are properly inflated. This will help increase traction on wet and slippery roads, which is especially important during hunting season.
Ideally, you should check your tire pressure once a month – it takes all of five minutes to do. The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association recommends checking the tires when they are cold – at least four hours since the vehicle was last driven. Always use an accurate tire gauge and make sure the valve is free of debris and water. The correct tire pressure is specified by the manufacturer of the vehicle and the proper inflation levels can be found on a placard on the inside of the car door and/or in the owner’s manual.
Think of tires are like a great pair of boots. They can absorb a good deal of pounding over all sorts of surfaces in all kinds of weather conditions. And thanks to stout engineering and technology, tires perform with amazing effectiveness and last longer than ever if you take care of them.
However, no matter how long-lasting tires are, there’s a time when you’ll need to replace them and picking the right ones for your vehicle can be challenging. Cornering, acceleration, wet road traction, tire wear, ride and fuel economy can be modified by changing tires. Traction is the key here for hunters and knowing what types of tires are available is important because they can really get you out of some off-road jams.
The first step to selecting the right tires is to consider how you will be using them. For hunting, you’ll need some rubber that’s extremely durable and has max bite, which you’ll find in a super-strong mud-terrain (M/T) tire, such as Yokohama’s ultra-rugged Geolandar M/T G003, which will get in and out of the most brutal terrain.
If you’re looking for a tire with great off-road grip, along with and a comfy ride, check out a top-notch, versatile all-terrain (A/T) tire like the Geolandar A/T G015, which handles any weather condition – all sizes are severe-snow-rated.
Speaking of daily driving, the same care you give your hunting equipment is also essential for your A/T or M/T tires. Remember, a tire that’s underinflated will affect your drive and the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Keeping them properly inflated will give you a better ride, stronger traction and save you some at the gas pump. Use the extra cash for a new hunting license on opening day.