Best tires for a diesel truck

Best Tires for Diesel Truck

A diesel truck is most likely one of your trusty workhorses. Towing stuff around is their best asset, all while being as fuel efficient as they could possibly be. Not only that, but a diesel truck is still a regular old truck, it’s just that it probably has a different goal.

As such, getting a set of tires to complement a diesel’s truck attributes is a decent idea worth considering. You can also get a set of tires to further enhance the truck’s assets, such as fuel economy. Saving pennies while making a buck isn’t half bad, so let’s take a look at the best tires for a diesel truck.

Best Touring Tires for a Diesel Truck

1.Continental TerrainContact H/T

Ride Quality: 10 Noise Comfort: 10 Handling: 7 Traction: 8

The TerrainContact has plenty of stuff going for it, including half decent fuel economy, but that’s not its strongest point. Continental’s recipe with the TerrainContact H/T is one aimed at the utmost comfort, combining many clever bits of engineering into one robust and clever tire. Not only that, but the tire’s also quite wear resistant, with a minimum treadlife warranty of 60,000 miles.

When talking about the tire itself, noise suppression was paramount and an important point of concern for Continental. They added multiple bits of clever design into noise cancelation, such as the addition of rubber shoulders in between the tire’s shoulder blocks, assisting at noise absorption. The small diagonal swipes were generated in simulation which aimed at making the tire create as little vibrations as it possibly could.

The rubber compound is also quite clever, adding an element called Silane which makes the rubber significantly more durable all while keeping its general softness. Many decently sized grooves help evacuate water, while a multitude of sipes on each tire block helps expel the water right on the contact patch. With all these in mind, you have a tire which is very quiet, plush, durable and fuel efficient which is a very uncommon combination of traits.

The downsides are its winter performance and off-road performance, both lacking significantly. The tread pattern doesn’t show any winter-like characteristics, apart from the sipes which can help the tire block flex. The lack of generous grooves, thick sidewalls, and price also mean that the tire isn’t suited for off-roading either, at most asking for a puncture.

Pros

  • Very quiet and comfortable

  • Decent rolling resistance figures providing decent fuel economy

  • Quite apt on dry and wet roads

  • 60,000 minimum treadlife warranty

Cons

  • Unsuitable for off-roading due to soft sidewalls and poor tread pattern

  • A similar story for winter, but can work in cooler temperatures before snows starts falling

2.Michelin Defender LTX

Ride Quality: 9 Noise Comfort: 9 Handling: 7 Traction: 7

Michelin aimed at making the Defender as cost-effective tire as it could possibly be. This translates into a tire which forgoes comfort and quietness ever so slightly and getting a more fuel efficient and durable tire. The minimum treadlife warranty is 50,000 miles for R-speed rated tires, but owners have been able to rack 70,000 miles reliably, some hitting even 85,000 miles.

The tread pattern is very similar to the Continental TerrainContact, so you can expect very similar performances traction-wise. In the wet and winter, however, the Defender LTX does slightly better. This happens due to the zigzag sipes assisting greatly at making the tire flex, providing a larger volume for the water to get ejected from the tire blocks themselves, and having some edges, albeit small, for snow to grip to.

Michelin claims that you could save up to 65 gallons of fuel over the tire’s entire lifespan by picking the Defender LTX M/S instead of a “competitor’s” tire. If you were to compare it to worse tires, the difference would’ve been quite striking, because you are getting very close to the realm where this fuel economy could fund the entire tire. Comfort wise, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S isn’t doing that shabby, a bit stiffer seeing how a softer tire would have a bigger contact patch and thus friction.

The downsides are similar. While a tad better than most highway-oriented tires when we’re talking about snow and off-roading, they still are far off a proper tire suited at those kinds of tasks. They are also one of the most expensive tires on the market, as tradition goes for Michelin.

Pros

  • Outstanding rolling resistance figures providing top of its class fuel economy

  • Confident on the road

  • Decently comfortable

  • Very resistant and a minimum 50,000 miles treadlife warranty to boot

Cons

  • Poor performance on snow

  • Horrendous performance off-road

3.Kumho Crugen HT51

Ride Quality: 8 Noise Comfort: 8 Handling: 7 Traction: 7

Kumho subtracted from all the other parameters such as comfort and fuel economy to focus instead on all-season performance. The Kumho Crugen HT51 is 3PMSF rated, meaning that it can pull its weight around in winter conditions just fine and is enough to carry you through a complete season. Its treadlife warranty is on the lower side, with a minimum of 45,000 miles but some owners are quite happy with the treadlife.

The tread pattern is highly similar to the other two, having the exact same tire block layout and overall style. Where things start looking different is when you’re looking at the tire block shape which presents jagged edges. Those edges are made to grip the snow, which when aided by zigzag sipes adding elasticity and a compound which is more towards the softer side you get a competent winter tire.

Elsewhere the Kumho is fine and acceptable, it’s just that all the other areas suffered to gain this winter performance. As such, noise generation is acceptable, traction is good but a bit lackluster, hot weather will eat the softer compound right up, and comfort is alright. Due to the softness of the compound, the tire isn’t suited for off-roading because gravel will wear the tread before its age.

Pros

  • A proper all-season tire

  • Decent overall

  • Winter traction is significantly better than most touring tires

Cons

  • Winter traction cost the tire a bit of performance

  • Unsuited for off-road driving

  • Overall comfort could’ve been better

Best All-terrain Tries for a Diesel Truck

1.General Tire Grabber APT

Ride Quality: 6 Noise Comfort: 8 Handling: 8 Traction: 8

General Tire made a pretty peculiar tire with the Grabber APT because it looks very similar to a regular touring tire. Treadlife warranty is very good for an all-terrain tire with 60,000 miles to boot. What this translates to is a tire suitable for drivers who must deliver stuff on gravel, or haul stuff around on a regular basis in their diesel truck, but also be able to go on pavement just fine.

The tread pattern at first glance looks very flat and regular looking, not particularly suitable for an all-terrain tire, but on a closer inspection it just makes sense. The tire block profile is very flat and continuous, providing ample amounts of traction on regular pavement, but as soon gravel starts kicking all those angular grooves and irregular tire blocks do a fantastic job at throwing rocks towards the outside of the tire. The sipes are also quite deep, allowing the tire block to flex a decent amount on bigger rocks and not lose traction in the process.

Noise suppression is also surprisingly good, thanks to a few clever bits of technology. General Tire added a thicker layer of nylon under the tread itself which makes the tire a bit more robust overall but making it better at absorbing harsh sounds. Sidewall is also resistant thanks to some usage of ultra-high strength steel belts. 

The tire has many upsides, and few downsides. It even gets a 3PMSF thanks to those angular edges who do wonders in the snow. The tire starts losing ground is at comfort, because the tire is quite tough. Also, rolling resistance numbers aren’t the greatest, but it’s an all-terrain tire and that wasn’t the focus of the tire. Wet performance is also somewhat lacking, not having enough sipes for water evacuation. Anything harsher than gravel will give the tire a proper pounding, so avoid going rock-climbing with the tire, if you can.

Pros

  • Very durable for an all-terrain tire

  • Highly capable on regular tarmac

  • Suitable for gravel driving for extended periods of time

  • Winter performance is quite good

  • Noise generated is small

  • Relatively cheap for such a complete package

Cons

  • Wet performance is poor

  • Comfort is lacking

  • Rock climbing performance isn’t there

  • Mud driving is abysmal

2.Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse AT

Ride Quality: 7 Noise Comfort: 7 Handling: 8 Traction: 9

An adequate middle ground between an all-terrain tire and a proper off-roading tire, suitable at driving longer distances without ruining your suspension and possibly back. Treadlife is decent at 50,000 miles, showcasing a softer compound compared to the General Tire Grabber APT but still tough to endure many miles.

The tread pattern showcases a generous contact patch for an all-terrain tire which will provide ample traction for tarmac use. Not only that, but the grooves are generous, allowing you to delve into deeper puddles and still come out on top. The tire blocks are quite small and heavily divided by deep sipes, but if we choose to not take those into consideration than the tire blocks are quite meaty and separated by deep grooves.

Many clever bits of technology went into the compound, making one highly capable on a variety of road surfaces,: dry, wet, and snowy. Thanks to the multiple angular edges, the Wrangler Workhorse AT earns a 3PMSF tag so it will work mighty fine even during a milder winter.

No tire is perfect and a balance must exist. As such, comfort is okay, noise generation is plentiful, and rolling resistance is poor. The tread blocks are very tall, making the ride feel a bit squirmy but with plenty of traction.

Pros

  • Durable and with a 50,000 miles treadlife warranty

  • Very good all-terrain performance

  • Winter driving is adequate

Cons

  • Poor rolling resistance

  • More towards the tough side

  • Noise generated is apparent

Best Off-roading Tire for a Diesel Truck

1.BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3

Ride Quality: 7 Noise Comfort: 5 Handling: 8 Traction: 10

A very specialized off-roading tire all while not sacrificing a significant amount of tarmac traction. The BFGoodrich also shows decent ratings overall concerning treadwear characteristics, even if they lack a treadlife warranty.

The tread pattern is specialized with substantial tire blocks cut across by a deep and thick sipes similar with a groove. The grooves are wide and the shoulder tire blocks showcase a small rubber rib aimed at repelling mud creating a self-cleaning behavior. All these characteristics also help quite a bit when snow just settled down and the big blocks also provide a good enough contact patch for tarmac use.

Sidewalls and shoulders are tough while the compound itself showcases average toughness. The sidewall is three-ply, the most common being two-ply for trucks, so expect the sidewalls to be resistant to punctures.

The tire starts losing ground on wet conditions, especially so on wet tarmac where the lack of real sipes hampers its hydroplaning resistance and local water ejection. Comfort isn’t its strong suit, and neither is fuel economy.

Pros

  • A capable off-roading tire regardless of conditions

  • Can be used sporadically on tarmac

  • Treadlife is good for an off-roading tire

Cons

  • A lot of noise generated

  • Fuel economy is poor

  • Riding them on tarmac is quite harsh without deflating them, worsening treadlife in the process

Best Winter Tires for a Diesel Truck

1.Goodyear WinterCommand (LT)

Ride Quality: 8 Noise Comfort: 7 Handling: 7 Traction: 9

The Goodyear WinterCommand (LT) is a highly capable winter tire for all there is to conquer about winter. Goodyear thought of everything when making this tire, probably getting the most reliable and complete winter tire package.

The tread features many fine zigzag sipes aimed at snow grip, tire block flex and even local water evacuation to avoid hydroplaning. The tread design is a classical V-type pattern, cut across by a rigid middle rib with plenty of harsh edges so snow has some surface area to grip to. The shoulders are cut by a deep and generous groove which helps with water evacuation in case you’re seeing watery winters often.

For ice performance, you can add studs to the tire and get all the needed traction from there. The compound is solid and quite soft, perfect for winters.

Where the tire doesn’t shine is any period of time outside winter, noise generation, and handling. The center rib is too angular which hampers the on-center feel, and the soft compound doesn’t help that much either.

Pros

  • Fantastic for the winter times

  • Good for heavy snows and slush

  • Driving on ice should be easy with added studs

Cons

  • Performance on warmer days is poor

  • Handling could’ve been better

  • Plenty of noise generated

Best tires for a Diesel Truck: Buying Guide

  1. If you plan on using your diesel truck for freight, get one or two sets of tires according to the regions where you’ll drive in

Transporting goods means a lot of fuel spent, so try and get a tire with good rolling resistances, it being paramount to save a buck here and there for free. Comfort is important seeing how you do that for a living. You don’t want to break your back because the tires are overly rigid.

If you’re driving in a local region or counties, an all-season set is sufficient if the weather is on the milder side, but if you’re going cross-state consider getting a specialized summer set and a specialized winter set. The high weather variation can get dangerous because a slide on a vehicle which tows stuff around can lead to great disasters.

  1. If you’re a regular consumer, a regular all-season tire should be sufficient for your diesel truck.

Pick a tire according to your needs and where you live. If you need a comfier tire, get that. If you hate white noise, get a quiet tire. So on and so forth. All you have to keep in mind is that a region where the weather varies massively from season to season will require you to get 2 sets of tires, one for summer and one for winter. 

  1. If you plan on heading off-road quite often, whatever the reason may be, get a set of all-terrain tires or off-roading tires for your diesel truck

You can’t go off the beaten path on some basic all-season tires and expect to get out of it unscathed. An all-season tire is way too soft for off-roading reliably, and you’re asking for a puncture if you plan on doing so. Not only that, but you will wear the poor tire in the blink of the eye by driving on gravel.

As such, get a set designed for off-road use, and pick a set based on how often you are driving on gravel and irregular surfaces. If you head rarely, get an all-terrain tire, but if you’re heading quite often get a complete off-roading tire.

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