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Choosing: Passenger or Light Truck tire?

Hi Everyone :slight_smile:

I’ve got a '06 Nissan Xterra. 25% of the time I’m towing a 3000lb. GVW trailer. Total trailer weight is usually ~2000lbs. The Xterra’s factory P265/75R16 BFG Rugged Trail TA tires are worn down to the wear bars.

I want to replace them with another on/off road tire. I’m occasionally pulling the trailer through muddy dirt roads or unplowed snowy ones. After a lot of looking around I like the function, looks and cost of the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tire.

One concern I’m struggling with about these tires is various customer reviews I’ve found from people with full size pickup trucks towing medium to heavy loads complaining they feel like they are driving on marbles or basketballs, especially when cornering. They say they feel squirrelly to the point of not liking them at all. And yup they were also reporting having correct pressure in the tires.

They thought the explanation must be the sidewalls were too thin and rolling under. More reading makes me think it’s that, or from the tread elements themselves shifting around, since they are deeper and spaced further apart than on-road only tires.

There’s no way for me to try these tires before buying them, but I’m hoping to develop some reasons to expect I won’t have that problem with them. It sounds like my Xterra and trailer aren’t as heavy as the people reporting dissatisfaction.

There are two versions of the DuraTrac to choose from. They’re both LT type tires (Light Truck). One is a C (medium load range) and the other is an E (heavy load range). Maximum inflation pressure for the C is 50lbs., 80lbs. for the E. The stock tires on the Xterra are a P (Passenger) series.

I expect there might be two kinds of people among you that might be able to give me advice on which of these tires to choose, or neither of them. I expect some people will have an opinion about this based on general knowledge and experiences, and, hopefully, maybe there’ll be some of you who have experience towing with either version of this tire, with a configuration similar to my Xterra and trailer.

My feeling, at this point, is to go with the E rated tire because I’d expect it to be solidest handling one when towing. I would dial the tire pressures in to match the approximate weight requirements of the Xterra and trailer, rather then run them at full pressure. I know I’d still get the bumpiest ride all the rest of the time too, but I’d really like to have the best control while towing possible.

I’ve read some people say that if a vehicle comes with P series tires, that’s what it’s designed for and LT series tires will not handle properly because the suspension isn’t designed to handle or endure the way they rebound. I’ve also read where other people have actually done this in practice and haven’t found that to be any issue for them at all. I think I’d most likely find the LT’s, especially the E series, would make the ride somewhat harsher, cut into fuel economy a bit and make stopping distances a bit longer, all because they weigh around 10 pounds more than P series tires.

What do you think? Opinions will be appreciated. Anyone with actual experiences choosing to go with LT over P series tires for these issues will be especially helpful. Thanks very much everyone.

-John Jackson

Amherst, MA

For a tire that sees a fair amount of off-road use, I would go with the Bridgestone Dueler AT Revo, BFG All-Terrain KO , or the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R if you’re dealing with some rough terrain. The Bridgestone and the BFG both have good on-road characteristics .

First, you should look at your other post in the General Discussion area.

Second, many of the complaints about towing with full size pickups is because they are trying to tow too big a load. So be sure to find out what Nissan recommends for towing limits for your vehicle.

And as you will see in the other post, I do not recommend you replace the P’s with LT’s.

You will not need the heavy load type tire. The lighter duty ones will be OK. They should have at least one more ply in the tread area than a P rated tire. People with plows on the front of their pickups do well with LT tires.