I’ve followed the discussion on snow tires. Do the conclusions (softer rubber wearing shorter periods of time on highways) hold true for mud tires? Secondly, I can not find a mud tire for my 2001 Suzuki Grand Vitara. Is a lift kit and coil spacers my only solution to “fit” a larger mud tire?
I have Goodyear MT/R’s on my Bronco and haven’t gotten stuck yet. If you are tackling some real tough terrain, lockers are your best friend. Air lockers or electric lockers are the easiest to live with.
Is your Suzuki in Nicaragua now? If not, how do you propose to get it there? Drive it?
I have read that with a mud tire you want a design that minimizes the amount of mud that clings to the tire (self cleaning)
With a snow tire this self cleaning feature is not so much desirable.
I worked in Central America for many years, and mud was generally not my biggest problem. Blown shocks and cord separations in the tires were my biggest problem, but that was mostly due to the fact that I was young and I drove too fast. Volcanic soils do not make very problematic mud.
A lift kit might not be a bad plan for a Suzuki. We used to tear the exhaust systems off of ‘urban 4WD vehicles’ with some regularity. Only the old Toyota Land Cruisers stood up really well to all road conditions encountered (this was in the 1970s). 9 of 10 vehicles you saw in the back country were Land Cruisers. The old Land Rovers were OK but pricey, and the aluminum bodies would crack around the attachment points after a decade of rough roads. Half-ton 4WD Ford pickups were the second choice pickup after Toyota Land Cruiser pickups. Other American vehicles (including Jeeps) were rarely seen outside the cities or off the highways in those days. My office (a US-based foundation) had a Blazer and a Jeep donated to the office. The staff used them to commute in the city. We rarely took them out in the country.
Nicaraguan highways are mostly not too bad, but I would avoid a lift kit due to increased rollover risk if you are driving highways in Highland Guatemala or Salvador a lot. There, your biggest threat is rollover when you get run off the road by people passing on two-lane mountain roads(which WILL happen).
B.F. Goodrich makes the KO radial, which is probably just about the most aggressive tread you can get in a tire that’s still an on-road all-terrain tire that drives well on paved roads and has fairly good tread life. It’s available in pretty much every SUV tire size. They’re also a triple-ply tire so they’re pretty good about resisting punctures.