Now that the steering linkage is shipshape (vanshape?) and within specifications, it’s time the Rolling Steel Tent had new tires. But which ones? What kind? As with many of life’s questions, it depends. It boils down to what surfaces I’ll be driving on most often, and how much I’m willing to spend.
Rather than trying to give all the advice necessary for you to choose tires (I started to, but it was turning into a book) I’ll just give you my reasons for my choice. Maybe some of that will apply in your case.
I do at least eighty-five percent of my driving on pavement. And the unpaved places I drive aren’t very challenging. Hard packed dirt and gravel, maybe with shallow sand or dust on top, with occasional fist sized stones. All-season highway tires have done the job just fine for me. All-terrain tires would’ve made no difference getting where I wanted to go.
Okay, so whose all-season highway tires? Well, in all the decades I’ve been a vehicle owner, I’ve always gone with well reviewed tires from the big brands. When I first got the Rolling Steel Tent I put highly praised Michelin LTX M/S2’s on it, and was very happy. But these days I don’t have that pile of cash from selling the house, so price plays a bigger part in my choices. Unfortunately, I went too cheap on the current tires—a store brand made in China. They wore quickly, and I don’t think they’re truly round. This time I’m shopping and comparing some of the smaller-but-reputable brands with excellent reviews
But where to buy? I lean toward stores that do only tires (and maybe brakes and shock absorbers) rather than a full service auto center or a big box store. Rightly or wrongly, I think they’re better at getting tires mounted and balanced right the first time. You’d think the fancy spin balancing machines would make it foolproof. But there must be higher levels of fools working at some of these places. Of course, if the store with the best price can’t balance my tires correctly, I could have them redone elsewhere. I’ve done that before.
The quest isn’t over yet. Someday soon I’ll find the perfect combination of compromises. Or close enough to perfect. Or at least the best I can do within my budgetary limitations.
Sometimes I think it would be nice to live in a country without and overabundance of choices. “You’re lucky. Today we offer two choices: this tire, or none.”