No matter where you live or what you drive, there is a great chance you have seen or visited a Firestone Complete Auto Care. For 10+ years we have trusted countless Firestone locations near us with everything from oil changes and alignments to starter replacements and more. As we began to gravitate more and more towards road trips and overlanding we began outfitting our vehicles with all terrain tires. Based out of South Florida we have have explored as far north as Acadia National Park in Maine and have explored countless places from Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon to Ouray, Moab and the Appalachians. We have put on about 80,000 miles of all terrain use in the last two years alone and it has shown us both their benefits and their disadvantages. Due to the nature of our adventures we felt it was time for a more aggressive tire and tread pattern. Since we had so much history with Firestone we decided to see if their Mud Terrain was up to the test.
So we upgraded both our Off Road Trailer, FJ Cruiser & our Tacoma a week before our scheduled trip to the Lone Star Toyota Jamboree in Gilmer, Texas and Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, Arizona. Our route would give us opportunities to explore parts of the Chihuahuan Desert, Santa Fe National Forest, Gila National Forest, Coconino National Forest and Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area to name a few.
Our goal was to experience first hand the difference between an all terrain and a mud terrain tire both on road and off road. This trip gave us the opportunity to test these tires in mud, sand, clay, rock, gravel and more. All while at full expedition weight the entire time. Some of the most common complaints we had heard was increased sound and decreased handling on pavement, especially in rain. Personally we did not notice much of an increase in sound compared to our all terrains so we believe much of this has to do with the differences in sound dampening between different vehicles. We imagine mud terrains on a Jeep would be louder then in our Toyotas. Tire size also plays a role in this. Our FJ is running 305/70/17 and our Tacoma is running 285/70/17. Therefore there will be more sound when compared to stock tires but the added sound is by no means unbearable. As far as handling goes we did not notice a decrease in handling. This is likely due to our aftermarket wheels. We believe this complaint often stems from those who run large tires on stock rims.
When it comes to off road performance, the difference between an all terrain and a mud terrain is night and day. In mud and rocks the Firestone Destination M/T excelled. At Barnwell Recreation Area we experienced minimal tire slip and unparalleled control off road. (Below are few pics from our weekend there.)
On gravel and light sand the Firestone Destination M/T held its own with ease. It should be noted when we off road we typically always air down between 20-25 psi on average. This increases traction and softens the ride. Below are a few pics showcasing this type of terrain.
During our trip we encountered a good amount of rain off and on while on the highway and even heavy hail. We honestly were nervous about how these tires would perform under these situations especially while towing a trailer and fully loaded with gear, but we did not notice any major drop in performance that would bring any cause for concern.