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The Thick & Thin of Tyres

Updated: Apr 29


After spending some time shopping around for a good set of All-Terrain tyres – at the best possible price – you finally find a tyre dealer that’s selling a popular tyre brand at a terrific price: much cheaper than your mate paid for exactly the same set. Bargain! But something’s not quite right. For some reason, your 4x4's picking up more punctures than you’d care to admit. However, your mate (who often travels with you on the same trips in his own 4x4) has yet to suffer a single puncture on exactly the same tyres. So, what’s the problem? Quite simply, the issue lies in a common tyre term: LT. Also known as Light Truck, an LT tyre is the off-road alternative to what’s known as a Passenger tyre. In the case of Cooper Tyres, the Cooper A/T3 is available in both Passenger and LT form. While both tyres feature exactly the same tread pattern (and, on the surface, they appear identical), the Cooper A/T3 Passenger tyre is designed for 2WD SUV’s that, at most, will tackle a well-graded gravel road. The LT tyre, on the other hand, is designed with a significantly stronger and more robustly-built tyre carcass. In other words, the LT tyre features increased rubber thickness around its sidewalls – the ply rating is the same, but the tyre itself is thicker. In terms of weight, a commonly-sized 265/65/R17 A/T3 Passenger tyre weighs approximately 17 kg, while exactly the same tyre size, in LT form, weighs in at a hefty 20.9 kg. (That’s 23% more rubber!) The additional weight of the LT tyre, and the fact that the sidewall is tougher, adds to the overall cost of the tyre. What’s more, an A/T3 Passenger tyre will offer slightly better fuel economy and driver comfort, which is why it’s ideal for vehicles that remain primarily on tarred roads. Unfortunately, not all off-road enthusiasts are aware of this fact, and they unknowingly fit Passenger-car-rated All-Terrains, instead of the LT spec. So, the next time you’re shopping around for a good set of All-Terrain tyres, be suspicious of an overly competitive price, and check that the tyre’s sidewall reads LT. Doing so could mean the difference between a hassle-free off-road holiday, or a puncture-filled nightmare.

- Check out the full Cooper Tyre 4x4 Range at: www.coopertyres.co.za

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