If you're planning on some off-roading this season, then you'll need to make sure you have the right tyres fitted
Tyres are something that most of us don’t tend to think too much about until they let us down. Literally. In fact most of us don’t know too much about tyres.
We tend to think that it’s the quality of the vehicle that provides performance over terrain, when the reality is that it is the tyres that work to enable the car to move (or not, if the wrong tyres have been chosen).
We’ve all seen it. The Gun who arrives at a shoot sporting a glossy new 4×4 costing over £100k. Which then gets stuck in the mud. Highly embarassing. And yet avoidable if the right tyres had been on the vehicle in the first place rather than tyres just suitable for town.
There’s no point having your SUV fitted with road tyres if you spend your leisure time (or work time) driving over fields, up hill tracks and through mud.
If you’re stalking up in the hills then you’re likely to be driving along flinty, bumpy hill tracks with a bit of cross country through peat hags and ditches.
If you’re wildfowling you may be trundling over slippery reed beds.
On a driven shoot you’ll probably be navigating through unfamiliar, potentially treacherous fields and undulating farm tracks with potholes – and after a deluge these can be pretty muddy and churned up.
The limitations of standard tyres
An average road tyre on an SUV is extremely limited off-road, even on wet grass. You might as well be on an ice rink.
Fit all-terrain tyres and they will keep you on track whether you’re facing gravel, sand, snow, wet surfaces or unstable terrain as well as turning in a good onroad performance with remarkable longevity.
Choosing the right tyres
Dave Dineen of 4SITE 4×4 Tyres comments: “Tyre choice and maintenance are often overlooked but are critical to guarantee a successful – and pleasurable – day driving out on a shoot.”
“Essentially, if you choose the right tyres and they are well maintained, then all you need to think about is a great day’s shooting.”
World Clay Shooting Champion, Dave Carrie, recently upgraded his Range Rover with a set of General Grabber AT3 tyres (a new type of all-terrain tyre) for his sporting lifestyle. Initially sceptical about the idea of regularly using off-road tyres for daily use, he was enlightened: “I am so pleased that I have finally found tyres that enable me to have the best of both worlds, without the need to swap sets, from summer to winter tyres.”
Unlike ice or snow tyres, these all-terrain tyres do not need protruding studs for grips and so they are far more versatile.
All-terrain tyres for everyday use
The General Grabber AT3 has been tested and proven in a variety of tough conditions, driving through mud, sand, gravel or snow. To grip properly the tyre has deep wide grooves that sink into unstable surfaces to increase traction.
Other features of all-terrain tyres
● Driving on uneven surfaces is much more comfortable
● Slippery roads and wet grass can be faced with confidence
● The tyres wear better
● Mileage is noticeably improved
● The tyres can cope with heavy loads so the car can be packed up with everything needed
● The tyres are robust
● Steering is kept stable
Although all-terrain tyres are real workhorses, they still need some attention. Dave Dineen advises:
“Always check tyre pressures whilst they are cold. Standard pressure should be fine for normal on and off-road use. In muddy and low traction conditions lowering the pressure may be required, but always re-inflate your tyres before returning to the road.”
With the shooting season about to go into full swing, bringing with it all the challenges of off-roading, it’s an excellent time to swap your road tyres for a set with more versatility, so that you have the confidence of knowing that you can tackle just about any terrain. (And that you won’t have to worry too much about sudden snowfalls.)
Thanks to the wonder of online shopping you can do this with ease. If all-terrain tyres like the Grabber AT3s appeal, you can order them online here and then have them delivered to a local tyre fitters convenient to you.
But don’t forget
Maintenance is just as important as tyre choice, so you should check for and remove foreign objects, such as stones from the tread grooves to prevent damage and punctures, then check for cuts and bulges – these points could result in pressure loss and possible rapid deflation.