With aggressive all-terrains and more road-friendly mud-terrains like the BFGoodrich KM3s, we’re spoilt for choice as travellers these days.
Buy Quality & Replace Routinely
Few subjects evoke similar passion amongst four-wheel-drive owners as tyres. While this article is about the BFGoodrich KM3s, for those newer to choosing tyres, I feel it’s helpful to start with some general information.
Tyre failure is one of the most common breakdowns. Heading out on rough tracks with high-quality tyres with plenty of tread left is the best way to avoid these failures. Even the best brands will be much more prone to a flat when they have low tread.
The BFGoodrich KM3s Fitted
I fitted a set of 25585R16 BFGoodrich KM3s to my 76 Series LandCruiser in late 2019. While not for everyone, or every vehicle, the 25585R16 is an ideal size for the 76 Series for travel. At 33.07” in diameter, it’s tall enough to provide clearance to get almost anywhere, especially when combined with high clearance mounts. For those with a corrected rear wheel track, the 255 width also fits legally within the mudguards
Compared to upgrading a 35” tyre, the 33.07” size has less impact on gearing, power and torque. It’s also an easy tyre to steer, and being narrower is easy to manoeuvre.
For the first time, I also used balancing beads instead of external weights. They work superbly, plus there’s no chance of knock off a balancing weight on the tracks!
The BFGoodrich KM3 is a particularly quiet mud-terrain tyre. While it’s a more aggressive tyre than a rugged all-terrain, it’s not a huge jump. With the windows up on the tarmac, we don’t hear them. You can hear them with the windows down, and I’d say they are louder than a suitable all-terrain, but it isn’t loud enough to be a negative consideration for me.
Mud tyres get a bad rap in the sand, but with the torque of most modern vehicles and the long footprint created with low pressures, I believe it’s overrated mainly as an issue. We’ve driven many of WA’s soft beaches and some steep soft dunes with the BFGoodrich KM3 mud-terrains, sometimes towing, and haven’t had problems. The only thing noticed is that in the softest sand, when more throttle is needed, more sand is thrown up by the aggressive side lugs, but this didn’t seem to slow the vehicle down.
The sharp limestone tracks of places like the Great Australian Bight and many sections of Australia’s coastline punish tyres.
A half-inflated balloon is hard to pop; similarly, running lower tyre pressures on these sharp tracks makes it much harder to puncture your tyre. The thick tread and protected shoulders of the BFGoodrich KM3 hold up exceptionally well to this terrain, and, so far, none of the tread has chipped off either.
Like most mud-terrains, the KM3 also has a thicker than usual sidewall which means that strikes in the area with no tread between the rim and the shoulder, so far, have also not caused damage.
Since fitting the BFGoodrich KM3s, the mud travel I’ve encountered with these tyres has been along slippery and muddy dirt tracks for long sections of rather than technical climbs. In these scenarios, the KM3s were particularly grippy and provided a steadfast feel at the wheel.
For those on the all-terrain mud-terrain fence, the BFGoodrich KM3 is perhaps the gentlest step available into the mud-terrain category. For the price of a bit of road noise and a minor loss in fuel efficiency, you’ll gain improvements in grip, and you will go up a level in tyre robustness.