All-Terrain, 3rd Wave

When I gave my truck a full exterior detail near the end of 2020 (wash, clay bar, polish, wax) I took a few steps back to admire my work and although she was super clean and shiny again… I didn’t like how the Hankook tires looked. Combine that with the idea that I was planning on doing some off-roading with my daily driver truck (again) and what happens is I buy new tires… but what tires?

Sure, the current DynaPro AT-M’s are ‘all-terrain’ but they had a street-friendly tread pattern, and I chose the thinner P/SL versions for minimal road noise. I will admit that I missed the look of a more aggressive tire on my truck, so that meant it was time to go shopping for some new tires. After checking out what was available (sticking with my current 265/75-16 sizing), it came down to 4 options: BF Goodrich All-Terrain KO2 (what I had last time), Falken Wildpeak AT-3/W, Falken Rubitrek A/T, or keep the Hankook Dynapro AT-Ms (what I had now).

I kinda already knew up front that I wasn’t going with BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2s; I’ve already had them, and I wanted to try something different. The Rubitreks were a recommendation from a friend of mine, but for some reason the sidewall looked too… “complicated”. After 3 weeks of window shopping, gathering and comparing info, reading and watching reviews, and changing my mind a million times, I finally decided to try the latest version of Falken’s Wildpeak AT-3/W’s. Like the previous two tires, I stayed with the 265/75-16 size ( no added clearance mods required) but I opted for the more heavy duty E-rated versions, since obviously part of the switch was for better off-road action.

Here’s an interesting photo showing the Hankook Dynapro AT-M, next to my 5 year old, zero mileage, never used BF Goodrich KO2 spare (LOL), next to the new Falken AT-3/W; all three of the tires shown are the same 265/75-16″ size. Actual diameter was pretty close, with the AT-M having the narrowest tread and the lightest weight (we measured 37-lbs.), the KO2 having a flatter, square profile and the highest weight (55-lbs.), and the A/T3/W being the tallest (largest actual diameter) with a slightly lighter weight compared to the KO2 (51-lbs.):

…speaking of, since the spare KO2 was 5 years old (and not matching) I actually bought 5 Wildpeaks to use one as a new spare tire:

Back to the Level 8 Bully Pro 6 wheels, the existing eighty (yes, EIGHTY!) rash ring bolts were showing their age as well, so I took this opportunity to remove them and install nice, shiny and new stainless steel flanged hex bolts (and some new valve stem caps too):

Extra Credit: Hours earlier while on the way to my buddy’s shop to get the AT-3/W’s installed, I did a super duper unscientific road noise test using my iPhone 12 Pro’s built-in microphone and an SPL app. On the freeway I picked a known smooth section of road and positioned my truck away from other vehicles (not too much traffic as it was after hours), then I held my iPhone up with my right hand somewhere floating above the center console. I took screenshots of the app’s SPL meter for a reference point. Later that evening, with the Falken’s installed I doubled back to that same known stretch of freeway and did the exact same thing, taking more screenshots of the SPL meter. When I got home I took a look at each set of screenshots and picked the one that represented the average for the AT-M’s and the AT-3/Ws. The results are below:

Comparing the Hankook Dynapro AT-M’s (with about 8,000 miles) to the near-zero mileage, brand new Falken Wildpeak AT-3/Ws, the noise difference was a little over 1/2 a decibel. It’s not much, and to be honest I had to really, really listen to try to hear any increase in road noise with the new tires. Again, the test was super un-scientific and for all I know a gust of wind or a nearby 18-wheeler ahead of me could have easily changed the sound level. So far the only thing I do notice is how the tires sound when going over lane reflectors and broken pavement; the AT-3/Ws have more of a lower pitched “thud” when running over lane reflectors (when compared to the AT-M’s), but it doesn’t sound louder and it doesn’t bother me. As I rack up miles on the new tires, we’ll see how the road noise level goes. They seem nice and decently quiet so far (for a more aggressive Load-E tire), and at least now I will have the confidence again to venture off-pavement with my daily driver when the time comes. (Thanks to forum member runstuartrun for helping me deciding on a new tire!)