Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Radial mud tire not intimidated by rugged terrain
One of the commonalities among those in the heavy construction and contracting trades is they face far more off-pavement and severe off-road driving situations than the typical recreational pickup owner.
Whereas the recreational four-wheeler’s tires may get dirty a couple weekends a month, the tires beneath contractors’ pickups are challenged by mud, sand, rock and gravel on a daily basis.
Aggressive tires that provide traction, durability and mileage are a hot commodity around a jobsite.
That’s why I look at the Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Radial as a top choice in the mud-tire category; it’s one of those “contractor tested, jobsite proven” offerings that performs well in all three of those categories.
The set of LT325/65R18s I tested beneath our 2011 F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab 4×4 diesel, Project Super Crew, have seen nearly 7,500 miles of highway and off-road driving.
These tires, mounted on Vision V-Tec wheels, have been over mud, snow, rock and sand, never disappointing.
I’ve also subjected them to our Super Duty’s maximum conventional towing limit of 14,000 pounds (@65psi) and soft sand (@35psi). I found 55psi is a good pressure for everyday (non-towing) for optimum ride and handling.
The Ford’s handling with the MTZs has been excellent, thanks in no small part to their Power Ply sidewalls, which incorporate a special angled third ply to provide high-performance handling, better puncture resistance, and improved towing capability.
Traction in mud is excellent as you’d expect.
The aggressive open-lugs on the tire’s outer perimeter and “sidebiters” on the sidewalls do their job, and a little jab of the throttle helps them clean even better.
Sand and loose dirt are no problem either with the 13.50-inch cross-section providing good floatation for a 7,600-pound, heavy-duty pickup.
One item of note is I saw a 2-3mpg drop in fuel economy after switching to the M/Ts.
Part of this is because the tires are considerably heavier than the stock Contis and they are taller. More rotational mass, a slightly taller final-drive ratio, and higher rolling resistance are the trade-offs for better off-road traction.
The MTZs, which retail around $300, are one of the quieter mud tires I’ve tested of late.
They tripped our digital sound meter at 71dB at 70mph, which is just four decibels above the Continental street tires that came on the truck from the factory.
Slow tread wear seems to be another plus, with very little showing at this point. I would think with regular tire rotation and balancing every 5,000 miles, they should deliver 35,000-40,000 miles of service.
All in all, The M/T Baja MTZ Radials would be a fine tire choice for the contractor who needs an aggressive mud tire that can stand up to every aspect of work from off-road to towing.
Tire: M/T Baja MTZ Radial
Wheels: Dick Cepek Torque 18×8.5
Size Tested: LT325/65R18
Load range: E
Max load (lb. @ psi): 3,860 @ 65
Sidewall: 3-ply polyester
Approved rim (in.): 9.0-12.0
Tread depth (in.): 20/32
Tread width (in.): 10.6
Section width (in.): 13.5
Overall diameter (in.): 34.8
Weight (lb.): 78
Noise Level: 71dB @ 70mph