Tire Review: Falken WildPeak A/T
This rugged all-purpose light-truck tire is a strong upgrade/replacement for OE all-terrain offerings
By Bruce W. Smith
With tire prices at all-time highs, contractors and fleet managers are taking serious looks at alternatives to replacing worn-out OEM tires, which are selling in the neighborhood of $240-$270 for the light-truck (LT) sizes.
Falken should be on that list, especially if A/Ts are the replacement tread of choice.
Compared to similar tire sizes from BFG, Goodyear, Firestone, Continental and other brands that come OE on our pickups, Falken’s new WildPeak A/Ts will typically cost about 10 to 15 percent less.
But, as I found out over the past several months running my 2011 GMC Sierra 4×4 on the WildPeak A/Ts, less expensive doesn’t mean less quality or poorer performance.
Falken, a subsidiary of Japan-based Sumitomo Rubber Industries, has a very good rep among the high-performance street crowd, and over the past few years have parlayed that tire knowledge into formulating some strong pickup and SUV tires.
The LT285/70R17s on Project Bedrock have proven to be a good tire that works well around the typical jobsite.
Its moderately aggressive five-rib tread pattern is designed to channel standing water quickly so the tread surfaces stay in good contact with the pavement.
Off-pavement those tread blocks provide good flotation in soft dirt and sand, and they don’t seem to gather and hold smaller stones that can be a problem around construction jobsites.
The tread is deep, the outer ribs segmented so they dig and give side grip while the sawtooth-design of the inner two rows provides added forward traction.
These LT tires also employ extra-wide steel belts, so side stability while towing trailers, or carrying a heavy load, is maximized without compromising ride quality.
During the 2,500 miles riding on the WildPeak A/Ts I found them to be both comfortable and quiet, doing a good job of absorbing the typical jolts you get when crossing railroad tracks or broken pavement.
Falken also backs the WildPeak A/T with a 50,000 limited-mileage warranty. That’s strong coverage for a light-truck tire and could make the investment that much sweeter.
GUN METAL 7
Wheels give a vehicle its personality and Dick Cepek’s new Gun Metal 7 aluminum rims speak classy sport.
They should look good for a long time because they are coated in a tough, glossy clear that provides a layer of U.V. protection for durability and ease of care, even in the harshest climates. The finish has a two-year warranty.
The Gun Metal 7 wheels are valuable in 17- or 20-inch diameters, with a variety of offsets and rim widths to accommodate a wide range of tires.
Tire: Falken WildPeak A/T
Wheels: Dick Cepek Gun Metal 7 17×9
Size Tested: LT285/70R17
Load range: D
Max load (lb. @ psi): 3,195 @ 65
Rim size (in.): 7.0-9.0
Tread depth (in.): 17/32
Tread width (in.): 9
Section width (in.): 11.3
Overall diameter (in.): 32.8
Weight (lb.): 61