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New Xterra Owner -- Tire Help LT vs P

4030 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  clifffalling
Hey all! New owner of a 2007 Xterra Offroad here :). Love the truck, got it with only 75K miles, in great condition. It goes to the dealer Friday to make sure the radiator isn't about to invade the transmission, after that my focus is on tires. I've done a lot of research on this forum and others, and learned quite a bit, but am still a bit unclear on a few things. Currently, the truck has Michelin LT M/S2 highway light truck tires on it -- good enough tires, but I'm looking to go the All Terrain route. I'm planning to stick with stock size (265/75R16) for now. Since there's no lift or crazy tire sizes involved I've put this in the street section but feel free to move to off road if it makes sense.

I'm leaning toward Cooper Discoverer ATPs at this point, but my questions come in because the tire is offered in both Passenger and Light Truck models. From my research, it seems that to achieve the same load capacity, LT tires require higher tire pressure than P tires, otherwise they may overheat. The truck currently has 35PSI but I think that's underinflated for LT tires. The factory spec is a P tire at 35 PSI, looking at various load charts, it seems like a LT tire would need to run 45-50 PSI to maintain the same load capability. Does that sound right? If yes -- that leads to my specific questions:

1-- How is the ride with LT tires at say 45 PSI? From my experience with P tires, 45PSI would feel like riding on rocks, but maybe LT tires are designed for the higher PSI and the ride is OK? Granted the truck is not my daily driver, but there will be a lot of highway miles getting to my outdoor destinations, so I'd like to not get beaten to death by the tires :p.

2-- How do you handle low PSI situations like beach sand driving with LT tires? We often go to the beach for 2 weeks every year -- with P tires we generally drop them to about 19 PSI and leave them there for the trip. It works for beach driving, as well as driving around the island at or under 55mph. We then air up before the drive home. Other than mushy handling, there's never been a problem with tires in 20 years of doing this. I worry LT tires might overheat in such a situation though? Can LT tires handle low PSI situations? What do those of you offroad do if you have LT tires? Would I still lower them to 19 PSI for sand, or would I lower them but not as much?

3-- What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of LT vs P? I understand LT may be more robust and take more punishment off road, and has higher load capacity at high pressure while P is a bit lighter and may offer better fuel economy? How bad is the MPG hit, I'm guessing 1-2?

4-- My planned use for the vehicle is winter driving (potential heavy snow, Sierra Nevada), moderate off roading (fire roads, jeep trails, desert driving, but probably not too much heavy duty rock crawling), potential beach driving. Payloads would be typical recreational payloads (luggage, camping gear, etc). I may tow at some point but likely not more than around 3000lb camper. And of course highway driving to get there. Notably, the truck is not a daily driver, it will be for recreational use for the most part. Would you recommend LT or P for my situation?

Thanks in advance! Maybe I'm over thinking this, but I've gotten myself pretty confused with the whole P vs LT thing!
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So I've decided to go with the Light Truck tires, after talking to my uncle who does off roading it sounds like the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

I'm still curious about the whole airing down thing though if anyone has thoughts? Like for sand, for P tires I'd normally go down to about 18PSI or 50% of normal. For LT, would I also go down to 18? Or would I go down to 50% of normal which is probably more like 22?
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