Summer is now in full swing and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s officially time for everyone’s long-awaited summer vacation with the family. But before you take that epic road trip, I have some important and helpful tire safety tips and suggestions as you prepare to head out to your ultimate destination.
I recently had the opportunity to partner with Continental Tire in order to test and talk to an expert about their TerrainContact A/T™ tire. This is an ideal all-terrain tire for CUV, SUV and Light Trucks with the durability to conquer dirt, gravel and grass while providing a quiet, comfortable ride on pavement. This tire from Continental strikes a great balance between off-road traction and on-road manners. You should take comfort knowing that Continental invested 3 years of development, tested over 1,500 tires on over 2,000,000 million miles to perfect this super durable all-terrain tire.
As you know from my Youtube channel, I drive and review new vehicles every week. I have posted over 1,000 video since 2012. Some of my most popular videos are off-road reviews at my local ORV Park. The biggest factor that determines a successful run in the ORV Park is tires. Most of my press vehicles are equipped with all-season tires but when I do get a CUV or SUV with all-terrain tires, I can tackle most any hillside. This is further evidence of the importance of setting your vehicle up to succeed with the right equipment.
Safety and Performance Features:
The TerrainContact A/T™ tire features TractionPLUS Technology which is a combination of features that gives drivers all-terrain traction, durability, good road manners and a really quiet ride. When you look closely, you’ll notice the TerrainContact A/T™ has a very open tread pattern which allows you to get a really good grip on loose surfaces. The large tread blocks are especially good for holding heavy loads for pickup trucks and large SUVs. Typically, large vehicles need a more robust tire. And these large tread blocks make for a good stable ride. Often pickup trucks and large SUVs are used for towing boats and trailers and these larger tread blocks help out quite a bit. This particular tire offers a very planted and stable feel under heavy loads for both the driver and passengers.
I don’t only visit my local ORV Park to test press vehicles, I also like to visit the park in my personal vehicle. That’s why I chose the TerrainContact A/T™ for my 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. This tire, thanks to its open tread pattern, helps me perform better through the dirt, mud and gravel. If you’re an all-terrain off-road driver, TractionPLUS Technology means your tire doesn’t get chewed up by gravel thanks to the robust tread blocks.
The TerrainContact A/T™ also features patented technology which is exclusive to Continental called +Silane. It’s a special technology that bonds silicone molecules to provide a polymer structure that allows for much better grip and traction under wet conditions. Benefits include excellent stopping distance and good acceleration. For example, if you’re on a ramp pulling a boat out of the water, this +Silane technology provides really good surface grip to pull heavy loads. It’s also good under normal driving conditions for braking distances and handling; steering input and response from your compound grip.
So, is the TerrainContact A/T™ an everyday driving tire? Yes. Some people might assume an all-terrain tire is noisy, especially when compared to an all-season tire. But that’s not the case with the TerrainContact A/T™. Continental Tire engineers made a point to not only design the tread pattern to be stable and strong but also very quiet. The tread blocks on the TerrainContact A/T™ are designed to be more open by nature so you can get better loose-surface grip which in turn means a quieter ride. The TerrainContact A/T™ features ‘shift pattern optimization’ which means they use different block sizes throughout the rotation of the tire. As you look at the different rows of tread blocks, you’ll notice that they are shifted slightly to optimize for sound. If you look at the shoulders’ tread blocks, you’ll see there’s a little webbing between the block. Those are called noise blockers. As the tire rolls through the tread pattern, all of those complicated tread features and blocks in the center of the tire make a little bit of noise but as that noise tries to go through the channels of the tread and escape out the side, they hit these noise-blockers and then get absorbed by the inner folds of the tire. All of the features mentioned above make for a solid ‘daily driver’. You have good wet grip, good dry grip, stopping distance, good handling and especially for an all-terrain tire, a very quiet tire. A very well mannered everyday tire.
Here’s something else I learned about why and how this tire provides for a quiet ride. As you now know, tread block shapes, groove configurations, and sipes all affect tire noise pattern and traction characteristics. Typically, wide, straight grooves have a low noise level and help with water removal. Continental’s TerrainContact A/T™ is specifically designed with larger tread blocks for a more stable feel especially when you start loading your vehicle up. Larger tread blocks allow for better handling; turning forces, and acceleration and braking. A good analogy is the difference between putting your finger tips down versus putting your palm on the ground. Your palm has more surface area and more stability. Again, all of these factors help with a quiet, comfortable ride.
Later this year when the weather turns cold you’ll still be able to take advantage of this tire in the snow and ice! The sipes, or the thin slices or gaps within the tread blocks, allow each block to flex. So, when you go to turn or accelerate, the blocks will tilt a bit, giving your tire a gripping edge in the middle of a block. So instead of just a front edge on each block, you also have a middle edge on every block which is particularly important in wet, snowy and icy conditions. Some tires have sipes that are only partially the depth of the tread which means when the tire gets worn down 50% for example, those features go away. But the sipes on Continental’s TerrainContact A/T™ go all the way down below the wear indicators. These full depth sipes give you these biting edges throughout the usable life of the tire.
One more thing. Look closely and you’ll notice traction grooves in the outer channels (groove) of the tire. They look like comb teeth. These are super helpful in snowy conditions as well. They help capture snow and keep it from sliding through that groove. So, the surface of the tire gives you grip (all those sipes, the grooves, the edges, etc.) but the channels, with the help of those traction grooves or traction teeth, grab onto the snow inside the groove and essentially create snow-on-snow grip! As the tire rotates through the snow, those teeth grab onto the snow and that’s how you get snow-on-snow grip. Similar to how you roll a snowball into a bigger and bigger ball. If you keep rolling that snowball, eventually you’ll wind up with a snowman.
Three Simple Tire Tips Before Taking your Summer Road Trips
Tread Depth: You always want to make sure you have sufficient tread depth. You don’t want to take off on a worn out tire. Proper tread depth is essential to prevent hydroplaning and skidding. Evaluate your tread depth to make sure you have plenty of tread. Whether you’re driving through a summer thunderstorm and come across a lot of rain or you’re heading up into the mountains and come in contact with snowy conditions, a slick tire will spell bad news. The minimum tread depth is 2/32nd of an inch (1.6 mm). You can use a penny to check tread depth. Simply place the penny upside down into a tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for a new tire.
Inflation Pressure (Tire Pressure): If you run your tire under inflated, the tire will heat up because it’s being overloaded and can potentially damage the tire. It’s not the tire that supports the weight of your vehicle but rather, the air pressure. So it’s no surprise that tire pressure influences many important characteristics of vehicle performance, such as: driving comfort, directional stability, cornering and braking grip, plus general handling behavior. Driving with incorrect tire pressure will have a negative influence on one or more of these important characteristics. The recommended tire pressures for your vehicle/tire combination can be found in your vehicle handbook, inside the fuel filler flap or on the driver’s door post.
Eye Test: If you’re going to load up or load down your vehicle with the whole family, camping gear, maybe a pet or two, take a few moments to simply walk around your vehicle and inspect your tires. Check for any bulges, cuts, tears or cracks. It only takes a few moments. Are any of the tread blocks torn? Do you have any nails or screws wedged between the grooves? If the vehicle has been modified, check for any rubbing or contact points with the tire and the vehicle. If it doesn’t look right, be safe and take it to your local tire store.
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TerrainContact A/T Testimonials:
“True Performer!” – Truly the quietest riding A/T tire I’ve ever ran, taken them on job sites all over the place, plenty of wet roads and they’ve never slipped once. Fuel economy hasn’t dropped a bit like it usually does with new deeper treaded tires. Will see how they handle this winter, so far so good! – Ram77 (Miles Driven on Tires Less than 10,000)
“Absolutely perfect!” – Replaced the factory all-terrains on my 2017 Ram 2500 which were the ugliest tire I’ve ever seen. First tried Toyo all terrain and the road noise was horrible. Figured I have the same problem with just about any decent looking A/T tire. Then I came across these and have been happier ever since. These tires are the exact factory size so they fit perfect. The side wall is great looking and really adds to the “truck look”. The ride and noise is equal or better than the factory Firestone’s. Best of all, they are rated to hold the proper psi so the tire sensors don’t have issues either. All in all, it’s a shame that Ram can’t put these tires on as factory instead of the junk Firestone’s. – JayG (Miles Driven on Tires Less than 10,000)
“I Love This Tire” – I recently replaced my Fortera tires (in which I hated) with these tires. I wasn’t sure I’d like them. I’ve never owned Continental tires before. I have a 2013 Durango and I was looking for an aggressive tire. We go to the beach, mountains and we live in Oregon so we have a lot of rain. The day I replaced them we drove to Seattle. My drive was quieter and smoother. These tires are very responsive on the road. Last night we had down pouring rain. The puddles were perfect to go through and test the new tires. The Fortera tires made the Durango pull way right. The Continentals I wouldn’t have even known I was going through a puddle if not for seeing the wall of water out the side window. – AmyW (Miles Driven on Tires Less than 10,000)
Customer Reviews Source: LINK
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Continental Tires. The opinions and text are all mine.