- Extra chip-resistance against rocks
- Impressive load rating
- Competitively priced
- Performs admirably in muddy conditions
- Would never recommend it for snow-laded roads.
Good looking tires improve the truck’s aesthetics. High-grade ones take care of the comfort of its passengers. What would you do if asked to make a choice between the two? If you’re a veteran driver who knows the off-road better than any of your peers, you’d want your tire to have both these qualities.
That’s exactly what the Thunder Trac Grip M/T offers. With its open tread lugs and aggressive tread design, this model provides excellent traction in extreme weather and environments. Add to the equation its open and tiered block elements, and what you are getting is an eye-catching design.
Put simply, if you choose to go for this off-road tire, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds. Have doubts about this claim? Then dive deep in our review of the Thunderer Trac Grip M/T.
Thunderer Trac Grip M/T Review: Features
As stated in some of the previous review articles, we follow a protocol when reviewing tires. Unlike most of our colleagues whose work you might see on the internet, we check the features of the model before mounting it and taking it out for a test ride.
Any tire which claims to protect your vehicle and the passengers on off-road conditions must have some features backing up the talk. Luckily, the Thunderer Trac Grip M/T is aware of this simple fact. Hence the reason why you get the following off-road-specific features in this model.
- Aggressive tread design: The aggressive tread design of the Thunderer comes across as a double-edged sword. On one end, its super-tough sidewalls allow the tire extra gripping power on slippery surfaces and allow it to absorb the impact of rocks. On the other, the aggressive tread design makes the Thunderer lose its tread faster.
- Open tread lugs: The lug design on the Trac Grip M/T works to channel mud, sand, and other sticky substances away from the tire. Also, since the lugs have gaps between them, they allow the lugs to conform to the off-road surface, allowing for maximum maneuverability, while also making the overall design of the tire eye-catching.
- Open and tiered block elements: The gaps between the lugs in the tread design of the Thunderer are termed as open and tiered block elements. What they do is make sure that the tire conforms to the surface on which it is rolling. As you might guess, this mechanism allows the tire to provide better maneuverability.
- Extra chip-resistance: Ever wondered why most off-road tires are not advertised for their performance on rocky surfaces? That’s right; these models don’t have it in them to prevent the pointed rock particles from making inroads into the tread pattern and disturbing it. It’s a unique selling point of this model than that it boasts extra chip resistance.
Speed and load ratings
Interestingly, while the Thunder Trac Grip M/T is available in 16’’ through 20’’ applications, all of them have the same speed rating. That means that whether you own a light pickup truck or a heavy-duty one, the maximum speed limit which the Thunderer can safely maintain will remain the same. That isn’t the case with its load-rating, however.
- Q-Speed Rating: The speed rating of a tire puts the ceiling on the maximum speed which a tire can maintain over an extended period of time without damaging itself. With its Q rating, therefore, the maximum speed at which you can constantly drive the Thunderer is 99 miles per hour.
- Two load ratings: Assuming you’re planning to tow, haul or carry heavy loads with your truck, understanding its load rating is a must. With the Thunderer, you get two ratings: 6-ply and 10-ply. The maximum weight which a 6-ply Thunderer can hold is 2205lbs whereas the 10-ply tire can carry up to 3750lbs of load.
Thunderer Trac Grip M/T Review: Test Drive
Since this is a dedicated off-road tire, we had no choice but to take this off-roader to some really tough terrains to make sure that it does what it claims. Here’s how the Thunderer Trac Grip MT performed during its test drive.
Treadwear and Durability
Apart from the aggressive tread design, all the off-road qualities of the Thunderer we mentioned at the start of this article are geared towards providing this tire with an even treadwear. To explain this point, let’s take the example of its open tread lugs.
With gaps between their layers, these lugs effectively channel mud and similar sticky substances from jamming inside the tread. When that happens, the tire can more easily conform to the road surface. And when that happens, it becomes easy to maneuver, and, by extension, durable.
Then there’s the resistance which this tire displays against pointed substances. In combination with its tread pattern, the compound which prevents small rocks from cutting the rubber helps enhance the shelf-life of the Thunderer.
Since Michelin markets this tire as a highway terrain option, you already know what it might offer on fully paved roads. All of the technologies which we mentioned earlier in this article are also geared towards improving this model’s on-road performance.
And we are happy to report that they have succeeded in their mission. Apart from increasing its footprint on dry tarmac – which means that we had more steering control – the Max Touch Construction increases the ‘pick’ of this tire by evenly distributing the forces of acceleration and braking.
As our calculations at the end of the road-trip showed us, the balancing out of competing forces decreased the per-liter fuel consumption of our vehicle. As a result, we were able to enjoy some sights which were not originally a part of our itinerary.
Mud and Rocky terrain
At the cost of sounding biased, not many off-road tires can compete with the performance of the Thunderer on rocky and mud terrains. That’s because, in contrast to its competitors, this model has specific features to help it seamlessly roll on such tough substances.
For example, when moving on muddy terrains, the open tread lugs come to the rescue of this tire. With their lugs having large gaps between them, the tire effectively prevents mud, sand and other sticky substances from making their home inside its tread pattern.
As for rocky terrains, that’s where you’d thank Thunderer for enhancing this model’s sturdiness with extra chip-resistance. With a dual compound guarding the inner rubber, rock particles face a hard time cutting into it. So the rubber stays in its original shape for long.
Wet and Snowy terrain
First things first, these aren’t a set of tires which we recommend using on snow-laded roads. The grooves between the tires are too large for the Thunderer to maintain optimum traction on such slippery surfaces. Besides, they have no dedicated space where you can insert indents to increase their grip.
The opposite is true for the performance of these tires on wet terrains. While it struggles in snowy conditions, the Thunderer excels in wet weather. All the grooves and lugs which it has provided it with the necessary traction which you require to seamlessly navigate on such waterlogged surfaces.
Wondering why that’s the case? Why these tires suck on snowy roads but excel in winter conditions? Their aggressive tread design is the answer. With its sharp and irregular edges, it allows the Thunderer to maintain close contact with the road in all sorts of conditions, except snow.
Noise and Comfort
To get a good measure of how comfortable these tires are, we took the one with the lower load rating (6-ply) on our test drive. We thought that after gauging how comfortable (or otherwise) our ride would be, we’d be in a better position to judge how much better the 10-ply tire would perform.
The results didn’t disappoint us. For a 6-ply tire with a lower than average speed rating and a flexible sidewall, this tire absorbs shocks and load well. On the whole, then, our ride went very comfortably. Though you still can’t place a filled cup of tea on the dashboard as the vibrations will still flip it over.
As for its noise, we place this model in the medium-to-high level. While it isn’t as noisy as the Maxxis Bighorn – yet another tire we took on a test drive in recent months – this tire isn’t as quiet as some of its counterparts which cost higher.
Frankly speaking, we can’t say much about the dry performance of this tire. That’s because the distance between our garage and a dedicated off-road trail is less than a few miles. And that’s the only area where this tire had to face a fully paved road in its test drive.
While covering that distance, its performance was satisfactory. Its aggressive tread pattern meant that it was anything but quiet. But those huge lugs and open & tiered block elements ensured that we didn’t feel anything as it drove over the makeshift speed block bumper located in front of our abode.
After reviewing the Thunderer Trac Grip M/T and taking it out for a test drive, we stand convinced that this fairly-priced model is one that you could count on to handle difficult terrains. It promotes good wear, can handle long hours of driving through difficult terrain, and ensures an overall comfortable ride.
Alvin Reyes has expertise in automotive evaluation. He collaborated with famous newspapers and is still making efforts in tire review for DrivingPress.com