Denyse and I are very particular about having good tyres on both our tow vehicle and caravan. The last thing we want is to increase the risk of a blow-out or puncture in far western Queensland or the outback of WA, have an avoidable accident, or be stuck for several days waiting for a replacement tyre.
To this end, we replace our tyres well before the minimum legal depth of tread (1.6 mm).
Our current Territory is a Titanium 2WD – the previous ones have been AWD – and all three Ford Territories have been hard on tyres.
Most of our running is towing our single axle van, which weighs about 1800kg max. At around 10,000km we rotate the tyres, and depending on the type of roads, and probably the brand of tyre, we get between 22,000 and 33,000km before we buy new ones.
While you can and should get better mileage than this, we change our tyres before that last 10% of tread. We have not had a puncture or blowout in all our travels and this is partly because we do not drive on worn tyres, and partly down to good luck.
On checking our tyres recently, as we were due to rotate them prior to this years writing trip, I discovered the back tyres have only 3mm tread depth left! We had only travelled 13,120km on these new tyres. The front have 4-5mm tread. Most new highway tyres have 8mm tread, and as the minimum legal depth is 1.6, I felt that at that rate of wear, it would be dangerous to do this trip with less than 1.5mm between us and the legal limit.
A well-known Australian-wide tyre retailer had recommended this particular brand of tyre for our vehicle, and to have to change the tyres after only 13,500km I was 'Not Happy Jan'.
Checking out tyres via Mr Google, I discovered that Cooper tires have 8.6mm of tread on their highway CS5 tyres, so we have decided to replace the rear tyres with Coopers and to keep the front tyres on until we return home to Mackay after the first leg of our journey to far north Queensland, Karumba, Cloncurry and Daintree. We will then replace the front tyres, probably with Coopers if they seem to be wearing well.
I have heard that some tyres manufactured in Asia have a suspect compound, but then many recognised brands are now made in Asian countries.
Did I get a bad set of tyres? Was the fact that this car is a 2WD and our previous cars were AWD? Was it due to travelling along a lot of outback single lane bitumen roads towing our van in hot weather?
We have had no problems at all with premature or uneven tyre wear on our single axle caravan, which has independent suspension and 195/14inch wheels, although we change these tyres regularly every three to four years.
Maybe our readers have had this experience, or would like to comment. I will let you know what sort of run we get out of the Coopers.