Someone looking at a vehicle can usually tell what type of off-roading the owner does by the modifications on the rig as well as the tires. The more aggressive the tires are, the more it implies that the owner takes the vehicle out and uses it.
We all know those people, on the other hand, that have massive tires and a huge lift, where the only dirt the vehicle will see is in the spare lot at the local mall. From looks alone, we knew this XJ was not equipped to handle any extreme terrain, but we turned to Cooper Tires to help get it headed in the right direction.
Our bald tires provided little to no traction wherever we went. Forget driving in the rain, we would get sideways!
For us and our 1995 Jeep Cherokee, it was about function more than looks. This vehicle gets used and needs something that will provide traction both on and off-road. The Jeep recently had a Mantic Clutch installed, but the bald tires were not going to cut it in the dirt.
The owner of the Jeep likes to go out and crawl on rocks, but with the bald tires on the vehicle, even a routine recovery can be difficult. With a new set of tires, we were also looking to step up a size. The vehicle started with 33-inch tires and would be jumping up to a 35-inch.
With the type of off-roading being done, we landed with Cooper’s Discoverer STT Pro. These tires would give the Jeep the aggressive look we wanted, but also the performance we wanted on the trail.
To find out more about how these tires would help us in the dirt we spoke to Scott Jamieson. Tires play a crucial part in maintaining traction and we needed to see exactly what was going to give us the grip we needed.
Discoverer STT Pro Features
“Cooper Tire has been in the tire industry for over 100 years,” Jamieson explained. “We are very proud of our heritage with the off-road adventurer community. In fact, more than 40 years ago, we introduced our well-known Discoverer light truck tire line. The Discoverer STT Pro is a continuation of this heritage.”
The Discoverer STT Pro was introduced in June of 2016 and was designed for the truck owner. Whether you are a rancher or an outdoor enthusiast, Cooper Tire had you in mind when creating this tire.
“The Discoverer STT Pro is a tire that can be used both on and off the road,” Jamieson said. “The tire features a coupled silica compound, stone-repelling draft angles on the tread’s grooves to help remove stones before they can damage the tire, cut-n-chip additives for reduced tread abrasions caused by rocks and debris, and Armor-Tek3 construction which adds durability to the sidewall.”
The footprint of the tire tells it all.
“How well is a tire going to handle off-road?” Is usually the first question dirt enthusiasts look at when selecting a tire for their rig, and the Discoverer STT Pro has features that help in the dirt. The Armor-Tek3 construction is just the start, as the tire also features an inner tread rib design which reduces road noise while maintaining handling in all types of terrain.
The Armor-Tek3 construction uses three plies in the sidewall. – Scott Jamieson, Cooper Tire
There is a flex groove that helps when airing down the tire. The groove allows the tread and sidewall to better conform and work together when traversing irregular, tough obstacles. The large cleats along the sidewall’s shoulder allow for added grip in muddy or soft terrains as well as in rockcrawling situations. The orientation of these cleats promotes traction on inclines, reducing the chances of tire side-slip.
“The tire also features asymmetrical scallops, which are placed on alternating lugs to direct mud into the mud scoops, and the scallops allow the tire to pull through muddy terrain,” Jamieson said. “Lastly, the tire is produced with a coupled silica compound, which allows for traction in all wet-weather conditions, and helps lengthen the tread life.”
Asymmetrical scallops which are placed on alternating lugs to direct mud into the mud scoops
Of course, real-world testing is valuable. It allows a company to make changes before the public sees the product. Cooper did extensive on and off-road testing in the U.S. and in Australia. All of Cooper’s tires also go through FMVSS 139 compliance testing, which is a government-mandated standard, along with its own internal testing.
Knowing what we are getting ourselves into, we only had one thing left on the agenda: get it in the dirt and see what it could really do.
The aggressive sidewall allows for traction in soft terrain.
Looking Between The Tread
Everything sounds great on paper, but it is how it handles in the dirt that really matters. For that, we took the Jeep out to a couple local trails for testing. The local trails gave us a mix of terrain, from hard-packed dirt to soft sand.
We headed out to some of our local trails to see what the tire could do in the dirt.
The first spot that we visited was a section of access roads, so there were paths already etched into the landscape. The Jeep was able to get around with no problems and did not need four-wheel drive for any of these sections.
We arrived at a tricky section where we were able to flex the Jeep out a little and see just how much traction we could keep in a difficult spot. The Discoverer STT Pro gripped the ground below again, allowing us to stay in two-wheel drive.
Whether it be on hard-pack or soft sandy trails, we can all agree that any tire looks better when it's dusty.
What other way is there to test a tire than to see the footprint that will be left on the ground behind you. We headed to another trail that had a softer, sandier section that would allow the tire to really dig into the dirt.
We really liked the amount of traction the tire gave us in different types of terrains. It handled well and allowed us to know that no matter what was below us we would be able to maintain a grip.
The best part of any tire test is the time we get to spend in the dirt.
There was no need to air down for any of the terrain we tested on. As we drove to and from the trails, we did not have excessive tire noise, but found we had a quiet ride. Even standing on the side of the road and watching the Jeep pass back and forth, we did not notice a noise.
But a test is not ever complete, so we will continue to monitor the tires and how they handle both on and off-road. Stay tuned for a future update as we catch back up with our Cherokee and the Discoverer STT Pro.
We surely made our mark on the trail. The Discoverer STT Pro left a great looking footprint in the soft sandy section of one of our local trails.
Impressions Left In The Sand
The tires on the Jeep saw rain, mud, and soft sand. It was able to succeed in all areas, providing ample traction no matter the terrain.
We would recommend these tires for both the weekend warrior or a vehicle that sees more dirt than pavement. The tires performed well and we will let you know how they handle after we put even more miles on them.
For more information on Cooper Tires and to see what they are up to, be sure to check out its website and Facebook page. What do you look for in a tire? Tell us in the comments below!