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A truck was built to do more than the average vehicle, and that goes double for diesels. Manufactured with high tolerances, tow ratings, and parts that go the extra mile, owners of these vehicles have to be able to handle whatever comes their way, and part and parcel of that are the tires and wheels.

Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, known for its decades of devotion to the craft of making quality footwear for numerous applications, is keeping its reputation on the up and up with top-tier wheels and tires that suit savvy drivers. Case in point are the MTZ P3 mud terrain tires, and Metal Series MM-164M wheels, which we recently installed on a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 owned by James Farquhar out of Phelan, California.

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Our test bed for the MTZ P3s was this 2006 Dodge Ram 2500, owned by James Farquhar of Phelan, California.

The dusty, high desert town is no stranger to off-roading enthusiasts, of which James is definitely a proud member. He trusts his pickup to take him wherever he needs to go, or do any job that needs doing; with these new MTZ P3s and MM-164Ms installed, he should be able to make it happen. What follows is our finding of how these tires performed, both on-road and off-road, as well as exploration of what sets them apart.

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It was 1963 when Mickey Thompson Tires got its start. The man himself was one of the automotive industry’s most innovative figures, setting land speed records, making lightning-fast passes down the blacktop, and eventually making his way to desert racing in buggies that broke new ground in what was thought possible from these off-road machines.

What Is PowerPly Construction?

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PowerPly construction refers to Mickey Thompson’s innovative twist on plies in tires. It is a carcass construction that lessens the twist in a tire, making for a faster response in steering.

In a standard tire with traditional radial construction, there are higher levels of torque twist that affect the tire during sudden stops, corners, and accelerations. This leads to a loss of energy through the back or side of the tire, decreasing the quickness of a driver’s input to his tires, as well as the vehicle’s handling traits.

PowerPly construction involves a directional ply that runs slightly across the two radial plies, linking them together. In this way, the tire flexes much less during harsh instances, and increases the vehicle’s handling while also being safer on the whole. To see how Mickey Thompson tested its PowerPly technology against the competition, click here.

Those experiences shaped the development of tires along the way. Nowadays, the company offers robust and rugged footwear for a great deal of applications, and where it concerns the off-road market, customers can choose from six consumer-grade options (with five more for the more hardcore or racing-centered customer), of which the MTZ P3 is a more recent – and more exciting – entry.

“The Baja MTZ P3 is our premium mud terrain tire,” said Mickey Thompson’s Willy Woo. “It features our distinctive PowerPly construction on the sidewalls, which run a ply diagonally to the two standard plies, giving the tires added strength. Also, the MTZ P3s tout our exclusive four-step SideBiters for sidewall protection and off-road traction.”

Pairing with these 37-inch MTZ P3s were a set of killer MM-164M wheels. These 20-inch wheels were on the larger side of the wheel/tire size spectrum, and denote a push from Mickey Thompson to answer the call from truck enthusiast customers.

“Most new trucks come from the factory with 18 and 20-inch wheels now,” said Woo. “Our wheels offer upgraded looks, a wider stance, easy care, and are friendly to use with the stock tire pressure monitoring sensors.”

The MM-164M wheels give off an excellent style to any truck, and come ready with a lifetime structural warranty and a one-year warranty on the finish.

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The MTZ P3’s tread design looks ready to rumble (and it is), but it is designed to have acceptable road manners as well.

Looking further into what both of these Mickey Thompson products have to offer, we can see that the MTZ P3 has a tread design that looks outright angry in terms of what it can do off-road, but this is tempered by its ability to also display prowess on-road, too. “We specially tuned the tread design to reduce road noise, while also giving it a deeper tread depth than our all-terrain tires,” said Woo. “The tread compound is reinforced with silica to enhance its wet performance, cut and chip resistance, and overall longevity.”

But let’s be honest here, the MTZ P3 is a tire for those who aren’t afraid to get dirty; and it’s all too willing to please. “The Baja MTZ P3 shines off-road,” said Woo. “Air them down, and they can take you just about anywhere you want to go. A decoupling groove helps with this by allowing the tread to conform to irregular surfaces, as well as reduce heat, and the self-cleaning tread and built-in stone ejectors offer maximum traction in all off-road conditions.”

Stone ejectors and a decoupling groove give the MTZ P3s great off-road traction when underinflated.

Seeing as these tires would go on a diesel, and a diesel should be expected to handle towing every now and again, Woo was able to comment on this point, too: “The MTZ P3 offers high load ratings, and the three-ply sidewall improves towing capabilities and stability.”

Circling back to the wheels, on top of looking awesome, they had additional protection offered by Mickey Thompson. “The wheels are covered with a lifetime warranty against structural defects, and a one-year warranty on the finish,” stated Woo. “They’re clear-coated for easy care and come with a pop-top center cap for easy access to locking hubs.”

After mounting and balancing the Mickey Thompsons (top row), we installed them onto the truck in no time (bottom row).

Whenever we do one of these wheel and tire installs, it’s fun to compare what was already on the vehicle with the new and improved wheels and tires going on. In the case of Farquhar’s Dodge Ram, we were swapping out a set of 17-inch MB TKOs wrapped in 35-inch Nitto Terra Grappler A/Ts.

By our estimate, these tires had been on the truck for some time (10-20,000 miles, perhaps). They didn’t show significant need to be replaced just yet, but they certainly didn’t have the sort of meat that these new MTZ P3s had.

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Being all-terrains, they also had a noticeably shallower tread depth, and the tread blocks were placed more closely together than our mud-terrains. This made them quiet on the roads, to be sure, but they probably suffered off-road when push came to shove.

On-road, the MTZ P3s were by no means quiet, but they weren’t exactly a firecracker factory set ablaze either. If you can imagine what an acceptable level of road noise for these tires was, then you can imagine how these tires rode on the asphalt.

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Turning did feel a little more arduous in the truck with the MTZ P3s, most likely due to the heavier weight of larger wheels and tires, as well as a stiffer construction. Grip was right there, though, when using the throttle aggressively.

Off-road, the MTZ P3s were able to eat up the terrain without a fuss. Even at full inflation, we could feel the grip of the tires moving us forward all the time. It’s a shame we couldn’t take the truck rockcrawling, or we would have!

Equipped with the new wheels and tires from Mickey Thompson, the 2500 now had the imposing presence it deserved.

We conferred with Farquhar a few weeks after the install to see what he had to say about his Mickey Thompson upgrades. “These tires are great, I really like them,” he said. “They’re some of the best I’ve run in a while! I love how the wheels and tires look on my truck, and I love the extra ride height I get, too.”

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They fling a ton of mud on the trails and in the mud holes. The tires clean up nicely and don’t have a problem getting thick mud off. – James Farquhar, truck owner

“The tires are a little loud, maybe a 6.5 out of 10,” he continued. “Still, they ride nicely on the freeway. I had the chance to get off-road where it was snowy, and they gripped well in six inches of slush and two feet of snow.”

Farquhar even took the Dodge out mudding not too long ago, saying, “They fling a ton of mud on the trails and in the mud holes. The tires clean up nicely and don’t have a problem getting thick mud off.”

With that kind of endorsement, we think it’s safe to say the MTZ P3 and MM-164M would be a great combination for a truck owner looking for the next step up in tires and wheels. Farquhar agrees, and then some: “I would for sure run Mickey Thompsons on my truck anytime, and I would recommend them to my friends or anyone looking for some new mud terrains.”

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For your next set of wheels and tires, Mickey Thompson is a great way to go. Find out more on the company’s website, and follow along with news, events, and more on Facebook.