TIRE TEST: BFGoodrich All-Terrain T-A K02 – Part 2
A real-world evaluation of BFG All-Terrain T-A K02 tires on an old Jeep WranglerAllie Marsh
Published: March 26, 2018, 8:10 PM
Updated: April 30, 2018, 5:18 PM
BFGoodrich says its All-Terrain T-A K02 light-truck and SUV tires are designed to provide 15% longer tread life on asphalt, twice the tread life on gravel, 10% more mud traction for those sticky situations, and 19% better snow traction when the weather gets cold, compared to its predecessor, the K0 tire.
We can’t make that direct comparison but we’re going to see how they perform in several seasons of multi-faceted operation in the real world. The impressions below are the second of three reports we’ll provide on our experience with these big mudders.
As you will recall, the 31x10.5 R15 BF Goodrich All Terrain T-A K02s were installed last summer on my stock 2001 Jeep TJ Wrangler. Since then, winter has reared its ugly head and not unlike most vehicle owners, I kept these “all season” tires on my Jeep for the winter. Something I have done every year I have owned my Jeep. “I have 4 wheel drive.” “I am an SUV.” All good points but given the advantages out there for swapping out summers for winters, I wanted to see if these could hold up to our Canadian Winters. It didn’t take me long to realize these tires are different. Very different. Even though the compound in the rubber makes the tires squishy, soft, malleable and absorbing – all qualities I still felt through the cold of winter – the weather didn’t seem to phase the rubber and they worked extremely well all winter.
Snow Covered Parking Lots
Let’s talk about snow – light, fluffy, powdery snow, or even the thick heavy wet kind. Definitely not an issue for my K02s or the Jeep. Driving in deep snow, these tires display some great qualities. They move the snow and collect it in the tread. At first, I thought collecting the snow in the tread can’t be good because that just creates like a racing slick tire and it won’t grip anything, but what they were actually doing was intentionaly collecting up snow (or stones or loose gravel, under other conditions) and removing it from under the tire, allowing for the tire to better stick to the surface below and allowing better stopping with control and pulling away with control. The gathered up snow is propelled out behind me – look out anyone behind me!
Full-On Canadian Winter
In 2-wheel drive, all the Wrangler’s power is directed to the rear tires, and no matter what the winter conditions, I have always been very aware of this. So, this winter, whether I was driving down a straight, turning a corner, in deep snow or on packed snow, I was constantly reminding myself to go easy on the throttle because I thought “all-season” tires wouldn’t hold the ground underneath me. Old habits die hard. However, there was never a time where there wasn’t excellent handling, gripping and sticking to the surface below me. When the vehicle did fish-tail, there was always quick recovery through the tires adhering to the surface, thanks to the soft compounds for which these tires are known. They played their part, and they played it well. Operating in 4-wheel drive didn’t really make much of a difference with these tires either, it only made it better. All four tires now powered through, holding when I needed them to hold – and making it harder for me to practice my e-brake turns and 180s in those vacant parking lots.
On (thin) Ice
Before I forget, these tires are rated with the “snowflake” and “3-tier mountain” symbol on their side-wall, so they do meet (some may say exceed) specific snow-traction performance requirements set out by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, and are also approved as winter tires in the province of Quebec where winter tires are mandated for the season. With that being said, they are fantastic for snow, cold temperatures, slush, (and of course pavement, sand and gravel) – and they hold their own on ice, too. BFGoodrich introduced 3D siping on the side walls – meaning rather than the usual straight sipes you see across tread blocks, the sipes on these tires are shaped to allow the tread blocks to conform better to the terrain you want them to hold on too – including ice. That’s what helps give them their rugged look, when viewed from the side.
Just ask anyone who has a set of these BFGoodrich KO2 tires on their SUVs or small trucks and they will tell you there is nothing like them for an “all-season” tire. They really are an awesome all around performing tire for everything you need a tire to do on your truck or SUV – within the realm of everyday use. They aren’t noisy, they grip when they are supposed to, they gather up the loose material you are driving on and then remove it again, allowing for better grip, quicker stopping and a more controlled start, and if I didn’t know better, I would say the tread on these tires will outlast the life of the tire. So, get out there and have some fun with your K02s.