Cars

Tire Review: BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT

BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT
Image source: Bradley Iger/Digital Trends

I let out a string of expletives when I saw the passenger side front tire of our 2007 Ford Explorer. This vehicle is our family work truck, responsible for various tasks like equipment hauling, dog transportation, and the majority of our everyday driving. Reliability is key, but a recent tire issue put that at risk.

We bought this Explorer as a replacement for our previous one (RIP, 2003 XLT), and it came with a nearly new set of Yokohama YK580s. Fast forward 18,000 miles and a tire rotation, and three of the tires were almost worn out. The front passenger tire, in particular, had surpassed its expiration date and had a nail in the rubber, drawing attention to a worn shoulder block on the verge of revealing steel belts.

The nail required immediate attention, but the uneven tread wear and short tread life were also concerning. Wanting to improve the situation in all aspects, I reached out to BFGoodrich for their recommendation.

Picking The Right Tire

BFGoodrich offers a wide range of tires for Ford Explorers, including performance-focused options like the All-Terrain T/A KO2. However, our Limited trim Explorer has a unique 18-inch OEM wheel that requires the less common tire size of 235/65R18. This specific requirement led us to the Advantage T/A Sport LT.

Tires like the Advantage T/A Sport LT are designed for on-road, all-season capability. According to BFGoodrich’s Andrew Comrie-Picard, these tires face more varied demands compared to high-performance summer tires which have a narrower focus.

Designing such a tire presents challenges due to the trade-offs involved. Comrie-Picard explains, “It’s easy to make a tire if you focus on one aspect. The real challenge for engineers is when you’re trying to do several things at once. When you want a tire to be tractable, quiet, good for everyday use, and perform across a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, you’re suddenly trying to defy the inherent trade-offs in designing a road tire.”

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To meet these challenges, the Advantage T/A Sport LT incorporates a range of features aimed at providing versatile capability. Despite being an all-season tire, BFGoodrich maintains its performance tire DNA. While most drivers won’t use these tires on the track, the added performance can come in handy in situations like sudden braking or evading an obstacle on the road.

Aside from maximizing dry grip, practical features are also built into the design. Tread blocks on the sides wrap over the top to address tire deflection during cornering, providing stability and durability when encountering rocks or potential sidewall damage. The tire’s center tread band is designed to minimize noise and improve fuel economy by reducing energy loss.

Efficient water channeling is crucial for all-season tires. Instead of claiming to evacuate water from the tire’s sides, BFGoodrich focuses on providing tread voids that direct water away from the surface, reducing hydroplaning. The “Raptor claws” in the tread design, derived from all-terrain tires, serve as an additional means to channel water while ensuring stability.

On The Road

BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT
Image source: Bradley Iger/Digital Trends

The first noticeable advantage of the BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT over the previous set is that they are the correct OEM size. Compared to the wider Yokohamas that were on the vehicle before, the Advantage T/A Sports are slightly narrower and taller.

Switching to properly sized tires brings potential improvements in ride quality and handling. The additional sidewall functions as part of the suspension, resulting in a smoother ride. The narrower tires also reduce sidewall deflection during cornering, improving handling compared to overstretched tires subjected to high lateral loads.

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While late spring in Los Angeles doesn’t see much bad weather, the benefits of the Advantage T/A Sport LT became evident quickly. The BFGoodrich tires offer sharper and more immediate handling during initial turn-in. Overall ride quality has also improved, even though these characteristics usually conflict with each other from a design perspective. Additionally, road noise and fuel economy showed tangible improvements.

The beefed-up sidewalls of the Advantage T/A Sport LT also give the Explorer an added visual appeal. BFGoodrich’s design philosophy shines through, even in an everyday tire like this one. The wrap-around tread blocks, versatility, and focus on performance are evident.

Although wet handling, long-term durability, and tread longevity are yet to be determined, the initial findings are encouraging. Now, if BFGoodrich could only come up with a technology to deflect nails on the road, we’d have all bases covered.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • The 2020 Ford Explorer fights flat tires with self-sealing tech from Michelin
  • Goodyear’s new Aero concept tire transforms into a propeller for flying cars

OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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