Pit Stop: New treads for the truck at Discount Tire

As a road trip blogger, it’s vitally important for me to keep my Ford F-150 transport vehicle in tip-top shape. After more than three years and tens of thousands of miles, I was due for a new set of tires. I am one of those people who is very brand loyal when I find a company I like. When I was seventeen I had an ol’ beat up ’78 Camaro I was fixing up. I’ll never forget the expression on the folks faces when I first drove up in my new (very used) sports car. They both shook their heads and said, “Well, if that’s what you want to do,” and walked away with an air of apprehension and dismay. They could not get over the fact that I had sold a perfectly good vehicle for what they saw, was a piece of junk. Little did they know how it would end up looking six months later.

One of the first things I did to make my Camaro look cool was to buy a new set of tires and wheels. Discount Tire was a local company just down the street, with a reputation as the best place in Arizona to get a good deal on tires and wheels. As a high school kid with limited funds, the word “discount” resonated with me. I remember the hilarious commercials Discount used to air with an old lady throwing a tire through a window of one of their stores…with voice-over saying, “If ever you’re not satisfied with one of our tires, please…bring it back.” [I didn’t even look that slogan up, I think I remembered it verbatim after all these years]. I guess it was the combination of reputation, creative/effective marketing and convenient location that initially got me in the door. I’ll never forget the feeling I had seeing my Camaro sporting new tires and wheels…even though the rest of the car looked like junk, the new addition made ya take notice.

When you walk into a You are truly made to feel welcomed, and you get the sense that they not only want to earn your business that day, but for a lifetime. You will not feel any sense of pressure to buy a particular set of tires, but rather the service folks want to help you make a decision that is right for you.

Whether you have an appointment or not, the guys in the service bay will hustle to get you back on the road in no time. After more than 50 years of only selling tires and wheels, Discount Tire is a well-oiled machine that has service and installation down to a science. I’ve never seen what appears to be chaos, come together like a well orchestrated symphony of teamwork. As cars come in and out of the bays, like train cars at a station, the team is constantly communicating with one another so everyone is on the same page. A supervisor (or perhaps he should be known as a conductor) will let the team know what tasks are to be performed as cars enter the bay. Tires will be fetched and brought to the vehicle while the old tires are dismounted. There is a constant stream of movement to and from the vehicle and service areas…one guy will be taking the old tires off the wheels, while another guy takes off weights and preps the next tire. The process is like an assembly line, where the tire then moves to the balancing station, until finally it’s rolled off toward a waiting vehicle. There must be 4-6 guys working on a single car to get it out the door as quickly as possible.

I was up in Spokane, Washington when I purchased my last set of tires. As a road trip blogger, I never know where I’ll be—so it’s nice to know that with over 800 locations across the country, if anything happens to my tires, there’s a good chance there will be a Discount Tire near by. I often use their free air check and balancing services…and, I’ve even had to use the road hazard warranty a couple of times.  I had a tread separation in Provo, Utah once and the guys at the Discount Tire store fixed me up and got me on my way…free of charge (excluding the new tire warranty that is).

I’m not sure why, but I rarely get the same tires each time. I guess a lot depends on availability for my tire size. On my current F-150, I had a couple/three sets of stock Goodyear Tires, but they just didn’t seem to last very long, so the last time I opted for Yokohama Tires. These were a really nice set of ATS (all terrain) tires and they’ve lasted a long time. My only complaint was the fact that the tread spacing was quite wide and when I’d go off road, I’d often pick up rocks. Over the years I’ve had a few sets of the Pathfinder tires, which is an exclusive brand to Discount Tire. I have found the Pathfinder tires to be good performers, long lasting and quite affordable for what you get. So, when Discount Tire offered to let me try out a set, I jumped at the chance. After I’ve had an opportunity to drive on them for a while, both on and off-road, I’ll do a follow-up post on their performance (See below).

As someone who does a lot of driving on varied surfaces, including off-road, I really need a tire that is the complete package…one that is good on the highway, inclement conditions, as well as rugged and off-road. The Pathfinder Sport S A/T seems to fit the bill…it combines a smart balance of on-road handling and off-road traction. The durable, specialized tread compound resists chipping and cutting during off-road adventures and is backed by a 60,000-mile warranty. The tire’s winter rating assures reliable traction year-round.

As you can tell, I’m a pretty big fan of Discount Tire. They are a company that embodies the fundamental ingredients for success. Discount Tire is one of only a couple dozen companies that I go out of my way to recommend to people. If you are a Discount Tire customer, I’d love to hear about your experience with the company…please leave a comment below.

UPDATE (February 2015)

Well, it’s been a year driving on my Pathfinder Sport A/T tires and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve driven over 14,000 miles and you’d hardly know it as the tread doesn’t appear to be that worn. I’ve really put the tires through the paces too…from rugged off roads, steep dirt inclines, plenty of city and highway driving, to inclement weather conditions in Colorado a few months ago during Thanksgiving. I even tested the tire traction on a rugged and steep hill the other day in 2 wheel drive to see if I could make it up without putting the truck into four-wheel drive, and, without the tires spinning. I took it pretty slow, and was quite impressed that I made it up with little loss in traction given the steep degree of the grade.

Discount Tire Pathfinder S A/T tires

Bottom line, these Pathfinder A/T tires have preformed well. I feel safe and secure with the handling, both at highway speeds and off road. The road noise for an A/T tire seems to be quite good, however I have no data to prove it…just my opinion. I’m no tire testing expert, but I do have a lot of road trip miles under my belt and have owned quite a few different sets of tires in my day. Over the past year I have answered a lot of emails and a number of comments/questions below. If you have a question and don’t see that I’ve addressed it below, feel free to drop me a line.

Pathfinder s A/T tires by Discount Tire

 

Mike Shubic

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Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.

38 Comments

  1. I remember those ads too! You are right about Discount Tire; I’ve never been anything but pleased with them. Also, even though it’s “just” tires we’re talking about (as opposed to engine or transmission trouble), I always feel comfortable at DT. Since I’m often on the road by myself, that’s very important.

  2. How do you like these tires? I have a Jeep Wrangler and have been eyeing these. I would say they will get some light to moderate off-road use. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jacob…thanks for stopping by. I can’t say anything negative about them. The price is quite good, both on/off road handling is good. My only question is longevity. They have a 50k, or is it 60k mile tread warranty, so if I can get 40k out of them I’ll be happy.

  3. Hello Mike,

    Thanks for the update as I am looking at them for my Xterra Pro 4X.

    How many miles do you have on them? You’ve had them on for 11 months according to the post date.

    How is the wear? Yes, they are a 60K tire which seems like a lot for a tire in this price range.

    How is the road noise? That is one kind of important with my more spartan X vs. your plush Ford.

    Do you have any snow/ice reports?

    Thanks much! Love the site!

    -Ben

    1. Hi Ben, thanks for stopping by, and, for your questions. So far I would say I have about 10k miles on these tires…the wear so far is good, hardly noticeable. I had some Yokohama tires on the truck before (fairly similar to the Pathfinders, but a bit more expensive), they too were rated for 60k…I drove them for about 47k and they still had pretty good tread on them. I actually sold them for $120 as they were still re-sellable. I think the road noise is pretty good, certainly no more than the Yokohama tires I had. Noise of course really depends on the road conditions. In Arizona a lot of the roads are rubberized to minimize the harsh sound. You know, I don’t have any snow-ice reports. I was hoping to test them out in Colorado during Thanksgiving, but it was unseasonable warm. I hope my answers were helpful. If you have any more questions, I’m happy to answer. Thanks so much for the kudos and again for stopping by. All the best!

  4. Thinking about getting a set of these for my truck. Do you have any new updates on seasonal performance, tread life, road noise, etc…?

    1. Hi Jason…thanks for stopping by. These Pathfinder tires are holding up well. I’ve had them for about a year now and have about 11,000 miles on them. Road noise is really good for an AT tire and the performance has been good. I have not driven in any snow or ice conditions, so have nothing to report there. They are just fine in wet or even flooded conditions. I’ve also done quite a bit off-roading and they seem to grip pretty well on the dirt as well. If you have any other specific questions, please don’t hesitate to reply back. Cheers!

  5. Thanks for sharing all your experiences, particularly about the Pathfinder tires. I’m at a crossroads with my set of Goodyear Forterra tires. They’ve been on my Isuzu Ascender for 14 mos (22k miles) and already down to 3/32 tread depth. Yes, 100% tread wear in 30% of the 60k mile warranty. Although my local Discount Tire will give me a credit towards new tires, I’m very unhappy with the premature wear from these tires. I will the give the Pathfinder ‘ some serious thought. Thanks

    1. Hi Jose…so sorry for the delay in replying. Yes, I’ve driven in snow and mud and they handle quite well. I will say this though…they have a 60k warranty, but they won’t get anywhere near that many miles. I bet I only have 15-17k miles on them and they are half way worn through. They are a softer tire, so they grip really well, but I figure I’ll be lucky to get 30k good miles out of them…maybe 35k. Hope that helps. Cheers, Mike

  6. I am also a big Fan of Discount since 1998, and have purchased most all my tires from them. I had to go in today for new truck tires as I noticed some nasty cracks on the shoulders of my 8yr old Cooper Zeons. With only 20k, they had plenty of tread but the AZ sun is not kind to tires. Discount was able to get me fixed up in less than an hour with their Pathfinder All Terrains (I think Kumho makes these for Discount) and credited me almost $400 for the failed Cooper Tires. Time will tell if these perform well but they are pretty quite and smooth for E range ATs and no vibrations. If there was any issues, I feel confident that Discount would take care of it.

  7. Well ok, over 2 years with the tires and you still have them, whats the final user report? I just looked at these day but juuust couldnt quite pull the trigger, but the price is attractive along with the looks.

    1. Hi Rafer…yes, I still have them and they are going strong. I did damage one recently, but it was covered under the road hazard warranty and so it was replaced for free. I did update the post last year and gave more insight into how they were wearing, etc., so you may want to refer back to the post. Yeah, ya can’t go wrong with the price and look of the tires. I don’t have a ton of miles as I have two vehicles, I think maybe 25k miles on them so far and they are doing well. It looks like the tread is worn at least half way, but when I took them in to have the one tire replaced, I think they said I had about 65% tread left, which seemed surprising, but I’ll take it. I think I should easily get 40k miles out of them. They are rated for 50k I think. Hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers, Mike

  8. Hi Mike. Love your blog. These are on our new 2011 truck. One year old. Our 2004 travel trailer has 14 inch rims. We want a good tire for that too in a d rating. What brand/ type can best match our truck tires for all around driving. At 14″ we cant use LT and want stronger sidewalls than c. 205 or 215/r75 d or e with high (m or n) speed rating. If you know. Thanks. Ive read so many bad problems with tires.

  9. Hi Mike! Yours and other reviews on these tires really sealed the deal for me. I am currently getting a set of five for my 2 door Wrangler here in Spokane Wa. We get lots of snow in the Pacific Northwest and I’m really hoping these will do well. I don’t do any hard core off roading, just light trails. The specs of the “P” rated tires is just what I needed for my JK. Thanks for posting this great review of these tires!
    Mike.

  10. Thanks Mike, I appreciated your blog and comments on the tires. Like you i have not bought tires from anyone else for many YEARS. always satisfied, Pathfinder At for my silverado. Had Niittos grappler 2 from them and was satisfied but a bit priacey. Thanks.

  11. Hi Mike, I am looking at the Pathfinder AT for my 2011 F-350. I tow a 9K fifth wheel trailer. Do you think these are good tow vehicle tires?

    1. Hey Brian, I wish I could offer some advice, but I haven’t towed much at all with my Pathfinders. I would reach out to Discount Tire and ask their opinion…they are really good and want to make sure you get the right tires for the right applications.

  12. Hey Mike, I just read your review after buying a set of Pathfinder A/T’s. This is my first time buying… lets say a no name or off brand tire. I had to order them, because they didn’t have my size in stock, so this gave me time to look them up and I found your article. I’m going to have them installed on a 2013 Silverado 1500. My question to you is, how to they handle in snow and on ice? As I live in Idaho and we get really icy roads after the snow plow comes around. I asked at Discount tire if they sipe tires and they don’t. And in November I’m planning on traveling to Northern California pulling a toy hauler and Ice my be a problem. Any advise would be appreciated. Rick

    1. Hey Rick, thanks for stopping by. I have a 4×4 and they seem to handle pretty well in inclement conditions. Not sure with a 2-wheel drive on ice and snow. I think in November you should be okay with the weather, I’ve driven northern California and Idaho in November and while there might be snow, it’s not typically cold enough for ice quite yet, but ya never know. I wish I could give you more precise information. Hope you have a great road trip and enjoy the tires. Cheers!

  13. Great info, thanks for sharing. I’m looking at getting these very tires, so your post was very helpful. Thank you.

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