When I bought Project 130 the Land Rover Defender, it was in dire need of some new rubber. Along with upgrading the suspension and wheels, I fitted up some Bridgestone Dueler M/T 674 mud-terrain tyres, in an LT285/75 R16 size. Back then, there were just over 210,000 kilometres on the clock. Now, there are 265,000.
Since my daily commute is only 6 kilometres, all of those miles have been on trips, and much of it off-road. Here are the major ones:
- The Madigan Line and Geosurveys Hill
- The Oodnadatta Track
- The Hay River Track
- Corner Country
- A very muddy Plenty Highway
- 1 lap of Tasmania, including Climes Track
In all of these situations, the tyres have been really good. In the meantime, there has been a handful of camping trips to Hill End, and I visited every 4WD-accessible beach between Port Macquarie and Forster back in issue 021 of this magazine. Rocky water crossings of Bendethera and the Abercrombie Rivers have been easily managed, and even some of the tougher challenges of Menai, a den of rock crawling on the edge of Sydney, saw the tyres perform well. Muddy patches through Wombeyan, Newnes and Zig Zag have been no problem, either.
Grip aside, the most impressive performance of the tyres no doubt come from running them at very low pressures, in a 3-tonne 4X4 for up to weeks on end without and issues. For me, the construction and structural longevity of a tyre is very important, and these tyres have been pretty faultless.
Damage and wear
Damage to these tyres are only superficial so far; tread blocks are only now showing serrated edges, and the sidewalls have some nicks and scuffs. But hey, there’s a reason why rugby props have weathered melons. In fact, the only tyre-related trouble I have had is a wayward kangaroo ripping out my valve stem in a direct hit near Winton, QLD. No fault of the tyre.
The 50,000 kilometres, of which I reckon is 50% has been genuine off-road work with heavy loads, has these tyres about 60% worn. That’s with a six-tyre rotation, mind you. At this rate, I would expect the six tyre to give me around 85,000 kilometres, which is pretty handy. It’s especially handy when the tyres aren’t as expensive as some of the other brands out there, but seem to perform just as well. They are now starting to get a little bit noisy. It started out as a hum about a year ago, and now it’s a bit louder. It’s not intrusive, and is well within the realms of expectation for a part-worn mud-terrain tyre.
Would I run these tyres again on my 4X4? Absolutely. I’m no tyre nerd, and ride comfort and handling aren’t far up my list. But what’s important to me is reliability and off-road performance, and these tyres give me precious little room for criticism. In fact, none at all.
This review of the Bridgestone Dueler M/T 674 comes from Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures magazine, issue 028. If you want to see more, grab yourself a subscription now. It’s Australia’s best-quality print 4X4 magazine, and the only one that’s Australian owned and printed. Cheers to that!