Gear Reviews




I was giving the trusty old LandCruiser its yearly bath just the other day (and yeah, I spent 30 minutes arguing with myself about whether it really needed it or not) when I happened to notice the Coopers on ’Ol Blue were down to about 30% tread.


After the customary glance at the side walls and tread, making sure there weren’t any cuts or gashes, I realised I’d just done the 290,000km service.


Then it dawned on me. I kid you not, I’ve done just on 115,000km on these hunks of rubber.


Being a photojournalist with Unsealed 4X4, and a few other less reputable mags over the years, my faithful old LandCruiser gets some of the roughest treatment of any 4X4 on the road. Always on the photoshoots, never in front of the camera.


Every shoot I go on, chances are ’Ol Blue is leading the way. Path-finding tracks, navigating obstacles, driving lines to work out what will make the best shot – he’s always first to drive the particular track we’re wheeling for a shoot.


So it’s really no surprise to me that I’ve chalked up that many kilometres in the past five years on these tyres. The surprise lies in how well they’ve taken the punishment.


Every trip they get aired down, driven hard, then aired back up ready to do it all over again the next day. I figured with getting this many kays out of my set of tyres, I’d share a few tips on longevity and my thoughts on the Coopers.



Having bought the Coopers five years ago, they’ve literally been through thick and thin mud with me. They’ve taken me to some awesome places, and been there for some spectacular views and shots. As muddies they’re great at grabbing traction and even better at flicking out the mud once you’re through (my inner guards can attest to this fact). They have tackled everything from runs over Stockton Beach, Daniels Point Road, the Vic High Country, Coonar Beach, Byfield National Park, the Darling River run, Cameron’s Corner and pretty much everything in between. They’ve never once seen a puncture, nor torn a sidewall, nor rolled off a rim; and I have a brand new ‘old stock’ Cooper STT on the back as a spare – which hasn’t been touched in the five years I’ve owned the set of tyres.


Do I rate them? Absolutely I do, as I’ve seen cheap tyres flog out quicker than you can shake a dog at them (and get punctures just that much faster). The Coopers haven’t let me down ever, and having used them first-hand and watched them get me to some of the stupid places I manage to stick ’Ol Blue, I’m going to have a hard time replacing them.


Just for the sake of our own amusement, our illustrious editor Ev recently made a comment to me that, having over 115,000km on them, they must have turned a complete circle at least eleventy-trillion times. So I thought I’d sit down and work it out, based on the rolling diameter of the 33-inch tyres and 115,000km.


Turns out, for a 33-inch tyre, and 115,000km, where it says ‘Cooper’ on the tyre has been at the top exactly 43,672,798 times. Yep, I actually did the maths down to about four decimal points.


TOP 5 TYRE-SAVING TIPS (according to Wes)

  1. Pressures off-road

Air down! Besides the traction advantages, you’re going to save the rubber. Making ’Ol Blue roll over sharp rocks, instead of tearing and spinning over them, is where it’s at. Think of squeezing a balloon half blown-up, and then completely blown-up. One of them will give; one won’t.


  1. Pressures on-road

First thing I do before I hit the blacktop is air up. It reduces rolling resistance, and friction on the road. A by-product is that I save fuel because I haven’t got to push the tyres that hard, and they stay cooler… which in turn minimises wear. For me, I sit at 42psi all round – as I have three batteries in the back and a tonne of gear.


  1. Quality over price

Cheap tyres are not something you want to have to worry about. Ever. The tyre market has been flooded with cheap crap recently (along with a lot of other markets), so getting a quality brand is important. Especially as you’re going to be staking your life on the choice you make.


  1. Rotate your tyres

Scalloping of your tyres and not rotating them won’t make them wear quicker; but the wear on the back is different from the front. Rotate them so the wear is going to be spread over all of them evenly. And they’ll be quieter, too.


  1. Take it easy, turbo!

Yep, knowing how to drive in the bush and picking the right line, rather than ‘just giving it the loud pedal’ is paramount. I’m lucky in that ’Ol Blue is locked front and rear. So I can flick the lockers on and off with a button to give me traction, and not have to worry about spinning tyres and tearing chunks off. That said, lockers get thrown on only when needed; and turned off again as soon as I don’t need the traction. Dragging the inside wheels around corners isn’t going to help with the tyres’ longevity.


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