Tires can be easy to forget about. After all, in most cases people who don't tow or use their vehicles for hard work seldom think about them until they're worn out. But truck guys are different: You know to check pressures and inspect tread depth on a monthly basis -- including the tires on your trailer -- and you generally have a better understanding of what exactly it is you want and need for your truck. Here is a guide to some of the newest tires on the market for trucks and sport/utilities.

Bfgoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A
Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia
Continental ProContact
Cooper Discoverer A/T3
Cooper Discoverer S/T MAXX
Falken WildPeak A/T
General Grabber
Interco SS-M16
Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC
Mickey Thompson Baja STZ
Toyo M122 and M608Z

First Test: Bfgoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A
BFGoodrich, known known for off-road tires, has expanded to include more on-road truck tires, such as the Rugged Terrain T/A. Where other tires from this company are biased more toward trail use but are still acceptable on-road, the Rugged Terrain T/A is more road biased, but also does a good job in milder off-road situations. The Rugged Terrain isn't an official replacement for the Rugged Trail, but you will see the Terrain appear more as the Trail eventually gets phased out. These tires are more ideal for someone who is interested in mostly highway and daily driving, but doesn't want to have to change tires when heading to the backcountry. And even though they're designed more for on-road use than off, they have the aggressive look of an off-road tire. Features include tread clearing elements to help eject gravel from the tread, BFG's Equal Tension Containment System for durability on varying terrain, and a noise-reducing tread design.

We tested these tires near Flagstaff, Arizona, where most of our time was spent driving Nissan trucks on two-lane roads. The biggest surprise was that, despite its off-road appearance and tread pattern that wraps onto the sidewall, the tire is fairly quiet on the road. Along the route, we occasionally got off the highway and drove through mud, over ruts, and onto a mildly rocky path, and the tires did well through it all. This is a tire that can appeal to those who want the look of an off-road tire but seldom visit the trails, yet the Rugged Terrain is from BFGoodrich, so there is still plenty of off-road capability backing the tire's style. The Rugged Terrain T/A comes in 36 sizes, for 15- to 20-inch wheels. They start at $125 per tire.

BFGoodrich
877/788-8899
www.bfgoodrichtires.com

First Test: Cooper Discoverer A/T3
At a recent event at Cooper Tire's test facility near San Antonio, Texas, we got the chance to test out two of Cooper's newest tires. The first of these is the Discoverer A/T3, a tire built to survive off-road, provide better handling and traction in the wet than the competition, and achieve this without sacrificing handling on dry pavement. Cooper set up several different courses at the CTVTC (the test center) to show the tires' capability.

The A/T3 is a replacement for the Discoverer ATR. The company focused on the compound, tread design, and technology to create the A/T3. Groove protectors help reduce the amount of stones that would get stuck in the grooves, and the shoulder design is made to improve traction on soft surfaces. The tires have tread elements created in pairs to improve on-road handling, and a divided center rib and wide grooves improve off-road traction.

The first course for the A/T3 was an autocross, driven in Chevy Silverados equipped with 17-inch A/T3s as well as other competitive tires. We did three loops on the course on each tire brand, for a total of nine loops, each of which was timed. And the laps in the Cooper-equipped Silverado were quicker. Not only that, but there was a stronger feeling of confidence when driving: Shod with that rubber, there was less of a tendency to slide, and the truck was very easy to keep under control. The second course was in deep, gooey mud, where we tested out the off-road traction in Wranglers fitted with 17-inch A/T3s. Imagine a huge, flooded field of mud, complete with deep ruts. The tires got through it without any trouble. The A/T3 is available in 30 sizes for SUVs and 32 for trucks, for 15- to 20-inch wheels. Starting at $150.

Cooper Tire
419/423-1321
www.coopertires.com

Continental ProContact
This is more of an all-season touring tire than any of the others in this guide, built with efficiency and fuel economy in mind. The ProContact was created with low-rolling resistance, and the EcoPlus technology uses polymers that are temperature- activated. That combination helps extend the life of the tire and is said to reduce CO2 emissions, which can also save a driver money at the pump. EcoPlus also uses an additive that enhances wet traction and wet braking. There are sizes for 15-to-18-inch wheels, and the tires come with an 80,000-mile limited treadwear warranty. Pricing starts at about $75.

Continental Tire
800/847-3349
www.conti-online.com

Falken WildPeak A/T
Falken has expanded its WildPeak line to include new 37-inch tires. The WildPeak is one of Falken's most popular off-road tires, with a rigid block design, three-ply polyester sidewall, eight-ply casing, symmetric five-rib pattern, and wide steel belts. The WildPeak A/T also has four multi-angled grooves for quick mud, snow, and water evacuation, and is built for high traction. Sizes are now offered for 15-to-18-inch wheels, plus some for 20-, 22-, and even 24-inch wheels. Pricing starts at about $135 per tire.

Falken Tire Corporation
800/723-2553
www.falkentire.com

Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC
Mickey Thompson's Baja Claw TTC is a rugged off-road tire developed with a combination of real-world testing and lab technology. Key elements of these tires are the radial construction and strategically placed siping, which help with long tire life and better traction on icy surfaces. The tire's three-ply sidewall is resistant to punctures and mud scoops help the tire self clean. The Baja Claw's wide footprint and decoupling grooves make this tire conform to uneven and jagged surfaces, which is ideal for rock-crawling. There are 15-, 16-, and 17-inch light-truck sizes available, with a starting price of $225.

Mickey Thompson Baja STZ
Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels' new Baja STZ Radial was designed with daily drivers and sportsmen in mind. The tire is built for better grip, improved steering response, and reliable all-weather traction. To ensure a comfortable ride, the Baja STZ uses variable density nylon wraps over the belt package. To aid with self-cleaning and stone ejection, there are serrated tie bars, shoulder scallops, and multi-angled lugs. Siping was added to improve traction in wet and on ice. Sizes are currently available for 16-, 17-, 18-, and 20-inch wheels, and prices start at about $170.

Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels
330/928-9092
www.mickeythompsontires.com

Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia
Bridgestone has added new sizes to its Ecopia line of tires. The Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia all-season tire is designed for sport/utility vehicles, light trucks, and crossovers. The tire provides low rolling resistance through the use of two types of compounding without negatively affecting performance in the wet. Its tread compound is made to be fuel-efficient, too, and the Fuel Saver Sidewall's compounding returns more energy to the tire than in regular sidewalls. There are 29 sizes for 15- to 18-inch wheels, with 45- to 65-series aspect ratios. Prices start at about $135 per tire.

Bridgestone Tire
615/937-1000
www.bridgestonetire.com

Cooper Discoverer S/T MAXX
While at Cooper's test center, we also got to try out the Discoverer S/T MAXX, which is much more specialized for off-road use than the A/T3. Each tread element has a large surface area, for improved traction on the trail. The tire has non-parallel groove walls and stone ejector ribs: Fewer stones will get stuck, and those that do won't be there for long. It's also designed for increased traction off-road, has three plies, its tread compound is made for wet traction and the tire design is resistant to cuts off-road. There are 16-, 17-, and 18-inch sizes, and prices begin at about $150.

Cooper Tire
419/423-1321
www.coopertires.com

Interco SS-M16
Those familiar with Interco's tires might know the Super Swamper line. They're strongly biased for off-road use but aren't as much fun on the highway. There's now a new option for those who want a tire that's better as a daily driver and works well off-road: the Interco SS-M16. The company took design features from its all-terrain and mud-terrain tires, helping make the SS-M16 highway-friendly and quiet without hurting off-road capability. Interco calls this a tire for all seasons, which bridges the gap between all terrains and highly aggressive off-road tires. Starting at $265.

Interco Tire Corporation
337/334-3814
www.intercotire.com

General Grabber
General's Grabber Competition-Only tire served as the basis for this new item. Unlike the Competition-Only, the Grabber balances off-road capability with on-road comfort and reduced noise. It has a three-ply reinforced body, uses a tear-resistant Duragen tread compound, and has high-strength steel belts. Its tread pattern is built for off-road terrain, but is still stable on the highway. This also marks the first time General has offered consumer tires with red-lettered sidewalls from the desert racing version of the Grabber. The Grabber comes in a range of sizes (15 to 20 inches), and starts at $335.

General Tire
800/847-3349
www.generaltire.com

Toyo M122 and M608Z
It wouldn't be right to neglect those who use bigger trucks for work duty. For medium-duty trucks, Toyo offers several models of tires. There are three new tire sizes of commercial tires. The M122 (pictured) adds size 285/75R24.5. There are two new sizes of the M608Z premium drive tire as well, a tire that's made for local and regional over-the-highway use. It has an aggressive tread, but can still serve as a daily-driver tire. The new sizes here are 215/75R17.5 and 265/70R19.5. Prices start at $380 per tire for the M608Z and $400 for the M122.

Toyo Tires
800/442-8696 (West Coast)
888/444-8696 (East Coast)
www.toyotires.com