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- Exceptional traction in deep mud
- Great for rock crawling (when aired down)
- Very good performance on sand (when aired down)
- Solid performer on gravel and dirt
- Rigid construction that withstands punctures
- Good grip on dry pavement
- Not very noisy in urban scenarios
- Excellent traction in deep and unpacked snow
- Firm ride over repetitive impacts
- Noisy on the highway
- Lags behind its closest rivals in rainy conditions
- Not a strong performer on compacted snow
Going to remote locations with cars hit an all-time during the pandemic, as people wanted a getaway from the consistent curfews worldwide. However, the off-roading/overlanding craze started even earlier and continues to rise in popularity, with millions living the “digital nomad” lifestyle of working in the wilderness.
Everyone knows that an off-road-capable SUV or truck is necessary for that lifestyle, but many forget about the tires. It’s the tires that give your SUV/truck traction – not the vehicle itself. Thus, investing in capable off-road tires is a must if you are into extreme off-roading. And one of the models you’ll constantly be hearing about in off-road circles is the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3.
BFGoodrich’s popular maximum traction off-road tire (also called a mud-terrain tire) was developed in rally racing, winning multiple races along the way. It also gave thousands of explorers the means to visit places that nobody had before, regardless of the surface.
Still, while its harsh-terrain pedigree is almost unrivaled, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 needs to do much more to remain relevant in the modern era. Most owners of SUVs and trucks still drive them mostly on paved roads and naturally expect good drivability and utmost safety, regardless of the weather.
So, does the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 sit in the increasingly more competitive maximum traction off-road category? That’s precisely what I’m going to uncover in my detailed review, so let’s dig in!
What are the features of the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3?
The main features of the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 are BFGoodrich’s advanced Krawl-TEK compound, designed to improve traction on slippery surfaces, and the Linear Flex Zone, which helps the tire flex better over objects.
Both these technologies help when driving over large rocks, but there is much more to the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3, like the super-aggressive Terrain-Attack tread pattern with large individual blocks. Such patterns are almost a necessity on any maximum traction off-road tire. Still, on this model, they were developed on off-road rally races worldwide, including the Baja 1000, where the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is a multiple championship winner.
Notably, the tread pattern includes BFGoodrich’s Mud-Phobic bars near the shoulders, which release compacted mud and enhance traction in those conditions. Meanwhile, the Traction-Armor Sidewall Sculpture with a notched design further increases traction in soft soil and mud.
You can also count on the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3’s construction when driving over the harshest terrains. It features extreme sidewall protection, chip-and-tear resistant casing, and pinch shock resistance, which is helpful when driving on abrasive surfaces, such as dirt and gravel.
But BFGoodrich went even further and employed its CoreGuard Max technology it developed on the Baja rally, which prevents splitting or puncturing. The company says this technology makes the sidewalls 27% tougher than the predecessor, which is a sizeable difference!
As for on-road performance, the Krawl-TEK compound, with its traction-improving qualities, should help with grip. Also, the tire’s lateral notches and wide grooves reduce hydroplaning, which should come in helpful during heavy rain. However, although the individual tread blocks should churn through deep snow, they lack aggressive siping for increased grip on packed snow.
What are the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3’s maintenance indicators?
The BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 features the industry-standard tread wear bars, showing the owner when the tread reaches 2/32 inches of depth, which is considered the lowest for safe wet traction.
The treadwear indicators protrude 2/32 inches from the bottom of the grooves, so when the tire reaches that point, it will be flush with the surface. However, they are almost unusable on the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3, as you’ll need a much deeper tread for off-roading.
If you want to monitor the tread depth precisely, I recommend purchasing a tread depth gauge. It’s a cheap tool crucial in the off-road enthusiasts’ arsenal, as it is also helpful for monitoring uneven tread wear.
What is the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 warranty?
BFGoodrich doesn’t offer a treadwear warranty on the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 but provides a one-year uniformity warranty for the first 2/32 inches of wear.
However, this is no different from other off-road tires – no other manufacturer offers a warranty on its mud-terrain models. The reason is that drivers use them on abrasive terrains that can easily damage the tread, making the warranty invalid.
Still, owners of the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 are generally satisfied with the treadlife, claiming an average of 20,000 miles, which includes off-road driving. This is similar to competitors like the General Grabber X3 and Firestone Destination M/T2.
How does the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 behave on dry roads?
The Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is one of the best-performing aggressive off-road tires on dry roads, with good longitudinal traction for braking and acceleration and a solid lateral grip for cornering.
Now, this doesn’t mean it can replace a highway or even an all-terrain tire – far from it. You’ll still need to drive more carefully on the road, as the stopping distances will be much longer than on a road-focused tire. Moreover, the highway stability will be lower, and you won’t be able to achieve high cornering speeds.
Still, it’s the same with most off-road tires; relative to its rivals, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is an excellent performer. The differences in the category are not huge, but BFGoodrich’s tire will give you slightly better braking and higher lateral Gs.
As for the driving experience, don’t expect responsiveness – the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 isn’t ashamed of its off-road roots. In a nutshell, it feels slow to respond to your inputs, and the steering isn’t very linear. However, I know quite a few drivers that prefer this “truckish” nature of the tire.
Overall, as far as mud-terrain tires go, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is as good as it gets on dry tarmac.
How is the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 on wet and slippery roads?
The BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is an average performer in rainy conditions, with less traction than the class-leading tires.
Wet traction is an area where the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 shows its age. It was one of the best off-road tires for the rain just a few years ago, but things have changed now. BFGoodrich’s entrant is still safe, as it is easy to correct at the limit, but there is no question its competitors caught up and even overtook it.
Put simply, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 produces more wheel spin during hard acceleration, especially out of a corner, and its stopping distances are longer. The lateral grip is also slightly lower than on the competition.
But not everything is negative – the hydroplaning resistance is excellent, so you won’t have any stability issues during heavy rain.
Still, if you want the best off-road tires for rainy weather, I suggest going for the General Grabber X3 or the Cooper Discoverer STT Pro.
With that being said, how is the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 on snowy roads?
Although pretty good on unpacked snow, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 trails its competition on packed snow with longer stopping distances and worse handling.
If you are a winter off-roader, the performance of this tire un unpacked snow will keep you happy. There is enough traction to get you going in a few feet of snow, and you’ll be able to steer your SUV/truck pretty easily. Of course, you’ll be driving slowly in these instances, but it’s good to know that braking is also pretty good.
However, things are not so shiny when you hit compacted snow – the type you mostly encounter on roads. If a dozen vehicles have already driven on the snowy road, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 will start to show its limits. It’s because, apart from the large tread blocks, this tire lacks the small sipes that give additional biting edges.
As a result, the overall snow traction is only average. It’s not bad – some cheap off-road tires are even worse – but the newer competitors are better. The longer stopping distances are noteworthy, but the nervous handling is even more troublesome in my eyes. You can still get over it by driving more carefully, but you can also opt for the Firestone Destination M/T2 and put your mind at ease.
Or, as I always say to my friends – buy a set of winter tires! Any winter tire will provide you with much, much better traction on compacted snow, and it will rival the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 on packed snow. Thus, if you live in areas with very harsh wintry conditions, that’s what you need to do!
Is the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 suitable for off-road driving?
Absolutely – the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is one of the best tires for off-road driving currently on the market, period!
This is no surprise, as BFGoodrich is the most famous tiremaker among off-road enthusiasts and the most successful in Baja and Dakar rallies – it even won the latest 2023 Dakar Rally with Toyota Gazoo Racing. And since the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 uses many of the same technologies as the racing tires, we can only expect great things from this tire!
But let’s start with the basics – dirt, and gravel. On these surfaces, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 performs better than most of its rivals, with excellent traction and drivability. However, thanks to the Krawl-TEK compound, the difference widens when the surfaces are wet.
Still, if you only encounter dirt and gravel, I’d suggest going for an all-terrain tire, like BFGoodrich’s own T/A KO2. All-terrain tires are better on these surfaces and offer much better on-road grip, so always choose a set that suits your needs.
But if you ever encounter deep mud or large rocks in your adventures, then the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is what you need. This tire is a champion in very deep mud, churning through it like it’s nothing. You can still get stuck if you are not careful, but this one will take you the furthest of all off-road tires.
Furthermore, this tire is excellent on large rocks, i.e., rock crawling. Thanks to its super-tough construction, it can be aired down to very low pressures (psi), which is tremendously helpful when you crawl over large rocks. As a result, there is a lot of traction on offer, and in most cases, the tire will get out alive from the endeavor, or in other words, without major punctures. Again, they can happen, but less often.
But what about sand? Well, this surface is usually not friendly to mud-terrain tires simply because their large tread blocks dig into the sand and sink your vehicle. However, you can mitigate that issue by driving with the tires aired down to the lowest allowed pressure for your rims.
If you want to go even lower, I suggest going with beaded wheels, which can keep the tire in place. And with that configuration in place, you could attack desert dunes with relative ease, as your SUV/truck will float over the sand. No matter what, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is strong enough to escape undamaged.
The story of this tire’s off-road prowess continues on turf, where you’ll get more traction than you’d ever need. However, remember that the large tread blocks can easily damage the grass underneath!
Overall, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is an off-road beast and a tire you can rely on in the harshest conditions. Thus, I recommend it to overlanding enthusiasts and basically everyone that wants to conquer the most challenging terrains.
Is the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 a run-flat tire?
The Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is not a run-flat tire, which is not unusual for the category, as none of its competitors have the feature. Currently, BFGoodrich doesn’t offer run-flat tires on the market.
How are the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3’s road noise and comfort performance?
The BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 isn’t a very quiet or smooth tire, but it’s still one of the best in its category regarding comfort.
Notably, the noise is a higher-pitched drone that you can easily catch up on the highway. It can be tiring on longer journeys, sure, but not worse than its competitors, most of which are even louder. And in my testing, the noise wasn’t an issue at urban speeds – it’s there, but not tiresome at all.
As for ride quality, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is unapologetically firm, especially over repetitive impacts. Still, it settles down on the highway, where the firm nature of the tire actually makes the ride more refined.
Overall, I think most drivers won’t have issues with the comfort performance of this tire. Driving on mud-terrain tires means more noise and a worse ride, and the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 does it better than most.
Should I buy the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3?
If you are in the market for an off-road-capable tire that can conquer the most challenging terrains, you should definitely put the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 on your shortlist. BFGoodrich’s mud-terrain tire is also safe and comfortable enough on paved roads, making it an excellent choice for overlanders.
The Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is far from perfect – it doesn’t perform as well in wet conditions as the General Grabber X3, for example, and it’s not the most comfortable off-road tire out there. Still, I think that most buyers will be happy with the compromises, especially considering the off-road performance it offers.
What sizes does the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 come in?
The BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is available in 56 sizes, ranging from 15-inch to 22-inch wheel diameter. All models are LT-metric or flotation sizes, including 31-inch, 33-inch, 35-inch, 37-inch, 29-inch, and even a 7.5R model.