First published 7/05/2020
Last updated 30/05/2020
Tested on 2007 Dual Cab Manual Toyota Hilux 3L Turbo Diesel D4D
Tyre Size 31×10.5r15 light truck
Tyre Pressure: Front 45 psi, Rear 50 psi
I travelled 70,000km running Bridgestone D697 light truck tyres on my Toyota Hilux after which they were in need of replacement. This article covers my experience with the tyres. These are the first set of D697 Duelers I’ve used, but I did run Bridgestone D694 previously.
My hilux is a dedicated touring vehicle. It is nearly always heavily loaded and does long highway distances on bitumen and plenty of off road work. The vehicle is almost never used as an unloaded shopping trolley or commuter. So I’d suggest these tyres have had a tougher than average life. Some of the journeys this set of tyres have tackled include:
- Great Central Road and David Carnegie Road
- Mereenie Loop Track and Palm Valley
- Tanami Track
- Bungle Bungles access track
- Parry Creek Road from Wyndham to Kununurra
- Cape Domett, Cambridge Gulf
- Gibb River Road
- Mitchell Falls and Port Warrender
- Kalumburu Road
- Cape Leveque Road
- Perth to Melbourne across the Nullarbor and back
- Tracks and camping spots around Tasmania
- Mundaring Power Line Track
- Lots of beach camping missions around Perth and south west WA
A large portion of the distance travelled has been long outback tracks such as Great Central Road, Tanami Track and Gibb River Road. This means these tyres have endured many thousands of kilometers heavily loaded for long term living on rough badly corrugated dirt roads at reduced pressure.
In general the tread looks a little rough but not too bad given the life the tyres have had.
The bulk of the tread area looks ok but there’s some dodgy bits on some parts of the tyres. There’s some raised sort of pimple looking bumps in the tread. I wouldn’t call them eggs, they’re much smaller than typical eggs and there’s too many of them to be caused by isolated impact damage.
Then there’s some blistering in the tyre tread. In some spots the blistering has become so bad that the outer tyre has began to separate from the inner cords.
There’s also areas of the sidewall where the outer layer of rubber is separating from the main carcass.
What do you think caused the pimples, blistering and sidewall damage? It could be high temperatures. Doing thousands of kilometers on a gravel track at reduced pressure at high load can cause too much heat to accumulate in the tyres. However I am very disciplined at keeping low speeds when tyre pressure is low, and I always touch and smell the tyres whenever I stop. The tyres never got extremely hot as far as I know. Could it simply be the sheer distances travelled at high load and reduced pressure? So much flexing, even at moderate temperatures, could eventually cause fatigue? If you’ve experienced anything like it let me know in the comments.
The tread also began wearing unevenly as the tyres reached the end of their life. Even though I run fairly high tyre pressure on the highway (high enough that my previous set of tyres wore slightly more in the center of the tread), and I regularly rotate the tyres, and I get wheel alignments done regularly, you will see in some images above that the outer edge was badly worn in places.
Maybe there’s no main cause to all these problems. Maybe the tyres were just too old, too worn and done too many outback kilometers at high load. Or maybe I did something wrong. Or maybe they’re just not as robust as some other brands.
These tyres gripped well on the road and especially in the wet. In wet conditions I can skid during braking and whilst corning more easily with the new set of tyres that replaced the dueler D697s (I’m trying out a different brand tyre now). Off road they’re good too. I never experienced any punctures or flat tyres. Their resistance to staking, cutting and chipping seems excellent. Their off road traction is as good as anything else I’ve tried. I never really used them in serious mud, but suspect they would be about as good as any tyre with a not so aggressive tread pattern.
When new the tyres were quiet. They did start to become noisy as they aged. At first it was just like any typical aged all-terrain noise, but got progressively worse. That’s not surprising given all the uneven bumps and blisters that were developing. In fact they got so noisy that they masked a bearing problem that was brewing in one of the back wheels. That bearing ended up failing quite nicely on the Nullarbor.
These tyres had done around 70,000km by the time they were replaced. As identified above the tyres started wearing unevenly towards the end of their life. At some places on the edges they were nearly bald, whilst in other areas in the middle they were probably about 1mm above the minimum tread depth indicators. If the tread wear was more even they maybe could have gone another few thousand kilometers. 70,000km isn’t too bad given the conditions these tyres have endured, but I don’t like all the problems that started appearing towards the end of their life.
I’m happy that these tyres grip well and never let me down during remote area travels. I’d give them another crack for sure. I don’t like the problems that appeared towards the end of their life. With that in mind, plus the fact that there’s so many good tyre options available, I’m going to try something else for the replacement set. I’ve decided to go with Nitto Dura Grappler Light Truck Highway Terrain tyres.
Yes Highway Terrain!
I’m not a serious outback traveller if I run highway terrain tyres am I?
I find it funny that people can seriously suggest something like “you need a set of strong mud terrain tyres for any serious outback work” as if the tread pattern says anything about the strength of the tyre construction. In fact I’d suggest that a lower void ratio is superior in nearly every way, even for offroading and outback touring. But that’s a whole new topic I’ll save for another time.