Bridgestone Dueler D697LT 70,000km Review

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.

Terrain Travelled

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:

hilux beach driving

When not on long term touring trips, the hilux is mostly used for beach camping missions in south west WA.

hilux mundaring powerline track

Crossing a washout on the Mundaring powerline track.

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.

gibb river road nice corrugations

These tyres have traversed thousands of kilometers of corrugated tracks.

Visual Inspection

In general the tread looks a little rough but not too bad given the life the tyres have had.

bridgestone d697 front tyre tread wear

Front tyre of Bridgstone Dueler D697 after 70,000km. The tread blocks are a little shaggy in places but there’s no big chips, cuts or chunks.

bridgestone d697 rear tyre tread wear

Rear tyre of Bridgstone Dueler D697 after 70,000km

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.

bridgestone d697 pimple

Pimple in tyre tread. The cause is unknown. A pimple like this will make noise and heat up.

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.

bridgestone d697 blistering

Blistering of tyre tread bridgestone dueler D697

bridgestone d697 cut

This looks like a cut but I think it’s caused by blistering getting so deep that it reaches the inner cords. I did not identify any cuts during visual inspections after long outback touring missions and offroad expeditions. This damage just appeared after nothing too eventful.

d697 bridgestone worn tyres

Another view of a deep blister. The cause is unknown.

There’s also areas of the sidewall where the outer layer of rubber is separating from the main carcass.

bridgestone d697 sidewall

The white spots around the sidewall is where the outer rubber has come off.

bridgestone d697 sidewall damage

Closeup of the white spots. Are they caused by stones and sticks scratching up the sidewalls when running reduced tyre pressure over long distances? Are they caused by high sidewall temperatures?

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.

Performance

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.

Wear

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.

Conclusion

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.

Nitto Dura Grappler Twilight Cove

Here’s a look at the tread pattern on the Nitto Dura Grapplers. Photo taken on the access track to Twilight Cove, Nullarbor, WA.

See also:

Bridgestone Dueler D694 48,000km Review

Why No Diesel Performance Chip?

How Failure Works

Emission Systems – Worth Tinkering?

Design Compromise

Exhaust Pipes: Is Bigger Better?

Sprint Booster – Is It Worth It?

How to Drive on Sand

How to Improve Fuel Efficiency

How Often Should I Service My Car?

Diff Locker vs Traction Control

The Problem With Soccer

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