The Yokohama Geolandar G003 M/T – Initial Impressions, Review and Overview After 5,000 Miles
Tires are considered one of the most important mods a 4Runner owner can do. You want your tires to be able to get you out of the worst situations and back home safely.
So far, I have driven over 5,000 miles on a set of brand new 295/70R17 Yokohama Geolandar G003 M/T tires. Living in a remote town in Gunnison, Colorado means I put these tires through their paces on a regular basis. From deep snow to ice, rocks, mud, and rivers I can say that I have truly seen what these tires are capable of!
Purchasing a new set of mud-terrain tires can be intimidating for many reasons; the main one being the price. These tires are often more expensive than your typical all-terrain tires. Companies like BFG offer their KM3 M/T for $350-400+ depending on size. That means you could be spending as much on four tires as you would for an entry-level lift kit!
I managed to pick up a set of four Geolandar G003 M/Ts from Walmart for $310/each. You could probably find a better price out there. However, if you live in a small town like me, you will likely be paying a similar price.
Here are three tires I would also consider:
- BFG KM3’s ($390/each)
- Toyo Open Country M/T ($390/each)
- Nitto Trail Grappler ($390/each)
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Picking A Size
For me, the 295/70R17 tire size is perfect. In this size, you are only looking at 65.5 lbs per tire, which are slightly lighter than a KM3 for example, which comes in a 68.3lbs each. Keep in mind, your tire’s weight changes vehicle handling significantly.
It should be noted that these are 10-ply load E tires, meaning they are designed to take some serious abuse and payload. Just remember, if you are working on your rig, you will be hoisting a 65lb tire plus the weight of a wheel every time you need to remove them; which is not fun.
Another benefit to this size is that you can still run stock gears. Many would say that once you enter 35″ territory, a re-gear is strongly advised to keep your drivetrain happy. A re-gear is also not a simple or cheap modification.
Where The Geolandar G003 M/T Thrives
General Off-Road Handling
As soon as these tires hit the dirt, they automatically feel at home. On almost any surface (besides ice and light snow), they dig in and take off! Do you want to rally on a secluded fire road? How about slowly picking a line through a rock garden with fantastic control? Yokohama really did something special here and created an extremely fun and responsive off-road tire.
Tire pressure does play a big role in how they feel but if you’re like me and don’t always have time to air up and down, you can set them to 32-34 PSI to go from highway driving to trails without ever skipping a beat and still have a great time.
These tires are mean! Within the first week of getting the new rubber, we received a snowstorm that brought 14″ of fresh Colorado champagne powder. It was the perfect time to see what they could do.
Deep snow is where I feel these tires belong. You can feel the big meaty lugs almost scoop the snow from underneath, similar to how sand tires work. I have always had a fear of snow after getting high-centered and stranded when I was running the stock tires but the G003s give you the confidence to really let loose on a snowy trail.
Colorado mud may not be what it is in some other states but as many of you know, mud can make or break your day. One good mud bog and you might be in some trouble. The Yokohama Geolandar G003 M/Ts were designed for the mud, hence being an M/T tire and they do a fantastic job! Springtime snow and mud are common obstacles for most 4×4 enthusiasts in CO. With these tires, you can run deep mud or snow with no issues.
Going from 265/70R17 Goodyear Wranglers to the larger Yokohamas, I noticed a significant reduction in noise! Yes, you read that correctly. These tires are incredibly quiet for an M/T. The usual tire ‘chopping’ noise that you hear when a big 4×4 comes cruising down the street is due to the large gaps between the tread blocks. Thanks to the G003’s unique design, they remain quiet even at high speeds.
Update: These tires have gotten louder as they wear but still remain very quiet compared to my old Wranglers.
Where They Don’t Thrive
We all knew this was coming. These are big meaty M/Ts and with that, you’re going to lose some handling and acceleration right off the bat.
I’ve tried to save weight with my wheels by going with some Relations Race Wheels RR7-H. They only weigh 27lbs/each but at a combined weight of about 92lbs per corner, I feel more like a big truck than an off-road SUV. That isn’t great if you live somewhere with lots of stoplights or sharp corners.
Some things I have to combat this are KDSS which helps reduce body roll and a Pedal Commander for quicker throttle response.
This is by far the biggest flaw with the G003’s and it could be a deal breaker for you. Where I’m from, we see sub-zero temps for months on end. That means you drive on ice everywhere you go and these tires are about as good as some wet cardboard strapped to your hubs when you try and brake or even corner.
I would frequently find myself coming to a 4 way stop outside my house going under the speed limit and still managing to slide 30-40 feet. Luckily, I have nice neighbors who just laugh and wave but if you live in a big city with reckless drivers, you better have some serious armor to go with these tires because you’re going to hit or get hit eventually.
Before I was getting around 17.5MPG on my Goodyear Wranglers. Now, I’m lucky to get 15MPGwith the city getting down to around 12MPGusually. Let’s be honest, if you’re seriously considering 33.5″ M/Ts like these, you don’t care about MPG. However, it may be something to consider as gas prices go up.
Having a tough rubber like a load E tire means you expect to be able to push it through hell before you ever encounter serious damage. However, only a month after testing, I found myself racing out of the Black Canyon in southwestern Colorado with a punctured tire that was losing 1-2 PSI per minute.
At the time, I had only my stock spare, no air compressor, and no plugs (yes I know how dumb this was but we all make mistakes). That meant I was bombing down backroads trying to reach cell phone service or help.
After driving like a bat out of hell on a slow leak, I finally got some air and plugs at the first gas station I saw. That held me over for the next 2 hours of driving through one of the most remote parts of Colorado. Pictured above, you can clearly see I took a rouge splinter exactly between the sidewall and the shoulder lugs. While the chances of this puncture are extremely slim, there’s no denying the tire failed on me at the worst possible moment.
I personally think these are one of the best tires on the market and I don’t regret making the switch. Going forward, I will probably experiment with some different brands but if I was building my rig up again I would pick the Geolandar G003 M/T every day of the week. From their looks to their off-road performance, they really are a great tire.