General Grabber X3 Mud-Terrain Tire Review
Tires on Jeeps do more than just provide a cushion to ease the ride of the vehicles passengers. Tires must provide traction on all kinds of surfaces in all kinds of weather. Tires must support the weight of the Jeep and all of the “stuff” you can stuff into it. Tires must provide the maximum amount of wear (A.K.A. mileage) available for their “stickiness” and tread design. And last—but definitely not least—tires should look good while at the same time they are doing all of their other jobs.
The Grabber X3, somewhat uniquely highlighted with its distinctive red lettering on its sidewall, does improve the Jeep’s appearance. Plus, its Load Range D (3,525-pound weight rating) is more than sufficient to safely carry the 5,200-pound+ 2005 Jeep Rubicon. We’ll get into the tires’ forecasted wear and mileage more extensively later in the article, but for now the X3’s wear during the test was extremely light. While highway noise was noticeable—because of its wide-open tread design—off-road traction was enhanced by the very same design.
Having been tested extensively on JK models previously (before we received our test tires), we feel very fortunate to be able to test the Grabber X3 on a 2005 LJ Rubicon. The JKs in the first drive were equipped with 35-inch tires so we opted for 37x12.50R17 for the LJ test bed.
The X3 is being offered in 45 different sizes for rim diameters ranging from 15” to 20”, many of which will be available with the red side lettering. By the way, according to General Tire engineers, the term “X3” was a result of the tire being designed for three extreme terrains—mud, dirt, and rock. Also, the company representatives told us that more than three years of research went into the development of the X3. It seems that a theme of three flows throughout the X3 timeline, which includes three-ply construction that shrugs off chipping, rock cuts, and punctures.
Featuring what General calls “a high-void tread pattern”—which means wide-open areas in the tread pattern between the deep lugs—the X3 boasts “evacuation to aid in mud and debris ejections and to avoid caking.” Let’s translate that into four-letter words that we four-wheelers better understand: The X3 dumps mud, snow, and clinging sand to keep the treads open, tracking, and pulling.
During our 1,200-mile tire test we covered everything northwestern Arizona can throw at a Jeep’s tires—high-speed freeway, mucho urban mileage, rocky trails, deep sand washes, solid granite faces, oversize boulders, washed-out desert dirt tracks, some fresh 6-inch-deep snow, and a few hundred mid-speed miles on dirt roads. Just about everything but deep mud; there’s not much of that in northwestern Arizona. First of all, we have to say the General Grabber X3 37x12.50R17 tires wear like iron! We don’t mean to say they ride like iron—they don’t—but there was no measurable wear to the treads (and we checked all four on-the-ground tires) after the 1,200-mile test. That translates to an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 miles for the safe life of these tires on a 5,200-pound+ vehicle (lighter vehicles may actually achieve better mileage).
During the test, we varied the tires’ air pressures between highway pressure (32 psi) and slow-speed rock crawling (8 psi). We do this with every tire test so that we can ascertain the tires’ ride, traction, and resistance to rock cuts and scrapes.
As you will see in the photos, the X3’s large, aggressive side lugs both protected the sidewalls and gripped any terrain objects (boulders, tree roots, etc.) along the way, especially at the full-flex profile at 8 psi. In deep sandy washes, the open lug pattern provided floatation while at the same time compressing the sand within the tread for improved traction.
Although, naturally, the General Grabber X3 tires exhibited a better ride and improved traction at lower pressures, even at full highway pressure they performed very well off-road. On the highway at speeds up to 65 mph, the X3 exhibited only slightly more noise than street-tread tires. Above 65 mph, they became a bit more noisy but not overly disturbing given that a Jeep isn’t the quietest highway vehicle.
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