I was somewhere in Colorado when our long-term Ford F-150 lost traction and began pivoting toward a ditch lined with boulders. Heavy sleet with marble-sized hail was falling, and it was very apparent that the F-150’s all-season tires were no match for the slippery mess on the road.
The storm hit on my way back home to California following our first drive of Kia’s new Telluride crossover in Colorado’s namesake ski town. Prior to the trip, I’d ordered a set of mild all-terrain tires (through our partners at Tire Rack) that were better suited for snow, but unfortunately they didn’t arrive on time.
With the forecast showing no signs of severe weather, I decided to stick with the F-150 for my trip. Adding to my confidence was the assurance from other staffers who’d piloted the F-150 in less than ideal weather conditions with no issues. Features editor Scott Evans, for example, praised our truck’s Michelin Primacy XC all-seasons when he encountered a snow storm in Northern California, and a video staffer said the tires were totally fine in the white stuff in Idaho.
I wasn’t so fortunate with the icy conditions in Colorado. Thankfully, the storm began with a light snow, which slowed the two-lane road’s pace from 55 mph to about 30 mph. But minutes later the sleet arrived, and like a light switch, the tires immediately lost grip. As the 19-foot-long F-150 swung toward the ditch, I slowly countersteered and let off the throttle. It then swung the other way toward oncoming traffic, so I had to counter that. This went on four or five more times before the truck finally straightened out. But even at a crawl of 15 to 20 mph, the tires were still losing grip. Cars began to pass me going twice as fast as I struggled to keep the F-150 on the road for 5 (seemingly endless) miles before the road finally cleared up.
A few days after I returned to California, the all-terrain tires arrived. Tire Rack sent us a set of Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 3, which we immediately installed. Our attempt to find late-season snowfall in the Eastern Sierra came up short, but coincidentally Tire Rack completed a four-way test of light all-terrain tires and ranked the Bridgestones highest in snow traction performance.
Better yet, the Bridgestones aren’t much noisier than the Michelin Primacys, and there are no notable differences in handling. On-center steering feel is slightly more vague, and the F-150’s 60–0 stopping distance increased from 128 feet (with the Michelins) to 130 feet.
The meaty tread pattern and sidewall design look more truck-appropriate than the softer all-seasons, and the tires help distract from our truck’s chrome wheels, which I still haven’t warmed up to. That said, the upgrade to these Bridgestones (or any light all-terrain tires) was a no-brainer.
In our previous update, I reported an issue with the 10-speed transmission stumbling with shifts at low speeds. According to our local dealership, our truck was part of a service bulletin to reprogram the power control module and transmission control module. We’re happy to report the gearbox no longer stumbles. We did, however, observe a harsh shift somewhere between fourth and sixth (it’s hard to say with so many gears), but the dealer noted that “firmer than normal upshifts” are part of the transmission’s “relearning process.”
Read more about our 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat:
- Update 1: Time to Work
- Update 2: Hold the Doors
- Update 3: Riders on the Storm
- Update 4: Halfway Point
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Author: Erick Ayapana