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With the increase of load capacity, the tread/sidewall construction is more stout and generally heavier. The higher capacity tire also have higher inflation pressures.
If you tow a lot or deal with less than optimal roads, the higher load capacity tire usually give you a better piece of mind but you'll give up some fuel efficiency
 

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Higher load range = higher weight capacity = more plies = more puncture resistant.

The higher load ranges will weigh more. Contrary to what many say I have always been a nerd when it comes to checking fuel mileage and I’ve never seen a noticeable difference in fuel economy.
 

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The more plys, the stiffer the ride, generally. You'll lose some mileage with the heavier load-rated tires.

I just went with the Michelin Defender which is rated handle more weight than the stock tires. Pulls 9k well.
 

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With the heavier plies and higher pressure you will give up some fuel mileage BUT ALSO some ride quality do to the stiffer sidewall construction.

I found that the truck rides a little more like "A Truck" than a car like it did before.

The heavier tires are typically more expensive also.

But as MAS said I have not noticed any difference in mileage so far with my General E rated tires.
 

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I did a lot of research on this subject and found you want to avoid Load E or 10 ply tires for light duty trucks as it will make the ride very stiff. The only exception would be if you plan to tow frequently. Even with that said the towing rating is low enough it may not matter. Just my opinion. I had planned to lift my truck but found all larger tires have Load E or 10 ply. I really enjoy the stock ride and decided to keep stock. I will need tires this fall and plan to find a less aggressive AT tire. In the end it is all personal preference. I drive my truck daily and use it like a car 90% of the time. But love the option to haul and throw stuff in the bed.
 

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I moved from Defenders to 10-ply E AT3W which is now my 4th set. Both the M/S2s and later Defenders only lasted 61k and 64k respectively. No difference in ride...it all depends on tire pressures more than side wall rigidity. I like the stiffer sidewalls because I tend to 'qualify' more than 'drive'.

With that said...E will decrease MPG overall by 2 mpg. OEM sized AT3Ws make a 6 ply only weighing a few more pounds per tire than Defenders...may be my next tire from my current 305/55/20E.

Of note, at 56K on the AT3W my tread remains 11/32 despite a treadwear warranty of 55,000. In the end the 2mpg loss may be negated by going an extra 50,000 miles on 1 set of tires. unless I poop a bearing...I hope to find out around 230,000 miles. :D
 

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I did a lot of research on this subject and found you want to avoid Load E or 10 ply tires for light duty trucks as it will make the ride very stiff. The only exception would be if you plan to tow frequently. Even with that said the towing rating is low enough it may not matter. Just my opinion. I had planned to lift my truck but found all larger tires have Load E or 10 ply. I really enjoy the stock ride and decided to keep stock. I will need tires this fall and plan to find a less aggressive AT tire. In the end it is all personal preference. I drive my truck daily and use it like a car 90% of the time. But love the option to haul and throw stuff in the bed.
When I put on the Cooper HT3 LT275/70R/17 All weather tires this spring, I expected the same "loss of mpg and a stiff ride" as you said, because everyone says so.

But it isn't so black and white.

On our ten week RV trip this spring, everytime I hit a pothole or some other roadway defect, I was glad to have these E rated tires.

Here is the reality, with the OEM GY SRA tires, tuned, I could get 32-33 mpg no load on the freeway. With the Coopers, my latest mpg check for no load was 31.4 mpg hand calculated while unhooked in the Olympia, Washington area for a week, in a mix of freeway and city driving. Pretty damned good enough I say.

While towing I got the same mpg, 14-15 mpg, that I got with the GY SRA,s.

As for the ride, it's fine. A bit more "high and tight" with the Coopers. They hold the road well, even in rain or snow. While in snow, they are much better than the stock tires, even for a highway tire.

I run them at 60 psi towing (they heat up to 70 psi on a hot day). But for around town I think 65 is ok. The max is 80 psi, no doubt those would be stiff at that pressure.

So perhaps this myth has been busted as I don't see any problems with these heavier tires.
 

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Higher load range = higher weight capacity = more plies = more puncture resistant.

The higher load ranges will weigh more. Contrary to what many say I have always been a nerd when it comes to checking fuel mileage and I’ve never seen a noticeable difference in fuel economy.
Have you, Mr. Nerd, ever checked the actual weight of your tire choices?
I purchased my '16 ED Big Horn used. It came with 17" rubber and wheels on it -not the 20s it should have had. I consistently got 25 mpg or better on the 2 lane highways I traveled. Calculated, not via the the "lie-o-meter" in the insturment panel.
I then bought after market wheels -20", with Cooper Discoverer Winter/Snow tires that were a tad oversized (275/65-20). My mpg immediately dropped to 22 or less.
I then replaced the Winter tires with the stock Wranglers and my mileage, even with the 20s I purchased to get back to the OEM size, returned to normal.
Unsprung weight will affect your mileage, your braking, and your acceleration. And, regarding your self imposed title, I too am nerdy when it comes to the rubber on my truck. I always buy rubber based on weight/warranty/reviews/price. And I always run winter tires November through April.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well I went to my local Discount tire last night and talked to the seemingly knowledgeable sales man.

I got more confused.

So I bought the same tire that came on my truck, Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor. E-series 10 ply.

The OEM tires gave me 82K miles and although seemed like a stiffer ride, they served me well. I get them installed this afternoon.

Thanks for all the comments.
 
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