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Hiya all,

I am a noob here to the group. I should be taking delivery of a 4x4 Highlander sport 2009 this weekend in Magnetic Grey.
Just a few questions about it...

1. As for the tires on it seems like they don't wear that well compared to other manufacturers?

2. Can the vehicle handle light off-road use like already existing forest service and National park roads? i.e. the road to the Racetrack in Death Valley. 27 miles of washboard one way...

3. As for 4WD system does it work the same or is it AWD all the time or just as needed?

I had a 2003 Pilot till 2 weeks ago when it was a total loss in a auto accident... Really liked the Pilot, but when looking to replace it I just did not like the 2009 Pilot.. it has a way more "truck like" feel to it than my older model.

Found the highlander was the best alternative to the ride of my older Pilot..

Thanks for the help....
 

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2007 Camry XLE
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Hiya all,

I am a noob here to the group. I should be taking delivery of a 4x4 Highlander sport 2009 this weekend in Magnetic Grey.
Just a few questions about it...

1. As for the tires on it seems like they don't wear that well compared to other manufacturers?

Currently in the 245/55/R19 size you are limited to Bridgestone or Toyo. One member has upsized the tires with Toyo Open Country HTs size 255/55R19.

2. Can the vehicle handle light off-road use like already existing forest service and National park roads? i.e. the road to the Racetrack in Death Valley. 27 miles of washboard one way...

Will defer to TrailDust on this question

3. As for 4WD system does it work the same or is it AWD all the time or just as needed?

The HL is Full time 4WD with a 50/50 torque distribution

Link to repair manual description
The Highlander AWD system
 

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2008 Highlander Base
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35,703 Posts
Regarding the Racetrack Valley Road I'd use caution. About 8 to 10 miles south of Ubehebe Crater the road can get very rough and even technical if there's been recent thunderstorm activity, and the road in general is very washerboard. I've never driven with lower profile/performance tires like are mounted on the Sport trim, but I'd be careful and drive very slowly. If you try to air down and do it too much with those tires you can damage the rims on the "no see um" rocks and ruts. Then again, I've seen people get to the Racetrack with little four-banger economy cars but who knows what damage they may have incurred. Use your better judgement and at least drive slowly to prevent the risk of damage. For most BLM, state and federal park, and forest service roads that are graded I think you'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Regarding the Racetrack Valley Road I'd use caution. About 8 to 10 miles south of Ubehebe Crater the road can get very rough and even technical if there's been recent thunderstorm activity, and the road in general is very washerboard. I've never driven with lower profile/performance tires like are mounted on the Sport trim, but I'd be careful and drive very slowly. If you try to air down and do it too much with those tires you can damage the rims on the "no see um" rocks and ruts. Then again, I've seen people get to the Racetrack with little four-banger economy cars but who knows what damage they may have incurred. Use your better judgement and at least drive slowly to prevent the risk of damage. For most BLM, state and federal park, and forest service roads that are graded I think you'll be fine.
I had driven with my Pilot out to the Racetrack several times without issues before..

What would you recommend I switch the wheels to 18 inch wheels with regular profile tires???
 

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I had driven with my Pilot out to the Racetrack several times without issues before..

What would you recommend I switch the wheels to 18 inch wheels with regular profile tires???
I'm pretty sure 265/65-18 tires would work, but I wouldn't swear to that since tires are not my strong suit. Check tirerack.com for that and other sizes, but perhaps someone will offer more info too for a higher profile 18" tire.

The good news is since you've been out to the Racetrack before you know the road condition, so even with your present tires you can still do it if you're careful. I rode out there with a buddy of mine in his Jeep Wrangler and he didn't air down his tires and drove 40 MPH down that road. The vibration was so severe his stereo literally broke loose from its mountings and shot out of the dash and onto the floor! :ugh3: :disappoin Common sense would have saved him a lot of trouble and money.
 

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I'm pretty sure 265/65-18 tires would work, but I wouldn't swear to that since tires are not my strong suit. Check tirerack.com for that and other sizes, but perhaps someone will offer more info too for a higher profile 18" tire.

The good news is since you've been out to the Racetrack before you know the road condition, so even with your present tires you can still do it if you're careful. I rode out there with a buddy of mine in his Jeep Wrangler and he didn't air down his tires and drove 40 MPH down that road. The vibration was so severe his stereo literally broke loose from its mountings and shot out of the dash and onto the floor! :ugh3: :disappoin Common sense would have saved him a lot of trouble and money.
The 265 series tire might work, but you will have to be cognisant of your replacement wheel offset. There is very little space between the stock 245/55/19 and the rear strut, so adding 20 mm to the width of a tire, means 10 mm on either side, so 10 mm (approx 3/8") closer to the strut. Change the offset of the wheel from the stock +35mm to +40 or +45 (which pushes the wheel deeper into the wheel well) and suddenly, you could have contact issues between your tire and rear strut, especially when cornering.

Don't take this as expert opinion...just that I was in the same boat when looking for 17" winter wheels for my HL so did a bit of research.

Hope this helps.

Cheers.
 
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