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Mr Bill.

I suggest your reply be made into a sticky for all to refer to.
Clear, concise and informative

A C load rated LT tire is the best match for the weight of an Xterra. A C load rated tire will ride better on the highway than an E load rated tire so if one's Xterra is a typical weekend warrior a C load rated LT tire is probably the best choice. (Nothing pejorative about the term weekend warrior - if one works for a living and an Xterra is one's primary vehicle then by definition that Xterra is a weekend warrior.)

Many LT tires suitable for an Xterra are only available with E load ratings. The sidewalls will be stiffer and the tires will be heavier than a C load rated tire. The ride will be more harsh in comparison. If a particular tire is only available with an E load rating and that's the tire you want then go for it, but if that same tire is also available with a C load rating the C load rated tire may be the best overall choice.

There are circumstances where the stiff sidewalls of an E load rated tire are an advantage, but primarily when that tire has 3 ply sidewalls. I ran Cooper Discoverer ST/Maxx LT265/75R16-E tires for 40,000 miles on my Xterra specifically because I wanted the rugged 3-ply sidewalls vs. the 2-ply sidewalls typical of most C, D and E load rated LT tires. I only went back to C load rated AT3's because I now have a jeep for rockcrawling and "tough" trails and my Xterra has been relegated to overlanding/mild offroading where 3-ply sidewalls are unnecessary.

There was a time or two during my recent 4,200 mile overlandinbg trip to Cabo San Lucas when I questioned whether I should have purchased a new set of ST/Maxx tires and stayed with 3-ply sidewalls, but I had no issues with my new AT3's, never got stuck, and the ride was comfortable both on and off road so those doubts have been resolved..
 
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