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Published Aug. 1, 2021

An all-terrain tire is designed to provide the traction and rugged construction needed for off-pavement driving, while still offering handling, ride comfort, and quiet performance suitable for everyday on pavement cruising.  Its open tread design, reinforced sidewalls, and sturdy structure make it properly suited to cut through rough terrain, bumpy roads, snow, and wet pavement like a knife through butter.

Today, all-terrain tires come at all levels. Each differs in terms of compound makeup and construction, cut/tear resistance, quietness, tread-type, and all-around performance. Choosing the wrong all-terrain tires for your vehicle could mean the difference between a memorable off-roading expedition or a long wait for a tow.

Keep reading to learn more about our top picks for the best all-terrain tires, benefits of all-terrain tires, comparisons versus other tires, and a complete resource guide on how to choose the best one for your vehicle.

Best All-Terrain Tires in 2021

Firestone tires offer the driver a combination of ride comfort and excellent off-road capabilities. They’re suitable for year-round use, including during light snow, and feature a carbon enhanced tread surface which is equally resistant to slippery wet surfaces and abrasive dry ones. The symmetrical tread pattern includes a continuous center rib, independent intermediate blocks, and a wrap-around shoulder, which expertly combines the traction required for off-road driving with the precise handling needed for successfully navigating the highways.

Each tire is reinforced by twin steel cords, wrapped in nylon and resting on a polyester cord. This ensures the smoothest ride possible, which wouldn’t be possible with purely off-road tires. Finally, Firestone’s offering is perhaps the most customisable tire on the list; it’s available in three sidewall styling choices, so you can choose the design you most prefer.

Key Features
  • Suitable for pickup trucks and SUVs
  • Silica tread resists wear and tear
  • Dissipates heat to protect inner compounds of the tire
  • Qualified by the Rubber Manufacturer’s association for use in heavy snow
  • Radial tread provides excellent traction
  • “3D Canyon” sipes enhance traction and ensure the tire performs consistently throughout its life
Specification
  • Brand Falken
  • Model Wildpeak AT3W
  • Weight N/A

BFGoodrich’s All Terrain T/A KO2 carries an 80,000-mile tread warranty, providing up to twice the life of earlier generations. An interlocking tread design provides block stability that gives long, even tread wear, as well as stable, predictable handling response.

The tread face, shoulders, and sidewalls are specifically designed to provide more biting edges to improve traction on loose surfaces, while stone ejectors keep the tread blocks clear of obstructions. Internal construction features twin steel belts spirally wrapped in nylon, and three-ply polyester sidewall protection.

Key Features
  • Longer tread life on and off pavement
  • Fit a variety of SUVs, CUVs, and pickups
  • Aggressive tread pattern for traction
  • Race-proven sidewall and shoulder design to avoid bruising and separation
Specification
  • Brand BFGoodrich
  • Model All Terrain T/A KO2
  • Weight N/A

Nitto’s Terra Grappler tires make the bold claim of being suitable for all terrains, and all seasons: they live up to this promise. Their tire is just as comfortable trekking over rough terrain as it is on your daily commute.

Made in the USA, these tires feature a tread design which offers excellent traction in both rain and snow. They’re durable too; customers report these versatile tires lasting through tens of thousands of miles worth of adventure.

Key Features
  • Suitable for pickup trucks
  • Handles well on the road, with reasonably reduced noise
  • Excellent traction in both rain and snow
  • Durable; last for tens of thousands of miles
  • Attractive appearance
  • Made in the USA
Specification
  • Brand Nitto
  • Model Terra Grappler G2
  • Weight N/A

Dick Cepek’s Fun Country tires do exactly what they promise – make country driving fun. The tires lie somewhere on the spectrum between traditional all-terrain models and mud-terrain tires. This makes for a little more in the way of traction on slippery surfaces than other all-terrain tires on the market.

Designed for use with pickup trucks and SUVs, these tires’ deep symmetrical tread design offer the largest possible surface area – and the great traction that comes with it. Combined with carefully placed Stone Kickers, the tread allows drivers to rest assured that their vehicle is protected from cuts, scrapes, and stone drilling. These tires also feature Dick Cepek’s patented “DC” Sidebiters, which provide extra protection on loose surfaces, as well as an appealing, rugged appearance.

Key Features
  • Suitable for pickup trucks and SUVs
  • Tread pattern lies between traditional all-terrain ties and mud-terrain tire designs
  • Excellent traction on loose and slippery surfaces
  • Deep symmetrical tread design offers maximum surface are and traction
  • Stone Kickers protect tires from cuts, scrapes, and stone drilling
  • Patented “DC” Sidebiters provide extra traction on loose surfaces
  • Rugged design
Specification
  • Brand Dick Cepek
  • Model Fun Country
  • Weight N/A

Hankook has put a lot of thought into their Dynapro all-terrain tires, and it shows. Originally used for Ford F-150 pickup trucks, the tires have since been adapted to a variety of sizes. They’re suitable for light trucks, vans, and SUVs.

The symmetrical tread design offers a huge surface area, giving your vehicle the best grip possible on virtually all surfaces, whilst simultaneously standing firm against uneven wear. The wraparound tread design also offers optimized traction on both mud and snow, and guards against cuts. These tires feature stone ejectors too, keeping your wheels safe from the potential damage inflicted by stone drilling.

Key Features
  • Suitable for light pickups, vans, and SUVs
  • Symmetrical, wraparound tread design allows for a large surface area and plenty of grip
  • Features stone ejectors
  • Reinforced by internal steel belts
  • Rim flange protectors prevent curb damage
  • Excellent traction on the most challenging surfaces, including mud and snow
Specification
  • Brand Hankook
  • Model Dynapro Atm Rf10
  • Weight 31.8 lbs

Goodyear is a household name when it comes to quality tires, so it’s no surprise that one of their products has made this list. The Wrangler Radial tire offers drivers a cost-effective yet useful and durable option. Its large tread blocks ensure optimized handling in both on and off-road conditions, including snow and wet surfaces.

Designed with pickup trucks in mind, Goodyear’s all-terrain tires come with a one year warranty, demonstrating the confidence they place in the product. Goodyear has managed to find the perfect balance between effective off-road traction, and efficient fuel consumption on the road—all for a surprisingly low price. For a good all-rounder, we’d recommend giving Goodyear a try.

Key Features
  • Suitable for pickup trucks
  • Great all-rounder
  • Handles most weather and terrain conditions comfortably
  • Good fuel efficiency compared to other all-terrain tires on the market
  • Comes with a one year warranty
  • Large tread blocks offer excellent off-road traction
  • One of the most cost effective tires on our list
Specification
  • Brand Goodyear
  • Model Wrangler Radial
  • Weight 27.6 lbs

Cooper all terrains offer keen off-roaders an aggressive tread, without compromising on on-road handling. The treads are coated in a silica compound, providing drivers with excellent traction in wet conditions, as well as providing resistance against chips and cuts. This means the tires are suitable for use on harsh rocky, or gravely terrain.

The tires can hold their own on softer terrain too, though. The broken centre rib ensures the tire can gain traction on soft, muddy surfaces. The tire’s walls are designed to protect against stone drilling, and retention, preventing many punctures and resisting chips. In the snow, too, these tires can hold their own. Their tread design ensures that snow rolls straight off, so traction isn’t compromised in these challenging circumstances. Finally, despite their rugged appearance and attributes, these tires ride well when taken out onto normal roads.

Key Features
  • Suitable for pickup trucks
  • Aggressive tread
  • Silica-coated for traction on muddy or wet surfaces
  • Resistant to chips, cuts, and punctures
  • Suitable for most terrains, including snow, mud, gravel, rocky, and roads
  • Tread design provides maximum surface area and traction
Specification
  • Brand Cooper Tire
  • Model Discoverer A/T3
  • Weight N/A

Debuting in 2020, the Toyo Open Country A/T III has taken the tire world by storm with its versatility. Three tread and shoulder designs lead with an evenly distributed void area, 3D multi-wave sipes, and increased lateral grooves for improved traction on all types of surfaces.

This tire also carries staggered shoulder lugs and stone-ejecting blocks, which repels stones from grooves for additional traction power.

Key Features
  • Large lateral grooves to reduce hydroplaning
  • Staggered shoulder lugs for improved off-road traction.
  • Powerful grip on dry and wet road surfaces
  • 3D Waved Sipes evenly distributes wear throughout the tire.
  • Stone ejecting blocks to repel stones from grooves.
  • Comes in LT-Metric, P/Euro-Metric, and Flotation sizes
Specification
  • Brand Toyo
  • Model Open Country A/T
  • Weight N/A

The Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac is an all-around workhorse. Its calling card is Tractive Groove Technology, which uses self-cleaning shoulder blocks for improved traction on dry and wet weather surfaces including dirt, mud, and sand. High angled center tread blocks and a rim flange protector also work to limit road noise and prevent potholes from hurting rims.

Our only knock on the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac is excessive road noises, especially at cruising speeds. However, this trait is a factor for almost all all-terrain tires due to larger treads and deeper grooves that allow air to expel through.

Key Features
  • Tractive Groove Technology for improved mud, dirt, and snow traction.
  • High angled center tread blocks for a quieter ride.
  • Self-cleaning tread to better repel water and debris from grooves for a quieter ride and better traction.
  • Rim flange protector to avoid pothole damage to your rims.
  • Seve Snow Certified for outstanding snow traction.
Specification
  • Brand Goodyear
  • Model Wrangler Duratrac
  • Weight N/A

The Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 3 works very well on rough terrain, starting with its proprietary Traction Claw Technology that combines several elements to improve deep snow traction, including 3D stepped, staggered shoulder lugs, wide circumferential grooves, and a more balanced, symmetrical tread pattern for better rotation.

One strong area of focus for the Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 3 is its 2-ply polyester internal construction. This construction uses high-strength steel belts for improved handling and stability. It’s a welcome change from 3-ply casings that are good for off-road performance, but not as good for comfort.

Key Features
  • Excellent for trucks and SUVs.
  • Traction Claw™ Technology for improved traction.
  • 2-ply internal polyester construction for comfort.
  • Balanced, symmetrical tread pattern for better rotation.
  • Aggressively styled 'inch up' design for looks.
Specification
  • Brand Bridgestone
  • Model Dueler A/T Revo 3
  • Weight N/A

Best All-Terrain Tires Buying Guide & FAQ

With so many options, it can be difficult to know which tire will best stand up to your needs. That’s why we’ve put together this handy buying guide, which addresses some common questions about these versatile pieces of kit.

Features to Consider When Buying All-Terrain Tires

The features you look for in an all-terrain tire will depend very much on what you use your vehicle for. Below are some common features of all-terrain tires, coupled with what they mean for day-to-day use.

Large Tread

All-terrain tires typically feature a chunky-looking tread pattern. They typically have deeper grooves than highway tires, with more space between the raised parts. The purpose of this design is to increase the tire’s surface area as much as possible: the greater the area of contact between the tire and the ground, the greater traction is achieved. Look out for the tread size when buying all-terrain tires.

Reinforced From the Inside

Many all-terrain tires feature internal steel bands, to heighten its rigidity over tough terrain. Often, these bands are wrapped in nylon; a fiber with a very high tensile strength. This feature makes all-terrain tires far more durable than standard highway tires, but it also makes them heavier.

Stone Ejectors

Many models of all-terrain tire are designed to prevent stones from entering the wheel or becoming lodged in the treads. This prevents damage such as stone drilling, as well as keeping the treads clear. Clogged treads reduce the tire’s surface area.

Treated Rubber

The rubber used to produce all-terrain tires is often treated with a silica or carbon compound. This acts to give the tire’s surface more gripping power on wet surfaces, and certain compounds help to prevent mud and detritus from becoming lodged in the tire’s treads.

Self-Cleaning

To the delight of off-road enthusiasts, many modern all-terrain tires are designed to be self-cleaning. Their treads can be designed so that any mud, dirt, or other debris trapped in the grooves can work its way out as the wheel continues to turn. This ensures high traction is maintained at all times, as well as reducing the need to hose down your tires, saving a lot of time. Even if you do need to hose them down to clean off mud, the tread design makes them easy to clean.

all terrain tires

Benefits of Using All Terrain Tires

There are many advantages to using all-terrain tires over other types of tires.

Versatility. All-terrain tires are designed to work on all kinds of vehicles, including half-ton pickups, Jeeps, compact SUVs, and other off-road vehicles. They also work well on all kinds of road surfaces, including loose gravel, grass, snow, sand, and dirt. Its only weak point is heavy clay: heavy clay fills all-terrain tire voids faster than other types of tires. For heavy mud driving, look for a mud-terrain tire or wider tread all-terrain tires.

Toughness. All-terrain tires are designed to withstand punishment, featuring reinforced 2- or 3-ply sidewalls for chip and scrape protection. Some 2-ply sidewall versions are also combined with a tighter weave, specialized materials, or tread lugs for wear and puncture resistance.

Other all-terrain tires are reinforced with steel cables for improved rigidity with stone ejecting blocks providing an additional line of defense against debris that could clog grooves and worsen traction over time.

Improved Grip. All-terrain tires have a larger tread design, deeper grooves, and increased surface area, allowing for improved grip on dry and wet weather surfaces. Deeper grooves prevent hydroplaning by expelling water from the tread, moving water, and other loose debris to the outside.

Ideal for Heavier Vehicles. All-terrain tires offer reinforced walls, which increases load-carrying capacity for all types of road conditions. This extends well to trucks, SUVs, and other larger off-road vehicles.

Drawbacks of Using All Terrain Tires

Not surprisingly, all-terrain tires are not suited to certain have some drawbacks, including but not limited to the following:

Noisier. An open tread design results in louder noise output than all-season tires. Specifically, open tread designs carry symmetrical grooves that expel loud noise from passing air, especially during highway cruising or straightaway driving.

In recent years, all-terrain tires have made strides to reduce noise via pitch sequencing, which randomizes a tire’s road contact using multi-pitch tread designs that pair lateral grooves with tread blocks to make it less noisy. 

Lower Fuel Economy. An open tread design and deeper grooves allow for maximum traction. The greater the traction, the lower the fuel economy.

Shorter Tread Life. All-terrain tires are generally made from softer rubber, which wears out a lot faster than all-season and all-mud tires.

What vehicle needs an all terrain tire?

Vehicles better suited to all-terrain tires include those that frequently alternate between on-road and off-road terrain, such as trucks and SUVs. An interlocking tread design and deeper grooves allow for greater traction on all kinds of surfaces, including grass, dirt, and mud. 

In turn, we recommend all-season tires for sedans and cruisers more concentrated on the highway and straightaway driving. 

All Terrain vs. All-Season Tires

The difference between all-terrain and all-season tires lies in their sound, smoothness, and fuel efficiency. All-season tires offer improved fuel efficiency and a quieter ride than all-terrain tires, in part due to narrower and straighter grooves that do not allow as much air to pass by.

All in all, if you are looking to ride on unpaved roads and off-road surfaces, then an all-terrain tire is your best bet. For smoother road conditions (e.g. highway driving), then we recommend all-season tires. Keep in mind that all-season tires can be used year-round with a generally longer tread life than all-terrain tires.

All-Terrain vs. Mud Terrain Tires

All-terrain tires differ from mud terrain tires in several ways. An all-terrain tire’s tread offers good, but not as spectacular a grip on turf, sand, and other problematic surfaces than mud tires. Mud tire tread block sipes offer better traction and higher cooling resistance. 

Additionally, mid tires have more aggressive tread blocks, which allow soil, debris, stones, and other debris to better repel off the tire. 

In short, look for mud terrain tires if you are looking for improved grip on dry and wet weather surfaces.

all terrain tires

The Difference Between All-Season and All-Terrain Tires

Despite their similar names, there are a lot of differences between all-season and all-terrain tires.

For starters, average vehicles like sedans and light SUVs are more likely to have all-season tires than all-terrain tires.

Secondly, all-terrain tires are better equipped to deal with off-roading and hauling heavy loads than all-season tires. Its beefier, blockier, and more aggressive tread pattern and deeper grooves provide a strong grip on all types of terrain, including gravel, snow, and grass.

Tire tread depth and sidewall construction on all-terrain tires are more pronounced than all-season tires. More rubber between the tire’s tread and wheel offers greater protection. In turn, all-season tires have a less aggressive profile that uses shallower tread channels for good, but not superb traction.

Another difference between all-terrain and all-season tires extends to fuel economy. All-terrain tires offer more rolling resistance than all-season tires, which translates to lesser fuel economy due to more expendable energy needed to spin each tire.

Differences between all-terrain and all-season tires also extend to treadwear. All-terrain tires are generally made from softer rubber compounds that wear out much faster than all-season tires. Look to drive all-terrain tires exclusively for off-roading and all-season tires for more every day, highway use.

Top All-Terrain Tires For All Vehicle Types

There are many different types of all-terrain tires that you can choose from, so it’s important to choose one that works best with your vehicle. Depending on what you drive, these are the best tires for trucks, SUVs, Jeeps, and day-to-day driving.

Best All-Terrain Truck Tires

  • Hankook DYNAPRO AT-M
  • General Tire GRABBER AT 2
  • Dick Cepek FUN COUNTRY
  • Firestone Destination A/T
  • Goodyear Wrangler Radial Tire
  • Falken Wildpeak AT3W All-Terrain Radial Tire
  • Nitto Terra Grappler G2 Traction Radial Tire

Best All-Terrain SUV Tires

  • Hankook DYNAPRO AT-M
  • General Tire GRABBER AT 2
  • Dick Cepek FUN COUNTRY
  • Firestone Destination A/T
  • Falken Wildpeak AT3W All-Terrain Radial Tire

Best All-Terrain Jeep Tires

  • Firestone Destination A/T

Best All-Terrain Tires For Daily Driving

  • Firestone Destination A/T
  • Nitto Terra Grappler G2 Traction Radial Tire

Best All-Terrain Tires FAQ:

Q: What are all-terrain tires?

Also referred to as A/T tires, all-terrain tires excel on or off-road. They specialize in providing traction on unstable surfaces using an open tread and deep groove design/construction.

Note, all-terrain tires vary wildly from one manufacturer to the next. DIfference between all-terrain tires shows themselves in tread design and sidewall construction. For example, many all-terrain tires include sipes, which are tiny tread lug cuts that provide better grip. 

All-terrain tires work well with all vehicle types, including sedans, light trucks, heavier trucks, and SUVs.

Q: How long do all-terrain tires last?

How long all-terrain tires last depends on the quality, road conditions, and usage. Look for better all-terrain tires to last anywhere between 20,000 to 40,000 miles. 

Most all-terrain tires come with treadwear warranties. Longer tread wear warranty all-terrain tires are generally constructed using harder rubber compounds that do not offer effective traction. Look for a combination of softer rubber tread compounds and a higher treadwear mileage warranty.

Q: When to replace all terrain tires?

Look for the following when examining an all-terrain tire for possible replacement:

 Shallow-looking and unevenly worn tread.
 Damaged valve caps.
 Rougher ride than usual.
 Excessive vibration on dry and wet weather surfaces.

One possible reason for uneven wear on tires is misalignment. If overinflated, wear is usually concentrated within the center of the tire. If under-inflated, wear is concentrated in the outer edges. Do not forget to check your tire pressure regularly and adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, which can be found in the driver’s door sticker or owner’s manual.

Q: How do I check tire tread depth?

Checking for tire tread depth is very easy: all you need is a penny. Insert the penny into various tire grooves. If Lincoln’s head is completely obscured, then the tire tread depth is under the recommended 2/32″ and needs to be replaced. We also recommend using a certified tire tread gauge for all-terrain tire’s deeper treads.

Look to your tire manufacturer for guidance on recommended tire tread depth.

Q: How much gas mileage is lost with all terrain tires effect?

There are many factors that contribute to fuel economy on all-terrain tires. It depends on the type of vehicle you own, the type of all-terrain tire, and how you drive. Larger vehicles, deeper groove/open tread all-terrain tires, and heavy off-road use all contribute to lower fuel economy. Off-roading demands a greater number of starts and stops, tanking your gas to the limit.

Q: What weather are all terrain tires good for??

All-terrain tires are designed to perform well under any and all weather conditions. They are often branded with the Three Peak Mountain snow symbol to indicate that the Rubber Manufacturers Association has approved them for safe use in snowy conditions.

This tolerance to mud, rain, and snow can be largely attributed to all terrain tires’ deep, open tread design. This allows a large surface area to be created, which in turn allows for plenty of traction.

One alternative to all-terrain tires are winter tires; these generally perform best on standard roads in the winter, but, unlike all-terrain tires, need to be replaced when the weather turns warmer. If you live in an area with relatively mild winters, then all-terrain tires are probably a good option. They can withstand considerable snowy conditions (although not as well as snow tires), and can also be used off-road all year round.

Q: How much should I inflate my all-terrain tires?

Like all tires, consult the manufacturer’s specifications when deciding what pressure to keep your all-terrain tires at.

Unlike other tires, the ideal pressure will generally depend upon what type of driving you’ll be doing:
Road Driving
When driving on the road, it’s generally advisable to keep the air pressure in all-terrain tires at the pressure recommended in your vehicle’s handbook. For four wheel drives this will range from 30 to 38psi.
Rough Gravel
For gravel roads, it’s a good idea to drop the pressure a little, by about 6psi.
Mud
When driving over mud, tire pressure should be dropped to about 28psi. If the mud is especially deep, you can drop as low as 22psi, provided you tackle it slowly.
Sand
When off-roading on sand, you can drop your pressure lower still. For fine, loose sand, tires inflated to even 16psi can give you the traction you need.
Rocks
When traversing rocky terrain, tire pressure should generally be dropped to 22 to 28psi. Lower pressure in this context allows the tires to flex around the rocks more easily, helping to grip and prevent punctures.

Q: What are all-terrain tires good for?

The all-terrain tire is designed to provide traction for all different types of terrain. The tread design helps maintain traction in all different weather conditions, including winter and wet conditions. All-terrain tires are also good for driving on paved roads, making them truly compatible for all types of terrain. Although these tires are generally good for different weather conditions, they aren’t designed for severe snow conditions, such as deep snow and ice.

Q: How many miles do all-terrain tires last?

All-terrain tires typically last around 40,000 miles, though some can last up to 60,000 miles, depending on the types of terrain that you use them on. Regular road tires typically have longer tread life than all-terrain tires as they are designed for driving on paved roads only. The aggressive tread design on all terrains, however, can lead to losing 1 to 2 miles per gallon due to the bulky tread design.

Q: Are all-terrain tires good for towing?

Although all-terrain tires were not specifically built for throwing, they are a good choice if you’re looking for something to haul your equipment or to tow your trailer. Both the tread as well as the overall durability of all-terrains mean that these tires will be able to handle the task of towing in mud and sand. 

Q: Are all-terrain tires good in the snow?

The grip on all terrains makes them one of the best types of tires to navigate through snow that can also drive on paved roads easily. They are more resistant to cuts, chips, and abrasions, making them more durable in snow and ice. Though the aggressive tread design of all terrain tires do provide snow traction, they simply do not handle snowy conditions as well as. If you’re looking for tires for the snow, then you need to know a few things before purchasing all-terrain tires for that purpose. Snow tires have squared-off edges to cut through deep snow more easily than all terrain tires and are less prone to hydro-planing. Winter tires are also typically made with soft rubber compounds that prevent them from freezing, which could pose both a safety and performance problem. 

Q: Do all-terrain tires last longer than other tires?

No, all-terrain tires do not last as long as regular highway tires. The aggressive tread design reduces the overall miles per gallon that the all-terrain tires get. If you want longer tread life for your tires, then you need to reduce wear and tear in between off-roading use.

Q: Are all-terrain tires worth it?

If you regularly spend your time outdoors and off-roading, then all-terrain tires are an excellent option for you.

Q: Are all-terrain tires loud?

Yes, all-terrain tires can be a bit noisy on the road. The tread block design that makes them so good at navigating soft soil and mud is also what causes a lot of noise while driving on paved roads.

all terrain tires for cars

Our Top Pick

The Falken Wildpeak A/T3W is our top pick in all-terrain tires.  It offers serious off-road abilities while still providing the stable handling, good ride, and quiet performance expected in an on-road tire.  It has been awarded a Three Peak Mountain Snowflake rating for for excellent snow driving capabilities, and is designed to maintain consistent performance throughout its tread life.

Sources:

  1. What All-Terrain Tires Are Used for and How They Differ from Other Tires – Tires.com
  2. Picking the Best Tire – Tread Magazine
  3.  Snow Tires Vs. all Terrain Tires: Which has the Advantage? – Automotive Training Center
  4. Off-road Tire – Wikipedia

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