The Beginner’s Guide to Off Road Tires

There are two main types of off-road tires. These are the All Terrain and Mud Terrain tires. The Mud Terrain tires have bigger threads and wider gaps between threads. while the All Terrain tires have threads that are closer to each other. If you take a look at the different types of All Terrain tires, you will notice that some have more aggressive thread patterns than others. The same goes for Mud Terrain tires. Which is a better type of tire depends on the condition of the terrain.

On sand, a more aggressive tire will dig into the sand while the less aggressive tire will glide over it. Although you can use either a Mud Terrain (M/T) tire or an All Terrain (A/T) tire, the A/T tire is a better option for sand.

AT tires
MT tires

In mud, the M/T tires with their wider distances between threads are the better choice. Having larger threads and wider distances between them will allow the tire to grip better as well as self-clean itself. Self-clean is the ability to throw off mud from the tires as they rotate, so that the tires can grip the surface. If mud sticks between the threads and form a smooth surface on the tires, they will not have any grip and start to slip.

In the case of rocks, the M/Ts are going to give you better traction. Because of the wider space between the thread lugs, they are able to grip the rocks better.

In snow, loosely packed snow surfaces need a more aggressive tire, just like in mud situations. But if the snow is more compact or with ice, a smoother less aggressive thread pattern is better.

On roads, the less aggressive A/Ts is preferred over the M/Ts. This because of the closer thread patterns that provide more surface contact for better handling and braking.

A less aggressive tire produces less noise and better comfort on the roads. Also, the more aggressive thread patterns produce more resistance and this effects economy. A mud terrain tire is going to consume more fuel as compared to an All Terrain tire because they are heavier and have more rolling resistance.

M/T tires are less safe on the highways. You need to drive slower especially around corners and in wet conditions. The more aggressive the thread pattern, the less contact you will have on the road, and the worse the road handling will be.

The A/T tires will last much longer than an M/T tire. This is because the more aggressive tires have a smaller contact surface and so, will wear out faster.

In making a decision on which tires is best suited for your needs, you need to ask yourself these questions.

How often will you be going off road? If you only go, say, once in about 3 months, get a set of A/Ts. They will give you more mileage and last longer.

Is your vehicle a daily driver? If it is, then go for the A/Ts. You will get better fuel consumption and a more comfortable ride.

What is your budget? M/T tires cost much more than A/Ts. But if you have a big budget for tires, you could get two sets of rims and tires. I used to have both M/Ts and A/Ts. The A/Ts would be my main tires as, at that time, I only had a daily driver. When I needed to have M/Ts for my off-road trips, I would swap to my M/T set.

Check out the prices and the various thread patterns available in the market. There are some A/T models with thread patterns that are aggressive enough to be used in muddy terrains.