Offroad Tire Buying Guide
June 19, 2020
1. Types of Tires
In general, there are three main off-road tire types and it's very important that you know the difference between them because the type of tire you need will be completely based on what you use your vehicle for. Let's take a look at the three main tire types.
- All Terrain
We'll start with all-terrain tires. These are the least aggressive of the three types of tires but still offer decent off-road performance and styling. All-terrain tires are designed for use on road more than off. The less aggressive tread pattern means that the ride is often a lot quieter and smoother than other off-road tires. So if you have a camp that you occasionally visit but not regularly, these would probably be the best option. You'd be able to travel comfortably around town and still feel confident in some light off-road scenarios.
- Mud Terrain
Exactly how the name sounds, mud tires are designed for mudding and hardcore offroading. These generally have huge tread blocks, deep voids, and plenty of evacuation channels. Basically, they're the most aggressive setup you could get for your vehicle. They will be loud and rough on the road but when you take them off-roading, you can traverse through just about everything. This would be perfect if your favorite fishing or hunting spot is deep in the woods or goes beyond where the trail ends.
Finally, we have hybrid tires that combine the properties of both a mud tire and an all-terrain. You might be wondering how that's even possible. Well, hybrid tires take the aggressive design of mud tires so that they not only look really good but can perform well off-road. However, they tone it back a little to incorporate some qualities of an all-terrain such as the quieter, smoother ride. This means that you get an aggressive looking tire that performs well off-road and still maintains its comfort and lack of road noise. It doesn't outperform a mud tire off-road and won't be as smooth or quiet on the road as an all-terrain but it will handle both situations pretty well.
Next, we'll talk about sizing so you know what all of those numbers mean when you're trying to pick out the perfect set of tires. Let's use a 33x12.5R20LT tire for example. Luckily, it's not too complicated. The 33 refers to the diameter of the tire so in this case, the tire is 33 inches tall. Likewise, the 12.5 talks about the width of the tire. The R is the speed rating for the tire, or how much speed the tire can safely handle. An R typically signifies that you should not use the tire at speeds over 106mph. After the R you see the number 20, this is the size of the opening where your wheel will sit. So this tire can fit a 20-inch wheel. Finally, we have the LT which stands for Light Truck. This means that the tire is designed for light pickup trucks and vehicles that may be hauling or towing. These tires are a little bit stronger than the normal tire but can sometimes have a stiffer ride.
Last but not least, we'll touch on pricing. The pricing of tires varies greatly and there are a few factors you should be aware of. First is the type of tire, certain tire types can be a lot more expensive than others so be mindful about which tire type you pick based on your budget as well. One of the biggest factors that play into the pricing of tires is the brand. Brands like Atturo offer a more budget-friendly option but may not have the research or technology that some of the more expensive brands, like Toyo, have. This doesn't necessarily mean that in every case the cheaper tires are less capable, we just wanted to be sure to point out that one of the biggest influences on the price of tires is brand.