WheelHero’s Guide to Mud Tires.
Taking your truck, SUV, or even car out for some serious off-roading can be an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience. But off-roading requires the proper equipment and it all starts with the rubber hitting the terrain. Here, mud tires and all-terrain tires are the weapons of choice, and can make all the difference between gaining and losing traction.
If you’re looking to get serious with off-roading and use your vehicle for mainly off-road driving through tough terrain, then mud tires are the best choice. If you’re looking to split time a bit more between off-roading and driving on the road, then all-terrain tires will be better suited for your needs.
Mud terrain tires are different from regular passenger tires and even all-terrain tires. Mud terrain tires are designed specifically for hardcore off-road driving. Mud tires may differ with their looks between brands, but they all have a similar goal with their design and construction.
The goal for these types of tires is to gain traction when things are slippery in areas such as mud, gravel, rocks, clay, etc. Mud tires feature an aggressive tread pattern with large tread blocks and deep, expansive voids. The aggressive tread pattern allows the mud tires and rims to dig into the terrain in order to get better traction. The large blocks help with churning through the terrain and work with the big, deep voids to help disperse and clear debris. These voids and ejectors allow things such as mud, rocks, and other debris to be pushed outwards and away from the large tread bocks and biting edges in order to generate traction and work properly.
Mud tires are also made using different kinds of high-tech softer rubber compounds compared to traditional all-terrain tires. This softer compound allows them to utilize a larger surface area and generate traction on slippery surfaces such as rocks. These high-tech compounds also help to prevent punctures, chips, and cuts from all of the rough terrain encountered on and off the trails.
Mud tires also benefit from multi-ply construction. Many have at least a three-ply construction while others have up to 12 or more. This allows a higher weight capacity and increased loads for hauling and towing in certain situations.
In off-road situations, drivers will often “air down” in order to generate better traction and grip in certain situations. Mud tires are designed to accommodate this thanks to their high-strength multi-ply construction, tread design, and compound type. Mud Tires are also designed with tread patterns extended to the sidewall with some manufacturers featuring “cleats” and “mud scoops” to generate even more grip and traction in tough situations.
While mud tires and rims seem to be the greatest off-roading tires ever made, they do have their limitations. Due to their large tread blocks, aggressive pattern, and deep grooves, mud tires are incredibly loud while driving on the road at speed. They also tend to be much heavier, requiring more energy to move and thus resulting in a decrease in fuel economy. Mud tires may offer good traction in the snow, but slush, a wintery mix, and ice can be very difficult for these tires to generate grip. On wet roads and in the rain, mud tires are not able to properly dispel water and can result in low traction and hydroplaning on asphalt. These tires also have a low mileage warranty due to their intended use, construction, and design.
In the world of off-roading, mud tires can be one of the greatest tools for conquering tough, rugged terrain. They’re made for heavy-duty off-roading and can generate traction in almost impassable terrain. However, they do have their limitations and are designed to be used mostly for off-road situations. If your vehicle is ready to get drenched in mud on a full-time basis, then mud tires and rims are your best bet for a good time.