Choosing the Right Off-Road Tires
Want to buy new off-road tires? Hold it there. If you just want to get your hands on the biggest and meanest off-road tires available, there are a few things you should probably know before you do.
The Truth about Off-Road Truck Tires
Whether you’re sand racing, crawling, plowing mud or any other off-road activity, it’s important to understand exactly why you need a set of off-road truck tires.
A common misconception with off road tires is that you need them to increase traction on rough terrain, and of course, the general consensus is that bigger tires equal more traction. While such an assumption is reasonable, it is not entirely accurate.
True, the right off-road tire can provide some additional traction in off-road conditions, but there are better and more efficient ways to increase traction than simply inflating the rubber. If traction is your primary concern, truck parts like traction differentials (lockers) with built-in off-road tires are more useful for your rig than simply adding a set of taller, more aggressive offroad tires. Or for that matter, a winch might be a smart idea before anything else. Lockers or other 4×4 truck parts can inspire over-the-top guts, causing you to get stuck in a real traffic jam and then you’ll wish you’d opted for a winch instead.
The bottom line is that larger off-road tires are meant first and foremost for the purpose of increasing your rig’s altitude and ground clearance to allow for steeper climbs and descents on off-road terrain. Simply put, when driving over boulders, through mud, gliding through desert, or even just occasionally passing through forest trails, the higher ground clearance facilitates the negotiation of certain obstacles.
Not to downplay the traction aspect of off road tires, as a set of mud terrain bias off road tires will definitely perform better in mud than a set of radials all season long. On the other hand, improved traction is more of a secondary function that remains important, but shouldn’t be the only consideration when buying truck tires, as there are far better truck parts available to fulfill that purpose.
Are you ready for higher off-road truck tires?
Buying a set of taller off-road tires for your 4×4 is like making a marriage work; sometimes it involves drastic change, sacrifice, and commitment, along with constant care and maintenance. On the other hand, at least you don’t have to remember birthdays.
The first thing to remember is that upgrading to higher truck tires means upgrading some of the other truck parts in your vehicle as well. An additional inch of vehicle clearance is required to allow the truck tires to fit without rubbing against the vehicle fenders. Truck parts such as suspension lifts, body lifts, or a combination of the two can provide those extra inches. For off-road purposes, suspension lifts are preferred to increase wheel travel capability, whereas body lifts only allow the installation of larger off-road tires without an increase in off-road performance.
Bigger truck tires also mean that your vehicle will have to work harder to carry the extra load, which can put significant strain on your axles and shocks, and also change the gear ratios set by the manufacturer. To compensate for these changes, new ring and pinion gears and performance shocks (many complete lifting kits usually include shocks) are highly recommended. To counter the added weight and reduced performance, special intakes, exhausts, computer chips, or other performance-enhancing truck parts are also recommended.
Biased Truck Tires versus Off-Road Radial Tires
Any driver will tell you that radial truck tires have innumerable advantages over bias ply truck tires. In fact, the tire industry has almost completely abandoned the manufacture of bias truck tires, except for a few exceptions. But even though truck tires can come with a number of disadvantages, they still have advantages in off-road conditions.
Case for Off-Road Bias Tire
Off-road bias tires provide unmatched performance in extreme off-road situations, such as deep mud, jagged rocks and rough trails. The tread is designed for self-cleaning and removes mud or foreign matter more easily to help maintain traction and the rubber compound is softer for better grip on rough terrain. In addition, tire sidewalls are usually reinforced to prevent damage.
On the downside, however, the ride characteristics and wear and tear of off-road tires on the pavement are rather poor. Driving on the highway at high speed is an uncomfortable and noisy undertaking, and a single set of bias truck tires will not last more than twenty to thirty thousand miles. Even for off-road situations, while off-road tires with low air pressure will provide excellent performance, the center tread will still take a hit.
Case for Off-Road Radial Tires
While Bias off-road tires are ideal for extreme off-road enthusiasts, this does not mean that off-road radial tires are ineffective on rough terrain. In contrast, the new radial truck tires perform reasonably well in off-road situations, and are designed with versatility in mind for better road handling characteristics, even at high speeds.
While off road radial tires may not provide the same traction or performance as low air pressure bias off road tires, the longevity, handling and smooth ride on paved roads make up for it. The Radial is perfect for weekend off-road enthusiasts who see a lot of driving time on paved roads.
Tire size can be tricky, especially since the off road tire size you’re thinking of depends on a number of factors. The most obvious questions are first whether your vehicle can handle the size of off-road tires you want, and if not, what modifications do you need to make to make the off-road tires fit? Unfortunately, there is no universal and authoritative guide available to simplify the process, as customizations and modifications are vehicle-specific. Your best bet to get a better idea of your vehicle’s specifications is to contact the manufacturer. This will give you an overview of your vehicle’s capabilities so you don’t exceed the limit, or you have the right parts if you do.
When it comes to choosing the right lifting kit, accessories, and knowing what modifications to make, factory service manuals, off-road magazines, internet message boards, manufacturer’s manuals, and a number of other resources are available to help you.
Choosing the Right Tire Type
Before diving headfirst into the sea of off road truck tires and coming out with the meanest and scariest monsters you can find, you should at least know what type of monster would best suit your off road needs. First and foremost, you need to ask yourself a few questions. What types of off-road activities do you do most often? How much on-road and off-road driving will you do? What qualities do you care most about — durability, performance, traction, looks, or ride quality? How much are you willing to spend? Taking the time to consider these important questions can help narrow down what type of off-road tire is best for you.
All Season Tires
All-season truck tires are usually not suitable for off-roading, as their composition and tread design are not made to handle the blows of off-road conditions. However, they provide a durable tread that excels on wet or dry paved roads and offer exceptional longevity. Most stock vehicles are equipped with all-season tires. For vehicle enthusiasts who add larger truck tires just for show, all-season truck tires are likely the most efficient way. Granted, you won’t get the aggressive look that’s popular these days, but that’s probably a small price to pay for truck tires that will last tens of thousands of miles longer than more aggressive truck tires.
All Terrain Off-Road Tires
Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to all-terrain off road tires, which usually makes them the jack of all trades but masters nothing. As a result, a wide variety of all-terrain truck tires are available, based on whether the tire’s focus is on on-road or off-road performance. Typically, all terrain truck tires are built to off-road standards and then modified in certain areas to improve road performance. The end result is truck tires that can handle everyday driving, as well as some light to moderate off-road conditions. For the most extreme off-road performance, all-terrain will not perform as well as dedicated off-road tires, but on the road they offer unmatched longevity, even wear and excellent durability.
Extreme Truck Tires (Rock Crawling/Mudfield/Sand/Deep Snow)
Designed for extreme off-road conditions and little else, rocky and muddy terrain truck tires use an aggressive tread design that extends to the sidewalls, giant lugs with deep cavities, and reinforced sidewall construction to create tires that will grip any surface. and remains durable in the process. Extreme off road tires usually have many of the same features, and as a result many mud terrain tires make excellent rock crawl tires, and vice versa. Extreme off road tires are available in a radial or bias coating, but do their job well in a low air pressure bias coating, which allows the tread to conform to the surface for increased traction. But even though extreme off road terrain tires are made up of durable, cut and puncture compounds, they usually don’t produce very much mileage when ridden on the road, especially at high speeds. In addition, due to the wild tread design and large lugs, extreme terrain tires can cause a bumpy ride and are quite noisy on the road.
Need more help?
Getting new off-road tires can be a tricky process if you don’t know how to do it. It is highly recommended that you do your research and take advantage of the many available resources before making a purchase. But in the end, if you’re still in doubt, by far the best way to determine the right off-road tires and modifications for your vehicle is to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable person who owns a vehicle similar to yours, and has adjusted it in the right way. similar to what you want to do. Such a person can not only suggest the correct product, but may also have experience with installation and general driving skills.
Also read Crush Off Roading Details