The term “all-terrain” is a little bit misleading. Most drivers that have these types of tires are under the impression that they are the best for facing every terrain and climate imaginable – i.e. snow, heavy rain, etc. There may be some truth to this, but one driving condition might get overlooked when slapping the “all-terrain” label
on a tire – off-roading.
Mud tires are great for off-roading conditions, which can be anything from mud to uneven gravel or even sand dunes. If you are new to the off-road scene or regularly drive on unpaved roads, there are a few things you should know about mud tires and how they compare to all-terrain tires.
One of the first things that you will probably notice about mud tires are the larger-than-normal tread blocks and deeper gaps – known as void areas – between these blocks, which function to grip rocky terrain. On all-terrain tires, you will typically find that the tread blocks are closer together, as they are meant for paved roads, putting as much rubber in contact with the road as possible, which amounts to better traction. However, in uneven and rocky terrain, the all-terrain tire tread will not grip and release the terrain as efficiently as the tread of mud tires.
These tread patterns will typically continue over to the tire’s sidewall. Mud tires will have stronger, reinforced sidewalls that handle heavier vehicles more efficiently and are also more durable against the force of sharp and rocky edges. This sidewall reinforcement helps assist your car with better traction in off-road conditions as well as resist against punctures, which can be more prevalent in off-road driving.
Mud tires are not without their pitfalls though. Bulkier, sturdier tires that grip rocky terrain well will downgrade your car’s traction on normal roads. You’ll also notice a noisier ride and a dip in comfort level. The more aggressive tread pattern is to blame for this, as the tire will not rotate as smoothly when it is not required to grip anything. For everyday driving on paved roads, all-terrain tires are probably your best bet.
If you want the most out of your experience, mud tires are your best bet for off-roading. Built specifically for treacherous contour and uneven land, the tread blocks of mud tires grip rocky and muddy terrain in a way that all-terrain tires simply cannot, which improves driver safety and makes the ride as smooth as possible.
Don’t be afraid to get a little mud on your shoes!
Check out Pep Boys’ extensive selection of tires and enjoy the road less traveled!