Off-roading may be a necessity of your lifestyle, or an exciting weekend diversion. In either case, you may already know what it’s like to encounter a situation that your tires are not prepared for. A particularly muddy path, or a snowy and slush-filled road can both prove challenging to a vehicle that is equipped with the wrong type of off road tires. Whether you choose Dunlop tires, or Goodyear tires, here are the two biggest questions that you should ask yourself when considering your options.
Where do you plan to off road?
Off road tires come in a myriad of treads and sizes. For most people, one of the following three types of tires will be sufficient.
- All terrain tires
- Snow tires
- Muddy terrain tires
If your driveway is not quite finished, and if you live in a climate that provides a variety of driving conditions, then an all terrain tire is a safe choice. Not only will this tire have better traction in snow, ice, and mud, but it is well-suited to driving on paved roads as well. However, the all terrain tire is not one that should be your first choice for true off roading.
The quintessential off road tires are sometimes called mud terrain tires. When your vehicle is spending more time off of the beaten path than on the highway, and needs to cope with mud, rocky terrain, and snow, then you need a tire that has thicker walls than normal, and a tread that is capable of gripping better than all terrain tires. However, despite its versatility, a mud tire is not ideal in very wet or very cold conditions.
Cold, snowy, and icy conditions create a particular hazard for drivers. Not only are surfaces slicker and harder to grip, but the cold can make a tire stiffen up, and a stiff tire makes less contact with the road. Snow tires are built to be pliable even in the cold, and have a tread pattern that is specially designed to channel wet snow and ice away, providing better traction and safety.
What does size have to do with it?
Your vehicle should only ever be fitted with off road tires that are in an acceptable range for your particular make and model. That being said, you can still choose to put on tires that are slightly taller or wider than normal, up to a point. Size is an important consideration when choosing your off road tires. You will have to match the size between your front and back wheels, and you will have to make decisions about how much clearance your vehicle needs, and how much more traction might be required. A tall tire might mean greater clearance over rocks, and branches, and water, but if your tires require you to lift your vehicle, then you change the vehicle’s center of gravity. Doing this increases your risk of a roll-over.
Safety should be one of your primary concerns when taking your vehicle off the road, so be sure to carefully consider your tire options, and choose the type that is best suited to the expected driving conditions. Remember that there is no one tire type that is truly suitable to all conditions, and that sizing your tire should be done with caution.