A good set of all terrain or mud terrain off road tires will find a place in the heart of every truck enthusiast. The problem is how do you decide which tire to buy? Americans have an abiding love affair with large cars and trucks. Today, many Americans take their passion to the next level and get their kick out of driving Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), four wheel trucks and Jeeps. But to thousands of aficionados, a straight off-the-assembly-line vehicle is just not good enough. It’s like a magnificent specimen of a Bengal tiger with the temperament of a cuddly little house cat. They’re looking for something different, something with teeth, and something on the wild side. Their ultimate objective is to sit behind the wheel of a formidable monster that can take in anything from blanketed roads and rain-swept highways to off-road terrain so formidable and rugged that even a M1 Abrams tank would shy away from.
The Off Road Mentality
For them nirvana or a wonderful feeling is the throb of a powerful engine silently ticking over waiting to cut loose, like a predator on a leash. The irrepressible spirit of adventure throbs through their veins, that incredible thrill of the explorer venturing into the unknown, the sudden rush of adrenalin, that indomitable or awesome high as they shoot forth like conquering heroes smashing through anything in their way. This is what off roading is about and with the right set of tires, this dream can become your reality.
But before you rush headlong into off-roading, stop and ponder the full implications of the new world you’re entering. Off-road tires are designed to grip a range of surfaces from sand to mud, rocks to boulders and snow to dirt. If you are planning on investing in a set of off-road tires first determine the kind of surfaces you are likely to drive on. Your off-road surface should be the prime consideration in making your choice.
When you talk about truck tires many people know that larger tires give you command performance in traction on off-road terrain. While that’s a fair assumption, it doesn’t stop there. There’s no doubting that the right selection in off-road tires does provide better traction in off-road conditions, but there’s more to adding rubber to a tire than just traction. Think about the look larger tires give; that commanding height which comes with a lethal combination of a suspension lift kit and oversize tires. Cruise down a highway on a behemoth while lesser vehicles move aside overwhelmed with that sheer demonstration or raw power encaged. Look at boulders, mud fields, dirt tracks, or sand dunes without any fear at all because you are writing in a truck that not only has the looks but also the toughness and stamina to challenge Mother Nature on her own turf.
Or gift your truck some attitude with a set of formidable mud or all terrain tires. Give it that tough, stocky, wide-bodied appearance of a powerful but dignified vehicle which one doesn’t mess with, not if one wants to see another sunrise at least.
If you plan on driving both on-road and off-road then the way to go is to strike a balance with all-terrain tires. These tires have on-road/off-road capabilities in equal measure with a tread design of interlocking multi-faceted tread blocks. This unique design provides traction on paved surfaces, gravel roads, and dirt trails as well as on mud, ice, and dry snow. All-terrain tires, because of their versatility, are the most common type fitted on four-wheel drive vehicles. They offer superior traction at subdued noise levels, and yet deliver more tread wear and mpg. All terrain tires are suitable for any surface in any season so you do not have to keep two sets of tires. However, because of less flexible tread, their rock performance is just about adequate.
The Attributes of the Nitto’s Terra Grappler
All-terrain tires provide a good service life and are relatively inexpensive. An outstanding choice in an all-terrain tire is Nitto’s Terra Grappler an all-terrain light truck radial tire ‘par excellence’. It guarantees exceptional year round performance and road comfort with negligible road noise, and yet with outstanding wet and dry road traction.
You would be shocked on how many people have nice trucks, with raises, and larger tires that never see any dirt!. It is quite common. This truck sees as much pavement as any Honda Accord out there. They can get away with that with these outstanding Nitto tires that can handle the pavement just like they can handle mud and other types of conditions that are seen when one leaves a designated paved surface.
Pro Comp’s Premium Radial All-Terrain is another fine choice. This tire is quiet and comfortable on the highway and yet provides amazing off-road performance. It is a nice choice for SUV and pickup owners looking for positive off road results but the Nitto is superior in many different shapes and form. You can ask one of our dedicated sales representatives for even more details on why the Nitto is so popular for consumers.
Aggressive All-Terrain Tires
Aggressive All Terrains (AT) ranks mid-way between a mild all terrain and the real mud/rock tire. They provide better street performance and tread wear, offer better mileage with superior trail performance than a mud tire. Their tread design features more void areas when compared with a regular all-terrain, almost as much as aggressive mud tires. Some aggressive ATs have a softer rubber compound for improved rock holding capability but lesser tread depth makes them more positive in braking and handling.
A genuine example of aggressive ATs is Toyo Tires Open Country M/T, the perfect aggressive solution for full size pickups calling for more ground clearance, off-road capability, and enhanced load carrying capacity. Another quality option is Pro Comp Tires Xtreme All Terrain Radial, a strong 4 wheel drive truck tire, a formidable solution for off-road enthusiasts.
Rock and mud tires are very similar in appearance. In fact they are so alike that their performance is much the same on either surface. These tires have a design pattern of flexible treads heavily interspersed with voids. The tread segments act as paddles providing traction in mud, while the voids throw off the mud keeping the tire clean. The tread blocks are flexible so that they are better able to contour themselves around rocks. Their higher contact pressure provides better grip and traction on rough, uneven surfaces. The rubber in mud tires are slightly softer so as to provide more contact, and by extension, better grip. The carcass and sidewalls are beefed up with stronger plies to sustain inevitable rock damage.
More on the Nitto
One great example of mud tires is Nitto’s Mud Grappler Extreme Terrain which provides incredible off-road traction on mud, rocks, and/or dirt. The Mud Grappler’s 3-ply polyester sidewall construction and massive lugs provide added protection against sidewall punctures when overcoming off-road obstacles, well beyond the design specifications of other brands.
Other options are Nitto’s Trail Grappler. The Trail Grappler M/T offers the best of both worlds in off-road performance with on-road comfort. It’s an aggressive yet quiet tire with enhanced puncture resistance provided by the thick rubber construction of its 3-ply sidewall. Its unique tread design ensures positive forward traction with superior lateral stability. When it comes to on-road comfort the Trail Grappler leaves the competition behind. Noise levels are minimized and far less than are expected from off-road tires.
All Terrain Tires vs. Mud Tires
Now why would you want to choose mud tires? Do you actually need them? The simple answer is that it’s all about appearance. So who would really need mud tires? That’s a no-brainer – it’s the off-roaders that plan on smashing through mud regularly, where mud tires shine. Their huge tread lugs perform like paddles driving the vehicle steadily through the liquid dirt, dead limbs, and loose stuff like an icebreaker muscling its way through an ice field. Simultaneously the open tread design does a great job of self-cleaning, consistently throwing off loose mud, constantly looking out for you and your truck.
But the experts seem to differ on the right way of getting traction in mud. You have the option of choosing a narrow tire that cuts through the goo and reaches hard ground easier, much like military tires, or you could go for the wide-body, flotation-type tire which behaves like a paddle tire in loose sand. It all depends on where you live and the kind of mud you’re looking at. It’s your call. Mud tires also work well in sand when you don’t have dune tires or don’t want to invest in a set. The huge lugs and open tread work like a paddle tire and the chances of a tire puncture will certainly decrease.
The All-Terrain Tire Advantage
If you don’t regularly drive in mud or sand then you don’t really need a set of expensive mud tires unless you’re after that aggressive, rugged look. If you want the best of both worlds your answer is an aggressive all-terrain set of tires with rough, jagged shoulders, and sidewalls. The actual difference between mud tires and all-terrains in regards to normal everyday driving is that all-terrain tires provide more grip when stopping and on corners, and are quieter. With more tread edges, they grip the surface better to provide greater traction on wet or snowy roads. All-terrains are by far and away the preferred choice for on- and off-road surfaces.