Fuel off road One Brand Many Styles
Whether you own a pickup truck, an SUV, or a CUV, your off-roading vehicle is an extension of your personality and style. Hence, everything that goes with it—including the tires—is naturally chosen with care.
Off-roaders require wheels that will supply the needed traction to travel over rock, sand, mud, snow, and other types of uneven terrain. Let's take a closer look at the different off-road tires currently in the market.
Types of Off-Road Tires
· All-terrain tires
These tires are the best option for those who regularly drive through both asphalt and rugged surfaces. They feature larger tread blocks with broad and deep grooves. Some models have reinforced sidewalls to support trucks and campers that carry heavy loads. All-terrain tires are quieter on flat roads compared to mud-terrain tires.
· Mud-terrain tires
Sometimes referred to as max-traction tires or mudders, this tire type has a larger footprint than all-terrain tires, giving you the stability you need to traverse demanding terrain. It also has sturdier sidewalls, a multi-ply construction, and deeper ridges that absorb the impact of muddy roads, loose soil, and jagged rocks. The wide voids or space between treads help clear out debris faster. Like winter tires, mud tires are meant for traction in environments below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
· Winter tires
Also called snow tires, this tire type is what you need when you drive in areas where it's predominantly snowy. They feature sipes or thin slits on the tread that improve traction on roads that are slippery or filled with slush. Their soft rubber compounds help them conform to the road surface better, enhancing their grip.
Some Drawbacks and Fixes
The unique make of off-road tires has some downsides, some of which include:
· Higher gas mileage
While off-road tires provide the traction you need for unpaved terrain, they can reduce your fuel efficiency by about 3% compared to standard tires. Their larger size, weight, and tread pattern compared to regular tires increase its rolling resistance, or the amount of energy—which translates to more fuel—needed to keep the wheels moving.
You can improve fuel efficiency on trails by reducing your tires' air pressure as this strengthens their grip on rocks and inclines. This will keep tread blocks intact and extend the tires’ lifespan in the long run.
· Greater noise level
Off-road tires are noisier, especially on level ground, due to their open tread pattern. The greater amount of air passing through the wide and deep channels causes a louder humming noise than all-season or passenger tires.
Sound-proofing your vehicle's floors and doors, installing wheel well liners, and repairing broken wheel bearings can bring down the noise. Also, smaller tires with narrower spaces between blocks and shallower tread run more quietly.
· Shorter tread life
As the softer rubber of off-road tires gets into contact with rough surfaces, the heat and friction wear out their outer layer. Their average life is 40,000 miles, although higher-end models range from 50,000 to 70,000. Regularly rotating your tires can minimize uneven wear.
· Proneness to cupping
Cupping or scalloping refers to the inconsistent high and low cup-shaped depressions on a tire's tread. It happens as the tires’ shocks and suspension systems absorb the impact of uneven surfaces. This results in a bouncy ride as the tires no longer roll smoothly. Regular suspension and wheel alignment checks as well as tire balancing can help prevent or reduce uneven wear.
How to Choose the Right Off-Road Tires
Consider the following points when deciding on what tires to buy for your off-roader:
1. Your driving needs
Your tires should match the type of terrain that you tackle on a regular basis, whether you're an outdoor adventurer or industrial user. For instance, mud tires are better at traversing steep ascending and descending trails compared to all-terrain vehicles. However, they offer less traction in snow and rain than all-terrains as the snow and ice can fill its wide ridges.
Mud and snow tires (M+S) or all-season tires are good for occasional snow and ice but not for heavy snow as they can become stiff at low temperatures.
2. Right tire size
The size of the tires that your vehicle was originally fitted with at the showroom is still the best size to go for. But if you wish to deviate from the manufacturer's sizing recommendation, the new tires should at least meet their load-carrying capacity at its maximum inflation pressure (load index). You should also consider the size of your wheels and ensure that they won't rub against the sides of the wheel well or calipers.
Note that using bigger tires can elevate your view of the road ahead of you. However, this may lower your stability when turning corners and braking, especially at high speeds.
3. Your budget
You should determine how much you're ready to spend for your upgrade, which could include buying matching rims if the new tires don’t fit and a lift or leveling kit. Also, remember that upsizing will have a long-term effect on your gas budget.