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What Are Mud Terrain Tyres?

You’ve probably heard how tyres are designed for specific applications, and that one type of tyre can’t be optimal for all situations. But what exactly are mud terrain tyres and why do so many vehicles driving on the roads have them?

A mud terrain tyre is a type of off-road tyre specifically optimised for use in muddy, rocky and rugged terrain. Mud terrain tyres feature more aggressive tread patterns than other types of off-road tyres, with large, deep lugs and a more open tread design to help provide maximum traction and higher flotation in muddy or soft ground. Higher flotation is where a vehicle’s weight is spread out over a larger surface area.

Mud terrain tyres also typically have a more rugged and durable construction, with reinforced sidewalls and more exotic materials to help protect against punctures and other damage.

Why Don’t 4wds Come With Them From Factory?

So if mud terrain tyres are so great, why don’t many 4WDs and SUVs come with them from the factory? Well, here are a few reasons:

1 - Generally, most 4WDs and SUVs on the dealer lot are equipped with highway tyres, or mild all-terrain tyres. This is because first impressions matter and you’re likely to test drive a new vehicle on sealed, suburban roads, with maybe a quick highway jaunt.

2 - Mud terrain tyres typically have too many compromises that could influence your vehicle purchasing decision, but we’ll cover those later.

3 - Vehicle manufacturers spend mind-boggling amounts of money performing research on each market segment and the OE (original equipment) tyres that are chosen for that model are often aimed at the biggest segment of users of that vehicle. If a majority of the target demographic don’t use their vehicles off road, vehicle manufacturers are unlikely to fit the vehicle with specialty off road tyres.

Who Should Buy An MT Tyre?

Automotive enthusiasts often seek to modify their vehicles to perform better for their individual needs, regardless of whether they have a sporty corner-carving coupe, a weekend track day weapon, an SUV that regularly commutes long distances or a 4WD.

Upgraded tyres are one of the quickest and most effective ways to drastically improve your vehicle’s capabilities.

Mud terrain tyres are a great upgrade for drivers who frequently travel off-road or who need to traverse rough or muddy terrain. They are specifically optimised to provide maximum traction and flotation in these conditions.

GQ Patrol fitted with aftermarket wheels and mud terrain tyres.

That being said, mud terrain tyres are not a good fit for everyone. They tend to be more specialised and less versatile than other types of tyres, and often have tradeoffs in terms of performance on paved roads or in other types of terrain.

They are also typically more expensive, noisier, and less fuel efficient than other types of tyres, and the heavier tyres may produce more wear on the suspension and steering components of a vehicle.

Benefits of Mud Terrain Tyres

Mud Terrain tyres aren’t the perfect solution for every scenario, but they provide some pretty compelling benefits.

  1. Improved traction: The large, deep lugs and open tread design of mud terrain tyres are engineered to provide maximum traction in muddy or soft ground, helping to clear mud from the tyres, as well as grab onto rocks and terrain.
  2. Better flotation: Mud terrain tyres are designed with large surface areas, provide better flotation in soft or muddy ground, helping to prevent your vehicle from getting stuck. Many MTs are designed to operate at reduced pressures to further increase the contact patch.
  3. Durable construction: Mud terrain tyres are typically made with heavier-duty construction and reinforced sidewalls to help protect against punctures and other damage, making them more suitable for use in harsh conditions.
  4. Improved appearance: Many drivers find that the aggressive tread pattern and rugged appearance of mud terrain tyres adds a tougher, more purpose-built look to their vehicle.

Drawbacks of Mud Terrain Tyres

As good as they are for their intended purpose, mud terrain tyres, and even some all terrain tyres suffer from some drawbacks, thanks to compromises which are necessary due to their specialisation in off-road performance:

  1. Reduced fuel efficiency: Mud terrain tyres tend to be less fuel efficient than other types of tyres due to their more aggressive tread pattern and heavier construction.
  2. Increased noise and vibration: The larger tread blocks of mud terrain tyres can produce more noise and vibration than other types of tyres, which can be extremely annoying for some drivers.
  3. Reduced performance on paved roads: Mud terrain tyres are designed specifically for use in muddy or rough terrain, and may not perform as well on paved roads or in other types of terrain. The larger tread blocks result in less rubber being in contact with paved surfaces at any given time, when compared to traditional on road and all terrain tyres.
  4. Higher cost: Premium mud terrain tyres tend to be more expensive than other types of tyres, and may not offer the same level of value for drivers who do not frequently travel off-road or who prioritise other factors such as fuel efficiency or ride comfort.
  5. Increased wear: While it’s not common to wear out mud terrain tyres as quickly, the aggressive tread pattern, heavy weight and rugged construction of mud terrain tyres can produce more wear on the suspension and steering components of a vehicle, potentially leading to higher maintenance costs.

Overall, while mud terrain tyres can be a good choice for some drivers, they may not be the best fit for everyone, and it's important to carefully consider your specific needs and priorities before deciding whether mud terrain tyres are the right choice for you.

Dirty, muddy tyre on an SUV

What Mud Terrain Tyre Should I Buy?

Every vehicle, driver and setup is different, so what works well for others might not necessarily perform the best on your vehicle.

It's difficult to recommend a specific mud terrain tyre to all drivers, as the best tyre for any given driver will depend on a variety of factors, including their vehicle type and driving needs, their budget, and their personal preferences.

If you’re looking for a great range of products, and knowledgeable staff who can provide advice on tyres and the local region, drop into your local Tyrepower store and talk to the team today!

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