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All Terrain, Mud Terrain and Rugged Terrain Tires

Mar 6th 2020

All Terrain, Mud Terrain and Rugged Terrain Tires

Tires manufactured for off-road enthusiasts come in various sizes and with optimized tread patterns. But what exactly is the difference between these tire models? How do all terrain, mud terrain and rugged terrain tires differ from one another? Today, we will take a look at just what makes these tires perfect for off-road conditions.

All Terrain Tire Models

All terrain traction

All terrain tires are, as their name suggests, perfect all rounders among all of the tire models. These tires are made for vehicles which are used both on- and off-road in about equal range. In other words, if you tend to divide your time on- and off-road about 50-50%, all terrain tires might be the best choice for you.

These tires feature large, staggered tread blocks and a wider void ratio than the tread of street tires. This pattern, as a result, enables all terrain tires to easily conquer off-road terrain surfaces, while not compromising on on-road comfort and performance. The frequently siped tread blocks and the closer placement of these blocks increase the grip on concrete roads. All terrain tires promote a comfortable drive on concrete roads, while also providing adequate traction and durability to handle versatile terrain surface conditions. However, all terrain tires should not be used on harsher soft and loose terrain surfaces, such as deep mud, as their tread may not be able to handle these terrain conditions.

Nowadays, the all terrain category offers strong contenders on the tire market. Manufacturers have taken into account the needs of the consumers and are designing tires which offer both on-road traction and comfort and off-road durability. Furthermore, recent all terrain additions on the tire market provide winter weather traction as well. These tires are marked with the three mountain peak and snowflake symbol which note the tire’s severe winter weather traction.

Mud Terrain Tire Models

Mud terrain traction

Where all terrain tires lack grip, mud terrain tires make up for it. Rocky terrains and deep mud will not hinder the performance of mud terrain tires. If you use your vehicle more off-road than on concrete roads – about 80+% off-road performance – then mud terrain tires are a good choice for your vehicle.

Mud terrain tire models sport large and staggered tread blocks like all terrain tires, but the void area between these tread blocks is wider. The high void ratio of these tires enables them to successfully conquer soft and loose terrains with ease, preventing them from getting stuck in deep mud. As a result, mud terrain tires offer a better performance on off-road terrain surface conditions.

Unfortunately, the better off-road traction sacrifices the tires’ on-road performing ability. The high void ratio of these tires lowers their concrete road traction. It also creates excessive road noise levels during the drive. The bulky block pattern and the decreased traction create more friction between the tire and the road, increasing the vehicle’s energy consumption and lowering its fuel efficiency. Lastly, mud terrain tires are usually not covered by mileage warranties. Their off-road application and stronger on-road friction affecting it cause the tread to wear out faster, shortening their service life.

Rugged Terrain Tire Models

Rugged terrain traction

In recent years, a new tire category has surfaced. Rugged terrain tires are the response of tire manufacturers to the needs of their consumers, who wish to combine extreme off-road traction and on-road traction and comfort in one tire. They are called hybrid-terrain tires and they are basically the combination of all terrain and mud terrain tires.

As their name suggests, rugged tires are capable of handling rugged terrain surface conditions. By this, we mean terrains that regular all terrain tires are unable to conquer, such as deep mud, loose dirt, rocky terrains and severely uneven terrains. Rugged terrains feature a tread design similar to mud terrain models. Their staggered tread blocks, high void ratio and upper sidewall detail work together to ensure the tire’s forward motion on versatile terrain surface conditions.

However, that is not all. Unlike mud terrain tires, rugged terrain models are capable of offering excellent on-road performance as well. Despite their rugged tread design, rugged terrain tires offer excellent on-road grip throughout their service life and they do not compromise on comfort either. The optimized tread block placement and siping pattern manage to maintain the tire’s dry, wet and winter weather grip on concrete roads, while they also help minimize the road noise levels heard in the vehicle’s cabin during the drive. They are the true all rounders of the tire market. 

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