Tires are one of the most important but often overlooked parts of your vehicle. Aside from the occasional flat tire, you don’t even think about them much. But just because your old tires don’t get much attention, doesn’t mean you should ignore them entirely. In fact, if you are looking for a great way to upgrade your vehicle, look no further than a quality set of all-terrain tires. All-terrain tires offer improved traction on a variety of surfaces and make driving in difficult weather easier. Their open-tread design makes easy work of off-road driving situations.
If you plan on getting adventurous this summer, or if you want an upgrade for winter weather, these ten all-terrain tires are a great place to start.
Picking The Best All-Terrain Tires
There are a lot of all-terrain tires on the market. So, how do you know which ones are best?
First, think about where you want to drive. Are you just looking for a little off-pavement adventure on dirt roads or are you planning on some serious off-roading with the possibility of mud or sand? Or are you looking for a great all-around tire that can handle rain, slush, or snow in addition to fair weather? What is the mix of pavement and dirt your tires will see? When deciding what all-terrain tires to purchase, make sure you know what your driving adventures may require.
Also, be aware that every vehicle has different tire fitment requirements. Wheel size, suspension, brakes, and even fender wells are a few of the factors that determine which tires will fit your vehicle. Durability, weight ratings, and correct sizing should all be considered in your all-terrain tire selection process.
If you are looking for a versatile tire that is comfortable on-road and delivers excellent traction off-road, the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Radial should fit the bill. This all-terrain tire offers improved stability over standard car tires. You will enjoy a smooth ride on pavement and find that they provide great traction in mud and dirt. The symmetric tread design also helps the tires handle snowy conditions with ease.
These tires fit Jeeps and other large SUVs and trucks. Some users have reported an issue with these tires when balancing them, so keep an eye open for vibration in the steering wheel or uneven tread wear. In the event that you do notice an issue, your local tire shop should be able to rebalance the tires.
This all-terrain tire fits pickups, Jeeps, SUVs, and more. The tire has a 5-row tread extra-deep tread pattern with multiple edges for increased traction. Not only do they fit on bigger SUVs and trucks, but they also have sizing to fit on cars as small as a Toyota Prius. They have no issue with long-distance drives and remain smooth on gravel and dirt. They are one of the more affordable quality all-terrain tires on the market. Although, like most all-terrain tires, you should expect to see a drop in fuel efficiency of roughly 3-4 miles per gallon over pavement oriented tires.
The tire is specifically designed to create less road noise and meets the severe snow service requirements for the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC). This tire work well as both an all-terrain tire and an all-season tire. Many who have used these tires say they handle excellent in the snow. So, you should have no fear of using these tires when the winter weather gets bad.
These Firestone tires come with an impressive 50,000-mile limited treadwear warranty. This all-around tire is designed to deliver easy on-road driving and optimal off-road handling on all terrain. They also offer all-season capabilities as well.
The tires have a unique Long Link (LL) Carbon structure which helps reduce tear and cracking in the tire. Another feature is the tire’s computer-optimized component system, which helps to maximize performance through a combination of tread design, shape, and construction. Firestones O-Bead technology improves ride comfort, and their 5 pitch noise reduction tread design is specifically designed to help reduce road noise.
The KO2 is a popular all-terrain model from BFGoodrich. The tire comes with CoreGard Technology, which beefs up the sidewall rubber to help prevent splits and cracks in the tire as well as add a layer of added toughness to the sidewall. The tread rubber is specifically designed to reduce chips and wear on the tire. The upper sidewall traction bars provide increased traction in snow and mud and on rocky terrain.
If you are taking your vehicle into more serious off-road conditions, the tire is designed to run at a lower PSI, and the side lugs will provide traction when the tire is aired down even on softer terrain, as well as in deep snow. Like with many all-terrain tires, you will have increased road noise when driving on pavement, but this tire is not too noisy. The one downside of these tires is that they may be better off-road than on-road — so keep this in mind when you are thinking about what percentage of your driving is on vs. off-road.
These versatile tires are designed to perform well on all surfaces and in all weather conditions. Cooper’s adaptive-traction technology helps the tire handle in any condition thrown its way. The tires are very durable and are designed to handle large loads so towing should not be an issue.
The Discoverer is one of Cooper’s most popular and best selling all-terrain tires. Its treadwear rating is 620 which means that is has a pretty good chance of lasting the 65,000 miles that Cooper claims it will. The tire is also relatively quiet on the highway.
Like many all-terrain tires, these Falken tires are great for year-round use. The tire has heat diffuser technology to protect the lower sidewall and internal tire from overheating. This will help keep the tire and your vehicle stable even when you are towing or carrying heavy loads.
The tire has rigid tread blocks with support ramps and step-down features to enhance vehicle stability and handling. The tread pattern also prevents stones and other irritants from becoming trapped in the groves of the tire. The aggressive upper sidewall helps protect the tire from sharp rocks and provides additional off-road traction especially if you are running a lower tire pressure.
This Federal tire has multiple lateral grooves to ensure excellent on and off-road traction. Its grooves are designed with wide zig-zags that enhance water dispersion and helps eject mud, stones, and snow. The tread pattern helps keep the tire quiet while providing the best possible traction when driving.
The Couragia has been one of Federal’s better-selling tires, and it’s easy to see why when it comes to price. This durable tire fits light trucks, Jeeps, SUVs, and much more. Though designed for off-road use, it is quiet and mild-mannered enough for everyday road use. When it comes to value, this all-terrain tire is a great option for a good all-around performer at a lower price.
This all-terrain tire from Toyo performs very well in rough weather conditions. It is a great fit for both light trucks and other sport utility vehicles. The tire is also available in Xtreme size if you are looking for extra deep tread depth to handle very rough terrain. The tread pattern is designed with more aggressive tread and shoulder designs for added traction.
And towing should be no issue, as the tire is designed to carry large loads. These tires are very durable, and Toyo claims they will give you 40% more tread life than other tires. Though this likely depends on the type of driving you do, some reviewers have noted that when the tires get over 25,000 miles the tread may begin to show signs of wear.
This all-terrain tire fits on Jeeps, light pickups, and SUVs. Its circumferential grooves help with straight-line traction, and the tire also has high-density siping which helps prevent hydroplaning. The tires also have coupling joints to reduce tread flex and increase high-speed stability.
The tread pattern has staggered shoulder lugs which offer increased all-terrain performance. While this is an all-terrain tire, it may not be the best performing in the snow. Generally, the tire is designed to perform well in rough terrain, as opposed to rough weather.
This all-terrain tire from Yokohama can fit almost any kind of car. The tire works well on all different terrains, as well as in many different weather conditions, such as rain and snow. It provides the perfect balance between an off-road tire and an all-season tire. Even if you don’t do a ton of off-road driving, this tire could still be a solid addition to your car.
For those who are into more adventurous driving and off-roading, these tires should fit that bill too. They are long-lasting and durable, making them a great long-term fit and good value. The tire has very strong reviews, as many people who have purchased these tires have enjoyed putting this versatile tire to use.
Great on and off-road tires
Work well in snow and rough weather
Fit most cars
Light humming noise at high speed
What To Consider When Purchasing All-Terrain Tires
There is little doubt that buying all-terrain tires is a great investment for your vehicle. From driving on different terrains to dealing with tough weather, there are too many benefits to pass up on this opportunity. What are some things you should look for when deciding which tire to buy?
All-Terrain Tire Features
All-terrain tires have a few key features that contribute to their performance. First, there is the tread. The best all-terrain tires have deep and aggressive tread patterns. These tread patterns help the tire get the best grip possible on a wide variety of surfaces, especially wet, snowy, or dirty ones.
That being said, a balance between grip off-road and a pleasant ride on-road is important. All-terrain tires tend to have more road noise when driving on pavement than typical All-Season or Performance tires, but less than mud-terrains. Though many brands tout their noise-reduction technologies, some all-terrain tires will be louder than others.
Another thing to look for is the sidewall of the tire. While a lower sidewall looks cool and is functional on vehicles that stay on the pavement, it doesn’t provide the best off-road performance. For offroad driving, you want a lot of sidewall (the area between the wheel and the tread). This is in order to be able to air down the tires and get better traction off-road, without damaging the wheel. Another benefit is that a taller sidewall provides a more comfortable ride. But, with when a tire is aired down and squishy, you lose fuel efficiency and tire life. A firmer tire will perform well on asphalt, but not as well on off-road terrain.
You should also pay attention to the rating of the tire when making a purchase. Tires are rated for speed, load, and conditions. If you plan on towing or hauling a lot of gear on your all-terrain tires be sure to check the tire’s load index rating.
Brand And Price
When looking at brands of tires, everyone has their favorites. But when it comes to all-terrain tires, sometimes it is better to look beyond the brand. Be sure to look at the specific tire and what it offers. Sometimes the tires that best fit your needs may not be the most “on-brand” tires.
Price is obviously a very important factor as well. A set of four tires can be quite pricey, but you don’t want to get too cheap of a set. Value is important with tires, and you need to be sure you are getting what you pay for. If the price is a bit cheap, it may be smart to look into why its so cheap. With an expensive tire, you should look at why it’s so expensive and see if it possibly has any specs that you don’t need to spend that much money on.
Some other things to look at are if the tire comes with a warranty and how long it lasts. Many tires will be warrantied up to a certain number of miles or length in time. This is important if you end up needing a patch or potentially a replacement. Also, keep an eye open for sales, as you can often get a good deal for a normally more expensive set of tires. Another important tip is to avoid any outliers — avoid tires that are unusually cheap or expensive. You’ll likely get what you pay for on a cheap tire, and the really expensive ones sometimes aren’t worth the high price.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are all-terrain tires good for?
The purpose of all-terrain tires is to provide traction on all types of surfaces. They are designed to not only drive on regular roads, but also on mud, dirt, and any other abnormal or unpaved terrain. They also provide more durability against debris and other irritants.
How many miles do all-terrain tires last?
On average, an all-terrain tire should last between 20,000-40,000 miles. How long they last mostly depends on how rough you are on the tires. The more wear they get from off-road driving, the more likely they will last around 20,000 miles. The weight of your vehicle, or what you are towing, will also affect the longevity of your tires.
Tires that are used more conservatively may last towards the higher end of the range. Obviously, this range is only an estimate, and there are a lot of factors that go into how long your set of all-terrain tires will last.
What is the difference between all-terrain and all-weather tires?
While there are some differences between all-season and all-terrain tires, there are also many similarities. A lot of all-terrain tires also double as all-season tires. The main difference is that all-terrain tires have deeper treads for use on different terrain. But, those deeper treads can also make all-weather driving easier.
Standard tires are usually designed to drive on wet or dry roads, but with all-terrain tires, you can do that and much more. So, if you plan to drive through snow or off-road conditions, all-terrain tires are your best bet.
Do all-terrain tires affect gas mileage?
Though all-terrain tires won’t kill your gas mileage, they will decrease it by an average of about 3% when compared to standard tires. That small drop off shouldn’t discourage you from upgrading to all-terrains as there are a host of other benefits that make up for this decrease in fuel economy.
Are all-terrain tires good for towing?
When towing, all-terrain tires are usually the better option over standard tires. That is because they are good for regular driving and also durable enough for towing. When shopping, be sure to look at the specific tire’s weight rating to ensure it can handle the weight of whatever you plan to tow.
Jake Starr is a rising junior at Penn State and is from just outside of Philadelphia. At Penn State, Jake is the News Director at the school's radio station. In addition, he serves as a writer for Penn State Athletics, covering multiple sports. Jake specializes in sports play-by-play, hosting, reporting, and feature writing amongst other things. He has an extensive writing background that he will bring to Autowise to provide the best content possible.