If you’re a dedicated off-road enthusiast, having a set of the best mud-terrain tires for your 4×4 is vital to conquering obstacles and finding traction. Mud-terrain (MT) tires are an excellent choice for your 4WD truck, SUV, or Jeep if you frequent deep muddy trails and/or take your vehicle out for more than the casual off-road excursion.
Mud tires are characterized by their aggressive chunky tread pattern, which provides traction in even the most slippery conditions. Along with the unique tread pattern, mud-terrain tires are also built with extremely durable sidewalls to better handle the abuse of harsh terrain, even when aired down. Generally, mud-terrain tires are also a great option for rock crawling.
We’ve compiled a list of the best mud-terrain tires on the market today so that you can walk away from this guide knowing which tire is the right one for you. Along with that, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding mud-terrain tires and listed out some of the key features to consider when choosing new shoes for your off-road vehicle.
Picking The Best Mud-Terrain Tires
When choosing mud-terrain tires, first determine the appropriate tire and wheel size that fits your vehicle. Note that any upgrades you have made to the suspension or brakes may influence what size tire and wheel will fit your vehicle. Then, consider what activities you plan to use the mud-terrain tires for.
Overall, mud-terrain tires are heavy-duty and optimized for off-road use in dirt, rocks, and mud. Mud-terrain tires offer limited traction, a shorter tread life, and will be less fuel-efficient on pavement than all-terrain or all-season tires. If less aggressive, and more on road-friendly, tires are what you need for your 4×4, then have a look at our all-terrain (AT) tire buying guide: 10 Best All Terrain Tires [Buying Guide].
The key features to consider when purchasing mud-terrain tires include clearance, shoulder tread, tread pattern, and sidewall specifications and will be outlined more in-depth at the end of the article. In short, mud tires provide safety and durability when off-roading on muddy and rocky terrain. Keep reading to learn about our picks for the 14 best mud-terrain tires.
Features To Consider When Purchasing Mud-Terrain Tires
First, make sure you have adequate clearance on your vehicle to fit the size mud tire you are looking to buy. This is especially important if you plan to purchase a larger tire size than the OE tires that comes stock on your vehicle. There needs to be proper clearance between the tires and your car’s fenders. Typically, trucks will be able to accommodate slightly larger tires without any modifications. However, smaller SUVs may not.
Next, the tread pattern is a very important feature of mud-terrain tires. While all of these tires will have deep grooves, the tread pattern does vary from tire to tire. Generally the deeper and chunkier the tread pattern, the more traction you’ll get in loose and muddy conditions. Along with the tread pattern, look for a tire with elevated tread on the shoulders for added grip and siped tread for even more traction in wet conditions.
Speaking of sharp objects, the sidewalls are vital in protecting the tire in extreme off-roading conditions. The thicker the sidewall, the more durable the tire, and the more likely it will stand up to sharp objects or possible punctures or abrasion along the sidewall. One measure to look for is the ply rating. The general rule-of-thumb is to purchase mud-terrain tires with a sidewall rating of 3-ply or higher.
It is important to note that as the spacing of the tread pattern gets larger, the tire gets louder on the pavement. So, if you are trying to find a mud-terrain tire with relative on-road comfort, look for mud-terrain tires with centered tread patterns and less pronounced grooves.
With Mud-Terrain Tires, Your Off-Road Vehicle Will Literally Reach New Heights
With the use of mud-terrain tires, you can avoid getting stuck in most conditions. Before your next off-road trip, we recommend bringing along recovery boards and winch just in case. Not only will your vehicle look extreme in all the cool ways, but you will be equipped to take on the most challenging off-road trails.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between mud-terrain (MT) tires and all-terrain (AT) tires?
Mud-terrain tires are well suited for a wide range of off-road conditions, especially loose and wet conditions. Because of the large and deep tread design, they find traction in deep mud, but also can be quite loud on-road. The big blocky design also looks aggressive and will make your 4×4 look mean.
All-terrain tires have smaller tread blocks. Think of AT tires as a 50% on-road and 50% off-road tire. While they are well-equipped to handle wet, snowy, and icy terrain, they fall short when dealing with deep mud in off-road conditions. If you are driving off-road trails with deep mud, you are going to want a tire that can dig deep and find grip.
Are mud-terrain tires good on the road?
Generally, mud-terrain tires do not perform as well on paved roads as other options. Mud-terrain tires can decrease fuel economy, can be loud, and tend to wear relatively quickly, as they are made of softer compounds.
What are the benefits of mud-terrain tires?
Mud-terrain tires create traction in loose, muddy, and rocky off-road conditions. This is because the deep grooves and chunky tread on the tires allow for mud and rock to be pushed out from under your tires giving you the traction you need to keep moving forward.
How long will mud tires last?
How long mud tires last depend on numerous factors. In general, they should last around 40,000 miles. There are many factors that can increase or decrease the life of the tires. Tire life will depend on the brand and your use-case. Driving mud tires on the highway will decrease the tread life. Along with that, a heavily-modified vehicle may also reduce the tire life of mud-terrain tires. And, of course, the type of terrain you are driving will also put different amounts of wear and tear on the tires.
Are mud-terrain tires good in the snow?
Contrary to what you may think, mud-terrain tires are not necessarily good in the snow. Because of the large-crevices on the tread pattern design of mud tires, snow and ice can get stuck in the grooves. Once that happens, the tires lose traction.
Some mud-terrain tires are snow-flake rated, however, and work well in all seasons.
Also, we recommend using snow tires and/or tire chains in intense snowy or icy conditions.
Are mud-terrain tires loud?
Mud-terrain tires are very loud when driven on pavement at high speeds. With that, if you ever have to drive them on the highway, expect a lot of noise. When driven off road, they are still quite noisy. But you’ll likely find the noisiness is worth the unparalleled traction they provide off-road.
While that is the general rule, some top modern MT tires offer impressively low on road-noise, when considering their off-road mud traction focus.