SUVs are taking over the world and for all the right reasons. They are known and preferred for their enhanced safety, enough space, robust power and versatility. And with the increased popularity of SUVs, the demand for 4×4 tires is also on the rise. SUVs are also preferred due to their ability to perform equally well on off-road trips and for daily commutes. However, the performance of these vehicles is primarily dependent on their tires. Since it is the only point of contact with the road surface, the importance of choosing the best 4×4 tires becomes more crucial.
4×4 tires can be classified into three main categories: all-terrain, on-road, and off-road. The tires you will be choosing must suit the driving style, roads, and requirements you have to offer the best driving experience.
Before we jump into the factors that determine your decision on buying 4×4 tires, let’s look at the various types of tires available for your 4×4 vehicle.
4×4 highway, or on-road tires
These types of tires are mainly used for daily commutes and are ideal for covering short distances on smooth road surfaces. You can use them for going to the office, grocery shopping, and for similar other purposes. If versatility and fuel-efficiency are your main concerns, then 4×4 on-road tires are the ideal option for you. Contrary to popular belief, on-road tires can actually be used for off-road driving. However, using such tires in off-road situations will limit their capability, which means you can’t expect the same level of comfort and driving experience as you would get with off-road tires. On-road tires provide satisfactory ride comfort, decent road handling, reduced noise, and optimum speed on highways.
4×4 mud terrain or off-road tires
Off-road tires, as their name suggests, are made specifically to handle comparatively rough terrain. The rubber used in such tires is harder than the ones used for on-road tires. These tires provide the perfect grip on gravel, mud, and other off-road situations, which means greater protection on the road. However, you won’t get on-road performance with these types of tires. Despite offering the longest lifespan, these tires are noisier and have lower fuel efficiency than other types of tires.
4×4 all-terrain tires
All-terrain tires act as a middle ground between on-road and off-road tires. Made from harder rubber, these tires are more resistant and are ideal for both unpaved roads and rough terrain in a moderate manner. The tread used in such tires is not so different from that used on on-road tires. However, due to the deeper grooves and more spacious blocks, they provide better traction than on-road tires on rough terrain. All-terrain tires are mostly preferred among 4WD owners because of their versatility and robust performance in both on and off-road circumstances.
Now that we have discussed the common types of 4×4 tires available on the market at present, let’s explore the factors that you need to consider before buying a tire for your 4WD.
Determine your driving requirements
Since none of the types fits every application, you must first determine what type of road you will be mostly taking. On-road tires will be the best bet for you if the majority of your driving is limited to unpaved highways. However, all-terrain tires can be the ideal choice for you if you prefer going a bit off-road from the usual smooth, unpaved roads. These tires are also superior in terms of providing better grip on wet surfaces and having lower noise levels.
Similarly, if you are all about going off-road, mud terrain tires will be the best option since they offer the best grip on mud and gravel paths. However, the performance of these tires drastically alters on highways as they can be rough, noisy, and might not handle wet surfaces satisfactorily.
Consider the load rating
If you are about to carry heavy loads regularly, consider getting a tire that can withstand the load easily. A typical 4×4 tire can withstand anywhere from 800 kg to 1800 kg per tire. Make sure you go through the load ratings to ensure the tires you are investing in can put up with the load required. Ensuring this factor is crucial for preventing them from wearing off and making the tires last longer.
Performance on wet surfaces
Since most 4×4 vehicle owners are prone to doing highway driving, it is essential to consider the tire’s wet road performance. This factor may vary greatly from one type of tire to another due to the tread pattern and spaces between the blocks.
The construction of the tires
You might also want to focus on the construction of the tires since they may vary based on their manufacturing process. Where some manufacturers put extra bulk in the tires, others focus on adding layers of puncture-resistant material to enhance their performance on gravel roads.