Have you been wanting to take your truck or jeep off-road? If so, you are going to need to get you the right tires. Sometimes, it does not matter what you have under the hood, or how much clearance you have on your 4×4. You are still going to get stuck in the mud if you do not have the right tires.
What are the right tires you ask? You can get away with all-terrain tires. Yes. But you are not going to have as much fun when you hit the rough stuff. We suggest you put some mud terrain tires on your vehicle if you are looking for the perfect off-road tires.
What is mud terrain tires?
Typically, mud terrain tires are majorly used for off-road operations—particularly on muddy surfaces. Also known as mud tires and M/T tires, it has special features that set it apart from other tires.
- Significant tread blocks – M/T tires have aggressive tread than other kinds of off-road tires. It is designed with substantial tread blocks to keep off the sediments from sticking into the tires. It is different from other types of tires due to its tread lock patterns and deeper ridges. The bigger space between each tire tread makes it easier to dispel loose and sticky sediments like mud.
- Remarkable sidewall construction – Some M/T tires have upper sidewall patterns to provide better traction. The pattern extends up to the sidewall to give additional biting edges for extra grip when you’re driving the vehicle on rugged terrain. Certain mud tires have a strong sidewall that allows you to run even in low PSI while driving on trails.
- Durable rubber compound – Mud tires are made of softer rubber compounds than other kinds of tires. The soft rubber gives better grip, especially in off-road conditions. However, the walls are made thicker so that it can withstand jagged or sharp edges of rocks.
- Wide channels and deep ridges – The construction of mud tires repel muck and mud, as well as clear the debris out of the tread. The voids and deep ridges of M/T tires allow mud, dirt, and rocks to escape.
- Mud and stone ejector – The mud and stones you will encounter on the trail won’t be a problem. Built into the tires are stone ejectors that help dispel anything that gets lodged between its cleats.
- Resistant to puncture – Some M/T tires are created using an outstanding stone and mud-repelling technology. It is embedded within the tread voids to eject stone fragments that can lodge between the tread blocks. Some tire brands offer mud tires with 3-ply sidewall construction which provides an additional level of puncture protection.
- Siping for more grip – You may notice little lines in the tread of mud tires. Those are called sipes and they are not just for decoration. Siping is a method for improving the traction and maneuverability of the vehicle when the mud tires are used.
Downsides of M/T tires
Back then, mud tires are only created for off-roading purposes. They were not made to be resistant to changing seasons and weather. But nowadays, companies have created mud tires that work well in different weather conditions. They have incorporated features such as sipes to the tread blocks, as well as places to put spikes for better grip in the snow.
Mud tires do not offer the same level of wet road traction as street-focused tires. Expect that it will not perform best when it is used for daily driving or when you drive it on paved roads. The chunky tread blocks and sidewalls patterns of these tires are an asset in mud and dirt trails. However, it is not as reliable in extreme winter conditions. These tires do not perform well in extreme temperatures. Although it is resistant to hardening in cold conditions, the soft rubber compound is not dependable to extreme temperatures.
Many off-road enthusiasts choose mud tires to make their 4×4 vehicle off-road ready. They are excellent to use for muddy trails but it can be a bit unreliable on-road. You will be sacrificing on-road performance and comfort if you install mud terrain tires to your truck. But would you dare to ignore the improved off-road capability it gives to your vehicle?
Frequently asked questions about mud tires
- Are M/T tires good on the road?
A lot of mud tires are street legal and can be used when you travel on highways. However, they are not recommended to be used for daily driving. You might do better with all-terrain tires if you don’t spend a lot of time driving in the mud.
- Are mud terrain tires noisy?
Off-road paths are very different from roads made of concrete or asphalt. Do not be surprised by the noise made by M/T tires when you use it on-road. The loud noise is created when mud tires are used when driving at high speed on paved roads.
The mud tires actively grip the surface as it rolls along. The noise is created when the air gets trapped and released repeatedly in the wide gaps and deep grooves.
Mud vs snow tires
Snow tires are also known as winter tires. They are specifically designed to provide traction in deeper snow and sub-zero temperatures. Just like mud tires, the snow tires are created using a special type of rubber that stays soft and flexible.
The snow tires look more similar with all-season tires, except it is made with special siping patterns on them. Compared to mud tires, they give enhanced grip and control when driving the vehicle on snowy roads. If you regularly drive in snowy conditions with a temperature lower than 44 Fahrenheit, then winter tires are good to use.
However, certain brands of mud terrain tires are also great to use even in the wintertime. You can still opt to choose mud and snow tires (M&S) which will perform just fine in lighter snow.
Distinguishing mud tires
As you shop for tires, you can identify mud tires from snow tires by looking for the “M” and “S” initials. Located on the side of the tires, various symbols such as “MS”, “M&S”, “M+S”, or some other variant may be imprinted to the tires. Kindly take note that the labels may be different depending on the manufacturer.
There are mud tires specifically designed to offer maximum control not only in muddy conditions. You may notice that some brands label their tires as “mud and snow”. Check the product description to see the letters indicated on the tire you’re planning to purchase.
Mud and snow tires (M&S) are also called all-season tires. You can see the letter M + S on the side of the tires as its label. It’s a nice type of tires perfect for winter conditions but with only occasional snow and ice. However, it won’t work fairly well in mud when compared to the tires only meant for mudding. The all-season tires won’t give the best traction in both mud and snow due to its construction and tread patterns. It also tends to get stiff in the cold so it’s not reliable on braking or cornering.
Noteworthy M/T tires
One of the most important upgrades for off-road vehicles is the type of tires that is going to be used. Muddy areas are different if you compared it to dry dirt roads. Trails with this sticky matter can be a problem, especially if you get stuck, so quality mud tires are recommended.
The Trail Grappler from Nitto is one of the most popular mud tires in the market. Driving in the mud is a lot of fun with this tire because it keeps you in complete control and will not get stuck in deep murky areas. It has a 3-ply rubber construction and outstanding sidewall design that protects it from sharp rocks and rough sediments. The noise output is low compared to other mud tires when you spin it down the highway.
The Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Radial has an amazing off-road capability and boosts the performance of your truck when you drive it on the trails. The biting edge design for more grip and tire protection. This tire can power through rocky and mud-terrain. It has Power Ply sidewalls with a third angled ply that helps in preventing punctures. This feature also provides better handling and pulling power, as well as increase traction for both mud and snow. However, the tires produce a loud noise when you drive it on the highway.
Another noteworthy mud tire is the Toyo Open Country MT. This has been a popular choice with off-road enthusiasts because performs well on light snow surfaces as well. For excellent traction, it is built with a 3-ply sidewall and scalloped lugs. The tread is designed to minimize road noise, making it one of the quietest mud tires in the market.
Choosing the best off-road tires
When buying mud tires, make sure to choose the right size for your vehicle. Choosing the appropriate size of tires for your 4×4 truck is substantial. You may experience suspension problems and tire rub if you purchase tires that are slightly too large or small. Wrong tire size often wears out prematurely and can cause mechanical problems for your vehicle.
Other types of tires would get stuck in the trails and unable to function. Choose the truck tires that are reliable to use for rough terrain. Mud terrain tires are specifically designed to aid 4×4 vehicles in dealing with mud and other rough surfaces. However, it can be a little confusing with all the variety of mud tires available today.
The tire buying process can be overwhelming but it is crucial to know the size recommended for your truck or Jeep. Aside from the fact that it should deliver a high-performance when you use it in the muddy terrain, the tires must perfectly match the dimension intended for your vehicle.
To help you choose the mud tires that are good to purchase, ask someone from a local tire shop or purchase from online stores such as 4WheelOnline. They have a tire configurator to help you tailor the selection by brand, make, and model. You can find the mentioned noteworthy tires in their roster of M/T tires.