Love driving off-road? Before heading out for the great wide open, be sure your vehicle is equipped with the right set of tyres.
Big. Wide. Knobby. Some believe this is all you need to look for in an all-terrain or an off-road tyre. But there’s much more to quality all-terrain and off-road tyres than meets the eye.
To choose the proper tyre for your adventures off the beaten path, the first question to ask yourself is, “How much on-road driving will I be doing?”
This is a critically important question because many off-road specific tyres lack the on-road manners to make highway travel, or even a daily commute, comfortable. Off-road tyres can be quite loud, can reduce fuel economy significantly and their softer rubber compounds can wear more quickly than tyres designed for highway use.
You might be lugging a heavy load on the highway or going off-road for a last-minute fishing trip — and the versatility of these tyres provide consistently powerful performance.
When shopping around, another question to ask is, “What types of surfaces will I be driving on?” Gravel roads are one thing, foot-deep mud is another.
Throw in snow if you’re doing a lot of winter exploring, or loose sand if you’re heading to the desert or coast, and you have different tasks for different tyres.
A tyre professional can explain the benefits of different tyres for different types of terrain and help you choose the ideal one for your driving needs and lifestyle.
If you are planning to have more serious off-road adventures, the durable construction of tyres are designed to handle even the most extreme conditions. It’s a good choice if you will be encountering mud, rocky trails or other tough obstacles. Then, when it’s time to return to civilisation, its versatility makes for well-mannered and quiet handling on highways and city streets.
After you’ve identified the type of tyre you need, size becomes the next question.
Here, it’s important to look to the vehicle specs, or those that correspond to any modifications you’ve made to your vehicle’s suspension, body height or wheel wells.
It can be tempting to simply cram in the largest tyre you can bolt on, but bigger isn’t always better — particularly if it means tyres that rub while turning or bite into the fender when encountering a large bump. Poor fit can lead to tyre damage or unnecessary tyre wear. And that’s not what you want for a new set of tyres. When shopping for off-road or all-terrain tyres, keep these factors in mind to find the ideal tyres for your vehicle and your sense of adventure. —BPT