Clearance and traction
are the primary factors to consider when going off-roading. Your vehicle will have to maneuver over and around obstacles and through terrain, and the
right tire, along with compatible components, will give you an increase in both. A taller tire gives more clearance under the differential and
chassis, and a wider tire, or change in tread pattern, can give more traction.
The first thing to consider in a tire upgrade is
fender clearance. Not only does your vehicle need sufficient clearance while at rest, but it must also accommodate maximum up and down travel and
side to side tire movement caused by steering and cornering.
Tire tread comes in
all sorts of flavors, however, when off-road performance is the focus "All Terrain Tread" and "Mud Tread" are probably best
suited for the task.
ALL TERRAIN TREAD performs
well under a variety of off-highway conditions and to some extent has closed the street/trail performance gap. The closed tread design is usually
quiet on the highway, yet noisier than a street tire, and performs well on rocks, sand, and on the highway. As you might expect, they tend to load up
with mud, but some of the AT designs perform surprisingly well in muddy conditions. For highway driving with minimal trail use, the AT design is an
MUD TIRES, and this may
surprise you, perform well in mud. Beyond the obvious superior performance in mud, they generally also do well on rocks and in deep snow. The MT is
at its worst in rain and can be outright dangerous in icy conditions. Another possible disadvantage of the aggressive tread of the Mud Tires is that
they have a tendency to be noisy, however, for the true mudder, this is hardly an issue.
Bottom Line: If
you're going for larger tires a little research on your part will go a long way. Know the maximum size tire which is compatible with your vehicle
and the installed components, or the components you plan to install on your vehicle.