The range of tyres available for your 4WD these days is incredible. While this means that there is the perfect set for all scenarios, it also means it’s hard to make a final decision. Narrow the field by thinking about what sort of driving you plan on doing. Will you be mainly city-based, rarely tackling the unsealed road? Do you have some decent road trips planned that take you away from the beaten path? Perhaps you plan on seeing some remote areas of our country and need tyres capable of handling roads that barely deserve the title.
Basically, how much time you spend on bitumen compared to unsealed roads determines the type of tyre you should look at. The three 4WD tyre categories are:
- Highway Terrain (HT)
- All-Terrain (AT)
- Mud Terrain (MT)
Let’s take a look at the type of driving they’re intended for.
Predominantly sealed road driving
If it’s likely you’ll spend around 90% of your driving time on sealed roads, Highway Terrain tyres are perfectly adequate. Nearly all 4WDs roll off the lot with these attached. Their less aggressive tread (compared to ATs and MTs) means more comfort, less road noise and greater fuel efficiency, which is exactly what you want for city driving. They still have plenty of grip to handle wet bitumen, but they aren’t really appropriate for much off-road driving.
- Road noise
- Fuel efficiency
- Wet bitumen grip
- Least off-road grip of the three tyre types
A mix of bitumen and off-road driving
If you plan on splitting your time between sealed and unsealed roads at a ratio of around 60/40, All Terrains are your best bet. They’re generally considered the Goldilocks option as they provide more grip than HTs but less than MTs. Their ride comfort, road noise and fuel efficiency also sits in the middle.
If you’re a city-based family that loves to throw the tent in the back of the car and head off somewhere remote and a little wild, then ATs are just what you’re looking for.
- A good compromise between road comfort and off-road grip
- More fuel efficient and more comfortable than MTs
- Suitable for a range of surfaces
- Less capable off road than MTs
- A little noisier than normal
Regular off-road driving
If you’re spending at least 85% of your driving time on rough, rugged tracks, then you’ll want to seriously consider Mud Terrain tyres. As the name suggests, these tyres are suitable for muddy and extreme off-road conditions. Their tread is made up of deep, blocky trenches that channel the mud away to find purchase on the most compromised ‘roads’. They’re also made of a sturdier construction, which makes them tough and puncture-resistant.
Of course, the compromise of this chunky tread is more noise, less ride comfort and reduced fuel efficiency. Because there’s less rubber in contact with the road, these tyres offer less grip on wet bitumen than the other two. MTs really are for off-road driving.
- More capable off road than HTs and ATs
- Tough and puncture-resistant
- Hard to get bogged with these equipped
- Louder and less comfortable
- Reduced fuel efficiency
- Reduced grip on wet bitumen
The right 4WD tyre depends on your plans
Highway Terrain, All Terrain or Mud Terrain? The answer depends on what sort of driving you intend on doing. But once you’ve made that decision, there’s still plenty of examples to choose from in each category. If you need a new set of tyres for your 4WD, pop into Eastern Tyre Centre and have a chat with our team. We’ll listen to what you have planned, what your needs are, and make sure you drive away in a car capable of delivering.