Think of tyres like footwear. You don’t wear thongs when running and you don’t wear dress shoes on a hike. The same logic applies to your car. The most appropriate tyres for you are determined by the type of driving you have planned. Unfortunately, changing a pair of shoes requires less effort and time than changing a set of tyres. So, if your travels encompass a variety of terrains, what’s the solution?

The appropriately named all-terrain tyre.

What are all-terrain tyres?

Four-wheel drive tyres are sorted into three categories: highway terrain (HT), all terrain (AT) and mud terrain (MT). Let’s briefly look at each.

Out of the three options, highway terrain tyres are most like regular passenger car tyres. They prefer bitumen to dirt and are designed for comfort and reduced road noise. The compromise for ride quality is less capability off-road.

Mud terrain tyres are at the other end of the spectrum. They have a super strong construction for toughness and puncture resistance and their tread pattern consists of deep, blocky trenches. These heavy-duty tyres are designed to grip any surface and will take you from Gibb River Road all the way to the Cape York Tip – and you may be slightly deafer for it; MTs are designed for grip, not road comfort, and small towns will here you coming a couple of clicks out.

All terrain tyres, as you’ve probably guessed, are the Goldilocks option. They are, essentially, a compromise between HTs and MTs, with more grip than the former and more ride comfort than the latter. The tread design will be deeper and wider than an HT’s, lending it more grip and capability off road, but the ride quality on long stretches of highway should still be comfortable and not too noisy.

Are all-terrain tyres for me?

Four-wheel drives usually roll off the lot with HTs attached. If that lot was located in a city, chances are that’s where the four-wheel drive will be doing the vast majority of its work, so there’s no need for tyres with chunkier tread.

Hard-core four-wheel driving enthusiasts, however, will most likely opt for a set of MTs to tackle the rock-hopping, mud-ridden, rutted and sometimes non-existent tracks they have pencilled in. These vehicles will be doing very little city driving.

All terrain tyres are perfect for those who’ll be using their vehicle for city driving with a little off-road action on the side. A split of 60/40 (city/off-road) is a good guide. They’ll give you the grip, toughness, and safety you need while still allowing for a comfortable ride on city streets and highways.

ATs are perfect for the increasing number of families that love nothing more than loading the camping gear into the 4WD on the weekend and heading somewhere a little remote, wild and rugged. They may not get you to all the places a set of MTs will, but ATs will competently tackle the vast majority of off-road tracks that sprawl across our vast country. And they’ll get you home quietly and comfortably, too.

Are there any disadvantages to all-terrain tyres?

Not much in life doesn’t involve compromise. All-terrain tyres can handle a variety of surfaces due to a sturdier construction and a deeper, wider tread pattern than that found on HTs. As a result, they have slightly more rolling resistance and slightly poorer fuel economy. Compared to MTs, however, their fuel economy is very good.

What are the best all terrain tyres?

The breadth of tyre options these days are simply staggering. Trying to determine which set are the most appropriate for you can send you into a spin. That’s why you should talk to the experts. Drop into Eastern Tyres so we can have a chat about what exactly you have planned and the type of surfaces you anticipate negotiating. The good thing about all those options is that there’s a set of all-terrain 4WD tyres perfect for your lifestyle and, at Eastern Tyre Centre, we can help you find them.