What are mud tyres?
Updated 11 Oct 2019
Australians are a pretty adventurous sort and will seek out all manner of daring and fun experiences. Near the top of the list for many is the weekend bush-bashing trip -an undertaking that involves climbing into a tough and rugged 4WD and disappearing off into the beautiful but brutal Australian countryside for a few hours and pushing themselves and their vehicles to the limits.
Enter the off-road tyre.
When talking off-road tyres, the conversation is typically around all-terrain (A/T) or mud tyres (M/T). A third option, the highway terrain tyre is, as the name suggests, not designed for the heavy-duty work of the true off-road tyre.
The amount of 4WD adventuring you do, and the severity of the terrain you tackle, will determine which tyre will suit you best. If you’re off road every other weekend, then all-terrain tyres might be a good choice. However, if you're charging around in the mud and climbing wet rocks every weekend, and you don’t mind a bit of road noise on your way there and back, then mud tyres are the go.
Why choose a mud tyre?
Mud tyres usually have between 12mm and 17mm of tread and are easy to identify as they have a very chunky and aggressive tread pattern. Mud tyres have bigger lugs (or blocks) and larger gaps between those lugs. This allows the tread to cut through the mud and get the best bite into the surface but also allow for the mud to be cleared and scattered as the tyre spins as a form of self-cleaning.
A tread that doesn’t self-clean will lose traction more easily, so the more mud being flung out the better. Just don’t be the one standing in its way.
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On the shoulder, between the tread and sidewall of a mud tyre are side bites - smaller lugs designed to bite into the walls of ground ruts and other terrain. When a track is really iffy, the side bites can make a big difference in maintaining forward motion.
Mud tyres are also constructed to be more puncture resistant and more durable in most terrains.
Advantages of mud tyres
- Better traction and grip
- More tread, longer life
- Best off-road tyre for the avid and adventurous 4WD enthusiast
Disadvantages of mud tyres
- Noisy. Tyre whine over 50 km/h when on normal road surfaces
- Harder to balance and take longer to balance correctly
- Higher cost
There is varying thought regarding the pros and cons of mud tyres. Some say fuel consumption will increase, others that correct tyre pressure will alleviate any fuel consumption issues. The soft tread construction means that the tyre will wear quicker, whereas the deeper tread will provide longer life.
How much weight the vehicle is carrying, the tyre pressure, how a person drives, tyre brand and how often the tyres are rotated and balanced all affect tyre performance and life span.
Mud tyres on other terrains
What are mud tyres like on terrains other than mud? Again, everyone has a different opinion. On sand, if the tyre pressure is reduced, there should be no problem. But, leave the pressure up and you might sink.
Good quality mud tyres should perform well enough on sand, gravel, mud, rutted trails and in the wet. Snow and ice is a trickier terrain. Always use caution and don’t expect tyres to perform miracles.
Popular mud tyres
- Kumho Road Venture MT KL71
- Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar
- Maxxis MT-772 RAZR
- Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC
- Cooper STT Pro
- BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM3
- Maxxis MT-762 Bighorn
- Mickey Thompson Baja Radial MTZ P3
Looking to fit some new mud tyres? Get a quote from an AutoGuru tyre expert to get the best deal and fitment.
Rachel spent her early adult life around cars, motorsport and hands-on with her own cars.
This interest moved into various careers within the Automotive industry. Joined with her passion for writing, Rachel loves putting the two together to share her experience, so we can all become AutoGuru’s.