LAST UPDATED: December 31st, 2020
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Modifying your off-road vehicle can be quite an expensive hobby. The costs add up quickly and can be disastrous if you do not keep a proper check on things.
Most beginners start out with changing the tires on their off-roaders. It is after all one of the most basic mods and one you can get into right away.
As with all modifications, this, too, must be done correctly. Upgrading your tires to a set with decent off-road capabilities gives your trusty vehicle an immediate boost in off-road performance.
This time around, we are taking a look at mud tires, more specifically the pros and cons of mud tires, and why you should place them in your consideration.
Pros and Cons of Mud Tires
Pros of Mud Tires
Here, we’ll tell you about the advantages of mud tires.
Spreads the Load of Your Vehicle
Weight distribution is a key element in any off-roader. If you are just starting out, we recommend hitting the treks with your vehicle.
And if all goes well, you too will understand the importance of it. Having mud tires help distribute the weight of your vehicle over a much wider area.
These tires are usually wider than their on-road or all-terrain counterparts. This is all dependent on your vehicle, though. We need something with a strong sidewall. So that you can oft for low-pressure tires.
Related Guide: Mud Tires for Street
Significantly Increases the Grip in Muddy Terrain
It is all about contact. Mud tires have a higher area of contact than their highway or all-terrain counterparts.
This is mainly achieved through having big tread blocks, which in turn increases the tires’ overall terrain footprint.
And thus, we have a higher area of contact with whatever it is that we are crawling over. There is also the added benefit of lowering the pressure, but that is a different topic altogether. For now, let us just focus on the tires themselves.
Superior Off-Road Traction
As we have stated above, mud tires have a much greater area of contact overall. Off the road, this is crucial to maintaining proper traction.
As a general rule of thumb, the higher the surface of contact, the higher the traction, and thus, the higher the level of control you have over your vehicle.
Deeper tire grooves equate to higher levels of self-cleaning, which is what most people say. That is not entirely true.
The grooves in tires have certain draft angles, which causes any trapped mud to dislodge more easily. Deeper treads, along with adjusted draft angles, give mud tires superior self-cleaning abilities.
Cons of Mud Tires
In this section, we’ll talk about the drawbacks of mud tires.
Poor Traction in Road Use, Especially in Wet Roads
It is quite well-known that off-road tires do not perform well on the road. Mud tires, even more so. The deep grooves help with traction and grip off the road.
However, on flat pavement, they do very little in terms of providing grip. You ‘feel the lug’ when driving on the road with mud tires.
Moreover, that poor performance translates even further on wet roads. Water decreases the contact of the tire with the road even further, resulting in even poorer traction. We do not recommend mud tires for driving on the road.
Noisy on Paved Roads
It is no secret that off-road tires generate a lot of cabin noise. Mud tires take it up a notch. Cabin noise plus road noise.
Add to that the fact that you will feel every bump in the road. With the softer treads, you feel more vibrations within your car, too, even when driving over something as minuscule as gravel.
All in all, it is not an experience we would recommend for anyone.
Short Tread Life
Compared to other types of tires, mud tires are made of much softer compounds, which are meant for mud use.
Therefore, on the pavement, the rate of wear and tear for mud tires is much, much higher. Plus, you will go through more mud tires than at the same time you would a normal tire.
Therefore the costs start adding up quickly, even if you take well care of your off-road tires.
More Expensive than Other Tires
Traditionally, off-road tires are more expensive than their road-going counterparts. Mud tires are even more specialized in an already established niche. Thus, they command a higher premium, even when compared to other off-road tires.
And as we have stated above, you will go through more mud tires at the same time that you would other tires. So it gets fairly expensive in comparison.
Poor Cold Weather Performance
What sets mud tires apart from other tires is that they are composed of a softer compound, which in turn offers more grip. In colder weathers, well, the tire hardens up, and you end up losing some of that grip.
It gets worse if it hits sub-zero temperatures. Ice forms between the treads and the frozen mud stay lodged for longer. You lose a lot of off rod performance that way.
We are not kidding when we say you might find yourself stuck in the mud, even with mud tires, if you choose to go off-roading in sub-zero temperatures.
Lower Fuel Efficiency
More contact equates to more grip. And additional grip does go together with fuel economy. Off-road tires historically perform poorly when it comes to fuel efficiency.
Mud tires with their softer tread have almost disappointing levels of performance in terms of the fuel economy.
However, lower fuel economy is what you must consider in general when taking up off-roading as a hobby.
May Mess with Your Vehicles’ Insurance
Many insurance policies do not leave room for vehicle modification in general. Even more so if the mods are for off-roading. Be sure to check with your car’s insurance providers before taking the leap into this hobby.
So there you have the pros and cons of mud tires. Whether you are a seasoned off-roader or just someone starting this out as a hobby, we hope that this article helped sate some of your mud tire-related questions.
Again, it is an expensive hobby to get into, but it is worth it if you love the great outdoors and going off the track.