Choosing the Right Tyres for Off-Roading
When you’re trying to get through mud, sand, rocks or whatever else you may encounter in the outback, tyres are a big deal. The right set will keep you from getting stuck, while the wrong choice ensures that you’ll spend most of your weekend digging yourself out. Today, we’ll focus on off-road tyre options for owners of 4x4s, and we’ll give you some tips on choosing the right setup for your off-road vehicle.
Available Tyre Options
When selecting the right 4×4 mud tyres, it’s important to consider each option’s pros and cons. While bias ply tyres are great for dune racing, they wear out rather quickly when used on the road. All-terrain radials are great performers, but they can be overkill in many situations. Below is a list of options, along with their benefits and drawbacks.
- Standard radials: They’re designed for daily highway driving, and the rubber is made of a hard, slow-wearing compound. Tread patterns are designed for daily use and they strike a balance between performance, grip and handling. If you’re planning the occasional off-road trip, they’re an OK choice.
- Off-road radials: Often referred to as all-terrain tyres, their tread patterns are designed for increased traction and grip. The only real drawback is the lower speed rating, which won’t be a factor if you’re a dedicated off-roader. All in all, they’re a solid solution if you want better grip without sacrificing the tyres’ lifespan.
- Bias ply tyres: Bias ply tyres are made from softer rubber compounds, which wear out quickly when used on the road. However, they have great off-road grip and performance. You can drop the air pressure extremely low to spread your vehicle’s weight and maximise traction. Consider upgrading to a set of ford ranger wheels if you’re installing bias ply tyres.
The Ideal Tyre Size: How Big Should I Go?
Now that you know which type of tyres and ford ranger accessories aftermarket you’ll need for your off-roading trips, let’s take some time to discuss tyre sizes. The primary reasons to install larger tyres and buy 4×4 mags are to:
- Increase the vehicle’s ground clearance
- Accomplish flotation, or to fit tyres that have a larger footprint for sand or mud use
The first listed reason—greater ground clearance—is the most common reason to increase the size of your wheels and tyres. While 4×4 lift kits can also help you add ground clearance, flotation is necessary to keep your vehicle above the sand rather than sinking down into it. However, bigger isn’t always better, and there are some big disadvantages to increasing your vehicle’s wheel and tyre size.
- Increasing tyre size is the same as decreasing the axle ratio, which means you’ll lose some of your acceleration if you fit larger wheels and tyres to your 4WD.
- Greater tyre size typically requires the installation of mods such as cheapest wheel and tyre packages, which have their own pros and cons to be discussed later.
- Larger tyre size often comes with a decrease in fuel economy. Many 4×4 drivers see a measurable decrease after installing larger tyres.
- Bigger tyres change the handling and ride characteristics of your vehicle in significant ways. However, such changes are often noticed once you’ve reached highway speed.
The best generalised advice for increasing tyre size is to consider getting the largest tyres that can be fitted to the factory suspension, or to install a wheel and tyre package along with a lift kit and upgraded shocks. Consult a 4WD online superstore for help choosing the right wheels, tyres and other off-road accessories. Choosing a lift kit and suspension components is a difficult process, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there. It’s important to learn everything you can, so you know why certain parts are recommended.
Unless you plan to do some competitive-level off-road driving, you’ll likely want to stay away from bias ply tyres. They are very expensive, not suited to highway use, and they are only available in sizes that necessitate serious modifications to a vehicle’s suspension. If you’re still reading this guide, the odds are high that you do enough off-road driving to justify the purchase of simple highway tyres. By consulting a knowledgeable seller of 4WD accessories and parts, you’re sure to find the wheels, tyres and suspension components you’re looking for.