ATV Tire Buying Guide
What is an ATV Tire?
When you need to replace your ATV tires, there are several things you need to consider that will help steer you in the right direction. Factors such as the kind of terrain you drive on, how often you use the ATV, whether it’s for work or play, and many other things all come into play to help you settle on just the right tires.
Choosing the Proper Tire Design for your ATV
There are four basic types of ATV tires. We have outlined each of these types below and have included some information about each so you can tell the differences between them.
- Trail Tires – Another name for trail tires is All-Terrain tires. These are good for handling a multitude of terrain types while maintaining a good amount of traction on each terrain. Even though you can get traction on all types of terrain, these tires are not designed to excel on any one type. Trail tires are not good in deep water, sand or mud.
Trail or all-terrain tires are constructed from a type of hard rubber that is harder than general purpose tires which increases their cost a bit. They have good stability than most of the other choices and have a longer tread life as well. If you drive your ATV on a variety of different terrain and don’t drive in the sand and mud, these tires are a good choice for your ATV.
- Snow Tires – Snow tires for ATVs are very different than other types of ATV tires. For starters, the tread on an ATV snow tire runs horizontally, resembling snow chains. This design allows the tires to dig into the snow instead of just spinning uselessly. The rubber used to make ATV snow tires is much softer than other ATV tires. This also prevents spinning in wet snow. If you live in cold climates that get a lot of snow, it is a great idea to get ATV snow tires. If you live in an area that receives snow part of the year, you can get snow ATV tires to take care of those cold weather months and switch them to another type the warmer months.
- Paddle Tires – Paddle tires are a specialty tire that is designed with only a few large treads. It kind of looks like a balloon with paddles attached to it. Paddle ATV tires are perfect for running on sand but they are not much good for any other type of terrain and can be damaged by being driven on anything else. If the beach is where you drive your ATV, paddle tires will serve you well, but to justify using them, you need to not drive your ATV on any other type of terrain.
- Mud Tires – If you do a lot of off-roading with your ATV, mud tires are a good choice. The tread on mud tires has much wider gaps and an irregular pattern that is different from other ATV tires. The design and construction of mud tires allow them to grip the moist soil and mud efficient so the tires don’t spin.
Mud tires are only designed for mud and don’t do well on highways or regular roads, especially at higher speeds. If you use your ATV for off-roading, mud tires are a good decision, but if you will be riding on the highway they will not be a good purchase. If you do have to drive on the road and your ATV has mud tires on it, drive at lower speeds.
Choosing the Right Tire Size
Choose a tire size that is as close to the manufacturer’s recommended width and height as you can get it. Testing and research is conducted to come up with the recommended sizes, so following those guidelines will get the best performance from your ATV possible as well as good handling.
- Diameter – Your ATV’s performance will be affected if you change the diameter of the tires. It could be in the form of putting additional stress on the ATV’s axles and transmission, decrease the braking efficiency and also potentially cause the engine to overheat.
- Width – ATV experts will sometimes recommend choosing the width of the tires based on the terrain you are driving on. If you are traveling in sand and snow, wider tires will perform better, but if you are driving in mud, a narrower tire is better to dig into the mud and grip the harder road beneath. Keep in mind that using a tire narrower or wider than what is recommended can possibly put unnecessary stress on the ATV.
- Price – ATV tires will vary in price depending on the type of tire they are, the size and even the manufacturer. Determine your maximum budget before you begin shopping for the tires you want. This way you will be able to eliminate the tires that fall outside of your budget range.
- Tire Construction – The construction of your ATV tires is an important part of how the tire performs and how long it lasts. Each tire has a bias play construction or a radial construction. The bias tires have a stronger sidewall and casing as well as belts or plies that run diagonally between beads. This protects them against punctures. Radials are composed of a single layer of steel cables that stretch between beads that forms the casing of the tire. There are also rubber-coated steel belts that add to the stability of the tire that is under the tread as well.
The thing to remember is that no ONE tire or tire tread works for all situations. What you need to do is look at how you use your ATV the most and choose the best tires for the type of use you are using it for most often. If you can’t afford several sets of tires, and you routinely ride on multiple terrains, the all-terrain or trail tires are probably the safest choice.
If you are in the position to purchase more than one set of tires, purchase all-terrain for everyday riding and a set or two of specialized tires based on what your activities are such as mud tires or snow tires. If you race, racing tires are a must-have. If you live in cold climates and deal with wet, cold weather, definitely consider purchasing snow tires for the best performance in that type of weather.
The main thing to remember about selecting tires for your ATV is to find a good tire that supports the kind of riding that you use your ATV for the most often. If you are aware of the type of riding you do and you are also knowledgeable about the types of tires that are available, you can match the tires you purchase to the riding you do with ease.
The information that we have included in this buyer’s guide has been designed to help you sort through all of the choices that are on the market when it comes to ATV tires. With this knowledge you can choose with confidence and know that you have made an informed decision that will ensure good performance, longevity and safer handling from your ATV.
- Carlisle – http://www.carlisletirestore.com/
- Kendra – http://powersports.kendatire.com/en-us/
- ITP – http://www.itptires.com/tires/utility-atv/mud-lite-xl