How To Choose the Right 4WD Tires for off Roading
Every component of your truck, Jeep or SUV is important. From the oil filter to the battery to the exhaust system, if something loses its integrity, you’ll probably feel it. When this happens, the whole vehicle will likely somehow be affected. This is especially true when it comes to your tires. When choosing the proper tire and wheel packages for your 4-wheel drive vehicle, there are several things to consider.
Know Your Environment
There is highway driving and trail driving and lots of scenarios in between. Folks that like to go off-roading understand that this intense style of driving puts certain demands on tires that other vehicles don’t have to deal with.
You might want a good set of all-season tires to help cope with slick or icy road conditions, but there’s a difference between a slick highway, in which you’re maintaining a speed on a straight, flat stretch, versus starting in the mud from a dead stop. This is a more likely scenario that off-roaders face and one that demands more from their tires.
All-terrain tires boast tread patterns that provide grip and traction on all types of surfaces. They combine the open-tread design of off-road tires with the good handling of street tires. These tires are all-purpose, meaning that they’ll get you down the highway to your off-road destination, and through that experience, as well.
Off-road tires employ a deep, thick tread to ensure better traction on unpaved and uneven surfaces, such as mud, sand, gravel or loose dirt. The deeper and wider grooves help the treads to sink into an unpaved surface, which makes it easier for them, and thus, your vehicle, to get out of such sticky spots.
Tires for Suspension
Your tires will benefit from, or suffer because of, your vehicle’s suspension system. The suspension system is what keeps all of the tires on the ground at the same time. Of course, if you’re crawling over a boulder, this may not be the case all of the time. However, the suspension is especially important in this scenario because it is helping to ensure that equal weight is being distributed among the tires, so that too much weight is not falling on one, rather than all.
The air bag suspension system operates kind of like a balloon. This concept allows the suspension to resist the weight of the frame of the vehicle, pump air in to ensure that the vehicle is not squatting and let air out when it is not begin used for towing.
This style of suspension benefits the tires, too, especially when you’re driving hard in the hinterlands. When the weight of the frame of the vehicle is not being absorbed by everything beneath it, you’ll feel like you’re gliding over bumps and other impediments on the ground. Even better than you feel in the cab is how your tires feel. They have a difficult job in off-roading situations because of their give.
Tires, after all, are capable of puncturing and blowing out. When they’re bouncing off or big rocks and roots, knowing that they are not also taking the weight of the entire vehicle with each maneuver is peace of mind for you, as the driver, because you know that the risk of a blowout has been diminished.
Know Your Payload
A vehicle’s payload is the amount of weight that it can safely and efficiently carry, in the cab and the bed, or rear-end. Though your suspension absorbs much of this weight, your tires bear the brunt of it. Most mid-size trucks boast a payload rating of between 900 and 1600 pounds, which means that they can safely and effectively transport their cargo. A lot of 4-wheel drive vehicles fit into this category.
Many first-time off-roaders can get into trouble by overloading their vehicles and thus maxing out the payload. This puts tremendous pressure on the chassis and the tires. When you factor in the fact that off-roading necessarily puts a great strain on a vehicle, this becomes a recipe for getting stuck out in the woods. If you’re experiencing suspension sag, that means that the overload is affecting your wheels and tires, among other things.
When you’re considering tires that must carry a heavy payload, especially those that will be tested by virtue of the ground they must cover, you’ll want those with reinforced sidewalls. Tires with reinforced sidewalls are specifically designed to cope with any additional weight that you may be carrying in your vehicle. Often, these types of tires boast the special feature of retaining their integrity even after a puncture, for a certain amount of time.
Consider the Size of Your Tires
Experts will tell you that the starting point for size, as concerns off-road tires, is 15 or 16 inches. These will work on a vehicle with a 33-inch wheel diameter. If you have a 36-inch wheel diameter, you can employ tires that are closer to 18 inches.
It’s important to note that these tires are not made for covering great distances on major roadways. They aren’t designed for speed, but rather, to absorb the roughest, bounciest rides over extremely uneven terrain.
If you’re going to incorporate these kinds of tires, you’ll likely need to install a lift kit, which will provide the height that is necessary for such tall tires. As the tires handle the traction aspect of the ride, the lift kit is ideal for shock absorption, taking some of that burden from the tires.
Acquiring the right set of tires for your 4-wheel drive vehicle is essential for safety and efficiency. While the wrong tires could cause you problems on the different terrains that you encounter when you’re off-roading, the right ones will keep you moving forward. A set of Mickey Thompson Classic III tires, for instance, provides rugged durability in many disparate scenarios. Visit an online auto parts dealer today, or walk into your local tire distributor, today to examine the inventory of 4-wheel drive tires so that you can ride happier tomorrow.