Best ATV Tires: Ride Your Quad on Tough Terrain
These top ATV tires work great in mud, snow, sand and other types of terrain
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON July 28, 2019
Tires are one of the most critical components of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). It doesn't matter how good your engine and suspension are if your quad has subpar tires that can't withstand a moderate amount of abuse. Check out our buying guide to find the best ATV tires available.
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Why Buy ATV Tires?
- They're not like car and truck tires. ATV tires are made specifically with an ATV in mind. They have different sizes and dimensions than sedans and pickups and don't usually fit on other types of vehicles.
- They're versatile. The best 4x4 ATV tires are specially designed for the terrain you plan on traversing. If you frequently ride in the mud, you’ll need different tires than you would if you ride on the street or on packed dirt.
- They wear out like other tires. Eventually, you will need to replace your OEM tires with new ones. Over time, they can crack, wear, or puncture. For safety and optimal performance, make sure you're riding on tires that are in good shape.
Types of ATV Tires
The best ATV tires for trail and mud are very aggressive looking and feature long lugs and one to two inches of tread depth. There are big spaces or voids between the lugs, making the tires self-cleaning. The best mud trail ATV tires can traverse a mud pit but require more low-end power when turning.
All-terrain tires are slightly less aggressive than mud tires. The best all-terrain ATV tires perform well on surfaces such as fields, rocks, and sand, and have a longer lifespan than some other types of tires. All-terrain tires are better at higher speeds and cornering than more aggressive style treads. Typically, they come with either longer lateral lugs or more square lugs, depending on the tire pattern. Usually, the tread depth is less than one inch.
ATV snow tires are a combination trail and mud tire and typically have two designs. The first involves shorter lugs like a trail tire and larger spacing like a mud tire. You can add studs to this type of tire. The second design features a mud tire pattern but lugs like a dune tire. It has the capability of easily maneuvering through the snow.
If you frequently drive through sand and sand dunes, you need tires with a lot of traction and floatation. This type of ATV tire has long ridges that run through the tire instead of regular tire lugs.
If you participate in motocross events, you’ll want tires that are extremely durable and provide high performance. They must also be very grippy and have the ability to withstand jumps and other obstacles. Race tires tend to have a wide-spaced tread pattern for better traction, stiff knobs for cornering, and solid center strips for high speeds.
ATV tires that are bias-ply in construction are more durable than radial tires because they are puncture-resistant and have stronger sidewalls. Bias-ply tires are also better when it comes to traction; the more plies a tire has, the stronger it is. Some problems are they have higher wear rates and lower grip at speed than radials. But they are considerably more popular than radials for ATVs.
Radial tires are made of rubber-coated steel belts and cables. They are tough and have a longer lifespan than bias-ply tires. They also run much smoother on paved roads and can carry large loads. However, they're more expensive than bias-ply tires and harder to repair if they are punctured. They're more ideal for street riding than off-roading.
Carlstar Group LLC
The Carlstar Group LLC designs specialty tires and wheels for agriculture, construction, industrial, outdoor power equipment, Powersports, towables, and trailers. Its brands include ITP and Carlisle, which are both based in Tennessee. Top products include the ITP Mud Lite AT Mud Terrain ATV Tire, the Carlisle HD Field Trax ATV Tire, and the Carlisle All Trail ATV Tire.
Kenda was founded in 1962 in Taiwan and has spent over 50 years manufacturing tires for motorcycles, wheelchairs, trailers, ATVs, etc. Kenda Tires USA was established in 1990 and is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. A couple of popular products are the Kenda Pathfinder ATV Tire and Kenda Bearclaw ATV Tire.
ATV Tire Pricing
- $60-$130: ATV tires range in price depending on their design and purpose. Larger tires are more costly, as are radial tires. The best cheap ATV tires won’t usually deliver the same performance as brands that are more well-known and slightly more expensive.
Top-rated ATV tires have superior traction, which is demonstrated by their tread patterns. The best utility ATV tires will keep you on course regardless of the load you carry or the power you exert. Proper traction will enable you to ride through various terrains without fear of going into a tailspin.
The tread style you choose will depend on the type of terrain you ride on. The best quad tires will combine durability with increased performance in hard turns. For example, deep mud will require an aggressive tread design that digs into the ground and provides ample grip for you to move your machine.
The more plies a tire has, the stronger and more rigid it is, making it more resistant to punctures. Two-ply tires are generally for light-duty vehicles, such as golf carts or lawn tractors. Tires with six or eight plies can carry heavier loads, handle rougher terrain, and support various 4x4 vehicles.
- Tire Shape: The most popular ATV tires are typically round. They efficiently handle mud and wet surfaces, they corner well, and they provide a softer ride. Other tires are flatter in design. The best sport ATV tires are typically flattering because they perform best on hard to medium surfaces. They also have better sidewall stability.
- Tire Size: The proper tire size is crucial to get the most out of your ATV when it comes to horsepower, handling, torque, etc. If a tire is too small in diameter, it can cause problems with the transmission and engine and also create balance issues.
- Directionality: On directional ATV tires, the tread points one way and must be mounted in the proper direction. They remove dirt, water, and mud when the tire rotates to promote better steering. Non-directional ATV tires can be mounted in either direction. They spread the load evenly, have a better wear life, and are more comfortable.
Best ATV Tires Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- It can be difficult to mount a set of ATV tires yourself. If you don't know how to do it, consult a professional because bad alignment can lead to tire failure.
- Regularly check the tire pressure. Uneven pressure can cause problems with balance and handling and can lead to a flat tire. Low pressure can also cause premature wear.
- Bring a puncture repair kit with you when you ride. But note that tire slime and tire repair foam products are a temporary solution, and some products may cause corrosion if they're left on the wheel for an extended period of time.
- After riding your ATV, clean the wheels and tires so brake dust and other debris don't damage the equipment. This will also allow you to check the tires for any damage.
Q: When do I need to replace my ATV tires?
A: Check to see if the tread lugs are chunking or cracking. They may need to be replaced if they are losing their sharp edges and are rounded. They should also be replaced if they have several punctures or one big puncture.
Q: Do I need to replace all four ATV tires at once?
A: If possible, replace all four tires for the best traction in mud and other terrains. It's important that they have good tread for both performance and safety.
Q: What size ATV tires should I get?
A: When swapping out your original equipment (OE) tires you can keep the same size or go bigger. Just make sure there is enough clearance between the tires and the suspension. Look on the sidewall of the OE tire or the owner's manual to determine the size. ATV tires usually contain three numbers. The first one represents tire diameter, the second is tire width, and the third is the diameter of the wheel rim that it fits. The measurements are in inches.
Our pick for the best ATV tire is the ITP Mud Lite AT Mud Terrain ATV Tire. These tires are some of the lightest on the market, and they can pull your quad through almost anything with their excellent grip and traction in various types of terrain.
For a more budget-friendly solution, consider the WANDA ATV/UTV Tire.