Best All-Terrain Tires: Improve Your Vehicle’s On-Road and Off-Roading Capabilities
Improve your vehicle’s performance in a variety of on-road and off-road conditions with our top all-terrain tire picks
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PUBLISHED ON August 15, 2019
All-terrain tires are great for driving on the highway and traversing sand, mud, gravel, and other loose surfaces. These tires prevent you from being stranded in hardcore, off-road situations. Not even the most powerful engine or transmission will bail you out of rough terrain if you don’t have a set of good off-roading tires. New all-terrain tires spring up nearly every year, and our buying guide will show you the top three that are worth your money. Here’s a quick breakdown.
- Best OverallBFGoodrich All-Terrain T/ASummarySummaryAn aggressive looking all-terrain radial tire that offers all-year traction and excellent control while on- and off-roading.ProsProsGood in snowy and rainy conditions. Minimal road noise. Maintains excellent grip on loose surfaces and rocky places. Promotes smooth and precise on-road handling. Puncture- and bruise-resistant.ConsConsNot fuel-efficient. Performs better off-road than on highways. Poor wet traction and gradually develops road noise when the treads start to wear out.
- Best ValueHankook Dynapro AT-MSummarySummaryA rugged-looking all-terrain tire that offers great grip and acceleration during on- and off-road adventures.ProsProsInexpensive. Great traction in wintry and wet conditions. Protected from accidental curb damage. Puncture-resistant. Ideal for hauling heavy loads, such as RVs and trailers.ConsConsPoor traction on wet grass, deep mud, ice, and deep snow. Poor lateral stability. Road noise and vibrations.
- Honorable MentionMichelin LTX A/TSummarySummaryA fuel-efficient on- and off-road all-terrain tire that offers comfort and great handling for recreational and commercial vehicles.ProsProsProvides year-round traction. Designed to reduce road noise and vibrations. Even tread wear. Excellent off-road handling and cornering precision. Maintains excellent traction in mud, wet grass, and snow.ConsConsDesigned with a soft rubber compound that's susceptible to sidewall damage. Gradually develops poor traction on wet roads. Poor performance in deep snow.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of All-Terrain Tires
- Enjoy off-road adventures. All-terrain tires are for drivers who rarely stay on the highways. Most are designed with reinforced walls and a rubber compound that’s resistant to scrapes, cuts, and punctures. They provide the best off-road traction possible while reducing road vibrations to improve your ride quality.
- Unparalleled traction. All-terrain tires have a large tread and a greater surface area than most tires. For that reason, they maintain an excellent biting edge on the road and barely lose traction even when transitioning from smooth to rough surfaces. They are good for maintaining a comfortable grip on mud, snowy, rocky, and wet surfaces.
- Save money. Since all-terrain tires are designed for on- and off-road conditions, you can use them all year round without having to purchase another set of tires. They offer almost the same performance level as all-season tires and are less expensive than winter tires and exclusively off-road tires.
- Versatility. All-terrain tires can be used by a wide variety of vehicles including SUVs, pickups, and four-wheel-drive vehicles. They can also be used to haul heavy loads in recreational vehicles and travel trailers. Generally, they are suitable for large vehicles and are just as good on the highway as they are on rugged terrain.
BFGoodrich is a U.S.-based, apex tire manufacturer that was started over 140 years ago by Benjamin Goodrich. It was acquired by Michelin in 1988 but continues to grace the automotive industry with some of the best radial tires. It holds the patent for run-flat tires, a useful tire in emergencies, and also makes performance tires suitable for the motorsport world. One of its best-rated all-terrain tires is the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A.
Hankook is a South Korean rubber manufacturer that was founded in 1941 by Cho Hong Jai. The company makes tires featuring the latest rubber technology for a wide range of automotive products, including passenger cars, SUVs, vans, trucks, and buses. The company also designs and sells brake pads, alloy wheels, and batteries. It's one of the best-rated tire brands with popular products such as the Hankook Dynapro AT-M.
Headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin is an industry leader in sustainable transport technology, and the proof is in their tires. Michelin tires are designed for road safety and offer long-lasting performance. They are designed to make every driver excel at driving whether they are in passenger cars or high-end sports cars. Some of its all-terrain tires like the Michelin LTX A/T have gained popularity due to their unique tire construction.
Goodyear is one of the leading tire and rubber manufacturing companies based in Akron, Ohio. Frank Seinberg founded the company in 1898, and it currently runs other subsidiary tire companies such as Dunlop, Fulda, Bluestreak, Sava, and Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, among others. The company centers its core activities around learning what the consumer needs and producing tires that fit all their demands. It also produces some of the best all-terrain tires such as the Goodyear Wrangler Radial Tire.
All-Terrain Tire Pricing
- Under $200: Most all-terrain tires excel in dry and wet conditions despite their prices. However, the only difference comes with the comfort level and tire quality; the cheaper options often make a lot of vibrations on the road, and the tread life is limited. The tires higher in this price range have minimized or tolerable road-noise, great response, and they handle well in sand, dirt, and snow.
- Over $200: You will mostly find premium all-terrain tires within this range that sport a long tread life, a highly damage-resistant tread, tough sidewall construction, and long tread life. They often come with all the additional features that improve off-road performance such as rim protectors, stone ejectors, and water evacuation properties. However, most of the high-end tires may feel a bit rough on a standard highway.
All-terrain tires typically have a large footprint with a rugged-looking tread pattern. There’s more space between the raised parts, and the grooves are deeper than most summer or performance tires. The design is intended to increase the tire’s surface area for maximum contact with the ground.
Internal Tire Construction
The strength of an all-terrain tire, with regards to resistance to cuts and punctures, depends on how tough the internal structure is. Most all-terrain tires are reinforced with internal steel bands wrapped in nylon to increase their rigidity and off-road performance. The same construction also makes the tires more durable and heavier than other tire types.
When buying all-terrain tires you should go up a size or two from your factory tires. That will boost your vehicle’s performance in deep mud and other loose surfaces. Look into the size range available for your vehicle’s make and model.
- Stone Ejectors: This feature helps the tires prevent stones from penetrating the treads and damaging the rubber. It keeps the treads clear as clogged treads lead to reduced traction. It also prevents stone drilling damage.
- Noise Level: Most all-terrain tires are noisy on the road due to the rugged or aggressive tread pattern. However, some tires are designed to reduce the noise level by minimizing vibrations that are often transmitted to your steering wheel and make for an uncomfortable ride.
- Water Evacuation: This property increases the tire's self-cleaning capabilities when moving through wet terrain and muddy surfaces. The tires typically drive water out of the treads and keep the tires clean for optimal wet traction.
- Tread Life: All-terrain tires have a shorter tread life than most tires. Most are only good for about 40,000 miles, but some can push beyond 60,000 miles due to the construction quality. Tires that come with treadwear warranties are guaranteed to produce a longer tread life.
Best All-Terrain Tires Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A
The BFGoodrich all-terrain tire is molded from a light truck tread compound that’s resistant to cuts, tears, and punctures. The tread compound is engineered using computer-optimized technology to produce high-strength interlocking tread blocks with multiple stone ejecting and innovative siping features. The tire offers commendable on-road handling and off-roading durability with acceptable road noise.
The internal construction features twin steel belts, a three-ply polyester cord sidewall, and a combination of BFGoodrich’s TriGard and spirally wound nylon. This gives the tire added strength and all-year durability. A serrated shoulder design and a tough upper shoulder sidewall armor increase traction, cornering capabilities, and steering control in deep dirt, sand, and in aired-down driving. The product carries a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty and is recommended for jeeps, pickup trucks, and SUVs.
You will start to notice some few drawbacks with the tire when the treads start to wear out. At about 20,000 miles of wear, the tires start to lose their wet traction properties and slide on wet roads. It may even be risky to accelerate in the rain. Moreover, the tires may emit vibrations that you will feel up to the steering wheel. Generally, they perform better off-road than on standard roads, and they’re heavy tires that are not fuel-efficient.
Best Value: Hankook Dynapro AT-M
The Hankook Dynapro has a rugged look thanks to its wraparound tread, independent blocks, and a symmetric tread pattern that’s chiefly designed with a light truck rubber compound. Additionally, two steel belts hardened with a spirally wound nylon cap ply make up the tire’s internal structure. The design contributes to the tire’s large footprint, resistance to wear, all-terrain traction, and enhanced acceleration. Also, its aggressive tread construction is resistant to cuts and bruises and increases traction on loose surfaces.
The center and shoulder grooves feature stone ejectors that guard against damage from stone impact. Tiered side grooves and scallop grooves located strategically between the tread blocks increase the biting edges for enhanced off-road and winter traction. Moreover, the tire has the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) symbol, showing that it's suitable for winter driving. For improved ride quality, the tire has a polyester casing and flange protectors that prevent accidental curb damage.
A downside to this tire is that it has poor traction on mud and wet grass, which isn’t typical of all-terrain tires. Moreover, despite its 3PMSF symbol, it maintains poor traction on ice and deep snow. The tire construction has poor lateral stability, which affects its high-speed cornering capabilities, especially at sharp turns. It’s also a noisy tire on the road.
Honorable Mention: Michelin LTX A/T
This Michelin tire is designed to offer the best traction for on- and off-road adventures. It features Michelin’s Advanced MaxTouch Construction to give the tire an unparalleled construction that holds up against friction and resists wear. Michelin’s Comfort Control technology reduces road vibrations to promote ride comfort, and the internal structure features three steel belts for enhanced durability and puncture resistance.
The general construction of the tire features the latest light truck rubber compound engineered into an independent tread block design. This gives the tire a light construction that reduces rolling resistance to improve fuel efficiency. The tread pattern is then enhanced with Michelin’s Biting Edges, which are similar to notched blocks, for enhanced all-year traction on mud, gravel roads, wet grass, snow, and other rugged surfaces.
A major downside of the tire is that it's made from a soft rubber compound that often feels mushy on the road even at maximum tire pressure. For the same reason, the tire may be susceptible to punctures and sidewall damage over time. Moreover, the tires get slippery on wet surfaces. They have fair light snow traction but are almost useless in severe snow.
- Rotate and align your all-terrain tires after every 5,000 miles to promote even tread wear. Physically inspect your tires for shallow treads, and take note of moments when the driving seems rougher and noisier than usual. It could be an indication of uneven tread wear.
- When going off-roading, ensure that you are 100 percent aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the terrain to avoid unexpected obstacles and other hazards. Also, know when to air down your tires for better grip and when maximum pressure is necessary.
- Clean out sand, mud, and other forms of debris from your tires after every off-roading adventure to prevent degradation of the rubber compound. A simple hose-down should do the trick as all-terrain tires have larger treads that are easy to clean.
- In aired-down situations, ensure that you maintain the correct tire pressure for the driving conditions. Avoid getting the tires too soft and loose so that they risk slipping off the rims or deforming the rim structure.
Q: What’s the difference between all-season and all-terrain tires?
A: All-season tires are designed to provide all-year traction but thrive more on smooth or typical road surfaces. They are quieter on the road, offer a smoother ride, and are more fuel-efficient than all-terrain tires. However, all-season tires don’t have a heavy and high-strength tire construction that makes them suitable for the rough track as is the case with all-terrain tires.
Q: Are all-terrain tires good for all weather conditions?
A: All-terrain tires typically perform well in rainy weather and sunny weather. They can easily maneuver through mud, rain, sand, smooth roads, and mild winters. However, only all-terrain tires that possess the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol are good in winter, and all-season tires are better than all-terrain tires when it comes to wet-weather traction.
Q: What’s the recommended tire pressure for all-terrain tires?
A: It depends on where you’ll be off-roading. For highway driving, about 30 to 38 psi is recommended. For rough gravel driving, drop the pressure to 6 psi. Deep mud driving requires about 22 psi, while regular mud driving needs about 28 psi. When driving through sandy terrain, keep the pressure at 16 psi and about 22 to 28 psi for rocky terrain.
Q: How long do all-terrain tires last?
A: It depends on the weight of your vehicle and the driving conditions. A heavier vehicle will lead to faster tread wear and so will constant off-roading. Despite that, most all-terrain tires last between 20,000 to 40,000 miles, depending on the tire's construction quality. You should replace the tires when the treads start to appear shallow or when there’s sidewall damage.
Our top pick for the best all-terrain tires is the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires. They handle well in almost all road conditions, and they have a tough tire construction that promotes longer tread life.
Our value pick for affordable tires with decent off-roading performance are the Hankook Dynapro AT-M tires. They have an aggressive profile and a wide footprint that maintains maximum traction in off-road conditions.