Choosing the best type of off-road tire can depend largely on how it will be used, since different tread patterns and methods of construction can be required for various situations. An open tread pattern is one feature to look for when purchasing an off-road tire, since a more aggressive tread will tend to perform better in harsh off-road conditions than a closed pattern. Casual off-road driving can be accomplished with all-purpose or all-terrain tires, but heavy mud, powdery sand, and other difficult surfaces can call for a mud-terrain tire. Another factor to consider when looking for the best off-road tire is that many 4x4 trucks can accommodate somewhat bigger tires than they originally came with. Before moving up one or two sizes on any particular vehicle, it is a good idea to verify that larger tires will not adversely affect handling or safety.
Tires that have a heavier construction and more aggressive tread pattern tend to perform poorly on roads, particularly at high speeds, but closed tread patterns typically offer much less traction. In order to find the best off-road tire, the right balance must be found between open and closed treads. If a vehicle is unlikely to be used for much off-road driving, all-purpose tires can be the best choice because they handle well on all road conditions. These tires typically offer the smoothest ride and good performance on both wet and icy road surfaces. All-purpose tires can also be used for a limited amount of off-road driving, but they may lose traction or become damaged.
For vehicles that see moderate amounts of off-road use but are also regularly driven on roads, all-terrain tires with open tread patterns and heavier construction are often the best choice. The tread patterns that these tires use can offer a compromise between off-road traction and on-road comfort. These tires are typically constructed in a more durable manner, which can result in fewer issues when driving in harsh conditions.
Another type of off-road tire that uses an even more aggressive tread pattern and substantially heavier construction is the mud-terrain tire. These tires often cause noticeable vibration or sound when driving on roads, but they also have the best traction in difficult terrain. If a vehicle is driven mainly off-road and is likely to encounter harsh conditions, mud-terrain tires are usually the best choice.