Selecting all-terrain tires is by no means a simple process. As with the other types of tires, they require attention to the performance ratings as well as to the specific needs of the drivers. You probably know how important tires are for an optimal trip. But when it comes to unfriendly and inhospitable terrains, their role becomes even more crucial. Just think of it: all the stability of the vehicle depends on how well the tires cope with the aggressive terrain. Just a small flow in their performance is enough for the whole driving experience on such terrains to become difficult.
So, safety and capability are what should not be missing from your all-terrain tires. The rest is somehow more about personal preferences. Either way, you should be looking at models between 15 and 20 inches as this is the most promising tire diameter in terms of all-terrain abilities. In this context, models up to 17" usually provide solid off-road properties. On the other hand, those between 18'' and 20'' deliver a less intense combination of on- and off-road properties.
Today, I will mainly talk about 2 categories of tires. It's about those with a diameter between 15 and 17'' and those between 19 and 20'' as separate segments. Check out what are the options in this article. There are good chances to find something to your taste and expectations.
15'' To 17'' Best All-Terrain Tire Offerings
I will go straight into this chapter and I will not bore you with a lot of description. What you need to know is that the selection is based on reviews of real customers as well as objective investigations by experts in the field. As such, the offers are objectively reliable and are confirmed by both testing data and the practice of using them.
If your priority is to save money, I recommend that you pay attention to the Yokohama Geolander H/T G056 model. For the price at which they are available, the range of benefits of the Geolander H/T G056 is truly remarkable.
If you're ready to spend a few extra bucks for added value, the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A K02 is an excellent alternative. They have a mid-price while delivering a bunch of performant properties. As proof, Jeep Wrangler manufacturers chose this tire model as their OEM option. With great all-terrain handling, promising durability, and resistance, as well as reinforced shoulders by 20% compared to previous models - All-Terrain T/A shouldn't be missing from your radar.
If the budget is not a problem for you, I think the best all-terrain offer is the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac model. They perfectly combine the handling and control properties of off- and on-road conditions. More than that, they stand out for their solid snow traction, getting you out of any mess during the winter.
18'' To 20'' Best All-Terrain Tire Offerings
Kumho Road Venture AT51
Starting from the lowest price, the Kumho Road Venture AT51 tires promise good resistance to all-terrain conditions. Customers report pretty decent handling as well as high responsiveness on most aggressive terrains. The ratio between quality and price is reasonable, favoring quality more. Comfort, noise suppression, grip, and dry traction are among their strongest aspects. If we talk about shortcomings though, they lack wet braking performance.
Continental TerrainContact A/T
Continental TerrainContact A/T is a good option that combines moderate price and promising capabilities. First of all, they deliver nice traction on off-road surfaces thanks to their special tread. Obstacles like mud and rocks are not a problem for them. At the same time, paved roads are also a piece of cake for them as their all-terrain design allows them to handle those surfaces decently.
In the same context, the tires promise a great service life of up to 60,000 miles. Continental is very generous and offers a Total Confidence Plan that ensures tires for any situation. Last but not least, customers report a quite satisfying ride quietness.
However, Continental could have made a bigger effort on the TerrainContact A/T rolling resistance. Comparatively, it is higher and, respectively, generates more fuel consumption. Traction and handling on gravel are also so-so.
It's Goodyear's offering again, with its Wrangler Duratrac model. The reputation is very good and so are the ratings. Of all the benefits of these tires, the ones that stand out the most include superb mud and snow traction as well as their quietness. These look aesthetically attractive and promise a long-lasting and durable life tread. On the other hand, they are the most suitable for high temperatures as their structure becomes too soft with their increase. Also, these become pretty noisy once they hit paved surfaces.
Most Popular Tire Makers For All-Terrain Vehicles
Many people ask me if OEM tires are a good option for all-terrain applications. Well, it depends on the expectations and personal needs of the driver. If you do not have any specific requirements, OEM tires might be an option. But from my experience, these are the last options that drivers consider for their all-terrain vehicles.
However, replacement tires are predominantly more appreciated as these come with a better performance profile. In addition, you can look for replacement tires depending on what you need in them, whether it's about dry and wet traction or off and on-road performance.
There are plenty of tire makers that offer replacement tires for these purposes. As a rule, they produce 15'' to 17'' tires for on and off-road purposes. The bigger ones instead, i.e. between 18'' and 20'', usually prioritize on-road traction over off-road traction.
After my investigations and those of my colleagues, I found the most recommended tire makers for this tire category. I have listed some of them in the description above, but I will reiterate once more to reinforce the information. According to consumer reviews, the following tire makers are the most reliable from the perspective of all-terrain performance. Let's see who excels in 2023.
Most Optimal Tire Makers For 15'' to 17'' All-Terrain Tires
They include 3 tire manufacturers which are Yokohama, BFGoodrich, and Goodyear.
The Yokohama offers the most advantageous model in terms of price and it is the Geolander H/T G056 model. Great price and decent wet performance are its strengths. Unfortunately, you may have a hard time finding this model as the dealer network is somewhat limited in the U.S. market.
BFGoodrich offers an average price and a superb tread life service. It is about the All-Terrain T/A K02 model that excels in off-road performance and in its availability on the market.
Goodyear is considered the best in this category. The Wrangler Duratrac model records the best all-terrain performance in both off- and on-road conditions. The model is highly available; you just have to decide on the price because it is relatively high unless you find a great deal.
Most Optimal Tire Makers For 18'' to 20'' All-Terrain Tires
For these applications, the manufacturers with the best offers are Kumho, Continental, and Goodyear.
For the best price offer, pay attention to Kumho Road Venture AT51 tires. They combine a decent performance profile for the price at which they are available. However, it may be difficult to find them on the market, as just like the Geolander H/T G056, the Kumho Road Venture AT51 network is a bit limited.
Alternatively, you can opt for the Continental TerrainContact A/T. These are also among the best offers, even if a bit more expensive than the Kumho option. They promise great on-road performance while delivering pretty insufficient off-road performance.
And, the best offer is again the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac. But also the most expensive, obviously. Both off-road adventures and rides through the paved city will be unique experiences seasoned with great hanging abilities, even at the price of comparatively noisy paved-road driving.
When Is The Right Time To Replace Your All-Terrain Tires?
As much as we wouldn't like it, tires are worn over time, regardless of how high quality and performance they are. The different road conditions, especially the off-road ones cannot help but affect their structure and integrity. Moreover, the specificity of all-terrain tires consists of their relatively soft rubber. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage.
The positive side is that the soft rubber compound is what gives them flexibility on difficult roads and increases the driver's comfort. On the other hand, they deteriorate much faster because the rubber softness cannot withstand too much impact on all-terrain surfaces. As such, drivers with all-terrain tires find themselves forced to change them more often than those who drive with ll-season alternatives, for example. In this context, you have to accept this reality when you have all-terrain tires. While each tire maker offers a different tread warranty, these tires are statistically less durable than others.
Signs To Replace All-Terrain Tires
It is not easy to answer the question "When is it time to change all-terrain tires?" That's because everything depends on the terrain you usually drive on, what your driving style is, and what their shelf life is. Rather, the answer revolves around these three aspects.
First of all, you need to know when your all-terrain tires' validity period expires. Under no circumstances should you cross this limit, as their integrity can no longer be considered viable and safe.
At the same time, take into account the mileage guaranteed by the manufacturer. This can be 50,000, 60,000, or 70,000 depending on the tire maker. As in the case of shelf life, it is not advisable to exceed the mileage limit to avoid the risks of tire degradation.
Between these 2 criteria, change the tires whenever one of them occurs first. Last but not least, take into account the way you exploit your tires. If you are a follower of aggressive driving, it is possible that the tires wear out much earlier than the warranty promised by the manufacturer. You will notice this through uneven wear, cracks, bubbles, or other signs of severe damage. In such cases, it is necessary to replace them without waiting until their validity expires.
Why OEM All-Terrain Tires Are Not The Best Option?
The all-terrain tires that come with your car from the factory can be pretty acceptable. But as I mentioned before, what the manufacturer thinks is necessary in these tires may conflict with what you need in them. In most cases, the manufacturer includes affordable tires with a general average performance instead of strong specific performances, as well as some general rubber compounds instead of specialized alternatives.
As such, OEM tires may fit your needs whenever you are okay with these characteristics and do not have higher expectations than that. In addition, I fully understand that it is easier to choose OEM tires that are predictable compared to replacement tires that require a greater effort in their selection.
However, many drivers understand and admit that the mediocre performance of OEM tires is not exactly what they want. Instead, they look for something that serves them better depending on the circumstances in which they ride most often. For example, some need more responsive braking abilities. Others need wet traction more than dry traction. Another segment wants the superb longevity of the tread. And all these are available in the replacement tire options.
While OEM options are not a bad choice, the replacement ones are much closer to the special needs of the driver. There are more personalized options, if you want to call them that. Ultimately, you want your tires to have a higher level of safety and solid performance in certain aspects. Well, the OEM alternatives are not really able to deliver exactly what you want, but rather what the manufacturer thinks you want.
Should All-Terrain Tires Be Rotated More Frequently?
This type of tire usually does not differ much from the others in terms of maintenance. As such, you should rotate them about once every 5,000-6,000 miles unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise. Also, you have to keep in mind that the 4 all-terrain tires can wear differently due to the vehicle's driving axle switch. In this context, you would do well to inspect the tires from time to time to prevent uneven wear.