BORGY’s TYRE GUIDE Equipping your rig for the offroad
Get more from your rubber than ever before with our exclusive tyre Guide.
Did you know that just a few inches of your vehicle’s tyres actually touch the ground at any given time? That’s pretty crazy when you consider what can happen if you break traction at the wrong time. Your tyres are, perhaps, the most important part of your setup, so it pays to have a good understanding of not only which tyre suits you the best, but how you can get the most out of them. The problem is that us 4WDers are spoilt for choice these days. I mean, there are just so many options to choose from. If you get it right, you could be looking at the single most effective upgrade to your setup in terms of pure performance. So to help you see clearly through the murkiness, here’s our special guide to getting true value from your 4WD or camper trailer’s next set of shoes!
MUD-TERRAIN vs. ALL-TERRAIN TYREs
When it comes to purchasing your next set of tyres, the key is be realistic about how your vehicle is predominately used, and make an educated and practical compromise between on-road and offroad performance. I mean, sure, the look of an aggressive mud-terrain tyre is enough to make anyone grin like grandma on bingo night, but do you really need it? Here are a few things to consider: traditionally, mud tyres were a real nightmare on sealed roads. In fact, they weren’t much good for any terrain other than, well, mud! Believe it or not, their tendency to dig themselves down into the sand rendered them useless on the beach, too. However, with modern technology being implemented into their design these days they’ve definitely picked up their act, with mud-terrain options that offer good all round performance including much better on-road manners.
A good all-terrain tyre will still generally be much quieter on the blacktop and offer better handling, performance and tread life, but you can’t deny the extra traction a mud tyre produces in muddy terrain or on rocks. The other biggie is that mud-terrain tyres typically offer more side wall strength/puncture resistance.
So, not only are they more reliable offroad but the sidewalls will handle running in
lower pressures regularly much better, too.
So if you’re deciding between the two types of tyres, ask yourself: how often do you head offroad and what type of terrain do you tackle? If you only lock the hubs in every second month or you only tackle dirt roads or the occasion run up the beach, then an all-terrain tyre is your best bet. If you hit the tracks on a regular basis and tackle your fair share of adventurous outings, then the increased traction and resilience of a mud-terrain tyre is more than likely worth sacrificing a bit of tread life and increase road noise.
DOES SIZE MATTER?
When it comes to choosing the right size tyre for your 4WD, there’s plenty to consider. Larger tyres can really improve your vehicle’s offroad capability. It’s the only real way to increase your vehicle’s diff and body clearance, and improves the approach and departure angles, too.
In saying that, there’s a swag of pitfalls to negotiate when choosing this option. First up, if you’re going a few sizes up, there is a
clockwise from top left: The wide groves on a mud-terrain tyre will cause it to hum on tarmac as the tread wears; Mudterrains self-clean as they spin; All-terrains are great on sand, capable offroad but are susceptible to clogging up in the wet; Lower tyre pressures allow tyres to mould an obstacle for increased traction; Opt for similar height tyres, as larger tyres affect stability, brakes and engine performance.