Words: Pat Williams
A quality set of tyres remains the single most important upgrade you can add to your 4WD in terms of offroad capability. Take a look at seven of the best tyres available.
If you could only do one upgrade to your 4WD to increase its ability to negotiate tough offroad situations, the addition of a set of quality all terrain or mud terrain tyres would be the way to go. Most stock standard 4WD vehicles will go most places you point them with the addition of a good set of rubber, along with a bit of driver know-how of course!
Your tyres are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the terrain on which you choose to drive it, and have the ability to significantly increase your vehicle’s clearance as well as greatly improve its traction. We’ve compiled info, specs and pricing on six of the best sets of tyres available in Australia, have a read to see which tyre suits your needs best.
If you are looking for a tyre that can perform well in both on and offroad conditions, then the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO is designed for you.
This tough tyre lets you plough through rocks and dirt with ease. A dual tread radius improves stress distribution, decreasing irregular wear and increasing tread life up to 12%. A high void all-terrain tread design means BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tyres are very capable in the rough stuff, but won’t wear out fast on the highway.
Prices start from $299 per tyre.
The BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2 is a tyre designed for use in the most extreme offroad conditions imaginable; for everything from jagged rocky inclines, through to waist-deep bog holes, this is your tyre.
When you see the Krawler inspired tread pattern, you can tell the Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 is designed for serious offroad performance. Krawler-TEK technology uses three key sidewall enhancements, including a brand new rubber compound that resists punctures and bruising, so you can be confident that they will go the distance.
Prices start from $319 per tyre.
The newest addition to the BFGoodrich line up is the Rugged Terrain T/A. This is a versatile tyre that will perform as well during the work week as on a weekend adventure.
The new Rugged Terrain combines an aggressive tread pattern with improved fuel use, reduced noise and all season traction. A smooth ride onroad makes it an ideal tyre for Monday to Friday driving, however these tyres have the traction to take you as far from work as you want to go on the weekend.
The Rugged Terrain T/A 4x4 tyre is loaded with innovative features, that make it one of the most capable and versatile tyres on the market, great for touring, the new unique tread is engineered to reduce noise, keeping the drive quiet and comfortable. The tread also features two deep circumferential grooves that effectively evacuate water, allowing the tyre to retain grip in wet conditions.
Prices start from $259 per tyre.
The Cooper Discoverer A/T3 features an aggressive all-terrain pattern which is engineered to provide excellent performance when driving both on and offroad. The tread pattern employs a number of features, including a saw tooth groove, broken centre rib and zig-zag siping, to provide solid traction in any conditions.
These tyres employ a silica-based tread compound which enhances both wet traction and rolling resistance, without sacrificing performance on the highway.
Prices start from $268 per tyre.
The Cooper Discoverer S/T MAXX is a rugged and durable all-terrain tyre which offers an outstanding combination of excellent offroad capability combined with very good onroad traction and low noise characteristics.
The tread pattern, internal siping and tilted tread stock combine to inspire an exceptionally high level of driver confidence. Sidewall features include a rubber flange protector to minimise the possibility of rim damage offroad, as well as an aggressive rut guard rib which provides additional traction, abrasion and impact resistance.
Prices start from $330 per tyre.
The ATZ P3 is a relatively new addition to the Mickey Thompson line up, and is squarely aimed at the touring market. These aggressive all-terrain pattern tyres feature bevelled edges to reduce stone retention and improved cut resistance. The shoulder elements are designed to reduce noise frequency, resulting in a quieter ride and more even wear.
The enhanced buttress and abrasion resistant rib design offers a rugged appearance as well as providing additional traction offroad and offering protection against lug tearing. The self-cleaning, alternating shoulder scallops also provide extra grip in soft or boggy conditions.
Prices start from $483 per tyre.
The STZ is a very well-designed all-terrain tyre from Mickey Thompson, that has been very popular as a touring tyre since its introduction to the Australian market. These tyres feature Z-shaped sipes which increase traction in wet conditions while promoting longer, more even wear. The textured shoulder lugs help by providing additional traction offroad and the multi-angled and serrated tread blocks improve the tyre’s self-cleaning ability, and provide additional protection from stone damage.
These tyres come with an extra protective layer of nylon which is laid between the tread and the steel belts to help improve strength and stability.
Prices start from $384 per tyre.
Effect of adjusting tyre pressures on the size of a tyre’s footprint
This diagram illustrates the effect of reducing your tyre pressures on the size of the footprint of your tyres. Reducing pressures and increasing the size of your tyres footprint spreads the weight of your vehicle over a larger area so when driving on sand, for example, your tyres will drive ‘over the top’ of the sand. If you maintain high pressures and a small footprint, your tyres are more likely to ‘dig down’ into the sand and even get you stuck! Remember, whenever you reduce your pressures, re-inflate to the proper levels as soon as you drive back on to the bitumen.