If you’re in the market for truck tires, you have a lot of options to choose from. The tires you decide on will rely heavily on the type of truck you have, the climate of the region you’re in, and a myriad of other variables.
If you own a 4×4 truck or a truck with an all-wheel drive, then purchasing 4 of the same wheels is recommended. On the other hand, if your truck is rear-wheel or front-wheel drive (AKA single-axle drive) then this will allow you to purchase tires that are different sizes, types, and treads on both the rear and front axle.
To help you narrow your search, we put together this comprehensive guide, which will explain the different types of truck tires.
What Are Truck Tires?
Truck tires are compatible with various vehicles: trucks, SUVs, and CUVs. Compared to other tires, such as off-road, all-terrain, or mud tires, truck tires offer a smoother ride, improved handling, and better noise capabilities.
While they also offer off-road and heavy-duty capabilities, these tires are perfect for drivers who spend more time on the street or the highway than off-roading. Additionally, many truck tires are all-season tires and do well in most climate conditions.
What Kinds of Truck Tires Can You Buy?
1. All-Terrain Tires
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds between touring and off-road tires, all-terrain tires are for you. Similar to all-season tires on regular cars, all-terrain tires perform well on the majority of surfaces and at any time of the year.
They offer a smoother, quieter drive on paved surfaces and are also better than truck tires at handling earthy terrains. The all-terrain tire is the perfect balance between paved surface comfort and off-road capability.
2. Heavy-Duty Tires
Heavy-duty tires are the pick for the commercial driver who enjoys maxing out their vehicle’s payload capacity, whether it be hauling trailers, campers, or equipment.
If you’re a driver of a truck, an SUV, or a CUV, and you value reliability, longevity, and incredible durability, these tires are for you. They also boast capability in a variety of locations, from the highway to the job site.
3. Off-Road Tires
While they do have a tendency to be noisier, off-road tires make up for this fault in other ways. Their impressive treads allow them to obtain the best traction on uneven surfaces, and they even included improved puncture resistance.
Off-road tires perform the best on earthy terrains like sand, gravel, mud, and rocks. They are the best choice for drivers who often find themselves outside of paved roads. Although these tires are often all-season, they don’t offer the best ride quality on paved roads and at highway speeds.
4. Mud Tires
If you’re a driver that often sees uneven, unpaved surfaces, but don’t need the rock-crawling performance, mud tires are your best bet. All-terrain and all-season tires have narrower gaps and blocks, which decreases traction and allows for things to get stuck in the tires.
Mud tires have massive gaps and blocks that allow for any mud or uneven surfaces to easily pass through, letting the driver leave the earth and debris on the ground and not stuck in the tire’s treads. While mud tires also offer moderate puncture protection, they will not have a great ride on paved surfaces.
5. Winter Tires
Winter truck tires offer optimal performance in winter conditions. Similar to car tires, they boast softer rubber that is resistant to the freezing temperatures of ice and snow, improved snow traction, and studs that help them grip icy roads. If you’re a driver that regularly faces heavy-duty winter conditions, winter tires are for you. It is recommended that you also have a spare set of wheel rims for each tire set; for example, on set for all-terrain and one set for winter tires.
How to Avoid Noisy Tires
Your choice of tires is important when considering the noise level of your drive. If you are unsure of how certain tires affect the noise level inside your vehicle, here are a few things to consider the next time you are faced with tire buying options.
Specifications For Speed & Weight
Thicker tires are more primed for driving at higher speeds, but that also means you will be subjected to a noisier ride.
Lower speed tires will offer a quieter driving experience, but if you’re a petal-to-the-metal kind of person, they might not be the safest option for you.
Materials & Tire Size
Since a smaller tire has less rubber hitting the road, it will naturally produce less noise. By that logic, the smaller the tire, the less noisy your drive will be.
However, smaller tires are not always the most aesthetically appealing, so it’s important to find a middle ground. Certain materials, such as soft rubber, that will offer a silent drive without sacrificing the visual appeal of your vehicle.
Weather conditions are a big influence on tire composition. Tires created for harsher conditions will have to adhere to certain safety regulations, which inherently means more features, and therefore more noise. Conversely, summer tires are simpler and have fewer safety features, so they will offer a quieter ride.
Choosing The Right Tires For Your Truck
If you’re a truck person, you know that replacing your tires is a time of great opportunity. Your tires have a big effect on your truck, and the vast variety of them on the market can be confusing to some buyers. The set of tires on your truck will affect how it looks and performs – including what it can and cannot do – and so it is important to choose the right ones.
The key to purchasing the right truck tire is familiarity with your options. It’s best to start broad; before considering specific brands and individual tires, you should first narrow down your search to which type of tire will best suit your needs. Here is an overview of the different types of truck tires to help aid in your search.
1. All-season (Ideal For On-Road Performance)
With a few exceptions, the overwhelming majority of original equipment (OE) truck tires focus on on-road performances, which classifies them as all-season tires.
These tires are perfect for drivers who don’t require off-road or higher truck performance capabilities, preferring to drive mostly on-road. If your truck came from the factory with all-season tires, then you already should have a fairly good idea of if you were satisfied with your driving experience and if the tires have shown any limitations.
It is important to remember that a particular tire was used during the creation of your truck, and all-season tires allow you to keep your performance consistent while still allowing the option of moderate improvements (i.e., enhanced comfort, better fuel economy, and wintertime traction, or improved on-road capabilities).
2. Mud-terrain (Ideal For Off-Road Performance)
Mud-terrain tires offer the toughest look and the best off-road performance. While they can be used by everyday drivers on-road, they are best suited to log miles in the most challenging off-road conditions.
The ideal mud-terrain tire user is an 80/20 driver, spending 80% of their time off-road and 20% on. If you are familiar with the on-road drawbacks of all-terrain tires, these faults are usually magnified in mud-terrains.
Although it is worth noting that mud-terrain tires are more livable than ever before, with their innovative noise-canceling tread pattern technologies making them more suited to everyday use.
All-terrain (Ideal For Both On-Road & Off-Road Performance)
If your truck is your work or adventure vehicle, splitting your time on and off-road, all-terrain tires are the choice for you.
These tires do well in situations where added durability and higher performance limitations are valued, such as uneven, potholed roads, and deep snow.
More and more all-terrain tires are boasting severe snow rated capabilities – as indicated by the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol – that, when paired with a 4×4 truck, can break through some of the harshest winter conditions with ease.
While these tires are great for a rougher ride, all-terrain tires do attribute to increased road noise and less handling responsiveness. Additionally, due to their heavier weight and the prominence of their tread blocks, they also decrease your vehicle’s fuel economy.