Off-road tires are one of the greatest inventions ever for people who like to travel in rugged terrain, but let’s face it… not everyone knows how to install these tires or even which tires will meet their needs (which drastically reduces the efficiency of the final product).

Here’s how to get the best type you need: just follow these four steps!

Step One: Know the Terrain

There’s a big difference between sandy deserts, wild forests, and mountainous terrain… and vehicles should have different tires based on the kind of terrain they’re going to encounter.

That’s why the first step in installing the best off-road tires has absolutely nothing to do with the tires themselves and everything to do with the intentions of the person driving the car.

Don’t be afraid to sit down for a few moments and seriously consider what you expect your vehicle to do. This can save you a lot of time and trouble down the road. Once you’ve determined the terrain that the vehicle’s going to drive on, move on down.

Step Two: Determine Tire Size

Bigger tends to be better for any form of off-road travel. This isn’t just because of the way that large tires can make a vehicle look more imposing… the real goal of larger tires is to lift the vehicle higher off the ground, which helps the bottom of the car avoid damage from rocks, branches, and anything else that it might be driving over.

Such bonuses are a major consideration for off-road trips, so take a good, long look at the basic tire size of the vehicle. Chances are that you won’t go wrong if you increase the tire size by an inch or two – or more if the vehicle itself permits. Under no circumstances should the size of the tires be reduced if you’re going off-road.

Step Three: Determine the Tread

Now that we know where you’re going and how big the tires should be, it’s time to start looking at the treads for the vehicle.

  • Highway-Terrain. This tyre is suitable for the driver that uses the car predominately on the road. This tyre delivers a quiet ride with a closed tread pattern and compacted shoulder and tread design to minimise road noise. Generally, the H/T tyres will perform in the sand quite well.

  • All-Season Tires: All-season is not the same thing as all-terrain, which means that these tires are rarely a good choice for off-road driving. They are the tires that vehicles tend to come with, though, and you shouldn’t dismiss them – diesel mechanic training means understanding the best qualities of each part, and all-season tires may actually be a very good choice if the vehicle is going over mild terrain. After all, they tend to be more fuel-efficient than any other form of tyre.

  • All-Terrain Tires: Now we’re getting somewhere. All-terrain tires are the mid-range selection for going off-road, providing an excellent balance of performance and grip. They’re not outstanding in any area, but they do work well across the board and are a very respectable choice for rough terrain.

  • Mud Tires: The Mud-Terrain is for the unique 4WD enthusiast that only tackles the off-road tracks. The aggressive open tread pattern provides superb traction in muddy conditions due to the tread patterns being specifically designed for harsh off-road conditions. When these tyres are designed, on-road handling does not play a part in the benefits and features.

Step Four: Check the Rest of the Vehicle

The three steps listed above are the most important ones, but you should also consider checking the rest of the vehicle once the parts are installed – especially if you installed extreme terrain tires, which can rattle around and snap some weaker components. Tires are only one part of a larger system – be sure the rest of the car can handle them.

Sources: autotraining.edu,carsguide.com.au and manufacturers.