When you're looking for tires for your truck or Jeep, one of the biggest questions you need to ask yourself is where will I be going with these tires?
What you run with will depend on your tires purpose and what you want to accomplish.
We will be looking at the three popular styles of truck tires:
We will also discuss the tread performance and fuel efficiency of each one.
1. All Terrain
The first style on our list is the all-terrain style or the AT.
This tire is designated all-terrain simply because you can use them on almost every terrain.
They are a good all-around tire in most driving situations but not the best in any one situation.
Let's talk tread.
The tread on an AT is not very aggressive and the sidewall lugs are the smallest of the three styles yet the AT is very effective when it comes to gripping the road thanks to siping and close tread patterns.
ATs will usually have better tread wear that usually extends the life of the tire well beyond 50,000 miles when rotated regularly.
Performance-wise, ATs will excel on dry pavement gravel and hard packed sand due to the close tread.
In wet, snowy, or icy conditions the AT will handle much better than the others due to the siping which grabs the road.
However, if you're mudding expect a lot of slippage and getting bogged down.
These tires are designed primarily for solid surfaces they are also chosen for better fuel mileage, very low road noise, and higher load ranges.
ATs aren't too flashy but they are extremely practical.
2. Maximum Traction/Mud Terrain
Let's go to the other extreme and look at the MT style which actually stands for maximum traction but have also been referred to as mud terrain.
As you would expect MTs really stand out when you're talking about extreme terrains like mud gravel or off-road exploring.
Tread wise, these tires have the maximum amount to get you anywhere you need to go.
Large, extra aggressive, and chunky shoulder logs and sidewalls are designed to bite into any surface.
It also has very wide channels to eject mud, rocks, and water rapidly.
MTs will do well even in the sand when you air them down.
They are also decent on dry roads but they'll make a lot of road noise due to the amount of contact they have on the asphalt.
MTs are not great in snowy and icy conditions as snow gets packed into the tread and becomes a smooth surface removing all traction.
Fuel efficiency is pretty bad due to increased weight and rolling resistance and you must rotate MT faithfully to get the best tread wear possible which will hover around 35,000 miles depending on use.
But if you want attention MTs are the sexiest option when you're rolling in public among the norms.
3. Rough Terrain
Finally here come the RTs which are designated rough terrain.
RTs are a part of the larger hybrid tire family and is dedicated to borrowing from the AT and MT styles to give truck owners the best of both worlds.
Looking at the tread of an RT, you can see large shoulder lugs combined with a tighter noise reducing interior tread.
The sidewall is still pretty aggressive and the tread overall is definitely more aggressive than the AT but not as extreme as the MT.
This style is growing in popularity because the performance is quiet and well-mannered on the street yet has great off-road traction.
It handles great in dry and wet conditions and will do well on loose dirt and rocks if aired down.
The RT is a good balance of handling and tread but it won't rip as well in snow and ice as an AT or handle as well in mud as an MT.
Again, it's all about answering the question where will I be going with these tires?
Fuel efficiency is surprisingly good for a larger tire and the tread life is just behind AT tires at 50,000 miles or more.
It's not as audacious as the MT but the RT style will still get plenty of admiration on the roads.
The cost difference of a set of these three styles tends to be small, around 100 to 200 dollars difference.
4. Wrap Up
Bottom line, you shouldn't let the cost be a huge influence in your decision to go with one of these styles.
Instead consider performance and desired conditions.