Mud tires have been grabbing the attention of most of us for quite some time now. Although the tire industry is now flooded with a huge number of options falling under a wide spectrum of categories, mud-terrain tires have an appeal that is unmatched. Most of us are guilty of being tempted to use mud tires for our everyday commute as well. However, the bad news is, mud tires last only for about 40,000 to 50,000 miles on roads. This is significantly lesser than the tread mileage that is provided by tires that are designed for paved roads and highways, although the fact that tread life is dependent on a plethora of factors can not be ruled out.
Why can mud tires wear much quicker?
Although it is a no-brainer that the wear life of a tire depends on a wide range of factors, there are some factors that contribute to mud tires having a relatively shorter tread life. Some of the more common ones are as follows:
1. Greater Weight:
Mud tires are built to tackle rough and slippery surfaces and therefore, have greater weight due to enhanced tread patterns and a tough internal construction for tackling rocks and stones. However, heavy tires have the tendency to lose balance frequently, in addition to taking a toll on the suspension system. Both these effects lead to uneven wearing and eventually, shorter tread life.
2. Soft tread compound:
Sometimes, mud tires are built using a soft compound. This has the advantage of providing a stronger grip, as the soft tread contours itself to grab mud. However, this results in a seriously compromised tread life.
3. Greater road contact:
In order to provide maximum stability and grip, mud tires are constructed to have greater surface contact. This is usually provided by the spreading of tread when mud is encountered, making it conform to the surface. But this also means that the rate of wearing of tread is higher.
Is driving mud tires on the highway worth it?
Mud tires have an undeniable aesthetic appeal, thanks to the aggressive pattern and massive tread blocks. This can urge most of us enthusiasts to use them for daily use as well. However, it is essential to consider all aspects of it before making a radical decision like that. Mud tires are built exclusively for use on muddy, rocky ground that is soggy and soft. Thus, they have distinctive features that allow survival in this kind of terrain. These features are not usually compatible with highways, resulting in diminished tire life and poor fuel economy. Moreover, mud tires are much noisier than other tires on roads, owing to their enlarged tread blocks and other gigantic features. The incorporation of these specialized features also mean that the price of mud tires is considerably high, which, coupled with the decreased fuel mileage, makes it a very expensive option.
Keeping all these factors in view, one can conclude that using mud tires on highways might not be a very wise decision.
How much do other types of tires last?
The amount of time that a tire can last is an outcome of a wide range of contributing factors. From the brand to materials used, driving conditions, speeds, load and balancing, almost everything influences the longevity of a tire’s tread. However, generally all-season tires last longer than other categories. They can regularly provide for up to 60,000miles with some premium brand tires lasting up to 80,000 miles if frequently rotated and carefully driven. This is significantly much higher mileage than what mud-terrains have to offer and makes for an appealing option. All-terrain tires have relatively shorter life, with most offering 50,000-60,000 miles. Winter tires have even shorter lives on average, with 30,000-40,000 miles being offered by the good ones in the category.
Which tire is the best for the road?
From the discussion above, it is fairly obvious that mud tires are not suitable for use on roads. This brings us to the ultimate question; which tire should be used on roads?
If all aspects of driving on road are considered, all-season tires are the best suited option. They are built in a user-friendly and versatile manner, which allows them to provide a comfortable ride all year round, despite the varying weather conditions. The tread pattern and sidewalls of all-season tires are modest and built to keep the harmonics in check, resulting in a quiet ride with minimal noise. They also provide easy handling to the driver and that too, in all seasons. Whether it is high summer temperature or light snow, all-season tires can perform satisfactorily. To top it off, they are light on the pocket too as a result of their better fuel mileage and relatively less retail price. The biggest plus point, however, would be that it specializes in tackling the number one threat you can face regularly on a highway: rain.