HT, AT or MT tyres, which is best for your 4WD?
Did you know that the type of tyre you choose has a significant impact on the performance and capabilities of your 4WD?
The range of tyres available for 4WD vehicles is quite varied. When it comes to buying new tyres, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed or unsure as to what tyres are best for your 4WD and driving style.
Before buying new tyres, take the time to consider how and where you drive your 4WD. For example, if you plan to head off-road on a regular basis, then a quality set of All Terrain or Mud Terrain tyres may be the right 4WD tyre for you. Or perhaps you only plan on using your 4WD for highway use, in which case, a set of Highway Terrain tyres may be better suited.
Here, we take a closer look at the three kinds available, HT, AT and MT tyres, in more depth to assist you in finding the right tyre, not only for your 4WD, but also for your intended use.
You mostly drive on-road…
If you use your 4WD almost entirely on-road then you may want to consider a set of Highway Terrain (HT) tyres. Intended for around 90% on-road use, a HT tyre is similar to a standard passenger car tyre. HT tyres have a higher speed rating and lower load index and are best suited to sealed road use.
HT tyres typically have a tread design which intends to provide the driver (and passengers) with a smooth, quiet and comfortable ride. When compared to other 4WD tyres, they are generally quieter on sealed roads and tend to have good handling capabilities on wet bitumen.
The key characteristics of an HT tyre typically include:
- Good tread wear
- Quiet and comfortable ride
- Smooth driving
- Predictable and balanced handling
You generally drive on-road but also go off the beaten track...
If you use your 4WD as your day-to-day car, mostly driving on-road, but also like to head off-road in your spare time, then an All Terrain (AT) tyre may be the right tyre for you. Intended for around 60% on-road use, an AT tyre will provide you with a balance between on-road and off-road capabilities, just as the name ‘All Terrain’ would suggest.
AT tyres have a deeper and more aggressive tread when compared to a HT tyre. This is what provides them with additional grip for off-road driving. The offset to this is that HT tyres have a tendency to be noisier than HT tyres, though there are now AT tyres available that boast minimal on-road noise. For many, the slight increase in on-road noise is considered worthwhile for the added benefit of off-road capabilities.
AT tyres have a moderate speed rating and load index. Their thicker and stronger sidewall is designed to assist in durability, which makes them less susceptible to punctures often experienced off-road.
The quality and strength of AT tyres can vary amongst manufacturers. As a result, it’s important to do your research, or speak with a professional to ensure that you find the best AT tyre to meet your needs. Heavier duty AT tyres are often marked as light truck (LT) tyres.
The key characteristics of an AT tyre typically include:
- Greater durability than a HT tyre
- Suited to a range of surfaces, including sealed roads and rocky off-road tracks
- Increased off-road grip
- Generally provide good on-road comfort
You’re regularly off-road in your 4WD...
If you’re frequently hitting the beaten track, driving across all sorts of rugged and wild terrain, including rocks and plenty of mud, then a set of Mud Terrain (MT) tyres may be best for you. MT tyres are made for muddy conditions, just as their name suggests and are intended for around 85% off-road use.
MT tyres feature an aggressive, self-cleaning tread pattern that allows mud and dirt to pass more easily. A MT tyre’s tread pattern also has a higher rolling resistance, when compared to a HT or AT tyre. As a result, MT tyres do have increased fuel consumption and greater road noise than HT and AT tyres.
Of course, the benefit of the MT tyre’s tread design is that it makes them ideal for heavy off-road duties. Their thicker all-round construction and bulkier tread means that they’re less susceptible to impact damage or punctures, which are often encountered when venturing off-road. It is important to be aware however, that as a result of the bigger gaps between tread blocks it can mean that there is less rubber contacting the road, causing wet weather performance on-road to suffer.
The key characteristics of a MT tyre typically include:
- Good off-road capabilities across a range of conditions such as steep terrains and mud
- Durable construction, which is less prone to punctures
- Large, open tread design for good mud and dirt dispersion
The experts at BestDrive can find the right 4WD tyre for you...
BestDrive supplies and fits a range of 4WD tyres from leading brands, including Continental, Kumho and BFGoodrich. What tyres you choose will depend on how you use your 4WD. Are you a highway driver or an off-road adventurer? Taking the time to consider how you use, or plan to use, your 4WD will greatly assist in finding the right 4WD tyre for your driving needs to ensure that you are getting the most out of your tyres.
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