Which 4WD or SUV tyres are right for you

Posted by: Dan on 14/05/2013

Category: Tyre Information

The whole concept of a 4WD has undergone a lot of changes in the Australian way of life over the last decade. 4WDs and SUVs now account for the fastest growing segment of new vehicle purchases in Australia. But not all 4WDs are created equal.

The range of sizes and uses for SUVs and 4WDs is as varied as are their owners, so how to choose the right tyres for your needs?

Choose your terrain

Where you drive most of the time is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when you’re looking at your tyre purchase. This is particularly relevant to 4WD tyres because most tyres for this segment are engineered to suit specific terrain requirements.

The three most common terrain designations are AT, HT and MT. These stand for All-Terrain, Highway-Terrain and Mud-Terrain respectively.


All-Terrain tyres are sometimes also referred to as 80-20 tyres. This is a reference to their being designed to primarily be used as an on-road tyre with some time spend in light off-road duties.

These are the tyres that suit most drivers, as they provide a balance between daily driving on sealed surfaces but are also able to tackle camping trips, dirt roads, farm and worksite duties, and some light 4WDing.


Would you be surprised if I told you that Highway-Terrain tyres are engineered to suit the specific requirements of a lot of highway driving?

Specifically this means that HT tyres are designed to withstand higher temperatures that are generated by being in constant use over longer distances. They are also designed to clear water efficiently and handle safely in emergency conditions.


Mud Terrain tyres have bigger lugs for better traction in loose and wet off road use

If you guessed that Mud-Terrain tyres are only for driving on mud, you’re only partly right. Mud-Terrain tyres are made for serious off-roading duties. These are the tyres you want when you’re tackling (yes) mud, but also sand, loose gravel, steep terrain and so on. 

Mud Terrain tyres are better suited to serious 4WD conditions

These tyres are characterised by the larger lugs on the surface which allow great grip in loose or soft surfaces, but also clear themselves quickly, so that the tyre can continue to find the best available grip.

MT tyres aren’t a simple “set and forget” solution though. These tyres can be adapted to many different situations, most commonly by adjusting the pressure to suit the terrain. When you’re on sand or in the mud, you’ll want to reduce the tyre pressure to increase the footprint of the tyre and gain as much traction as possible.

It doesn't just have to be mud, the rugged MT tyres assist in all 4x4 use.

Of course, when you’re back on firmer ground, you’ll want to inflate them again so that they are able to perform better for that terrain.

MT tyres are largely a dedicated use tyre and won’t very commonly be kept on your vehicle all the time. This is because the performance trade-off means they’re not the optimal tyres for on-road use. Many 4WD and off-road enthusiasts will instead keep a second set of MT tyres which they put on their vehicle when they’re planning to get off the beaten path but keep a set of AT tyres on for everyday use.

Still not sure?

That’s ok, we’re here to help you find the best fit for your 4WD or SUV and the best tyre for your needs. Just call us on 138 168 or open up a live chat online and we’ll talk through your options with you. Feel free to bring your vehicle into one of our stores for a free tyre safety check too! We’ll check your pressures, tread wear and look for any issues with your wheel alignment.