All-Terrain or Mud-Terrain Tires – How To Choose?

Are you looking to do tire mods to your 4×4?  Not sure if you should go with A/T All Terrain or M/T Mud Terrain Tires?  A tire upgrade can be one of the most import things you can do before you hit the trails.  I will do my best to point you in the right direction.  Just keep in mind, there is no perfect tire type that will do everything great, you will have to find what best fits your driving habits.

I just wanted to mention before we get started.  There are several different types tires out there.  Since you are looking for tires so you can go off road we can probably rule out any high performance street tires.  Ok with that said, in this article I am going to talk about the two most popular options for on and off road travel.  Which is A/T all terrain and M/T mud terrain.

All Terrain tires

Having a lower void ratio (less gap between tread blocks) compared to a mud terrain make a A/T All Terrain a good choice.  If most of your daily travel is on the highway the A/T All Terrain is still able to perform well in most off road driving conditions.


  • Less rolling resistance also allowing them to have longer tread life
  • Lower road noise
  • Better fuel economy
  • Better steering response and stability on highway driving than a mud terrain tire
  • All terrain tires tend to do well in rain, light snow, sand, and gravel roads


  • May do okay on rocks (not usually its strong point)
  • Some light mud, but tread gets clogged in boggy muddy conditions The tread doesn’t self clean as good because of the (low void ratio) compared to a Mud Terrain (higher void ratio)

Mud Terrain tires

If you find your spending most of your time off road tackling rugged terrain the open tread design (higher void ratio) of a mud terrain may be right for you.



  •  They tend to grip rocks better
  • Better in the mud (having the ability to self clean eject mud from the tread when you spin the tires in a boggy situation)
  •  Still may perform good on loose gravel roads, sand and in deeper unpacked snow


  • Tend to be noisier (noise levels can vary from brand to brand) for on road driving because they have a more open gap between tread blocks ( higher void ratio)
  • Rougher ride
  • The tread life doesn’t generally last as long as A/T All Terrain tire
  • Usually not as good for fuel economy.  Having more rolling resistance because of tread being more aggressive (higher void ratio) than a A/T All Terrain tire.
  • M/T Mud terrain tires usually don’t have quite as good steering response and handling or stability characteristics at highway driving speeds.
  •  Not quite as good of traction on pavement in the rain, ice or hard packed snow as an A/T All Terrain might.  A Mud Terrain doesn’t have as much surface area. It having a higher void ratio you have less tread contact to the road

Some brands of M/T Mud Terrains have sipes which are small slits in the tread blocks of a tire. Tire sipes create more biting edges adding additional tread surface area to the tire. Tire sipes flex open and close upon rotation of the tire. Picking up and ejecting water and snow from the contact patch of the tire, helping to  enhance wet and snow traction.


NOTE:No matter what type of tire you choose airing down when you go off road can help improve your traction. Learn more about that here


Wrap up

You will just have to consider, what type of driving you will be doing the most of.  To determine the right type of tires for you.  Also something to ponder on, is the road noise levels and the handling, stability, or traction can be different.  There are variances from brand to brand because of the tread design and compounds of material used in the making of the tires.  Check out some tires here.