Do I Need Mud-Terrain Tires?

If your vehicle spends more time off-road than on, mud-terrain tires could be a wise choice.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Mar 23, 2023
Whether you’ve got an adventure vehicle or a work truck, mud-terrain tires could be a great option for you if your wheels spend more time off-road than on.
Mud-terrain terrain tires are specifically designed to push chunks of mud and rocks out of your vehicle’s way. They’ll give your utility or sports vehicle the most traction possible in deep, dirty, off-road conditions. However, they’re not really designed to drive on pavement.
Whatever kind of vehicle you have, and whatever you use it for,
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is here to support you with all of the fast facts you’ll need before investing in mud-terrain tires.

What are mud-terrain tires? 

Mud-terrain tires are designed for sporty adventure vehicles like Jeep Wranglers, as well as work trucks that need to plow through lots of mud. They have large tread blocks with wide channels, giving you lots of traction in places where other tires would spin out or get stuck. Because of their extra-durable sidewalls, they’re able to handle some seriously harsh terrain!
Mud-terrain tires are not great on pavement, however. Aside from being extremely clunky and noisy, they’re not particularly fuel-efficient and don’t handle well in snowy or wet conditions.

Mud-terrain tires vs. all-terrain tires

Whether you should choose mud-terrain tires or all-terrain tires depends entirely on how you intend to use your vehicle. Mud-terrain tires offer unrivaled off-road and mud traction, so if you’re adventuring to the bottom of canyons or plowing through clay and mud, they’re truly the beefiest option. 
If you’re planning on doing most of your driving on pavement, though, mud-terrain tires probably aren’t your best option. All-terrains give you improved traction for off-road driving, but they’re a bit quieter and more comfortable on pavement. They’ll also have a longer tread life and won’t cost quite as much. 

How many miles will mud-terrain tires last? 

The average tire lasts about 40,000 miles—and mud-terrains are no different! However, exactly how long they last will really depend on how you’re using them. 
Since they’re built for mud, dirt, and clay, sticking to these substances will help you get the most out of your mud-terrain tires. However, using mud-terrain tires on pavement can wear them out quite quickly. To extend the life of your tires, you may want to tow your sport or utility vehicle on a flatbed before arriving at your off-road destination. 
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Will mud-terrain tires decrease fuel efficiency? 

To understand how different types of tires will affect your vehicle’s fuel economy, you need to first understand rolling resistance. Rolling resistance dictates how much energy is required to keep a tire moving.
Mud-terrain tires are heavy and bulky—and they’re usually attached to some pretty heavy and bulky vehicles, so it takes a lot of energy to get them moving. In other words, they have high rolling resistance.
Unfortunately, the higher your tires’ rolling resistance, the lower your vehicle’s fuel efficiency will be. Adding mud-terrain tires will come with an inevitable drop in fuel economy. For reference, all-terrain tires are already 3% less efficient than all-season tires—and mud-terrain tires are yet another step down from there. 
Key Takeaway Mud-terrain tires will offer you unmatched traction off-road, but you’ll also see a significant dip in fuel efficiency. 

Are performance tires worth it?

Whether or not mud-terrain tires are worth it depends entirely on what type of vehicle you have and what you’re using it for. They’re certainly not for the average driver who uses their car to get from point A to point B, or even for the occasional adventurer who spends a little bit of time off-road.
However, if your job requires you to trek deep into muddy terrains on a daily basis, or if you own a secondary vehicle exclusively for off-road exploration, mud-terrain tires are a step above the rest.

How much should you pay for mud-terrain tires? 

Like most tires, the price of your mud-terrain tires will depend on the quality and the brand.
Several budget brands offer mud-terrain tires priced at $125 or less per tire. While they won’t be the highest-end tires, and potentially won’t last quite as long, they’ll still be incredibly effective at moving your car through mud and other rough terrains.
More expensive mud-terrain tires—typically priced between $125 and $300 per tire (though sometimes even more)—will offer you the highest quality. Expect to spend a little more money if you require a tire that will withstand the most intense off-roading conditions.

What type of tires does your car need? 

By now, you’ve likely realized that very few drivers actually need or benefit from mud-terrain tires. If you’re looking for a more versatile set of wheels, you’ll want to consider road safety, gas mileage, cost, and what sort of vehicle you own. 
We’ve compiled this handy chart, complete with everything you need to know about some of the most typical types of tires:
Type of vehicle
Driving conditions
Best type of tire
Average cost
Average lifespan
Passenger vehicles (car, SUV, or minivan)
Climates above 45° F
All-season tires
$80 to $150
60,000 miles
Passenger vehicles
Extensive commuting in moderate weather
Highway tires
$100 to $300
60,000 miles
Passenger vehicles (especially sports cars)
Racing and warm-weather driving
Summer tires
$150 to $300
30,000 miles
SUVs and trucks
Mix of highway and off-road driving
All-terrain tires
$150 to $300
40,000 miles
SUVs and trucks
Mud tires
$125 to $300
20,000 miles
Cold weather, snow, and ice
Snow tires
$80 to $200
30,000 miles or 4 winter seasons

How to find affordable car insurance

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