The Hybrid of the Tire World: The Nitty Gritty of All-Terrain Tires

April 9th, 2021 by

A closeup shows an all-terrain tire on a Cincinnati trail.

Off-roading has grown exponentially over the last decade as more drivers discover the beauty and adventure that sits beyond the pavement and off the beaten path. However, this adventure requires the right gear, and that begins with the right tires. While you wouldn’t venture down the trail in a sedan like the Chevy Malibu, you also shouldn’t expect to hit the trail with just any tire. That’s why we encourage our off-road customers to equip rigs like the Colorado ZR2 with a reliable all-terrain tire that can confidently take the truck from the pavement to the trail. This, of course, leads to a few questions like “What are all-terrain tires?” and “Where can I get the most use out of my all-terrain tires in Cincinnati?”

As your Chevy dealer, we’re here to answer all your questions. We’ll break down the nitty-gritty details of all-terrain tires by explaining what they are and what vehicles are usually equipped with them. We’ll also talk about their benefits and advantages as well as the best places to put your all-terrains to work around Cincinnati. By the end, you’ll be an expert on everything A/T-related!

What Are All-Terrain Tires?

Known as a hybrid tire in the automotive world, all-terrain tires are one of the most versatile tires on the market. They combine the street handling of traditional highway tires with the open-tread design of off-road tires. This allows them to perform exceptionally well both on and off the pavement. It is also what makes them the most beneficial to drivers who divide their time between the highway and the trail.

Two SUVs are driving over rocks.

It’s All About the Design

Highway tires have a tight and narrow tread that ensures a smooth and quiet ride. These tires, however, don’t perform well on the trail since the narrow tread easily fills up with debris like dirt, gravel, and mud. This diminishes traction and makes the tires useless in off-road environments where traction propels the vehicle out of dicey situations like mud pits. All-terrain tires are designed with a wider, more open tread that allows the tire to bite the terrain and dig through any debris in its way. This improves traction and moves the vehicle forward through dirt, mud, sand, and gravel.

Another important aspect of the design of all-terrain tires is the strength of the sidewall. Since highway tires are usually only driven on paved roads, the sidewall is thin and only needs to hold the weight of the car and flex enough to deliver a smooth ride. With all-terrain tires, the sidewall is much thicker and stronger to withstand the greater demands of the trail. These demands include hazards like rocks and sticks that can puncture or severely damage the tire.

Benefits and Disadvantages

We’ve already mentioned a couple of benefits that all-terrain tires offer when it comes to design. All-terrain tires offer greater traction on both paved roads and dirt trails because of their open-tread design and reinforced sidewalls that improve their strength and durability. All-terrain tires are also all-purpose and offer excellent traction year-round, whether you’re traveling down a dirt road in summer or navigating a snow-covered or ice-covered road in the winter.

While there are many benefits to all-terrain tires, there are a few disadvantages to consider. The same open-tread design that improves traction is also the culprit for creating a noisier ride that’s also less fuel-efficient. Why? The larger tread pattern creates more friction and rolling resistance on the road. While this is great for improving traction off-road, it means the tires have to work harder to propel the vehicle forward, and, as a result, they cause the vehicle to use more fuel.

All-terrain tires also have a reputation for having a shorter lifespan than traditional highway tires, but this isn’t always the case and depends on the manufacturer, how the tires are made, and how they’re maintained. For example, a set of all-terrain tires from a reputable brand can last over 50,000 miles with regular rotations, balancing, and proper inflation, while some highway tires struggle to make it that far because they’re poorly maintained. It’s also important to remember that all-terrain tires also vary by manufacturer and, as with anything, you get what you pay for.

A silver truck is driving on a muddy trail with all-terrain tires in Cincinnati.

Do I Really Need All-Terrain Tires?

By now, you might be asking yourself if you really need all-terrain tires or if traditional highway tires will serve you better. All-terrain tires are great for light-duty trucks, SUVs, campers, and four-wheel-drive vehicles. The open-tread design on all-terrain tires is great for hauling heavy loads, and the thicker sidewalls make them ideal for campers that you intend to haul through unprepared campgrounds.

A good rule of thumb is that if you only drive on paved roads, then there’s no reason to opt for all-terrain tires since traditional highway tires will work best for your needs. However, if you spend your weekdays commuting to work on the highway but enjoy hitting the trail on your days off, then all-terrain tires are a great option and can make a world of difference in your adventures. As the hybrid tire of the automotive industry, a set of quality all-terrains can confidently take you from the pavement to the trail without missing a beat.

Putting Your All-Terrains to Work in Cincinnati

Now that you know more about all-terrain tires and the advantages they offer to off-road enthusiasts, it’s time to look at the best trails in Cincinnati where you can put your all-terrain tires to work. As a hotspot of adventure, Cincinnati has no shortage of paved roads that are great for joyriding around the city. But we’re not looking for your average highway; instead, we’re looking for the best places to get a little mud on the tires.

The first stop you’ll want to make to test out your new all-terrains is just 45 minutes northwest of the city at Haspin Acres in Laurel, Indiana. Home to 750 acres of hills and trails, Haspin Acres features mud bog pits, a UTV race track, a 300-foot dirt drag strip, an automotive shop, a restaurant, and a fishing and swimming hole. If you head an hour southwest of Cincinnati, you’ll find yourself at the Dirty Turtle Off-Road Park in Bedford. This off-road location stretches across 286 acres and features a variety of trails as well as affordable cabins that make the park a great weekend getaway. If you’re willing to travel a little further beyond the city, you’ll want to check out the Turkey Bay OHV Area that offers 100 miles of scenic trails or the 7,000-acre Rush Off-Road Park, which is less than three hours from the heart of Cincinnati.

Blaze a New Trail

Are you ready to blaze a new trail? Whether you’re a veteran off-roader or you’re just getting started, McCluskey Chevy is here to help. We can handle all your vehicle needs, from buying that Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison that you’ve had your eye on to searching for the perfect pair of all-terrain tires for your driving needs. Whatever the case, we share your sense of adventure, and we can’t wait to hear all about your latest run on the trail.

Posted in Tires Cincinnati