Can You Use Off-Road Tires On The Road?

Unless you are one of the lucky few who are set up to trailer their off-road vehicle to the trails, you most likely will be driving on paved roads to get there. In reality, if you’re like most people, your vehicle probably sees a whole lot more pavement than it does dirt or gravel. Choosing the right tire for your needs is an extremely important decision. So can you use tires that are designed for going off-road, on paved roads?

You certainly can use off-road tires on paved roads. Depending on what your vehicle’s average use is though will determine the correct type of tire for you. Mud tires are aggressive and wear down more quickly, and all-terrain tires don’t provide the same fuel economy that a regular street tire does.

While mud and all-terrain tires might not be the best tires for regular commuting, they certainly do the job and are one-hundred percent safe. If you would like to learn more about tire specs and the differences between mud-terrain and all-terrain tires, please check out this article. If you are looking for the tire that is best suited for daily driving and exploring off-road, keep on reading!

Which Tire Is Right For You?

When shopping for a new set of tires, it is key to take into consideration what sort of terrain your vehicle will be encountering. While it would amazing to have a tire that does absolutely everything perfectly, the reality is, that isn’t possible. If you are going to be daily driving your vehicle, I’d recommend searching for a tire that is, “The jack of all trades, but the master of none.” A tire that handles all conditions with quality, but isn’t the winner in any specific category. With that said, I would recommend an all-terrain tire.

On the other hand, if you are not daily driving your vehicle, that opens up the potential for different tire set ups that are more specific to a certain niche of off-roading, such as rock crawling.

Can You Use Off-Road Tires Daily?

For the most part, you can 100% use tires designed for off-roading on a daily basis. However, there are a couple of factors that you would want to consider as they are not as ideal as a street-specific tire. Will your vehicle actually be going off-road? This might seem like a silly question to ask, but being from the city you see a lot of vehicles that have mud or all-terrain tires, that will never see a dirt road or backcountry trail. If you do plan on going off-road in your vehicle, what sort of terrain will you be encountering. This will help you determine whether you need an all-terrain or mud-terrain tire.

I think it is safe to assume, that most people who daily drive their trucks (myself included) are not using that same vehicle for rock crawling on the weekend. This means that the chances of us needing a mud-terrain tire are less likely, and an all-terrain tire is more in our wheelhouse.

Do Off-Road Tires Wear Faster?

When comparing a mud or all-terrain tire to a street-specific tire, they certainly do wear faster. A quality all-season tire can last around 75,000 miles whereas an all-terrain or mud tire may only last around 40,000 miles. The key to making your tires last is remembering to rotate them every 5,000 – 8,000 miles. Also, make sure you air your tire back up to the correct tire pressure before hitting the pavement. Running your tire at a lower pressure like you would off-road, is a sure way to shorten the lifespan of the tire.

Are Off-Road Tires Noisy?

Much like all-terrain and mud-terrain tires wearing faster than an all-season tire, they also tend to be noisier when on the road. However, not all tires are made equally. The all-terrain tires I run on my truck have very little road noise, compare to the Jeep that past me yesterday where I could hear the hum of their tires through closed windows and over the podcast I was listening to. Since their tires were rapidly spinning down the freeway, I couldn’t see exactly what tires they were; I would be willing to bet my firstborn child that they were mud-terrains though. Because of the large channels between the tire tread blocks, as air flows through while driving a humming or howling sound can often be heard.

Wrapping Up

To the original question of whether or not you can use off-road tires on the road, the answer is yes. If you are wanting to mount beefier tires on your vehicle strictly for aesthetic reasons, absolutely go for it! While it is not recommended if you are looking for top-notch road performance, it is definitely doable.

If you are looking for a tire that can perform well on-road and off-road, I would recommend an all-terrain tire. There are varying levels of tread aggressiveness, which means there are varying levels of off and on-road performance in the all-terrain tire niche. There is not one tire that is the perfect tire for every consumer, we all have our own needs.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a tire that will do far better off-road than on-road, I would recommend looking into a mud-terrain tire. Again, there are varying levels of quality and aggressiveness. I would recommend talking to your local tire and/or off-roading shop and explain to them exactly what your wants and needs are, and let the experts recommend what they think is best for you.

If you would like to learn more about the differences between an all-terrain and mud-terrain tire, and understand more thoroughly what the numbers on the side of a tire mean before talking to your local shop, check out this article.


Isaac Wray is a professional photographer and outdoors enthusiasts based out of Vancouver, Canada.

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