OZ Racing Wheels Australia

4X4 Tyres

4WD Tyres

Choosing 4WD tyres is difficult. On regular Aussie bitumen roads you want a quiet ride, good cornering, good stopping ability in wet or dry conditions.

You want good tracking to avoid driver fatigue on long freeway driving, and good balance to avoid any vibration.

But off-road you want something entirely different from your 4X4 tyres. Open tread for good self cleaning properties in mud, resistance to punctures, and a heavy duty construction and plenty of all-round grip.

When it comes to any 4WD tyres, if you haven’t got good grip you’ll end up bogged – and feeling embarrassed Infront of your mates.

Needless to say, choosing 4X4 tyres isn’t straight forward, and that’s without considering you want them as low cost as possible, with the best deal, and wanting them to last as long as possible before needing replacement.

Let’s take a look at all things 4X4 tyres, and by the end of this guide you’ll have all the info you need to make the right choice!

Why choosing 4X4 tyres is a ball ache

Unfortunately many of the wants above are contradictory, and with 4X4 tyres you can’t have it all. Sorry.

But you can have it good.

Big open treads which are great in the mud (muddies) tend to be noisy on the bitumen.

Hard compounds that last a long time tend to have worse wet weather cornering and stopping ability.

Basically, good on-road tyres tend to be poor performers off road and vice versa. This is why most 4X4 enthusiasts opt for All Terrain tyres like the BF Goodrich bad boys you see on most Aussie Land Cruisers.

Let’s take a look at the types of 4WD tyres:

Types of 4WD tyres

So when it came time to choosing my tyres I had to decide which of the above features was most important to me. I realised I use the car (Land Cruiser 76) 90% of the time for driving to work or around town, and 10% tops off road.

Even driving to a camping location or where a 4wd track begins is usually highway driving, so on-road safety, performance, and comfort are the most important features. The muddies I had on my Pajero previously were painful on my ears on any lengthy freeway journey, even if they did sound meaty on short trips to Coles.

The Pajero has a reputation of suffering a little from increased road noise anyway, and I believe this is because there’s no separate chassis, meaning less padding between the suspension and the body of the vehicle.

Because of reasons such as this, choosing a low-noise tyre is even more important than usual, and you don’t want your car being annoying to drive.

When I’m off-road most of the terrain I encounter is beach, sand, or gravel track. With all this considered I decided that an All Terrain type of tyre was the best choice with its bias toward on-road conditions but still with better off-road performance than a normal road tyre.

Brands of 4WD tyres

The next question is which brand of all terrain tyre?

Many brands with a harder tyre compound have reviews which suggest grip levels drop significantly as the tyre gets older, especially for bitumen driving.

In my opinion I would rather my tyres wore out a little quicker but always gripped well, so that’s a compromise I’m willing to take. It’s not worth saving a little bit of money for the sake of safety.

I also wanted to buy a tyre exactly the same size, pretty much, as the standard tyres.

This is because I don’t want any effect on the speedometer accuracy or performance of the traction and stability control systems. A different size tyre may or may not effect these, however I just don’t want the hassle of trying to fix it if it does.

These points ruled out a lot of tyres making the decision a little easier.

The biggest thing I have learned about choosing four wheel drive tyres is this: choose what suits YOU.

Don’t fall for the hype that says your HAVE to have a light truck, 35 inch, mud terrain tyres which will last 10 years. Look at how you use your vehicle and buy what makes sense for you.

The tyres I have on my Land Cruiser are the all terrain tyres from BF Goodrich. T/A KO2s.

I rate these tyres highly, and I feel I have credibility in saying so having taken my Land Cruiser all around Australia. Not just on endless corrugated roads, but through dirt, mud, sand, salt lakes, and rivers (one as deep as the windows).

All Terrain Tyres BF Goodrich KO2s

These tyres have so many great reviews, and reviews of all 4WD tyres in the BF Goodrich range show an excellent mix of on-road performance while still maintaining top off-road ability. I have had them for quite a while now and they have definitely lived up to expectations.

However, the BF Goodrich KO2s might not be for you, for whatever reason – price, how you drive your 4X4, your balance of on road or off-road.

Who knows?

Only you do.

What are the best 4X4 tyres for sand?

Given most Aussies live near the beach, choosing 4X4 tyres suitable for sand are pretty much a given.

But what are the best 4X4 tyres for sand? All terrain or mud terrain?

Here’s a useful video:

So there you go, all terrain tyres are better for sand than mud terrain tyres.

How to make 4X4 tyres last longer – rotate your tyres

The last thing I have to say is: rotate your tyres!

My previous tyres would have lasted a lot longer if I had have rotated them every 5000km or so. Instead, at about 15000km they developed a horrible whirring sound that really sounded like a blown diff or worn wheel bearings.

It took a while to work out it was just the tyres, after much concern. To rotate your tyres move the rear tyres straight to the front keeping them on the same sides they were on. Move the front tyres to the rear but swap sides so that they are actually rotating in the opposite direction. Easy.

In a full cycle of rotation this will mean that every corner of every tread block will get the same wear and this will hopefully reduce uneven wear which causes excessive noise.

The other thing I would say is to look out for tyres designed to avoid humming noise by having variable block sizes as these can develop this pulsating whiring noise that in my opinion is worse.

4 wheel drive vehicles and SUV’s usually arrive equipped with general road tyres, or at least a combination on road and general off road tyre. The tyres that your 4×4 came with are not necessarily the best ones for the applications that you want to use it for.

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