Deciding between mud tires and all-terrain tires can be tough.
But one of the most important things to people is how long they last.
What about mud tires?
Buying off-road tires for your truck, Jeep, or other off-road vehicle can be the last piece of the puzzle towards unlocking the true fun and potential of whatever it is you’re driving.
For most people, this comes down to choosing between mud-terrain tires (mud tires) or all-terrains.
And before you buy either type, you probably want to know how long they last.
How Long Do Mud Tires Last?
Mud tires typically don’t last as long as all-terrain or highway terrain tires. In fact, some mud-terrain tires don’t come with any mileage warranty from the manufacturer at all. That said, well-maintained mud tires usually last between 40,000 and 60,000 miles.
When it comes to off-road tires, there are two main types: mud tires and all-terrain (AT) tires.
So which type of tire should you buy if you’re planning on doing a lot of off-roading? In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of mud tires and AT tires so that you can make an informed decision about what’s best for your needs.
I spent the better part of a decade working as a tire technician and a tire salesman in my 20s.
During this time, I learned just about everything there is to know about all kinds of tires, including mud tires.
On top of my own experience and knowledge, I gathered input from other enthusiasts as well as looked at various types of mud tires so that you’ll know exactly how long they should last you.
What are mud-terrain tires?
Before we start talking about mud tires in-depth and get too far into the weeds about how long they last and if you should buy them, it’s important that you understand what mud tires really are.
For the sake of this article, mud tires and mud-terrain tires are the same thing and you’ll see both terms used throughout this post.
So let’s start there, what are mud tires?
Mud tires are designed for off-road conditions, specifically mud.
They have a more aggressive tread pattern than all-terrain tires and they’re made with tougher materials to withstand the rigors of off-roading.
Mud tires also typically have deeper tread depth than all-terrain tires.
All of these design features make mud tires better suited for driving in mud, but they also have some drawbacks that we’ll discuss later.
The actual tread blocks on mud tires are usually larger and more widely spaced than all-terrain tires.
The larger tread blocks help the tire grip mud and provide traction.
The wider spacing between the tread blocks helps to expel mud from the tire so that it doesn’t get packed down and cause the tire to slip.
This is necessary because when mud gets packed into the tread, it acts like a lubricant and can cause the tire to lose traction.
Mud-terrain tires also have a more aggressive sidewall than all-terrain tires.
The sidewall is the part of the tire that’s between the tread and the rim.
The sidewall on a mud-terrain tire is usually thicker and has a more pronounced tread pattern.
This helps protect the tire from punctures when driving over sharp objects like rocks or logs.
It also helps the tire grip in mud and provide traction.
Do mud tires wear out fast?
Now that you know what mud tires are, you’re probably wondering how long they last.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question because it depends on a number of factors, including the type of terrain you’re driving on, how often you’re driving, and the type of mud tire you’re using.
That said, in general, mud tires tend to wear out faster than all-terrain tires.
This is because the more aggressive tread pattern and tougher materials that make mud tires better suited for off-roading also make them more susceptible to wear and tear.
The larger tread blocks can wear down quickly, especially if you’re driving on pavement since these tires truly were designed specifically with off-road use in mind.
If you want tires that can do on- and off-road driving, you might want to look into all-terrain tires.
We’ll touch on that shortly.
Even though there is no definitive answer about how long mud tires last, we can look at a few of the more popular mud tires on the market and get their manufacturer’s mileage warranty.
These tread life warranties are how long the manufacturer estimates the tire will last before it needs to be replaced (as long as they’re well-maintained, of course!) Here are a few popular mud tires and their mileage warranties:
- BF Goodrich KM mud tires: 40,000 miles
- Nitto Mud Grappler tires: 60,000 miles
- Toyo Open Country M/T tires: 50,000 miles
As you can see, there is a lot of variation in the tread life warranties for these popular mud tires.
Again, this just underscores the fact that there is no definitive answer to the question of how long mud tires last.
In fact, some mud tires come with no mileage warranty whatsoever.
This type of tire is one that you’ll find arguably the biggest difference in mileage warranties across the board.
When should you replace mud tires?
Since you now know that, in general, mud tires wear out faster than all-terrain tires, you might be wondering when you should replace them.
The answer to this question also depends on a number of factors (I know that sounds like a bit of a cop-out on my end, but it’s true in this case), but there are a few signs that it’s time to get new mud tires.
First and foremost, if you notice that the tread depth on your tires is getting low, it’s time to replace them.
On most tires, you can measure tread depth using a tread depth gauge or a penny.
With mud tires, however, the difference in tread depth is so stark that the old penny trick really isn’t going to be worthwhile.
Instead, you can use a regular old tread depth gauge or even just eyeball it to give yourself an idea.
No matter the type of tire that you’re dealing with, if the tread depth on your tires is less than the manufacturer’s recommended minimum tread depth, it’s time to get new tires.
For mud tires, this minimum tread depth is usually around 2-4/32nds of an inch.
If you’re feeling frisky and want to go all the way down to 2/32nds, then the penny trick will still work! Put an upside-down penny in the tread and if any part of Lincoln’s head is covered, you’re still good to go.
Another sign that it’s time to replace your mud tires is if you notice any cracks, cuts, or other damage to the sidewalls
This type of damage can weaken the structure of the tire and make it more susceptible to a blowout.
If you see any cracks, cuts, or other damage on the sidewall of your tire, it’s time to replace it.
Lastly, if you’ve driven the same set of mud tires for more than six years, it’s probably time to start shopping for a new set.
Even if the tread depth is still good and there’s no sidewall damage, rubber deteriorates over time and your tires will just be weaker overall.
This is why automotive shops typically will not work on tires that are over 6 years old and shouldn’t ever sell a set of tires anywhere near this age.
Do all-terrain tires last longer than mud tires?
This is the big debate when it comes to off-roading.
For anyone that wants to head off the beaten path in their truck, the decision to choose between all-terrain and mud-terrain tires is one that will have to be made.
Up until now, we’ve only focused on mud-terrain tires, so let’s take a quick look at all-terrains and then we can more easily compare the two more meaningfully
So what are all-terrain tires?
All-terrain tires are, as the name would suggest, designed to be driven on all types of terrain.
That includes everything from gravel roads to mud and even snow.
They usually have a more aggressive tread pattern than your standard passenger car tire, but not as aggressive as a mud-terrain tire.
This gives them better traction in off-road conditions while still maintaining a relatively quiet and comfortable ride on the highway.
Now that we know what all-terrain tires are, let’s compare them to mud-terrain tires.
The biggest difference between the two is in their tread patterns.
Mud-terrain tires have much more aggressive tread patterns with large lugs and voids.
This gives them incredible traction in mud and other off-road conditions, but at the expense of a rougher ride on the highway.
Another difference between all-terrain and mud-terrain tires is their sidewall construction.
Mud-terrain tires typically have thicker, more reinforced sidewalls.
This helps to prevent punctures and other damage when driving on rough terrain.
So which type of tire is better? It really depends on your needs.
If you do a lot of off-roading, then mud-terrain tires are probably the way to go.
But if you just need a tire that can handle the occasional gravel road or snow-covered street, then all-terrain tires will be more than up to the task.
Do mud tires get worse gas mileage?
One of the most common questions about mud tires is whether they get worse gas mileage than other types of tires.
The answer is yes, mud tires will typically get worse gas mileage than all-terrain or even highway tires.
This is because the larger, more aggressive tread pattern on mud tires causes them to have more rolling resistance.
This means that your engine has to work harder to move the tires, which in turn uses more fuel.
So how much worse is gas mileage with mud tires? It really depends on the specific tires and your driving habits, but you can expect to see a decrease of around 0.25-0.50 mpg with mud tires.
This may not seem like much, but it can add up over time.
Are mud tires worth it?
Mud tires are a great choice for anyone that does a lot of off-roading.
They provide incredible traction in even the most challenging conditions
However, they do have some drawbacks. One is that they typically don’t last as long as other types of tires.
They also tend to be more expensive and can decrease your gas mileage.
So it really comes down to a matter of personal preference.
If you do a lot of off-roading, then mud tires are probably worth the investment.
But if you don’t do much off-roading, then all-terrain tires will be more than enough.
Mud tires are great for the most serious and hardcore off-road adventurers.
For the vast majority of people, a high-quality all-terrain tire will be able to handle their off-road driving just fine.