so, AT or MT tires for dry terrain?

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Gotta get outta here...
Sep 20, 2003
well, I have to admit that I was surprised / impressed to see that many of our buddies here run AT tires for serious wheeling on dry trails. And I can't say that I saw them having much trouble with them.
I was under the impression that an MT tire would be far superior for traction but that may not be so much the case on rocks, typical desert terrain etc apparently. Certainly ATs didn't seem to be a problem at Moab.

Obviously MTs may be better for mud, but what about your typical Western trails which are rarely wet and even more rarely muddy? Is there really a big advantage to MTs (same size and rating obviously)?
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I don't think MT's have much of an advantage in dry terrain over the AT's. There is an advantage to AT's in ice though since they have more siping than a MT (which have none). They only place I've ever had problems with my AT's is in goopy mud. In snow, ice, etc they seemed fine.
Typically speaking (and all things being equal) a MT will be softer rubber than a AT.
A softer tire will have an easier time sticking to rocks and conforming to the surface you are driving over, helping with traction.

Of course, tire pressure and profile will make a big difference too.

Also as a tire ages it will get harder. So a new AT might stick better than an older MT.
But a softer, tire wears out faster too (more expensive to run).
Also depending on your terrain, the sipping in the AT might help.

Lots of variables. If I could afford to I would run MT. But since I live in Canada, MT would spell death in the winter. I can't afford two pair of tires. Even if I could, I could not afford to wear out MT on summer road trips.

In the desert and on sand you might not want an aggressive tire like a MT. They could dig you holes really quick.
So a AT would probably advantageous over a MT here.

If I had a dedicate trail rig where I live, it would be MT all the way.
Would not have to worry about winter, or too much highway.
For for a daily driver I live with a AT tire.
Also note: In the snow, chains on a AT will take you farther than just a MT. Plus on ice roads a AT will have better traction due to sipping. However since you are in the desert this is not really a consideration.

Where do you live? Ss this migh help determine tire choice.
As well, is your rig a DD, or a trail rig only?

I hope this helps,
My MTs work just fine at the mall.
I was very pleasantly surprised by how well the MT/Rs did in sand, though, so that's OK actually.
Very pleased with the performance of the Nitto's, very good all around compromise tire in Arizona terrain. Work well in the desert/rock, mountains/rock and woods/rock that we wheel in. I don't have much experience with them in mud because we don't have much real mud, ours is more like wet sand/rock. No experience with them in snow because IH8COLD!:princess: :flamingo:
e9999 said:
Certainly ATs didn't seem to be a problem at Moab.

Moab is a deceiving test for tires because pretty much anything works out there. I think that A/Ts work great in Moab because they put a lot of rubber on a high traction surface.

More tire failures seem to be related to sidewall construction that tread design, so a BFG M/T isn't going to be any better/worse than a BFG A/T. That can be a large concern if you are travelling alone or in remote places.
is it likely that an MT would have stronger sidewalls than an equivalent size and load AT?
(e.g. BFG AT vs MT, Nitto AT vs MT etc)
BFG ATs and MTs share the same construction so the sidewall strength is the same. I've never verified this I'm curious now and will look at the load rating for the same size.

Anyone want to buy some like new 315 BFG ATs? Still have the nubbies. Will deliver to Moab or Rubithon. Why am I selling? Our LC went from a daily driver to a trip and wheeling rig when the price of gas shot up. The ATs were the best before our use of the Cruiser changed. Sorry I didn't mean to get off topic.

Swampers have stronger sidewalls. I've seen MTRs rip sidewalls a chap at the tire store told me that the MTRs and BFG MTs have similar strength sidewalls. However he isn't a wheeler. The Toyos have really strong sidewalls and I'm guessing that might hold true with the Nittos. I've read that they are made in the same factory.
This debate is sort of like the locked/unlocked debate. On moderate trails in Moab, or elsewhere, you might also notice that the unlocked rigs don't have much trouble, as they shouldn't. In most Southwestern places (Moab is a general exception), where you need two lockers you are going to be happy to have the extra traction of a rock tire. As others have pointed out, slickrock is not slick, and is a unique surface.

I don't run AT's anymore simply because there is no material loss of road performance with the modern offroad tires (especially in a dry climate) - the MTR and TRXUS and other similar tires are the modern all terrain. What we call AT's are highway tires that are perfectly well suited to moderate offroad conditions.


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