Are All-Terrain Tires Good On Mud?

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Mud can get pretty challenging for all-terrain (A/T) tires as it can easily clog up the tread, which can reduce the tire’s contact with the ground, making traction harder to be maintained. That’s why this type of land is the most challenging. Though still, all-terrain tires differ a lot form one another, and there are some which are actually pretty good on this terrain.

All-Terrain Tires Good On Mud

So what makes all-terrain tires good on mud? Well, there are a lot of factors, including grooves being the very important ones, along with weight, shoulder structure, sidewall lugs, tread composition and some unique ones which are only seen on a few all-terrain tires.

The Need For Mud Terrain Tires

Mud is actually toughest of all terrains, and it’s the only reason why mud-tires exist. And that’s why they are named “MT”, even though they are also more capable in nearly all types of other terrains as well (in comparison).

Though both all-terrain and mud-terrain tires are pretty aggressive, the A/T tires still can’t have as much of a balder design as that would compromise their on road traction.

Same is the case with other features as well, mud terrain tires have thicker sidewall lugs and shoulder scoops (throwing mud around with much more effectiveness). These tires also offer the deepest tread voids going up to 24/32″ on some tires, whereas the best you’d see on all-terrain would be up to 19/32″.

So overall, comparing both tires the A/T tires just can not compete, as they would simply get clogged with mud on thicker terrains, whereas with M/T tire you can take on all the aggressive challenges.

And the reason is simply, all-terrain tires also need to be good when it comes to daily drivers.

Factors Affecting Mud-Terrain Traction

They say mud is all-terrain tires biggest enemy, and they are right in most of the cases. But some tires provide better features with factors I am discussing below, and so they get away with a lot of semi-aggressive muddy trials.

Tread Pattern

On muddy terrains, you need wide enough groove channels from where the mud can leave out of the tire in time, otherwise the tire would get packed.

And all-terrain tires, while they do offer some advantages, such as noise reduction and improved on-road grip, are not as well-suited for muddy conditions.

That’s because in most cases these tires have closed up lug pattern and this really makes it harder fro thick mud to escape out in time.

However, some all-terrain tires are much more capable as they have slightly larger combination of lateral and longitudinal grooves, along with staggered shoulders and thicker sidewalls.

The staggered shoulders and lugs on sidewalls basically act as traction scoops, picking up the mud in front and throwing it backwards to create forward motion. These also help the tire when its aired down deep in mud.

Moreover, there are some neat little features seen on some tires, where they offer multiple (non-conventional) stone ejectors and these break down mud particles so that they can be easily removed out in time.

Air Pressure

On mud, keeping an optimal air pressure can render a lot of benefits.

Basically the main thing to consider here is type of muddy terrain. If its soft and slimy, consider lowering your air pressure below 22 PSI.

Though if the muddy track is clear and is a little harder you are better off by staying between 22 and 25 PSI.

Both of these basically offer the right amount of footprint in contact with the muddy surface. Though these are just examples, you can check out my whole guide on air pressure here.


Overall, when it comes to all-terrain tires, too much weight isn’t a good thing. As you need to float on this terrain and not sink in. And although you can fix this issue by lowering the air pressure as described above, it’s still a negative factor.

Moreover, with heavier weight, the gets to be compressed more and if the tread voids are not good enough, it can be lodged in the tread with more force (meaning, it would be harder to get out then).

Tread Composition

Tread rubber composition can also reflect on mud traction.

Generally speaking, all-terrain tires having softer rubber do better here compared to the ones with a harder composition. This is because with a harder compound there would be less flexibility overall, so distorting of the lugs would take up more energy (though they would have more durability as well).

Whereas on softer tread, the tire (with lowered air pressure, even), would conform to the shape of the terrain, in a better way.

Moreover, there are some specialized material added to the rubber as well, and these also aid the overall mud grip.

Best A/T tire for mud?

Out of all the tires I’ve reviewed, the Goodyear DuraTrac comes out on top when it comes to muddy trials. And that’s because this tire offers one of the most aggressive patterns in the category.

The tire has wider longitudinal rings around compacting the middle area of the tread, and separating it form the shoulder lugs. And inside all these grooves, there are mini tread blocks that act as biters.

When encountering mud, Goodyear Duratrac breakdown the mud particles form the middle tread blocks, having sharp saw-toothed edges, and that mud then travels down to the grooves.

And as these grooves are equipped with additional biters, which Goodyear calls “Tractive Grooves”, they get to further digest the mud so that it can be easily passed out in time.

This self cleaning construction of the tire allows it to prevent from self clogging in even semi thick muddy tracks.

Moreover, the tire offers staggered shoulders and thick enough sidewall lugs and they both act as scoops.

And I’ve already told you how weight and tread composition can be helpful for mud, and so in this tire’s case you get a lighter structure having malleable composition. So its a win win.


Overall all-terrain tires can do pretty bad when it comes to mud. But still there are some tires that aren’t too off. These tires offers wide enough tread voids and good tread depth, along with staggered shoulders and sidewall lugs.

And they all work in combination to provide ample mud traction.

Though keep in mind, these tires can not act as an alternative to mud-terrain tires, as they are much more aggressive and offer better features comparatively.

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