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4x4 Tyre Buying Guide

5 need-to-know questions before buying 4x4 tyres.

Upgrading Standard Tyres For More Off-Road Capability.

Putting All Terrain or Mud Terrain tyres on your 4x4 or SUV will dramatically improve the off-road capability. The standard Highway Terrain tyres 4x4s come with are more suited to on-road use. 4x4 tyre choice is a compromise between on-road handling and safety and off-road traction.

4x4 tyres are large and expensive. The have deep tread, so can last a long time. If you choose the wrong tyres, it's an expensive mistake that'll regret for a long time. 
Read this article for the 5 important considerations to help you choose the right 4x4 tyres.

Yokohama Geolandar Off Road Tyre Range All Terrain and Mud Terrain Tyres
Yokohama Geolandar 4x4 Off Road Tyre Range. All Terrain and Mud Terrain Tyres.

How far off road do you go?

4WDing on Beaches and Bush Tracks.
Most family 4WDs spend 95% of their time on the road. They venture off-road for reacreational activities like camping and fishing. 4WDs and SUVs with a good low range for wheel drive system can probably get away with highway terrain tyres. Those with less capable systems should choose a conservative All Terrain tyre.

Best All Terreain Tyres for Toyota Hilux Yokohama Geolandar AT G015
Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 are an ideal for beaches and bush tracks.

4WD Off Road Adventures

If your 4x4 holiday plans are taking you into the wilderness, you need tyres that minimise the risk of getting stranded. That means choosing an All Terrain tyre with a more aggressive tread pattern. Larger tread tread blocks and wide lateral grooves. You may also consider a tyre with a light truck construction to resist punctures. 

Nissan Patrol V8 Extreme All Terrain Tyres Yokohama Geolandar XAT G016
Yokohama Geolandar X-AT G016s are an All Terrain tyre with an aggressive pattern and lots of Light Truck sizes.

Rock Crawling and Mud Bogging.

4x4 accessories like lift kits, bullbars and underbody armour are very popular with 4WD owners. Some just love the agressive look. Others need these to take on challenging tracks. Mud Terrain tyres fit the bill for this type of vehicle.

Yokohama Mud Terrain Tyres: the M/T G003 is less agressive and the X-MT G005 is more aggressive.

Ford Ranger with Yokohama Geolandar Mud Terrain MT G003 tyres
Ford Ranger with accessories taking on a mud bog with Yokohama Geolandar Mud Terrain MT G003 Tyres.

How capable is your 4WD or SUV vehicle off-road?

Crossover Utility Vehicles (CUV)s.
CUVs, like the Mazda CX5, have a high driving position and all wheel drive system. But they aren't designed for off-road use. They have a unibody construction like a car and should stick with Crossover Vehicle (CV) tyres.

Lexus Crossover Vehicle CUV on Geolandar CV G058 Tyres
For Crossover Vehicles such as this Lexus which are purely on-road the best tyre is a Geolandar CV G058.

Sport / Suburban Utility Vehicles (SUV)s.
SUV is an American concept. It's a vehicle with the comfort of a car and the towing capacity of a pickup truck (ute). For towing capacity, these should have a body on frame construction like a proper 4WD. 

However, in Australia, SUVs look like 4WDs but are designed for on-road use. Many are two wheel drive. Most have a car-like unibody construction. These include vehicles like Toyota Kluger, Mitsubishi Outlandar and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Being larger than CUVs, SUVs require a tyre like the Yokohama Geolandar SUV HT G055.

Family 4WD Vehicles.
Large family 4WD Vehicles like Toyota Landcruiser, Toyota Prado and Nissan Patrol incredibly capable off-road. They have a full time for wheel drive system with high range and low range. Some are factory fitted with locked differentials and hill descent controls.

These can be tailored to any combination of on-road or off-road use with the right tyres and right accessories.

Family 4x4s and Dual Cab Utes are incredibly capable off-road. Note the aggressive sidewalls on the X-AT G016 All Terrain Tyres.

4x4 Dual Cab Utes.
These are the best selling cars in Australia. They include Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu MUX and Mitsubishi Triton. With 5 seats they're great for active families who like camping, boating, mountain-biking. 

They're ideal commercial vehicles for mining and forrestry. As well as being the go-to-vehicles for tradies.

4x4 utes on mine sites should use the cut-resistant extreme All Terrain Geolandar AT XD G017.

How much on-road driving will you do?

Unfortunately, on-road and off-road tyre design is completely different. The more you go towards one, the more you compromise on the other. Be honest about the amount of off-road driving you do. Don't put up with a noisy, uncomfortable mud terrain tyre if you only go extreme off-roading 4 times a year.

Tyres for on-road performance and safety.
Tyres designed for on-road use have wide grooves around their circumference. These features aid high speed stability and reduce acquaplaning on wet roads. They feature small tread blocks and narrow grooves. These design aspects reduce tyre noise and improve braking.

Tyres designed for off-road traction.
Conversely, off-road tyres have wide lateral grooves for a paddle-like action on loose surfaces. They have wide grooves that eject mud. Plus large tread blocks that extend down the sidewall to bite into rutted tracks and protect against sidewall staking.

Is your 4WD heavy enough for light truck tyres?

To be honest, most family4WDs and 4x4 utes will handle better on roads, gravel and sand without a light truck tyre. Tyres with a light truck construction are much heavier than those with a passenger vehcile construction.

Light truck tyres have a higher load rating to suit heavily laden 4x4s. The ones decked out for a week in the bush. Or grey nomad rigs towing a large van around Australia.
Light truck 4x4 tyres have a 3 ply construction instead of a 2 ply construction. This gives them extra sidewall strength. 

Lower tyre pressures provide extra traction in slippery off-road conditions. If pressures are low enought, or the road is rutted, sidewalls become exposed to sharp stones or sticks. Sidewall staking is the main form of irreparable damage that can leave a 4x4 stranded. LT tyres offer peace of mind.

Yokohama Geolandar Tyres with LT construction
   • Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 42 LT of 101 sizes.
   • Yokohama Geolandar X-AT G016 52 LT of 62 sizes.
   • Yokohama Geolandar AT XD G017 all LT
   • Yokohama Geolandar MT G003 48 LT of 49 sizes.
   • Yokohama Geolandar X-MT G005 all LT.

How much should you spend on 4x4 Tyres?

With the risks of poor on-road safety with off-road tyres on vehciles without fulltime 4x4 systems. Or the risk of being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a pair of punctures. It makes sense to buy the best quality tyre you can afford from a reputable brand.

New 4WD vehicles have higher inch wheels and wide tyres than those on older 4x4s. The tyres simply cost more. All Terrain tyres cost than Highway Terrain tyres. Light truck cost more than tyres with a passenger construction. 

There are cheap tyres and premium tyres. A common all terrain tyre size like 265/60R18 starts at $330. And goes up to $580 per tyre. A good budget for a quality tyre would be somewhere in the middle at around $450 a tyre.

The Yokohama 4x4 Tyre Range lists retail prices. Find your nearest tyre store and ask them for a price. There are regular buy 3 get 1 free specials and other discounts.