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How to Select Tires for Your ATV

From size to tread pattern, tires have a lot to do with the safety, comfort and performance of your ATV/UTV. Here are some important aspects to consider when selecting new tires for your machine.


Correct size is listed in the owner's manual, or if your ATV still has stock tires, the size is located on the sidewall. However, the numbers can be a bit daunting to figure out. Usually the size will have three sets of digits. The first set of numbers is the height of your tire, the next set will be the width, and last set of numbers specifies the wheel size on which the tire can be mounted.

If you see a letter like R in the size, it only means the tire is of Radial construction. Not all size readings are the same. Some have metric measurements, the second set of numbers might indicate the aspect ratio, and the last set might include speed rating as well. Be sure about the size of your tire before purchasing new. Learn more about interpreting the measurements on your tire’s sidewall.

Tires for Specific Terrains

Most machines are fitted with trail tires or all-terrain tires, but for specific terrain, it is wise to opt for suitable tires. For muddy trails, choose tires with sharp, angled treads and bigger gaps between them. The angles provide added traction, while the increased gaps free caked mud as the tire rotates.

Sand tires have cup-shaped treads for the rear tires, which helps displace sand in a scooping motion. The front tires have a pair of rudders without any treads. Sand tires should not be used outside of dunes and beaches. Trail tires or all-purpose tires do not excel at any particular terrain, but offer a good ride in a wide range of conditions.

Purpose or Application

Your tire choice depends on machine use. If interested in racing, you need tires that offer traction while handling curves at high speeds. Racing tires have a larger width with evenly spread treads. Consider surface conditions of the racing track to determine necessary tread spread.

If you ride your ATV/UTV for transporting goods, choose durable, strong tires. Consider multi-ply construction and a radial casing. Some utility tires have a special knob-design at the center which lowers the vibration. These tires also have a superior tread pattern to handle various types of ground and landscapes.

Know what you need so you can choose wisely. Be safe, and enjoy your ride! 

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